Background: My personal trainer, Lee Brandon, CSCS, RSCC*E just happens to be the very first female assistant coach in the NFL. She’s also a five-time Olympian trainer and will be going to Brazil for the next Olympics with three swimmers. I knew she would have a lot to teach me, but today’s lesson was unexpected.
Here’s the scene: I am working out at the gym with Lee and I’m alternating sets of back and neck strengthening with sets on a piece of adjustable equipment. A young woman keeps interrupting my routine by adjusting that equipment when I step away. She cuts in without saying a word.
After the third time of watching her re-adjust the equipment, I wonder aloud why this fit and fabulous woman isn’t using her words. It would be simple enough for her to ask how many sets we have left or if she can work in. The rule at this gym is trainers working with clients have priority over individuals, so I am puzzled. No, I am actually annoyed. But as the founder of The Women’s Code, I know I can’t look at this from a typical ‘she did this to me’ stance.
Lee picks up on my cues and then takes me by surprise. She explains that one can talk all day long about communication and respect, but it all boils down to your personal power. Now I am intrigued.
Personal power. I want it. Don’t you?
Lee Brandon recently moved her clients over to this gym. It’s a serious place where every member has a fitness goal, or is recovering from an injury, or is a professional athlete dreaming of winning the Olympics. As you can imagine, these types of members bring a lot of testosterone, bulging muscles, endurance, and a good dose of competition.
Lee says that sometimes you just need to lift the full stack to shut them up. Nothing gets you respect faster than your personal power.
I watch Lee. While I work out, she blocks pathways and stands right behind me, guarding me against being bumped, pushed, or otherwise thrown off balance. I see that her power stretches out over me, and then I understand.
If you have ever been in leadership training or participated in spiritual workshops, we talk about not giving away our power. Power means that we chose carefully where and how we invest our energy, and where and how we assert ourselves.
Being the mom of a millennial, I know from much experience that one of the secrets of personal power is to determine what is worth fighting and what is not. Even if you are right, you can still lose in the end by succumbing to negative emotions and achieving really nothing of importance. Even worse, you may earn the stamp of being difficult or lose your job entirely.
Therefore, two must-have tools in your leadership arsenal are personal power coupled with a smart strategy. They go hand-in-hand with building self-confidence. Personal power means we know when to assert ourselves, and how to roar when necessary. It also means we know how to differentiate whether something is worth engaging in or not. (Next week, I’ll delve into the strategy of using your personal power.)
Be honest. What are you engaging in right now that is sucking your personal power? The family feud over that misunderstanding? The boss who made yet another stupid comment that you can’t get over? The new office policy that doesn’t make any sense?
You may find it helpful to evaluate if this is worth your time and energy. You could spend another hour fuming over the injustices that are inflicted upon you, OR you can invest that hour in improving yourself so you get to call the shots next time.
There’s nothing like the revenge of sweet success. Now that is my kind of personal power.