Power may be thought of as either positional or personal.
Positional power is external to you. It is your important job title, the thick wad of money in your wallet, the fancy car you drive, your impressive house, your degree from that Ivy League college. Because these things are external to you, they may be taken away from you.
Personal power is internal to you. It is the skill set that earned you that important job title, it is the knowledge you gained studying hard to get into that Ivy League school. It is your ability to stay cool under pressure, it is your can-do mindset. It is your character, your resilience, your persistence, your patience, your intelligence. Because these things are internal to you, they cannot be taken away from you.
There is nothing wrong with positional power. I have spent much of my adult life accumulating as much as I can. I like it, it comes in handy, it is fun to have.
However, I have assiduously put equal effort into enlarging and expanding my personal power. I am a committed life-long learner. I love to read, I love to think, I love to push my boundaries in order to grow. Having a balanced life is very important to me.
And I strive to remember that my positional power is NOT me, that it is external to me. That I never really own anything here on earth; at most I rent it during my brief stay. It is my personal power, that which is internal to me, that is the source of my true strength, my true power.
This is a classic from the NSC Blog archive. Originally posted January 28, 2008.