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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kate Webster

Quiet Power: Awareness, Acceptance, Action!

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

“You shouldn’t expose the tattoos on your arm—they don’t look professional.”

“I don’t believe the vulnerability in your story because your arms look too cut and strong.”

“You should wear a shawl to cover up your biceps and tattoos.”

During the dress rehearsals for the TEDx talk I presented this past April, I received these comments from, predominantly, older men. In normal situations, I hear such comments, acknowledge that they are more about those making them than anything to do with me, and move on. However, for the talk, I had specifically chosen to combine feminine professional attire with my strong arms to represent a physical embodiment of Quiet Power, wherein I combined beauty and strength.

The fact that these men focused on my body and zeroed in on this duality, rather than my content, pinpricked my own vulnerabilities. I let myself be pulled off-center and become disconnected from my Quiet Power.

Perhaps you too have allowed others’ comments to throw you off balance. This can happen to all of us, even to those of us who make it a living coaching and transforming others to feel more empowered. However, it’s what we do with others’ comments that can enhance our belief in ourselves rather than minimize it.

Initially, I became aware that I was letting myself be pushed and pulled by those comments as to whether I’d looked unprofessional. I started to question whether I would be taken seriously or seen as a fraud. Essentially, I let myself second-guess my decision to present myself that way. Then, I began to accept that I felt more vulnerable about displaying my body than I had realized. As I accepted that, I knew I would regret not showing my tattoos, and soon saw that I didn’t need to hide them anymore—nor anything else, for that matter.

Finally, I took a bold action step and decided to use the story of that experience, of temporarily disconnecting from my Quiet Power, losing balance, and then finding balance again, as an important part of the beginning of my TEDx speech. As I rehearsed, weaving it into my talk, I could hear the strong, empowering words echo in my head. By the time I stood on the TEDx stage, I no longer needed that assurance, even though I still kept the story in my final speech. Giving the speech was transformative as I stood up proudly displaying my femininity and strength all wrapped up in one.

If you’re faced with a comment, critique, or opinion that cuts too close to home, find tools that helps you enhance rather than minimize your belief in yourself. One key tool you can use is following the three A’s of Quiet Power™—Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. These three guideposts can help you stay focused on yourself, change what you can, and move forward.

  1. Awareness: The first step is developing a self-awareness of how the comment may have hit a sore or vulnerable point. Seek help from friends to sort out what is real, what is your own stuff, and what might have been the other person’s stuff. Having this clarity can help you focus on your own issues and moving forward through them.

  2. Acceptance: The second step is accepting what it is you need to change. Oftentimes you’ll want to jump from awareness into action so that you don’t have to accept the vulnerable parts of yourself. However, acceptance allows you to incorporate those parts of yourself that are vulnerable into those that are strong.

  3. Action: The last step is taking action to move forward and regain balance. Do you need to confront the person who made the comment? Do you need to disconnect from this person? Do you need to share the incident with a friend? Whichever path you take, staying true to what feels right will lead you to and help you move forward with authenticity.

Click here to watch the impactful Tedx IIT talk. My Quiet Power™ talk appears at the 3:00:00 mark

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