When you're feeling overwhelmed at work or dealing with a personal issue, it's easy to feel as if you have no power or control over your life. But, as women's empowerment advocate and all-round inspiration Brita Fernandez Schmidt can attest, that's simply not the case. All you have to do is reframe your thinking...
Brita – one of the key speakers at Red Smart Women at Sea 2021 in association with Celebrity Cruises – believes that every woman has a fierce power within her, and has helped women the world over transform their lives by awakening and acting on that inner strength.
'We have such incredible power within us,' says Brita, author of From Fears to Fierce: A Woman's Guide to Owning Her Power. 'But we think we don’t. Our thoughts therefore influence how powerful we feel. That is why changing our thoughts can make us feel more powerful. We can also use our bodies to generate that feeling.'
She continues: 'You are far more powerful than you think! Sit with that, meditate on that. Feel it in you! Feel that beautiful power of yours and commit to tuning in to your power regularly. That will make a big difference to how powerful you feel.'
Not sure how to get started? It's simpler than you'd imagine. Here, Brita shares her top 5 tips for feeling instantly more powerful...
How to feel powerful: When you feel like an imposter...
'Thoughts like, "Who do you think you are? You can’t do this. People won’t respect you," are familiar to all of us. They instantly make you feel smaller. You shrink. When you notice those thoughts in your mind, look at them. Don’t shy away. You know them well, so speak to them. Say, "Oh hello, there you are again. You know I don’t actually believe what you are telling me. I feel deep within me that I have something to offer. So, I will trust that. So, for today, you can go away."
'The key here is to simultaneously allow those thoughts, not take them at face value and tune into that other voice you can sense deep within you that wants to do this thing, that knows you are unique and have something to offer. That voice is saying, "Who are you not to do this?" That is your new motto. Repeat it silently as you venture forth and conquer the fear voice!
How to feel powerful: When you're in a new situation
'Just a few weeks ago, I went on a riding holiday where I was riding every day for 7 hours. I was on a horse that was quite nervous, and would be spooked and jumpy. This was unexpected and really scared me. In fact, I was petrified, worried something really bad would happen to me.
'I quickly realised that if I allowed myself to continue down that path, I would have to end my holiday. I knew I had to replace the thoughts that were increasing my anxiety. I started to say to myself and my horse, "I love you, you are safe." And I repeated it over and over in my mind. So much so that there was no room for any other thoughts. That calmed me and my horse down, and made room for remembering my power and the trust I have in my ability.
"You can find your own mantra, but most fear in new and unexpected situations has to do with not feeling safe, so addressing that and telling yourself that you are safe will instantly make you feel more powerful.'
How to feel powerful: When you are overwhelmed by a personal issue
'Worry can leave us depleted and feeling powerless. We worry about the health of our parents, or the employment prospects of our children, or our partners and their mental health. Whatever it is we worry about, once we start, there always seems to be more and if we are not careful, we can end up having regular "worry parties" in the middle of the night.
'Worry, by definition, tends to be about the things we cannot control. If we could, we would be able to turn worry into action and that is when it ceases to be worry. So, if we start by knowing that, as humans, we use worry to pretend to ourselves that we feel in control, then we can create a little bit of distance from the chatter in our minds and smile at ourselves.
'We can self-soothe and say, "That’s ok, you cannot control everything. Breathe, let go." Replace the worry with trust. Trust your children and that they will forge their own way. Trust your parents and that they will be able to cope with whatever will come their way. Above all, trust yourself that you can deal with what the future holds, because you are powerful beyond measure. That is where the regular practice I suggested right at the start will make a big difference to how powerful you feel.'
How to feel powerful: When you're facing an important moment
'You are about to go into that interview for the job you have been dreaming about, or you are about to go on stage and deliver that speech that you have been working towards. It is often in those moments that are really important to us, that we suddenly lose all sense of our power and we freeze, or feel the urge to run. In those moments, you can use your body.
'It has been scientifically proven that standing in front of the mirror for 2 minutes holding the Superwoman stance (feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips, chest out, chin up) boosts the feeling of power within you. That feeling stays on for several hours afterwards. I do this regularly and it has always helped me. Before my TEDx talk, I was in that toilet doing my Superwoman stance. Try it out.'
How to feel powerful: When you're feeling powerful but people don’t like it
'Here you are, feeling powerful and committed to your power. No more self-sabotaging, no more worrying, no more shrinking; you are embracing the unknown. You are feeling so good and then you notice that some people around you don’t like it. They don’t want you to be powerful. It is as if they needed you to be small, to be less than you can be. And you notice their discomfort, and in the same split second you feel the urge to shrink again, to let that power go, revert back to feeling powerless, just so that those around you can feel OK again.
'This is where you need to stop and use my HOLD exercise. When you feel the urge to accommodate those around you because they cannot cope with your power, repeat the word "HOLD" three times in your mind. Whatever you do, do not give away your power. Hold it.
'No one benefits if you make yourself smaller. It can be very uncomfortable, but once you have done this a few times, it gets easier. After you hold your power, acknowledge that you just did that, and recall the rollercoaster of feelings, and that you got through it. That will help you next time. And it will make you feel instantly more powerful!'
Red Smart Women at Sea 2021
Brita Fernandez Schmidt will be speaking at Red Smart Women at Sea 2021 in association with Celebrity Cruises on Friday 29, October from 9am-4.15pm on Celebrity Silhouette in Southampton.
BOOK NOW Tickets are £50
Join us there to hear Brita reveal more expert tips for owning your power in the 'Own Your Power' session at Red Smart Women at Sea 2021, taking place in Celebrity Silhouette’s stunning Sky Observation Lounge.
About Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises’ iconic “X” is the mark of luxury, with its cool, contemporary design and warm spaces, as well as dining experiences where the venue is as important as the cuisine and amazing service.
Celebrity Cruises’ 14 ships offer luxury holidays visiting all seven continents. Celebrity also offers immersive cruise tour experiences in Alaska and Canada.
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