In my recent Path to Power teleseminar series, I made it clear from the outset that I was not talking about power over others. My focus was on self-empowerment — a.k.a. personal power.
But there are people who do aspire to have power over others. And there’s not a person on this earth who hasn’t found himself on the short end of that power stick at one time or another. For some people, in fact, it’s a way of life.
Have you ever asked yourself what it is that gives someone power over you? The truth be known, it’s a matter of perception — both the other person’s and yours. By this I mean that most power is abstract, and therefore impossible to quantify.
So the question becomes, “If the power someone holds over you is abstract, how can you overcome it?” Answer: You simply refuse to grant permission. You see, the only power another person can have over you is the power you give him.
Which means it’s really your power. And only you can grant another person permission to take your power. By the same token, you can also refuse to grant that permission.
Of course, you do not verbally grant permission. It’s much more subtle than that. As I said, power is an abstraction. The way it normally happens is that you get yourself into a position where you need the other person. If, for example, you ask him for a favor, that immediately gives him power over you.
Thus, the surest way to prevent others from having power over you is to be independent. And the corollary to this is that independence gives you power. Even a master intimidator like Donald Trump would have no power over you if you were totally independent. He may be a powerful person in his own right, but his power would not affect you unless you allowed it to. And you certainly are under no obligation to do that.
The next time you feel as though you’re in a position of weakness when dealing with someone, remember that his power is really your power — power that you have given him. And anytime you wish to revoke that power, you need only withdraw your permission for him to use it.