By Tanis Helliwell
When faced with difficult personal times, or even with feeling that we are powerless to affect positive change in the world, I think it is important for us to remember that we all have power. Examining the ways in which we are powerful increases our self-confidence, our energy, and our feeling that we are able to effect our situation and even our world.
Power is the ability to influence others or our environment to obtain something we desire. Like money, power is neither positive nor negative. It is what we do with our power that determines if we are using it for good or ill. Many of us—because we are afraid of overusing our power—actually underuse it and this too is a misuse. The wise use of power is to influence others to develop more love and wisdom and to create more beauty in the world. There are seven major kinds of power and it is possible, in fact desirable, to have all of them. These are: legitimate, association, charismatic, love, persuasion, wisdom and ethical.
When asking ourselves if we are powerful, too often we focus on our job title, or what we do for a living. However, this is only one kind of power. If we are called president or CEO we are often perceived by others to have legitimate power and, if our title is assistant or clerk, we don’t. I refer to this type of power as “legitimate” because it is legitimized by the political structures and organizations in the world. People who have powerful jobs and titles usually do so because they excel in the ability to fit in and be accepted by others with legitimate power.
We are more likely to succeed in our goals, if we are perceived to fit into the prevailing patterns for success. The Cherokee say that we must stalk the tyrant, by which they mean that we must look desirable to the people we want as allies. So we can ask ourselves. Do we look the part? Do we act and speak in a way that is comfortable to the group we want to accept us? If our goal is to make people like us, we achieve this more easily if we look and speak like them.
The second power is that of association. This is knowing powerful people and being able to count on them to help us meet our goals. Even if we do not hold legitimate power in an organization, if we have the support of a person with legitimate power we can leverage this to influence others. Association power is often overlooked, and devalued, and it is often held by women. Many secretaries and administrative assistants have this power and influence their director and V.P. supervisors who value their opinions.
Charismatic power is influencing others by our personality. People with charismatic power have a uniqueness and follow the beat of their own drummer. This was a gift of both Hitler and Jesus, illustrating that we can use any power for good or bad. Charismatic people also include Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Madonna, David Suzuki, Mother Teresa, Mikhail Gorbachev and Princess Diana. You don’t have to be especially talented, attractive, nice or intelligent to be charismatic, but you do have to have the ability to attract and then hold people’s attention and interest.
People who have the power of love are doing their best to create a better world and others recognize this and are drawn to help. Some of these people are well known such as Jean Vanier who has founded homes for the mentally handicapped internationally, but each of us knows many unsung heroes who are helping others. One bank employee I know donates one evening a week at a homeless shelter. Another manager raises pledges every year by running marathons to support needy causes. A short while ago a manager in one of my seminars spoke of him and his wife’s recent decision to welcome foster children in their home so they could share the abundance of their good fortune with others who have less? Several participants in the seminar reported directly to this manager, and I felt the warmth and esteem in which they held this manger. This example illustrates that when we have the power of love it exists in all situations, both in our personal life and work.
Individuals with persuasive power have the gift of the gab and are able to persuade others to their way of thinking. Using persuasion they may intentionally dangle a carrot to attract someone’s personality—knowing this is the only way they’ll get his or her attention. Some people who have this power are very bright, and use their intelligence to find the correct data to convince others. Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem, William Buckley are current day examples and Socrates, Cicero and Julius Caesar are past ones. The power of persuasion might also be combined with intuition in some people in which case they could “read” others and influence them.
Wisdom is more often a power of age than of youth, although there is a lower form of wisdom that is desired in the workplace—that of information. Wisdom comes by digesting information and selecting the particular parts that could best serve the organization or world long-term. Information power—having facts that are necessary to others—is a transient power and not to be counted on exclusively. Information and knowledge are expendable. They may be worth millions one minute and nothing a few minutes later. For information power to be effective it needs to be shared. Hoarding it like gold, because we are afraid we will be replaced if someone else has the information to do our job, makes us unpromotable and more expendable. To be successful in the changing job market we can no longer depend on information exclusively, but must develop the other powers.
The power of being ethical means being trustworthy, honest, and living by the golden rule of doing unto others as we would have others do unto us. Ethical power is sadly missing both in our corporations and government, and this way of influencing others is intrinsic to taking the soul to work. If we follow the dictates of the soul, we cannot help but be ethical for we are guided by our highest motivations.
These seven powers are not exclusive and work best in conjunction with the others. You might want to think of which powers are easiest for you to manifest, which more difficult and which you wish to develop.
Tanis Helliwell, a mystic in the modern world, has brought spiritual consciousness into the mainstream for over 30 years. Since childhood, she has seen and heard elementals, angels, and master teachers in higher dimensions. Tanis is the founder of the International Institute for Transformation (IIT), which offers programs to assist individuals to become conscious creators to work with the spiritual laws that govern our world.
Tanis is the author of Summer with the Leprechauns, Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns, Embraced by Love, Manifest Your Soul’s Purpose, Decoding Your Destiny and Take Your Soul to Work.
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