PERSONAL SPACE: The Power Within

I love putting together the annual EBONY Power 100 list. It is a laborious but, ultimately, pleasurable task, and I am always reminded of the increasing number of accomplishments we can credit to our community. This year, when I called our honorees to congratulate them, I made it a point to ask what power means to them and when they feel most accomplished. I was struck by a common thread in their responses: Instead of telling me about a certain career move or a particular milestone, almost all the achievers told me that they feel most powerful when following through on resolves they make for themselves. For many, that meant being strong and healthy, and spending quality time alone or with family and friends.

Time is the operative word in that sentence.

Of course, the executives, artists, innovators and visionaries on our Power 100 list have jam-packed calendars, but you don’t have to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company to be incredibly busy. We all have responsibilities that prevent us from prioritizing our own needs and goals. I am guilty of this, but after hearing so much about how power relates to personal well-being, I decided to turn some attention on myself.

You see, I spent much of last year going through a divorce and dealing with the logistics of being a newly single mother. I was tired all the time, put on more pounds than I care to admit, and what was worse, lost focus and motivation. Since that is not at all the way I like to walk through the world, I resolved to get my body, mind and mojo back!

At the recommendation of my friend, author and motivational speaker Terrie Williams, I scheduled a weeklong solo visit to the Golden Door Spa in Escondido, Calif. (see page 62 for more information). There, in the gorgeous Japanese-inspired setting, I took long mountain hikes and spin classes and did power yoga. I also took the time to meditate, relax by the pool and just think about the many things for which I am grateful. My major breakthrough happened while walking the meditation labyrinth with some of the wonderful women I met at the spa: I could literally feel the presence of my late mother and her pride in me.

After a week at this magical place, I felt fit, calm, centered and, yes, powerful! If you are able to escape your daily routine to focus on yourself, that would be terrific. But my takeaway was not that I needed regular spa trips (though I will certainly try!), but that I am useless to others unless I feel good about myself. Self-love is a daily endeavor—and is the only sure path to lasting power. E-mail me or hit me on Twitter to let me know how you plan to be powerful in 2013.