Preventing Personal Power Leakage

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You're driving down the highway.  Thinking about what you'll do when you get to your destination.  You smile. 

Life is Good.

A slow driver saunters into your 'fast lane,' cutting you off.  No head check.  No blinker. 

You slam on the brakes!


What happens next in your scenario?

Positive Psychology identifies top 10 negative emotions which include these four:  Annoyance, Disgust, Anger and Rage.

In the Slow Driver scenario which, by the way, happened to me yesterday, I rank my negative emotions. 

  • Am I Annoyed?
  • Am I Disgusted?
  • Am I Angry?
  • Am I Enraged?

If I let go into one of these negative emotions, I leak Personal Power.

If I pause, I get to CHOOSE my Re-action.

Leak or Pause.

The Pause gives me a moment to ask:

How much personal power do I want to give the Slow Driver in front of me?

Definition:  Power Leakage:  Giving personal power away to a person or situation where you DON'T want to.

Here's my story of a Personal Power Leakage in a work context.

I was leading a change management team on a multi-billion dollar consulting project.  That's right, Billion.  Biggest project of my career. 

Today is our project kickoff.  The entire project team of over 900 professionals gather at a conference center. 

This was also Patricia's first day on our team, a seasoned Organization Development professional. 

Our change management team of 25 meets briefly in the morning before the big kickoff.  We go round, introducing new team members.  Patricia asks about her work responsibilities.  I tell her we'll discuss her new responsibilities tomorrow.  Enjoy the day!

Next morning, I receive an urgent request to meet with HR.  Patricia submitted a grievance against me, claiming I was creating a hostile work environment.

What?  I was floored! 

Where did I land on the Negative Emotion scale?  Annoyed?  Disgusted?  Angry?  Enraged?

I wish I could say I had a conversation with Patricia and fixed everything that day.  Nope.  It took months, but one morning I figured out how to solve my Patricia problem.

Love her. 

Sounds weird and unprofessional to talk about Love in the workplace. 

I need to see through the grievance and day-to-day passive aggressions.  She had reasons for not liking me.  Valid from her perspective.  No need to dive into her history.  Just accept she had a difficult past causing a difficult present.  As a lightning rod, let it pass through me.  Ground it.  Love her talent and contribution.

From that morning on, I saw past the frosty front and snide remarks and saw her.  Once I allowed myself to love her, I got curious. 

And things improved.

At last!!   My Emotional Power Leakage … plugged!

Plug your Power Leakage with a Pause.  When you feel anger, disgust, rage or annoyance, Re-Act with two steps:

STEP ONE:  ASK:  Do I want to gift this person or situation my Personal Power?

STEP TWO:  STRATEGIZE:  What steps can I take to replace this negative emotion with Love?

Love is the key.  I know, sounds trite and new age-y. 

Does someone trip your emotional trigger?  If yes, you're leaking Personal Power! 

Take your power back!

Resist the temptation to respond right away.  Our world is full of Hip Shoot Experts, Meme Machines and Soundbyte Seers!  News reporters, political pundits and social media mavens consciously design messages to GRAB you emotionally!

Before you react to a negative emotion, Plug your Power Leakages with a Pause.

Live 100% Empowered!


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