I hear over and over that women don’t like power. I wrote an article on my view that women like power but don’t like to admit it. After hearing Pattie Sellers, Editor at Large for Fortune magazine, speak about women and power I have a better understanding of our love/hate relationship with power.
Pattie has been responsible for Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list since 1998. Over the years, she has interviewed the most successful and powerful women in the United States. They all seem to wince at the word “power” until she had a second interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In her first interview, Oprah swore she didn’t like the idea of being powerful. Three years later, she changed her mind.
Pattie explained that generally when people speak about power, they are referring to the male view of “power over others” or getting people to do what you want them to do.
Oprah told her that when she realized her power was to”have an impact with purpose,” then she fell in love with the idea of being powerful.
Power over others is vertical, looking down on them.
Power as impact is horizontal, influencing the world outward from where we stand.
Are you a woman of impact? Whether you are impacting your family, your work group, your community or the world, you are wielding your power. The more you accept that you are powerful, the more good you can do.
And when we embrace our power, we are better able to empower other women.
Let’s redefine power so we can love it, claim it and use it whole-heartedly.