This weekend, I was talking to someone for whom I have great understanding–someone with an bit of an attitude about authority. Maybe even an authority neurosis. Someone who doesn’t like being told what to do or how to do it. I know this feeling. What we hate in others is what we hate in ourselves. What we admire in others are our own good qualities. And that gives us a hinge to authority troubles.
Authority figures show us our own unclaimed power. The part of us that didn’t make it to the top of the heap, the part of us that, our Inner Critic tells us, just doesn’t quite cut it. And we become angry at those in leadership who are not as bright, talented, disciplined as we are, but who made it to the top anyway. They got discovered. They had mentors. And since they don’t deserve respect, we don’t give respect. And that’s where thinking trips over its own shoelaces.
No one is going to come up and ask to mentor you. No one is waiting to hand you the Crown of Retribution and congratulate you for your leadership. See that cape on the ironing board? The magic is not in the cape. It’s in the story you tell yourself about the cape.
Some people believe what authority figures tell them to believe. A few more believe what their friends tell them. But everyone believes their own story—the one they tell themselves. And once you believe it, you tell it to others and they believe your story, too. The one where you never got the breaks. About being overlooked and under-appreciated. And then others don’t give you breaks, overlook you and under-appreciate you. Because you told them to.
Tell yourself that cape is yours,. Then iron it and put it on. It’s time for you to step up and re-claim the powerful bits of yourself you storied away, hoping people would disagree with you. Being a leader doesn’t mean being given power. It means working with people who believe in you.
Be the person people can believe in, and you’ll have your power. If you believe in it yourself.
—Quinn McDonald is a believer. In herself and in others.
Images from: A Pretty Cool Life.com