Day 2 : Shakti

“Shakti is the power that runs everything.”


(Excerpted from Shakti Leadership)

In her thought-provoking book The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist shares the three toxic myths of scarcity that many have come to accept as truths about money globally: that there’s not enough, that more is better, and ‘that’s just the way it is.’*

Money is just one embodiment of power or energy; these myths can be applied to all expressions of power.
Reflecting our uneasy relationship with the very idea, the literature on power is marked by deep and seemingly intractable disagreements over how it should be understood. Leadership is the purposeful exercise of power to achieve desired outcomes. It involves applying one’s will and life force to generate results. Unfortunately, most leaders throughout history have played fear-based or force-based power games. But that kind of power requires someone to lose in order for someone else to win.

As Sally Kempton says, “Ego-based power comes from the experience of your own limitation and lack. You feel that because you are separate from the source, your power is limited to what you can grasp, stand for, hold. That is essentially a weak position because your sources are finite and therefore you’re very concerned with holding onto that power, and you’re threatened by anyone else who seems to have power.”

What, then, is the difference between true power and false power? True power is not power over, but power with. It’s the difference between competing against colleagues for personal gain versus leveraging everyone’s capabilities and strengths toward common ends. When true power is exercised, no one has to lose for someone else to win.”

Shakti is the abundant, unlimited fuel, the power of life that is making electrons move and galaxies grow and seeds sprout and trees flower. If you know how to tap into that unlimited source, you no longer need to get into petty ego-based games and power plays. You can have power with someone, rather than power over someone. It is the power that comes from presence and not from ego.

Day 2 of the Challenge is about EXERCISING POWER MINDFULLY.

Watch this 5-minute clip of a talk I gave at the Mindful Leadership Summit in Delhi, and reflect upon these questions:

  • Think of a key relationship in your life. How do you trade power? Is it power over or power with, mostly?
  • Think of a person who comes to mind, who models “power-over” leadership and someone who models “power-with” leadership.
  • What are you learning about your own relationship with power?
  • How can you watch for “power-over” dynamics and shift to “power-with” dynamics from here on?
  • How and when do you give your power away, or unconsciously tend to lose it in certain transactions. Why do you think this happens?
Spend the rest of the day being present to the power plays in the room. And how you can exercise your own power more mindfully.

Let Shakti power you!

Nilima Bhat
Co-author – Shakti Leadership


* Lynne Twist and Teresa Barker, The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006), 48–55.