What is Personal Positive Power?

As discussed in my earlier post, 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.

Being powerful is bringing your best self forward and engaging with others Share on X

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.
You need to empower yourself and others to work on a positive goal Share on X

Positive Agents work consciously with these three elements. Here’s the Positive Agent Manifesto if you’re interested.

This is book post #3 – introduction

Here’s the earlier post
Here is the next post.

If you’re confused – please start with post #1 or check the Positive Power overview.

Leaders, employees, consultants, citizens – everyone can make a positive difference from any position, without needing permission or resources from others. This blog will help you see positive possibilities and (re)claim your positive agency. Unstuck yourself and engage others by your interaction and actions. Transform into a positive organization where people and performance thrive.

I’m blogging my next book: “Positive Power at Work – How to make a positive difference from any position.” Your feedback is appreciated!

You can help me by liking, sharing, and commenting.

Leave a Reply

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Ganesh Kumar Nair

    Very thought provoking article..

    1. Marcella Bremer

      Thank you, Ganesh! May this series of blog posts inspire you to positive action.

  2. Graham Williams

    Good food for thought Marcella.
    I’m all for a strengths-based, growth mind-set, possibilities thinking approach – if this is tempered with a willingness to confront the shadow side of things, address what needs improving, recognise that sometimes a step forward may be accompanied by a step (or two?) back …….

    Of course there is power in positivity, as there is in patience, love, compassion, curiosity, risk-taking …….. but sometimes bad things happen to good people and there are downsides, costs, sacrifices.

    STAYING POSITIVE in the longer term may need the confronting of, learning from some dark nights of the soul …….

    1. Marcella Bremer

      Yes, that’s what I will elaborate upon in the chapters and blog posts to come! We must first heal what hurts and hinders us, drag our old monsters from under our beds, acknowledge our shame, fears, grief, anger, limitations – before we can become truly whole and authentic. Only when our way of being has changed (not just what we say or do) will we be able to apply true personal positive power.

  3. Daniel York

    Personal positive power refers to the strength of your own character. In life, a number instances come when we face difficulty to know what is right and what is wrong. Yup, you can consider your life as an R and D or an experimental approach in which the mistakes are simply the lessons that you have to learn. Not only you, in fact, every individual wants to give a boost to their dependence, and follow the approaches to live wholesomely. This crucial journey starts with a positive thinking and I don’t think it can be possible without leadership training. Hence, you should take the advantage of leadership training to accomplish your personal positive power.

Prep your organization for 2030

Welcome to the new challenges: we are facing climate change, geopolitical and military conflicts, polarization, and rapidly emerging technology such as AI. People aren’t great

Read More »

This is a new beginning

How can you contribute to the necessary organizational change, personal change, and climate change? Alone we can do little, but together we can do a

Read More »

This is not the End

With a new year, we make new resolutions. What are yours? And why is it not easy to change? Let’s contribute to necessary organizational change,

Read More »