Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
How do you perceive your own power? And what of your relationship with power? Power is everywhere and in everything, because power is energy. Energy that can uplift, enthuse, inspire and empower ourselves and others.
Sadly, in the leadership world, we often get confused about power. We can, often unconsciously, either diminish our own power and ‘play small’ as Marianne Williamson says, or we allow ourselves to be caught up in unhelpful power (underpinned by fear or insecurity) whether wielded by us or others.
In thinking about healthy power, I found this quote (surprisingly) attributed to Bonaparte to be illuminating:
‘I love power. But it is as an artist that I love it. I love it as a musician loves his violin, to draw out its sounds and chords and harmonies.’ (Napoleon Bonaparte attributed)
Of course, Bonaparte is better known for a more aggressive wielding of power. Notwithstanding that the idea of loving power as an artist resonates strongly for me…wielding an inner power that comes from deep within and allowing that to fuel the expression of something beautiful like music. We all have this ability if we open ourselves to our inner power. That strength, joy, and passion guided by love which we express through our relationships with others. Inviting them to be inspired as we are inspired by the potential of ‘beauty’ in all its forms.
Beyond the obvious world of art, that ‘beauty’ can also be in the creation of a new project or an innovative idea. It can be in the joyful management of routine yet important tasks. We can perhaps consider ‘beauty’ as a relationship between inner power and the physical form that results – be that in nature, in organisations or in our daily home lives.
What could result if each of us consciously chooses to release our inner power? If we face our insecurities and fears, if we access and celebrate our strengths and talents and really release the light within us, we step into a whole new space – as a leader and as a human being.