It was the summer after my college graduation and I was working as a park ranger in the majestic Colorado Rockies.
One afternoon, with nothing better to do but stare at the awe-inspiring elk, my roommate, Jess, suggested we head to Boulder to get a tattoo.
Feeling wild and free in the mountain air, I agreed.
However, once we arrived at the parlor, my enthusiasm waned. Leafing through the three-ring binder to make an oh-so-serious decision that would be permanently etched on my body was not only stressful—it took all the spontaneity away.
“This is it!” I finally proclaimed to Jess. A Japanese symbol of inner strength—timeless and understated, safe, and non-controversial.
And I remained pretty happy with my choice.
Until years later, while browsing through greeting cards at a local gift shop, I spotted my tattoo on the front of a card. But instead of Inner Strength, clearly labeled in beautiful calligraphy was its translation, Power.
I picked up the card. I felt nauseous. It had to be wrong.
Power to me was a cold-hearted word. It signified muscle, brawn, supremacy. What kind of person would choose to don this on their back? What did it say about me?
There was nothing I could do.
For the next several years, I ignored the ink blot on my back right shoulder, believing and acting as if it wasn’t there (it was pretty easy to do, except for the occasional spaghetti strap shirt).
And then things changed.
It wasn’t instantaneous—more of a gradual shift that started with the realization that I was powerless.
Powerless over my thoughts, my fears, and my old beliefs. They were controlling me and influencing my actions. They were running the show—they were running my life.
When you continually allow yourself and others to stand in your way of living greatly, it’s time to make a change.
Here’s how to start shifting your power:
Lean into your fears. Get curious by asking questions such as, “What am I so afraid of?” and “What is my fear trying to protect me from? What if I stopped letting my fears control me?
Reframe your thoughts. Begin questioning your limiting beliefs. What if I can do that? What if I didn’t believe that anymore? What if I stretched beyond my comfort zone?
Reconnect with yourself. Start to wonder how you can strengthen your soul. When do I feel closest to my true self? What lights me up and energizes me? How can I uncover more of my true spirit?
And this is exactly what I did until one day it hit me.
Power wasn’t a dirty word after all. I had been hiding mine. I had been living a reactionary life, where my thoughts and beliefs controlled my actions. I had been playing safe my entire life.
What I now know:
When we’re hiding our true power we:
Compare ourselves to others.
Focus on lack.
Use words such as can’t, won’t, not, shouldn’t, never.
Live from a state of reaction.
Allow what others think about us to dictate our thoughts and actions.
Hide our true selves.
When we’re owning our power we:
Choose to think differently.
Act on our wisdom.
Become fully present.
You don’t have to go to the Rocky Mountains to climb to the top.
Anything and everything is possible within you.