Every thought of yourself as too sensitive? Do you spend your energy trying to cover up or deny your sensitivity, just so you can… get stuff done?
Your capacity to feel, sense, and react can bring with it all kinds of challenges, for sure. But it also opens an incredible opportunity. Your sensitivity actually is the most powerful tool you have to develop personal authority.
What is personal authority? It’s knowing yourself so well that you are unequivocally the boss of you. You take full responsibility for creating your own self-definition, self-esteem and wellbeing. (That’s freedom!)
When we don’t have personal authority over ourselves, it’s stressful. We can feel perpetually held back, at the mercy of everyone else’s power, moods and opinions.
Your sensitivity may seem like it’s pushing you around, but actually, it’s giving you the exact opportunities you need to grow. It’s telling you exactly what you need to learn.
As long as you don’t fight it, but instead let it teach you, it will draw you like a river into personal authority. It will also deepen your ability to read and relate to others.
And that will turn you into a hell of a leader.
What’s so great about personal authority?
Having personal authority means you know you’re the only person who can decide what’s what about you. Your own unapologetic self-acceptance allows you to be real with yourself- and others- about who you are.
When you take responsibility for your self-definition, you free yourself from waiting for others to accept you, agree with you or even understand you. You may prefer that they do, but that creates a different impact than believing that you need them to in order to move forward.
Having personal authority also means you recognize you are responsible for creating your wellbeing, your fulfillment and your path in life. This may seem like a daunting task. Or even a lonely one.
But in reality, it frees you. Coming to terms with your responsibility ultimately empowers you to always choose what’s best for you, giving yourself what you need to be at your best.
The path of personal authority keeps your focus on you, what you think is important, and what you’re here on this earth to do. When you accept that responsibility, you grant yourself full permission to bypass energy-wasters like self-judgment and staying small.
That way, you can save your energy for the good you want to do in your world.
What makes sensitivity so helpful in cultivating self-authority?
Your sensitivity may feel like a burden half the time, because you get derailed by things that other’s don’t. You may internally resent that you get exhausted and need a break, when others need only more coffee.
And while you dream about how wonderful it would be to be oblivious, your sensitivity is an enormous gift. It’s the kind of gift that is so big it comes with responsibility.
If you have the gift, you ought to use it for the sake of the world, and not resist it or push it away. Your sensitivity clues you into all the nuances happening within you and it also tells you what’s happening in the space around you.
Your responses aren’t, at heart, neurotic. They are data: information to digest, process and make use of in deciding how to respond next.
Your job is to track your sensitivity like a hound to a scent, turning your experiences into empathy and wisdom you can act from. If you courageously embrace your sensitivity with this mindset, it will be your teacher.
Over time, you’ll know yourself deeper and deeper, gain ability to read people better and better, and collect wisdom inside you from all your experiences- bad and good.
This will make you highly skilled at helping others and creating positive impact wherever you go. You’ll deliver great value, which will be obvious to those around you.
What won’t be obvious is all the self-love, awareness and trust it took to get there.
But you’ll know. All that sensitivity was your training in building personal authority.
What makes this important now?
We are moving out of an authoritarian society, and into a self-organizing one. This is scary business. It’s hugely unsettling. We see the turbulence all over.
You, my friend, are developing intimate knowledge of the authority inside you, that one who calls the shots for you, who creates emotional safety for you, who knows how to protect others yet fearlessly sets them free.
We need people who trust their inner authority, create security for themselves, and establish trust with others through respect, care, transparency and wisdom.
We need these voices to usher us out of fear-based belief systems that keep us all small and hurting, and looking to outside authority to take the pain away.
We need less tug-of-war, and more mutual empowerment.
Personally? I want sensitive and creative women out there leading in the world.
Not waiting for others to see them, or obsessing over achievements as a way of proving their value to others, but connecting to people with and from their value, and using their wisdom to create change and raise consciousness.
So, sensitive women of the SOTGC community. Don’t resist your gift. Embrace it.
Learn from it and use it, from the dining table, to the subway, and into the boardroom.
Go. Grow yourself, and your ability to lead us.
(This post was previously written for and published in Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling, a blog for women in business. To sign up for SOTGC posts, go to stilettosontheglassceiling.com.)
I help people who are stuck in the wrong job find their true purpose and make a life from it, so they can finally enjoy satisfaction and success. I believe every outlier has a purpose, and it's not to fit in- it's to elevate the status quo. I discuss things like: the truth about how change really happens, common traps we create for ourselves (and how to eliminate them), how to own your emotions and leverage them as a leadership tools, and stories of regular people leading from their hearts and experiencing success.
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