I was pleased to join over two and a half million people worldwide marching for human rights and the rights of the planet. As a society, we have become focused on our own self-interests.  We have become consumers instead of citizens.  We are competitors instead of collaborators. We are profoundly divided and at odds with each other.  I am saddened by my own ignorance and lack of awareness of others’ interests and values.  I consider myself active in social and environmental issues, yet I still have a long way to go to understand those different from me.

What makes a woman powerful?

Our power is both internal, our inner power, and external,  our outer power. Our internal, inner power is a reflection of our self-worth and how we feel about ourselves.  Our inner power is within our control. Our external – outer power is about how we interact with others and with the world.  Just as we may place limits on our inner power; others and existing policies and the world place restrictions on our external, outer power. By ourselves, we have a limited ability to change how others and the world view and treat us as women.

Our inner power comes from our self-worth and our ability to love and respect ourselves.  Our inner power is a reflection of how we see ourselves, our beliefs, our people pleasing and perfectionist behaviors, and our self-confidence.  When we lack inner power, we play small and outsource our power to others, allowing them to have control over us.   When we have a strong sense of inner power we are the source of our power and we are in control of our lives.  We can learn to find our voice, become confident and know that we are worth being valued and heard. As a life coach, I work with women in midlife to increase their inner power.

Owning our inner power does not take power away from others.  Owning our inner power may upset those who try to control us and keep us small.  Others may fear our power because they may see our power as a challenge for them to live their lives differently.   As women in midlife we may be successful in one or more areas of our lives but are we using our full power or do we have beliefs and actions that limit us in one or more areas of our lives?

I would love to think our success or failure totally depends on what we do, but I have learned there are many factors beyond our control.

What and Who controls our external power, what we are able to do and accomplish in our families and the world?

Our power in the world, our outer, external power, is limited.  This is our ability to be powerful in the world.  Women have only had the right to vote for slightly less than 100 years.  During my lifetime, women have not been able to obtain a credit card in their name, or get a mortgage or have a say over their bodies and reproductive rights.  Women still earn less than men for the same jobs and are persecuted for their religion, race, and sexual identity in the US.  Not all women have the same access to education. Many women were able to become entrepreneurs because the Affordable Healthcare Act allowed them to leave their corporate jobs and have healthcare for themselves and their families. Now that is in jeopardy. Powerful women give other women a hand up because they realize that we are all in this together and that we are only as strong as our weakest link.

The Intersection Of Internal And External Power

I would love to believe that we are the creators of our reality.   Not every woman in the US has been blessed with the same the same opportunities as I have, coming from a white middle-class family who could afford to see that I had plenty of food to eat, a good education and adequate health care.  Until we can switch places with anyone in the U.S. and know that we would be treated fairly and have good opportunities, we have work to do on creating an external structure that allows all women to have power and control over their lives.

What Is Our Responsibility As Powerful Women?

We have the power to control our inner power. We also have the power to be part of the solution.  We can choose to empower other women to have the same opportunities and benefits that we enjoy. As powerful women, we have a responsibility to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem, no matter which political party is in charge.