Personal Positive Power

Positive Power

What is Personal Positive Power?

personal positive power is what you can do, without needing permission or resources from others, from any position or role.

I like Diana Whitney’s definition of power. In Appreciative Leadership, she says: Being powerful is bringing your best self forward and engaging with others to create a world that works for all – while helping others be powerful, too.Let me present a few definitions of what I write about.

Personal, in circles

Personal means we are talking about taking ownership. It’s something you personally can do without permission or resources from others.

We start within our circle of control, then influence others in our circles of connection and collaboration. Eventually, by doing so, we can contribute to our larger circle of concern.

This is not selfish. You can only help others if you help yourself first. If you are hurt, needy or unbalanced you cannot see clearly, let alone inspire others to positive change.

Your circle of control is everything that you can control without needing permission or outside resources. Focusing on this circle will bring peace of mind (you control this part!) and positive energy.

Your circle of connection is every person that you relate to, in whatever role. This is also called your circle of influence. You can only hope to make the other person think and to help them try new behaviors, or respond differently because you are (inter)acting differently.

Your circle of collaboration is the group of people that you relate to in order to achieve a shared purpose or goal. This is what usually happens at work, or in another team, or group. This circle has some extra dynamics with regard to achieving the goal (compared to your circle of connection). Just like your circle of connection, you can influence this circle.

Your circle of concern is everything and everyone outside these circles. It’s what you care about but what you cannot influence directly.

This is further out of your control. It affects you but you can not directly affect it. This is “what happens to you”. It’s the world around you.

However, you contribute to the world. But your impact on this wide circle of concern is not directly seen nor predictable. But you impact this world with 7 billion others simply by being here.


Positive means choosing positivity, with a focus on possibilities. It is seeing the positive potential in a situation or a person – and aiming beyond average to “positive deviance” or excellence. It means daring to dream and have a vision and a purpose.

It means cherishing a positive attitude that uses helpful thoughts and hopeful narratives. It means enhancing positive emotions because we can better access our genius and competencies from a positive emotional state (that opens us).

Positive is not happy hippie-talk denying what is wrong. Positive is firmly grounded in research (positive psychology, positive organizational scholarship as well as appreciative inquiry). It is proven to enhance performance and help individuals and organizations achieve excellence.

It is a conscious choice to focus your attention on what is already working well and to amplify that. It is trusting abundance. It is an intention to develop kindness, compassion, and well-being for all.


Power is having the potential to do something, or make something happen. You need energy to accomplish anything. You need to engage with people and issues. You need to empower yourself and others to work on a positive goal.



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