Editor’sNote: This is a continuation of our core conversation, “Extraordinary Women Change the World.” In our last post, Michele Woodward had us imagine a world with no Mean Girls. Today, Life Coach and Speaker, Nailah Blades, the founder of Polka Dot Coaching, shares with us when she “dropped the mask” and realized her power.
If I were asked a year ago to write a post on empowerment, I would have floundered. I would have been racked with such self-doubt that I would have humbly declined. Thanks but no thanks.
One year ago I was working full-time at a job I wasn’t passionate about and I was working full-time on a business that I loved but wasn’t able to give my all to. I felt fragmented. I would go to work each day and turn myself off before I walked through the door. I shoved myself deep down in order to stop making waves. I’d leave 8 or 9 or 10 hours later trying desperately to regain the sense of self I had shut off earlier in the day. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be – it was that I couldn’t figure out how to make it a reality. I was stuck. I was frustrated. I was miserable. The last thing I felt was empowered.
The Moment It Clicked
This all began to change in the summer of 2011. I am enrolled in a Master’s Program and had to fly to Spokane, WA for a 4-day intensive with my peers. Since it’s an online program, this was the first time I was meeting many of my classmates. We went around the circle and began to introduce ourselves and when my turn came around, I made the split second decision to say “I’m Nailah Blades, I’m a full-time life coach.” No caveats, no ”˜but I also work this day job.’ Just that.
That simple introduction changed everything for me. Over the course of the 4-day intensive, more of me started shining through. I showed up – no masks, no filters, no layers – and it felt incredible.
The rest of the summer was filled with opportunities to show up fully as myself. I traveled to new places, met new people and tried new things. I learned boatloads about myself through these new experiences. Oodles upon oodles of revelations.
But the single most important thing that happened to me was I began to really recognize my unique brilliance.
And once that happened, all the other pieces fell into place.
I sometimes struggle with the word empowerment. Mostly because I feel it implies that we are somehow powerless until someone infuses you with that power. But this is not the case. Women do not need empowerment. We are already empowered. To say that I or anyone else will empower us implies that we are lacking power in some way, shape or form. Your power is there, deep within you. It is layered within each feminine mound of your body. And centered within your womanly spirit.
What we do need is that spark to ignite our power. And the resources to harness our power. And the clarity to share our power. And the confidence to honor that power. We’ve got power in spades. We must simply recognize it and unleash it.
I found my spark last summer in a stuffy classroom in Spokane, WA. Somewhere between the introductions and the flight home, I recognized my own greatness. I stepped up to the plate. It was in that moment that I knew I would quit my job and start a new life as a full-time life coach.
Making that mental switch was a game-changing moment for me because it allowed me to see that everything I needed was already within me. I was already empowered. I was completely in control – I had the ability to make things happen. In fact I had been making it happen all along, I was just not seeing it as such.
Take the time to realize your own innate power. How can you further unleash it onto the world? And then, because we are not in this world alone, think of what you can do to help those around you to recognize their own greatness. We are all connectors. We weave strong networks and communities. By taking the time to inspire someone else to recognize their power you will start a chain reaction that is unstoppable.
Today – and every day – celebrate your power.