Nothing Has Power Over You

The Blog headline seems obvious, doesn't it? You are a strong individual and you don't let people take advantage of you. The people outside of you know that you can be a force if you want and they respect that.
Great, I have but I have one question for you, what do you do when your boss or a family member tells you they need you to do something that you absolutely do not want to do? I thought so. You do it because it is the path of least resistance. Hand in those TPS reports on Tuesday, sure. One of your nieces or nephews is having their 14th birthday party on a Saturday when you'd rather be doing something else. I'll be there at 4:30p pm.
I'm not saying you're wrong and I'm not saying you're right. This is about your power and what you want to do with it. I know you all like examples so I'll share a couple of personal examples to illustrate the point.
I was a sales executive for more than 20 yrs. in corporate America and part of my responsibilities was to pick up a phone every day and cold call prospective clients. I did this for many years but thought it was a waste of my time and energy. The ratio of productivity to actual sales was something like one closed deal to a thousand calls. It didn't make sense to me to do this activity. And no matter how prestigious my job titles got, I was always asked to do this activity. Finally, when I was a VP of Sales for a marketing company I had enough of the lies that we salespeople (me) told our managers. It was February and I was asked to present my "plan" (a detailed Excel spreadsheet of how I was going to sell $2MM for the year) to my executive management team and during my review, they asked how I planned to cold call new clients. I took a deep breath and stated that I did not plan to cold call anyone but would use social media and my relationships to find and cultivate new clients. I was shocked at what happened next. My immediate superior looked at me and said, O.K., and moved on to his next set of questions. His boss was also there and she too looked at me and said nothing.

Now some of you reading this have never been in sales and don't know how important this cold calling thing is. It is an unwritten law of obligation and part of the sale person's duty to perform. 
I knew that if I told them I wasn't going to cold call there was a great chance I would be fired but I couldn't do my job and continue to lie to my bosses and more importantly myself. I knew others were hiding the truth that they didn't cold call either but I had to find my own power and deal with the consequences.
I continued to work at that job for another four years and I was not asked to make one cold-call. I had set an expectation for myself and the people around me respected that.
This next example is a bit more intense as it involves family. Specifically, my brother, who I love very much. He is a very social person and since we were kids growing up he loved to go to and have parties. This lifestyle was great for me until I started to do my own work and better understand myself. As we got older and starting having children the parties turned from social gatherings with friends to kid's birthday parties. Open bars turned to open cheese fountains and cold beers mixed with juice boxes.
Here's where the hard part comes in. As I started to do my own work, I started to see that I wasn't interested in going to his parties that were for his kids but all the attention was on the adults and what booze was available for them to drink. And what sporting event was displayed on the tv in the house and garage. It started to look around and see that the focus was on getting high and not on who's birthday it was or why we were all there in the first place. Again, I'm not judging but observing. You see, at this point in my life, I decided to stop drinking alcohol and focus on being present for my wife and daughter. This gave me an opportunity to see things without the haze of being high.
It didn't feel right to me and I wasn't enjoying talking to his in-laws and assorted friends. People were a bit harsh at these parties and his children never seemed to be interested in spending time with my daughter. So, I decided I'd start saying no to the invitations to parties. This was unpopular with my brother and other members of my family. To be honest it was one of the harder things I've ever had to do. I grew up believing that love is thicker than water. Know I know that love is something that is reciprocated not obligated.
I can honestly say I'm grateful I found my power as it has saved me from doing or being in toxic or unpleasant situations on many occasions and has contributed to my sense of self and overall health. I know I still have work to do but with these daily and lifetime power reconciling events I will continue to grow and evolve. That is really all I could ask for.


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