"I don't like to play office politics"
How many of you say this?
You could mean 2 things with this statement : that you won't play foul or you don't want to recognise/acknowledge the power play.
The former tells you have a certain set of values. The latter tells that you don't want to acknowledge inherent conflicts that might impact your mind and body. Long term denial of power imbalances causes damage to us in several ways. Wisdom lies in becoming aware of the conflict and its impact on you and from there, choosing wisely.
Even though power and politics are not the same, politics is one way that some people employ to experience power and influence. Thats the best they know. While you many not agree with the method it is important that you be aware of what it does to you.
As a coach, my job is not to solve the conflicts that my clients face at work or home.
However, it’s definitely my job to enable my clients feel powerful enough so that they solve the conflicts in their life in a way that is authentic to them. The journey of coaching is the process of finding and being in your personal power from where you develop choice.
So how do you get to be in this power? Through Awareness & Action.
Even though we think we are always aware that we are conflicted from outside (people/situations) or inside (values, relationships) our own mind, my experience as a coach tells me otherwise. We always don't. We assume that's how things always are. There is nothing to pay attention to. Thats the first place we go downhill. We wait for our body to have significant "dis-ease" to really pay attention.
So let’s look at how to sharpen our awareness so that we are conscious that we are conflicted.
1. Body: When you have an internal/external conflict that robs your power, the region we call solar plexus/upper belly (the seat of our power) becomes rigid/contracted. This is a good place to start. If you find that your upper belly is heavy / rigid/ contracted, do pay attention to where it is coming from? Ignored conflicts that last for a long time, lead to physical problems in this area including reflux and digestive issues. Stress & anger induced by conflicts/power struggles rob us of our energy in the power centre. Bottled anger leads to liver and blood pressure issues.
2. Energy: Do you find your energy drained every morning just by a thought of going to office or encountering a person? Thats a clear indication of conflict. You are doing things you don’t want to do but are doing it because you have to do. A fall in energy inspire of eating well signifies that there is significant energy leakage somewhere.
3. Emotions: Frequently feeling sad or disturbed for no reason could be an indicator of a conflict that you are not able to address. Emotions are messengers of our internal systems and thought processes. They tell you what you don't want to see/acknowledge sometimes.
4. Difficulty making decisions: Are you procrastinating taking decisions? This could be because you are pulled in two directions by two different things you value. This is a sign of internal conflict. When you are unable to make a decision, pause to reflect to see if you are conflicted over your values, your relationships, your work or otherwise.
Not all conflicts lead to personal suffering. However it's prudent to examine whether they do.
It's easier to catch them early if we are aware of their symptoms.
When you experience any of the above, pause, observe and reflect. May be there is a conflict hiding inside!