Claiming your personal power as an entrepreneur is an important skill to develop, especially when it comes to handling challenges. However, as women, we often aim to please and put our personal power aside. Sometimes, we don’t even know we’re doing it. 

Understanding personal power is key to developing your skills as a leader, mastering your mindset, and being more self-assured in your decisions. Personal power is creating inner strength and growing your confidence in your decision-making capabilities. In this article, I’ll walk you through the main types of personal power and how you might be giving it away. By the end, you’ll know how to reclaim your  power and how to use it to make empowered decisions in both your life and business.

What is personal power?

Personal power can be used strategically, but it’s also the ability to call on your inner strength, and remain confident and assured of your own competence. Personal power is often cultivated as you grow and develop as a person and prove yourself to yourself through life’s trials. Personal power is a form of self-assertion, and part of a healthy quest for self-love, meaning, and satisfaction when it comes to managing your relationships, environment, life circumstances, and meeting your goals.

Working on improving your personal power means that you’re working towards self-realization and mastering yourself, including your reactions, attitudes, and emotions.

Personal power is not about mastering or overpowering others. It is about empowering yourself and others.

Personal Power in the Workplace

Referent power is a form of reverence earned by a leader who has strong interpersonal relationship skills. For entrepreneurs, referent power can become particularly important as you grow as a leader. With increased levels of management and delegation – you’ll need to exert personal power to support collaboration and influence, not increase command and control. 

Expert power is personal power that is fueled by honing recognized skills and comes with years of experience. Your peers regard you as an expert and trust you with important decisions. 

Personal Power in Your Personal Life

Reward Power is the ability to award or incentivize others for giving us what we want. Many people think in terms of rewarding others with money, or that wealth is the only type of reward power. However, being kind, supportive, complimentary, or working social connections are forms of reward power, as well. 

Legitimate Power is the power that comes with authority. While this form of personal power is synonymous with being an authority figure at work, it can also be a form of personal power as a matriarch, a respected philanthropist or volunteer, or someone who is well-respected within the community.

Coercive Power is what it sounds like – it’s the ability to coerce, or force, someone to take the action you’d like them to take. Think complaining to a restaurant manager that you’ll leave a one-star review on Yelp. Now, think about authority figures who wield more power over less powerful people. This isn’t a great form of personal power, it’s lower energy, and hopefully it’s the last form of personal power you pull off the shelf.  

The Ways We Give Personal Power Away 

Keeping your power is all about believing that you have power and control over your life and decisions – and that when things don’t work out, you trust that you’ll be able to recover and grow from the situation.

As entrepreneurs, we expose ourselves to a lot of opinions, challenges, and rejection. Sometimes, it may seem easier to give up our personal power and our own best interests when faced with conflict or difficult situations.

Here are three common ways we give up our personal power in our life or business:

  1. Waiting for permission. As entrepreneurs (especially as women), we often wait for permission – either from a client, colleague, or vendor, or in the form of a sign from ‘The Universe.’ Permission is neither desired nor required. Quit worrying about what other people think and follow your gut so you can continue to make big and bold moves in your life and business. Indecision often leads to poor results in business.
  2. Fear of failure. Failure and rejection are tough pills to swallow, but as an entrepreneur, these accompanying emotions are a BIG part of the job description. We have to embrace them. Otherwise, they overcome your will to act and you’re giving up power. Luckily, failure isn’t so cut and dry. In every ‘failure,’ there’s a valuable lesson that can help us “fail forward.” Each attempt we make brings us closer to where we want to be. Failure doesn’t take your personal power away – but deciding to give up certainly does.
  3. Failing to lead. Big decisions are tough. But, as business owners, the buck stops with us.  Too many chefs in the kitchen, and too many opinions and ideas in the mix can lead to a loss of direction and personal power. Be aware of giving up too much control when it comes to decision-making in your business. 

Want more tips on how to lead your life and business with peace and purpose? Check out my YouTube channel for more information on how to embrace your power, fulfill your purpose increase your profit, and improve your overall well-being.