The Power Within Us

There is a beautiful Methodist church on St. Armand’s Key in Sarasota.  Whereas I have never stepped inside the church, I have spent considerable moments in the mediation garden outside. There are welcoming benches and flowering bushes carefully placed  offering  a private place to reflect. Not even the nearby sounds of tourist traffic disturb the quiet of the garden.

Also outside the church on the street corner, the minister posts  a monthly message.   Generally a clever play on words, the message  is always relevant to my life.   Recently  the sign read:  “The task ahead of us is never greater than the power behind us.”  The religious meaning  does not get lost on me.  I happen to believe in that power behind us.  However, this week I would like to slightly alter the quote  to read:

The task ahead of us is never greater than the power within us.

We have many examples of women who found a power from within to deal with a  challenge.   After losing an arm to a shark in 2003, Bethany Hamilton pulled from the power within herself to return to the water and become a professional surfer. Other women have raised children without the help of a spouse or partner, and perhaps someone you know  overcame the challenge of a life-threatening disease. I believe there is a power, a strength within each of us, for these difficult events.

Sometimes when we  faced with a difficult challenge, we abandon the present, failing to draw upon on that power within us. Instead we focus on the daunting task ahead of us, often obstructing our view of what actually is. We might be alarmed by a hint from a friend that our spouse has been unfaithful  or  perhaps note an  odd mark on our skin  and wonder how long it has been there.  Too often, our attention goes quickly to the future and we become fearful of what has not even happened yet.

By taking ourselves out of the present we find ourselves in a fantasized future where we lose site of the facts, give in to fear and doubt, and avoid what needs to be done.   By staying in the present, we can rely on the power within us, that internal drive to survive and move forward no matter the challenge.

A current example for me is my doctoral research.  I have completed the  classwork, received dissertation approval by the university, and now I have begun working with the actual data. The task ahead is daunting:   gathering and interpreting  data from three assessment tools,  and displaying it in some meaningful way so as to add to the literature about women executives in Major League Sports.   I spent a month avoiding the task, and fearing how difficult it was going to be. I became frozen, unable to begin writing the final two chapters.

This misplaced focus  increased my fear and doubt and decreased my confidence.  Once I returned to the present and called upon that power within, my mind seemed to be clear, and re-focused on my 35 year goal.   I had university approval, obviously my first 200 written pages were written well.  I can do this!  I broke the task down into manageable chunks.  I calmed myself down with some relaxation techniques, and relied heavily on that power within.  The upset stomach disappeared and now I find this to be the most fun part of my research study, all because of the power within me.

I think women with high SUCCESSTROGEN  levels consistently rely on the  power within themselves to stay calm, in the present, and to organize and execute.  I, too often, jump to the future first, delaying my ability to tackle the problem. And what about you?  Do you believe in the power within you?  Do you rely on it right away when faced with a challenge? Or, like me, do you sometimes find yourself thinking in the future, unable to act? When that happens, how do you get back to the present?

3 responses to “The Power Within Us

  1. During my doctoral studies, one of the lessons I learned was the combined power of tenacity and humor. Rent a hotel room on the beach for a week so you are not distracted by all the laundry at home, turn off your blackberry so you are not distracted by email, put on your most comfortable pjs, and begin writing. Order room service when needed, take walks on the beach when you need to reorganize your thoughts, and keep the task in perspective. You – not your data or even the dissertation in its entirety – will change the world. At the end of the week, admit to yourself that there is no such thing as a perfect dissertation and turn it in to the university. then defend it, shelve it, and go play tennis!

  2. As always, a great is about who we are and what we do..not what we have said or written…
    Gotta go…..gotta finish chapter 4, away from the distractions!

  3. The power within us. I was most fortunate to discover that at an early age. I knew how to read when I started school, but when I wrote my letters it was backwards. From the right side of the paper to the left. I don’t know if I was aware of my ability to succeed at that young age, but I conquered the “defect.” I shamefully admit that I used that ability in Jr. High to write notes to my friends, (hold it up to a mirror and you could read it) but I conquered my left handed brain and made it work for me in a mostly right handed world. To some that is incomprehensible, but a major power struggle for me. Thanks MAO for this safe haven.

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