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  • BY STEPHANIE MARTINO

Own Your Power

I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t have a specific profession in mind. I just wanted to get married and have kids.


Well, half of that panned out.  I got married at 19 years old (I know – crazy!) but I was never able to have children. That was a huge blow to my life vision.


But here’s the thing… that vision was based on society’s expectations. That’s “just what you did” back then. I was going along in life, doing what I thought was expected of me, and believing it would all work out.


When I ran into fertility issues, I assumed I would go to the doctor, they would fix me, and I would get pregnant.  Voila!


Spoiler alert: I never got pregnant, even after multiple infertility treatments.

I had to rethink my life – my future – my purpose.


I had to put aside what society, friends, and family expected of me and start charting my own path.


I had to own my power.


What does it mean to own your power?

When you own your power, you embrace the responsibility to make purposeful decisions about your life.


Notice I said YOUR life.  This is not about having power over others. You cannot control other people just like you cannot control the weather.

I also used the word responsibility, which can feel negative. (probably from childhood when we had to be responsible for our actions by getting punished). But being responsible for your decisions is extremely powerful!


You have the capability to think through your choices and potential consequences and make your own decisions.  It’s the ultimate ‘adulting’.



powerful woman
When you own your power, you embrace the responsibility to make purposeful decisions about your life.

What happens when you give your power away?

If you are living your life based on what others think, or to gain approval from someone else, then you’ve given your power away.  You may have subconsciously done it to survive, be accepted, be loved, fit in. You were making the best decision you could with the information you had at the time.


It’s easy to see how this happens.  As a child, you need an adult’s permission to do pretty much anything. You learn certain rules and expectations for how you should act and what is acceptable or not. And then it perpetuates itself when you start making friends at school and you feel peer pressure and want to fit in.


Approval seeking may have served you well as a child. However, if you have carried this practice into adulthood, it will hold you back from living in alignment with who you are and who God created you to be.


How do you know if you’ve given your power away?

Honest self-reflection is the key to understanding if you have given your power away.


Consider the motives behind your decisions. For example:

  • Surface motive: You took someone’s advice because you believe it aligns well with your values and life vision.

  • Real motive: You took their advice because you are afraid people will think you made the wrong decision.

  • Surface motive:  You stayed quiet in the team meeting because you wanted to give others a chance to contribute.

  • Real motive: You didn’t speak up because your coworker would disagree with your suggestions.

  • Surface motive:  You don’t visit family during the holidays because you’re too busy.

  • Real motive: You don’t visit family because you haven’t set boundaries with them.


The real motive in each of these scenarios indicates you are making a decision based on what someone else thinks.


Another motive may involve protecting your ego.


Too often, we soften a bad decision by calling it a ‘mistake’.


If you know you’re doing something wrong, then it’s not a mistake. It’s a decision. Own it! It’s empowering!


I know that may seem counterintuitive, but when you take responsibility for your actions, you are reinforcing the fact that you are in control of what you do. Which means you are also in control of making good decisions.


When you let yourself off the hook by calling it a mistake, you are subconsciously weakening your power.


How do you own your power?

To own YOUR power, you must know YOURSELF.


What do you value? What is most important to you in life?


What have your life experiences taught you? What challenges have you overcome? How have these experiences shaped your viewpoints?


What is your greater purpose in life? What do you feel called to do? What excites you and uses your strengths?


Who have you helped? Who has helped you? Who have you learned from?

When you have a clear understanding of who you are and what you have to offer, your confidence increases, allowing you to live authentically and courageously.


Sure, it may not always be pretty, but that’s the ironic beauty of life.


When the original vision for my life was disrupted, it was painful. The future I thought I was supposed to have, was gone. But it was also a pivotal experience that taught me to make and defend my own decisions. Decisions that weren’t always popular and didn’t fit society’s mold.


I am grateful for that experience. It taught me so much about myself; about my strengths; about my faith in God. It became the catalyst that allowed me to move forward with my life in a way I didn’t know was possible.


30 years ago, I had someone else’s narrow vision for my life.

Today, I am living a vision that is greater and more fulfilling than I could have imagined.

Because I decided to own my power.


And you can too.


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Stephanie Martino on Her Nation Magaz
Stephanie Martino

Meet the expert:

Stephanie Martino is dedicated to helping women overcome insecurities and the fear of failure, enabling them to uncover and embrace their greater life purpose. She emphasizes the powerful shift from viewing life as something that happens TO them to understanding that life is happening FOR them. Her goal is to empower other women to delve into the profound fulfillment that comes from discovering their true calling and taking decisive action to pursue it.


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