One of the greatest joys in my work is helping people realize and leverage their personal power. As humans, we sometimes shy away from our own power. We give it to other people. We deflect. We criticize. We outsource. Something often stands in the way of actualizing our own personal power.

It’s called the Brilliance Margin.

The Brilliance Margin is a self-perceived measure of difference between your brilliance and capabilities to that of someone else. We often think there’s a huge margin between our own abilities, knowledge, and talents as compared to:

  • Our Parents
  • Our Boss
  • Our Colleagues
  • Our Partner
  • Our Friends
  • Celebrities

My first experience with the Brilliance Margin occurred very early in life. My mother was mentally ill, emotionally troubled, under-educated, and charged with caring for three children under the age of four when she left my alcoholic father. I spent most of my childhood in fear and poverty. I learned early that I would have to play a key role in my own survival and in the wellness of my mother and two younger brothers. As a kid, this was a crushing amount of responsibility, but I didn’t shrink under it, even then. Instead, I expanded into the personal power I had at my disposal (which starts as an inside job).

At some point, we come to the realization that the people we look up to and the ones we compare ourselves with don’t have the answers.

We do.

We also learn that:

✓ Our parents are fallible humans who have been “faking it until they make it” through the unknowns for decades.

✓ Our bosses aren’t really that much smarter than us, and yet they hired us to complement their shortcomings.

✓ Our partners want what is best for us but may not really know what that is (because only we do).

✓ Our friends don’t have it all figured out because if we really listen, they’re telling us so (and thank goodness, because who else would we commiserate with)?

✓ Celebrities either inherit or stumble into their celebritydom by chance. If you don’t think there are hundreds or more Angelina Jolies and Denzel Washingtons out there waiting to be discovered, think again!

If you’ve created a Brilliance Margin, many things can happen.

  • You don’t speak up because you think someone probably has a better idea than you do.
  • You don’t speak up because you are afraid the person will think you’re an idiot.
  • You don’t act on your vision or idea until you can run it by them.
  • You don’t create your own vision because you play the role of activating their vision or ideas.
  • You don’t advocate on your own behalf because you don’t deserve “it” yet (it = promotion, money, love, acknowledgment).

Notice that the result of a Brilliance Margin is INACTION. Don’t speak. Don’t act. Don’t create. Don’t own your greatness.

Don’t believe that nonsense.

If you do want to master your own power, there are just three rules to follow:

  1. Be the master of your internal dialogue. How do you speak to yourself? What stories do you tell yourself about your own power or potential?
  2. Trust that by knowing and being yourself, you will “show up” well in the world (which encompasses how you talk, the actions you take, and how they make you feel).
  3. Know that not all people are your people, so it’s okay if not everyone is a member of your fan club. Remember that people who are not yet awakened to their own power will sometimes find yours threatening.

Lastly, examine your key relationships: parents, boss, partner, friends. Who do you look to for approval and permission? How would it feel to give YOURSELF permission to speak up or take action? Where in your life have you already narrowed a Brilliance Margin? What strengths and lessons can you carry from that experience into another that needs attention?

If you’re ready to start narrowing a Brilliance Margin in your life, action is key, because action is the only remedy for fear.

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