How do you feel about your life? Do you feel like you're on a treadmill, doing things you'd prefer not to do? Do you feel that you might only become powerful at the cost of being ethical?

Personal power is a strange thing, and it has absorbed me for several years. On one level, it is crucial to our existence, and to living. Without power, the ability to convert energy into momentum, we have no existence whatsoever. Yet many people I deal with don't want power. Isn't that odd?

Maybe not. After all, we frequently link power with abuse and misuse. As a result, we view power as something to avoid, even if it is indispensable. Not an easy conundrum to deal with. Indeed, it remains one of my big challenges in life, and it's why I penned my book on power. I titled it 'Stand up and live' because for me power and living go together.

In my book, I cover nine steps to ethical power through a narrative. Since publishing it, I've realised that there are four core principles that sit beneath the steps. Working on the four principles will make a significant impact on your own personal power, in addition to helping you to become more ethical in using it - a real win. Covered below are the four key principles. The more you do these, the more ethically powerful you will feel.


The importance of connecting with our individual feelings is often referred to in a self help context. There are a number of significant benefits from connecting with how we feel at any point in time. One of the most significant benefits is to keep us connected to our own state of power. Put simply, the better we feel about a specific situation or part of our life, the more powerful we are likely to be in it. Having a say in what happens in our own life makes us feel better, and people who are empowered don't use their power to make themselves feel upset! All of this means our feelings are an accurate barometer to our state of power.


Get clarity on your direction in life, and do whatever it takes to become clear. If power is the conversion of our energy into momentum, then where is the momentum headed? As the saying goes, if you don't know where you're headed, you will probably end up somewhere else. There will be no shortage of people saying where you should head if you are not clear about it yourself! So get clear where you wish to go, and what you want to do.

This might include firming up on any or all of your own purpose, a vision for the future, your key values, or even just some goals. There's no need to become over spiritual about it (though some among you might wish to). Getting greater direction helps you to view more clearly where other people might be preventing you from living a fulfilled life - and they might not be doing this deliberately. In addition, having clear purpose, vision, values and goals delivers a momentum of its own. Seaweed will only stop a boat if the boat had little momentum to start with. If it had momentum, it would plough through the seaweed.


Once you have the first two principles sussed, the next principle is to express your views to others when they are dis-empowering you, accidently or otherwise. Your own direction and feelings will let you know when a situation matters if you listen to yourself. So if someone is dis-empowering you, say something, along the lines of:

"When you criticise me publicly, it undermines me. I want you to stop doing this in future"
"I want you to support me in my efforts"
"I'd like you to come with me to see our friends"

The golden rule on expression is to say what is true for you. Not aggressively, but unambiguously. You have just as much right to verbalise your needs, wants and desires as anyone else, as long as you're not harming anyone. Don't disguise what you say in the hope that others might 'get the drift'. Often they won't - the problem with hints is they're not always clear to other people.

If you have difficulty being assertive, practice in front of a mirror, get a coach, talk to a friend, whatever it takes. But do something to improve this skill. It is in these times of truth where we say something, or don’t say something, that our very lives are defined as happy or despairing.

But always remember that in your rush to get to where you want to go, don't trample others into the dust. They have rights as well. Which leads us nicely to the final principle.


Most of us find it difficult to forgive someone, unless we're the Dalai Lama. For some people, it's forgiving ourselves we can't cope with. We go around beating ourselves up for things we did, or didn't do in the past - sometimes a long time ago. We feel bad about this. For other people, it's forgiving others that is the difficulty. Others who wronged us in the past. Crossed us, undermined us, embarrassed us, got the better of us. There are folks out there who go around collecting lists of 'bad people', and don’t forgive them, for all sorts of stuff.

We could have a tendency to favour beating ourselves up, or beating others up - maybe even both. We might hide our feelings, but we still haven't forgiven. I only want to emphasise one thing about forgiveness.

Non-forgiveness undermines our own power. It destroys it for one reason. Whoever we fail to forgive, the act of non-forgiveness ties down our energy. Ties it up fighting battles from the past. Ties up energy on beating ourselves up. Ties up energy that could be used now to gain momentum, and this is the essence of power. We can live in the past or live in the present, and ethically powerful people choose the latter. Let's face it, the only person you're harming by wallowing in non-forgiveness is yourself. What's the point in that? So again, find someone to talk to, clear the air with those who have crossed you in the past, talk at the mirror, but find a way to move on. Otherwise you won't move on.

There you have it. The four key principles - connect with your emotions, get clarity on your direction, express yourself , and forgive people for their (and our) fallibilities. Developing your personal power is crucial to living a great life, and to enabling others around you to do the same thing.

I conclude with a wish, a variation on an old 'Star Trek' saying (I do confess to liking Star Trek!). Spock, the Vulcan, used to say 'live long and prosper'. My variation on that, to you, is 'stand up and live'.

Author's Bio: 

I am the owner of Brilliant Futures, passionately committed to living fulfilled lives and having great careers. I wrote 'Stand up and live', to help people reclaim their own personal power to live a great life.