“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.”
I learned a long time ago that being a woman in the business world has its disadvantages. Worse, being a young woman can leave you feeling like you have absolutely no power whatsoever.
I was given an extraordinary amount of authority at a young age by my father. He basically left me with marching orders that consisted of my being able to make a change to our policies or procedures if I felt like it made sense. He trusted me. I could hire, and even more challenging, fire people. And I had to do both many times. I could buy and sell. I could make money, and lose money.
Embarrassingly, I made mistakes that resulted in very significant financial losses to the tune of five figures. However, I've also made a lot of money for our business and for our family. The courage to do the later, means you have to be willing to accept that you make cause the former.
Over time, owning my authority led to me embracing the power I had. When I started, all I could think about was how I didn't have the experience or knowledge to have the authority I did. Over time, and with many experiences to back it up, those life lessons have left me feeling powerful and authoritative, and not just in the work place.
It's also important to note, that being powerful doesn't mean that you don't listen to the opinions of others. You have to accept that you don't know everything, and that others may have ideas that are better than yours. It means that while you may listen, it is likely that you will have to tell someone that you disagree with them, or tell them no. You have to know that you will people unhappy. This was hard for me. As a nurturing person, all I want to do in my personal life is make people happy and help them out by coming up with solutions for their problems. In my professional life, it's my job to come up with solutions for the company which are often at odds with the individual hopes and desires of the people that work for our company. This is not to say it is my goal to be a huge B, either.
At the end of the day, it's kind of like "Field of Dreams." If you build it (or act like it), it will come.