Are you Partnering with You?
Every relationship has a power dynamic.
I’m sure you know this, but let’s just make it super clear and explicit.
The question is whether it’s a Power-Over – where we do things to or for – or it’s Power-With – where we’re legitimately partnering to get things done.
And I reckon the most important relationship where we need to check-in on the Power-Over versus Power-With dynamic, is the relationship we have with ourselves. Because it’s hard to show up with others in ways that we’re not showing up for ourselves.
Partnering begins as an inside job. It starts with you Partnering with you.
The place to do this Power-Over versus Power-With check-in is with your internal dialogue – the voice inside your head that has a constant commentary on everything that’s going on. The reason we have this is because we’re sense-making creatures, and one way in which we try to make sense of the world is to create stories that we tell ourselves about what’s happening.
And if you’re reading this thinking, “I don’t have a voice inside my head Paige, I don’t talk to myself…” that’s it, that’s the voice I’m talking about… right there.
The thing is, whilst some of these stories are accurate, many are not – particularly those we have about ourselves. If we were to take your inner voice put it on loudspeaker like the internal radio station that it is – RadioMeFM – what we’d find is that we’re often really unkind to ourselves. What we’re playing on RadioMeFM isn’t helping us meet the challenges and opportunities we’re facing.
And what we often don’t realize – I’ve found this myself and with many of the senior leaders I work with – is that we get to choose the tracks that RadioMeFM is playing.
We get to choose whether they’re upbeat, hopeful and enabling or they’re critical, disempowering and disabling. We get to choose whether the playlist is creating Power-Over or Power-With dynamics… for ourselves.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps people tune into unhelpful stories that they tell themselves and challenge them by creating alternative stories that create and support more constructive feelings and behaviours. The aim of CBT is not to eliminate negative or upsetting emotions, but rather to develop healthy, realistic thoughts that enable us to respond to situations in an appropriate and healthy way.
We can use CBT skills to help identify and challenge unhelpful Power-Over dynamics by tuning into your inner dialogue – RadioMeFM – and when you hear a Power-Over track begin, gently challenge it by shifting your internal dialogue from an inner critic to a supportive partner.
When you hear: ‘I’m rubbish at…’ (Disabling Power-Over story)
Gently challenge it with: ‘I might not be great at this now, but I can become better through effort and practice and there are people I can ask or places I can go to for support and information if I need it.’ (Supportive Power-With story)
When you hear: ‘There’s no point in trying if I’m going to fail – I’ll ask if someone else to do it…’ (Disempowering Power-Over story)
Gently challenge it with: ‘Let’s try this as an experiment; if it does fail, I can learn, reassess, and do something different next time.’ (Enabling Power-With story)
When you hear: ‘I’m not surprised about the negative feedback, I know they never liked me’
Gently challenge it with: ‘It’s not about me personally. Where is the nugget of learning in this for me?’ (Enabling Power-With story)
We make and keep ourselves fragile when we’re not aware of what our internal radio is playing, that we control the dial and that we can choose to change the track if we want to… that we can change the nature of ‘Power-Over’ to ‘Power-With’ for ourselves.
We can’t be in the world, what we are not for ourselves. Partnering is an inside job. It starts with you.
So what’s RadioMeFM playing for you today … and do you need to change the track?