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The #1 Killer of Authentic Power

What is the #1 killer of authentic power?

Well first, let’s talk about authentic power.

Spiritual pioneer Gary Zukav defines authenic power as “the alignment of the personality with the soul.”

The first time I heard his definition I thought “wow . . . that sounds so awesome and profound. I wish I knew what he was talking about.” 😆

Since then I’ve dug deep into spiritual growth, wisdom, and enlightened thinking and being.

I would describe authentic power as simply loving living the truth of who you truly are (which means of course without apology or guilt).

So what then stops us from living as the truth of who we truly are?

Many ways of thinking and being that are born from fear… including people-pleasing.

But wait, isn’t pleasing people a good thing?

Not at the expense of you.

Nothing deflates authentic power like people-pleasing.

I never realized how pervasive people-pleasing can be until last year.

It can strangle our authentic self.

It can spread to our friendships.

Our relationships.

Our career.

Our communication.

Our self-expression.

It can hold us back from living our lives the way we actually want to.

It sneaks up on us and suddenly we’re showing up in the world inauthentically as some artificially created version of ourselves.

Saying “yes” when we really want to say “no”. . . that’s people-pleasing.

Not speaking up because “we’d feel bad” or “don’t want to cause conflict”. . . that’s people-pleasing.

Concerned more about living in a way that would win the approval of our parents, friends, or society . . . that’s people-pleasing.

Shrinking to fit in, rather than standing our sacred space . . . that’s people-pleasing.

Hiding the truth of who we truly are because we’re afraid of what others might think or say . . . that’s people-pleasing.

Not speaking our truths because we’re afraid of others’ judgments . . . that’s people-pleasing.

Saying or doing something that creates a perception in another’s mind incongruent with the truth of how we truly feel . . . that’s people pleasing.

(might have to read that one again)

Can you see now how pervasive it is?

And how it can creep its way toxically into every area of our lives?

If you can identify with some or all of these examples, fear not.

It’s common and normal.

I can, too.

People-pleasing serves us in a way.

It usually develops at a young age when someone says or does something to us that triggers shame or humiliation.

Those experiences can be painful, so we create a way of being—people-pleasing—to avoid those emotions and circumvent that pain.

People-pleasing at first protects us and gets us what we think we want.

But then it starts to suffocate us.

After I worked harder than I’d ever worked to graduate from law school first in the class, secure a position at a top law firm, and earn a reputation as a star associate, I was terrified to reveal how I really felt about continuing to practice law.

I was terrified even to admit it to myself.

I was working in a career that wasn’t a spiritual match for me.

It felt like I was living someone else’s dream.

I had this longing to do something else.

But I didn’t know what to do and I feared what others might think or say about me if I left the law so soon.

It took me some time but I fortunately found my heart’s calling as a coach.

Coaching is no doubt my home and purpose.

Even after I left the legal profession, however, I was still terrified to put myself out there.

I still very much feared the judgements of others.

People-pleasing — or the disease to please as Oprah puts it — still had a hold on me and prevented me from fully expressing myself in the world.

I hated the thought of people judging or criticizing me.

So I hid for a while.

Not only that, most of my life I never really had the courage to speak up or share how I really felt about certain things.

In a way, I just didn’t know how.

I thought I had to come from this place of attack to do so.

I assumed speaking my truth meant conflict and battle.

I allowed people to take advantage of me while I built a nice little burning resentment toward them (which hurt me the most).

People-pleasing really affected my happiness and inner-peace and contained the real me for a LONG time.

It wasn’t until last October in L.A. when I experienced BREATHWORK for first time that I began to break free.

If you’ve never done breathwork, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to dissolve a way of being or thinking that no longer serves them.

Breathwork is different than what most people usually think.

You don’t just sit in a room with others and do a few breathing exercises (that’s what I thought it was when I first heard the term).

It’s much more powerful than that… and spiritual.

During my first experience in L.A. we were invited to set an intention for the breathwork workshop.

I set the intention to kill the people-pleaser in me because I finally had become aware of just how much it had been hurting me.

The instructor (who just so happened to also be a coach who left the legal profession!) said a few moving words before we began and told us exactly what to do for the next 30 minutes.

We lied flat on either a yoga mat or a blanket.

As the music came on, we engaged the simple breathing pattern the instructor had taught us.

From there it was this unbelievably transformative experience.

My entire body began to buzz and I literally felt like I was in another dimension.

The people-pleaser in me began melting away.

It was emotionally moving and a spiritual experience for sure.

I saw during the breathwork how people-pleasing no longer served me and that it was time to start living true to the truth of who I truly am.

It was time for the real me to stand up and start living fully the life within me.

That was the beginning of an epic shift and transformation.

I honestly can’t wait to lead the breathwork experience at The Live Fully Summit in a few weeks.

I had the loving support of a few coaches after the breathwork workshop and they helped hold me accountable to my intention.

They asked me what I could do within the next week that would be a tiny but bold step toward killing the people-pleaser.

At the time I had an in-kind coaching arrangement with another coaching classmate at NYU.

We planned to have sessions Friday mornings.

She would often cancel last minute or show up late.

It was a total drainer for me.

I’d block out that time in my calendar every week.

It was early Friday mornings so I’d get to bed earlier than usual Thursday nights.

It was a frustrating pattern, and I didn’t speak up because I didn’t have the courage… yet.

I told my coaches in L.A. that I’d let my classmate know what was up.

And so I did.

My heart was racing (even though it was by text! lol).

I told my classmate how much I loved working together and that I wanted to continue working together.

I then shared with her my recently set intention.

I said that if we could both approach this with commitment and show up on time every week ready to go… I’m in.

If it’s more of the same — postponements and cancellations… I’m out.

After I hit send, I thought “holy sh*t.”

The guilt started creeping in.

But then she responded . . .

I couldn’t believe my message was well received!

I thought for sure I’d initiated battle.

Nope!

We had an amazing, authentic conversation that strengthened our connection.

(the strongest and deepest connections in life btw are those created from a place of authenticity.)

That simple exchange was a life-changing breakthrough for me.

My momentum continued from there and now I LOVE speaking my truth.

It’s so freeing.

And feels great.

Transcending people-pleasing has enriched my life in more ways than I can possibly describe.

I know many of you can relate.

It still comes up for me from time to time.

And I still remember my intention.

When it does come up, you know what time it is… breakthrough time!

Continuing to fully execute on my intention always means “choosing courage over comfort,” which is how I know a breakthrough is waiting for me.

***

THE KEY TO SLAYING THE PEOPLE-PLEASER

I have my awesome client to thank for those words — “slaying the people-pleaser.” Love that.

The first step is to become aware of its impact on your life (remember, awareness is the foundation for all positive change).

The second step is to take a tiny yet bold action in the direction of slaying the people-pleaser.

I would highly recommend creating some sort of support and accountability system to help make sure you follow through on your intention (having a coach works wonders here).

The third step is to stay committed and keep making progress until you become a jerk —kidding!

The third step is to stay committed until you start LOVING living true to the truth of who you truly are.

The way you show up in the world will shift.

The way you communicate with EVERYONE will shift.

You will know a newfound freedom that feels invigorating.

And you will start living authentically powerful!

DECLARATIONS also help create a lasting shift.

Here are a few of mine that might help and resonate with you…

I AM fearless, loving, powerful, and authentically me without apology.

I AM that I stand my sacred space and speak my truth from a place of peace, poise, and respect.

I AM authentic power, vulnerability, and courage.

I AM relinquished fully from all fear-born ways of thinking and being including people-pleasing.

I AM that I love me and that I’m safe to be me always.

When we live with integrity and commitment, our words and actions align.

Our words therefore become generative.

As such, we can use the power of words to speak into existence who we declare ourselves to be.

Declarations, done correctly, are so powerful and transformative.

They change how we show up in the world, what we create, and what we manifest.

Okay… this email is getting long!

I’ll save my story about how Declarations changed my life perhaps for next week.

Btw, we’ll be doing both Breathwork and Declarations (in a new way!) at the THE LIVE FULLY SUMMIT!

***

POWERFUL QUOTE

“When you put aside any negative habit as you would perceive it to be, when you have given up placing value in something that no longer serves you, you merely transcend it, and it is done with. No big deal. No one does it for you, you simply decide. You pull back the value you had placed on it, and the objects that were the symbols of what you were valuing drop out of your life.”
— The Way of Mastery

One of my clients has been smoking for almost two decades. It came up during our session last week. I coached him and he really understood and GOT the truth of this.

I received a text from him today: “Done with cigs. No value to me anymore. No big deal. No further work required.”

God I love coaching!

***

Create an extraordinary day and week!

Yes, you have that power!

💙

Believing in you,
Stephen

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