We are living in extraordinary times; perilous, tumultuous, turbulent, VUCA times. Old paradigms are crumbling as new ones are being birthed. It’s enough to make your head spin when you really stop and think about it. From climate change, to politics, #MeToo, #TimesUp, #BlackLivesMatter, and the impact Millenials are making in the workplace and in the world, it seems like the status quo just isn’t anymore.
That’s a really good thing. Even if it feels scary or unsettling now, all of the changes in motion are occurring for the betterment of humanity. Even the rise of nationalism and naziism will eventually lead to a better humanity. Those beliefs needed to be pulled into the light so they can be healed. If we want to live in a more inclusive world, we must include everyone. We have, I believe and as Ram Dass once said, a moral imperative to “walk each other home.”
What does this mean for the people who wield the most power now? Traditionally straight, cis white men have held the most power. But the power they’ve held has been “power over;” an externally referenced kind of power that relies on brute strength, domination, and fear. People wielding that kind of power are right to be afraid it could be taken from them; all it would take is for someone stronger or more dominant to come along and grab it.
The problem with the traditional type of power, that externally referenced power, is that it’s a facade. Having a position of power will only shine a spotlight on the kind of person you already are: if you’re a bully, you’ll get to be a bigger bully. If you’re a good person, you’ll be able to make a positive difference for more people. If you’re greedy, you’ll get to grab more loot. You get the picture.
The kind of power that has the capacity to heal all of what’s wrong in the world is an internally referenced power. It’s called empowerment. I think of it as sovereignty: I am strong and powerful in my inner knowing of who I am and the value I bring to the world. When I’m centered in that, I can see the power in you, too. I can see who you are and the value you bring to the world.
That kind of power isn’t like pie. Me having full sovereignty doesn’t mean you only get crumbs. We all can be fully empowered without taking anything away from each other. It’s not even about making a bigger pie, it’s about realizing there’s a never ending supply of pies.
That kind of power brings out the very best in the people who wield it. It minimizes their flaws and magnifies their positive traits. That kind of power makes the world a better place. We need more of that kind of power now. Empowerment. Sovereignty. Yes please!