Power. What is it? How do we use it? Who is seeking it? Why do we have a love/hate relationship with it?

    "Power is just the ability to effect change." Martin Luther King

    "Powerlessness is the most dangerous state that we could ever experience." Brene Brown

Dictionary - what say you about power?

  • Power is the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events ie: a political process that offers people power over their own lives.
  • Power can be seen as a person or organization that is strong or influential within a particular context ie: he was a power in the university.
  • Power is a physical strength and force exerted by something or someone ie: the power of the storm.
  • Power is energy that is produced by mechanical, electrical, or other means and used to operate a device ie: generating power from waste.

So power has many meanings and can take on many forms.

Used incorrectly and power can lead to violence, isolation, shame, self-harm, blame.

But as MLK reminded us, power is just the ability to effect change.

Somehow we have come to the belief that power is finite and that if we share it then we somehow have less of it ourselves. But that's just not the case. That is not your unique power. Your unique power is infinite.

Forced power on the other hand is zero sum. Using forced power over someone or something eventually reaches a breaking point. A point where cracks occur.

We are seeing these cracks appearing politically, socially and economically today in our modern world. Those with forced power are exerting their last grasp for control over and domination of. We are witnessing desperate, fearful people struggling to keep a hold of their power and fighting to maintain the old ways of living and being.

Eventually that will break too.

It's time to flick the switch.

Time to switch to a new way of leading. To switch from forced power to human power, to a world based on the human qualities of partnership, collaboration and shared power.

What the world needs now are a new breed of leaders, expander leaders with expansive ways of thinking, being and doing. We need leaders, with and without title from business, community, politics, sport, religion and culture both in developed and developing countries, to engage, listen and work together.

When a leader uses their position to force power over others by definition they disempower others from living and owning their own unique power. It stops them from sharing their perspective, their stories and their views as well as their emotional, cognitive and spiritual experience. When power is forced we contract, become contained and shrink. Time and time again throughout history there has been no clear evidence that forced power is effective or lasting.

We as leaders in our families, companies and communities have a role to play in flicking the switch, exchanging forced power for human power. It's time for us to have braver conversations, to begin to illuminate and challenge our own unconscious biases privileges and beliefs and begin to move to a place of expansion and humanity.

When human power is shared it grows and expands to limitless possibilities. When we begin seeing ourselves as one race - the human race - where each and every individual has the opportunity to fully allow, evolve and step into our unique personal power and come from a place of love, not fear only then will the world begin to tilt.

This is an inside out game. And it begins with you. If you want to tilt the world for good all you have to do is #startwithU.

Author's Bio: 

Workplace humanist, facilitator and expert interviewer who helps people and companies discover and amplify their Unique Human Power.

A seven-times published author, the above article is an excerpt from her soon to be published book The Human Power Switch: A counter intuitive approach to tipping the world for good.

Her popular iTunes podcast The Theatre of U has seen her dubbed Australia’s Oprah as her interview skills and unique deck of question cards delve deep into what makes people tick, their passions and their purpose.

Heidi Alexandra believes in the goodness of people. She teaches body language and the power of human to human connection. She’s proven it is possible to transform companies, attract brilliant talent and create sustainable growth by building a great culture. She believes the best measure of your success is how you use your unique human power to touch the lives of others.

If you'd like to learn how unique your personal brand is consider taking the free How Unique are U? test. Your test results will pinpoint where you are strong and where you could improve.