When The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss by Kathy Caprino showed up on my doorstep I thought “Hmm, who wouldn’t want to be their most powerful self?! When I turned the book over and started reading more about what was inside, I realized this book wasn’t for everyone.
“The Most Powerful You” was written by a professional woman, for professional women. While I’m sure author, Kathy Caprino started writing this book way before the 2020 pandemic started, the timing of its release and the inward journey she proposes seems like just what today’s women might be looking for.
The Cycle of How Women Perceive and Are Perceived
While “The Most Powerful You” would love to have the distinction of changing the way women are perceived, this isn’t really the goal of the book.
Caprino recognizes that you can’t expect or try to change others, you have to change yourself first. And this is really the core mission of the book; to help women discover and accept their own power and then be brave enough to use it to achieve their dreams.
How women are perceived is really a function of this dance between women and the defining people in their lives; family, bosses, spouses, etc.
Caprino seeks to help outwardly successful women who feel stuck either in their careers or their lives and are ready for breakthrough transformation.
Caprino’s coaching and counseling process is simple. She takes you through a series of client stories that outline perception, frame the circumstances and then she guides you through a process of reframing.
Reflecting on a Personal Journey
To get the full benefit of the book, it helps to understand a little about its author, Kathy Caprino.
Kathy is the President of Kathy Caprino, LLC, a premier career coaching and executive consulting firm offering career and leadership development programs for women. A former corporate Vice President, she is also a trained marriage and family therapist, seasoned executive coach and Senior Forbes contributor. She is also a TEDx and keynote speaker and top national media source on women’s issues, careers, and leadership.
The 7 Power Gaps That Get in the Way of Success
Over the course of her work, Caprino identified 7 “Power Gaps”. These Power Gaps are prevalent among women — especially women entrepreneurs.
The seven power gaps are:
- Not recognizing your special talents. (Brave Sight)
- Communicating from fear and not strength. (Brave Speak)
- Reluctance to ask for what you deserve. (Brave Ask)
- Isolating from influential support. (Brave Connection)
- Acquiescing instead of saying stop to mistreatment. (Brave Challenge)
- Losing sight of your thrilling dream. (Brave Service)
- Allowing past drama to shape and define you. (Brave Healing)
In her research, Caprino discovered that 98 percent of respondents revealed that they were facing at least one of the seven power gaps. 75 percent said they were experiencing three or more gaps at the same time.
In Powerful You Caprino seeks to guide readers through the process of closing these gaps, coming to terms with the events and behaviors that are limiting your life experience and unleashing your most powerful self.
Is Powerful You for “Women Only”?
In short, The Most Powerful You is written for women entrepreneurs and professionals. But that doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t read it,
There’s no lock on the book and nothing will stop you from cracking it open. In fact, the men who are interested enough in reading this book will get a deep understanding of what their colleagues, wifes and daughters are dealing with daily.
So, I’m going to take a guess and say that most men will not enjoy this. But the ones who are brave enough (see what I did there?) to venture inside its pages will be rewarded handsomely.
I played a game with myself and read sections of the book as myself (a woman) and then pretending to be a man.
That was an interesting experience.
Take this excerpt from the chapter entitled “Reluctance to Ask for What You Deserve and Want”:
Caprino shares the story of Janine, a woman who had done the work to transform her life from being a marketing executive to a coach. After years of working with “Brave” (the program behind this book), she reported the following:
I had to let go of thinking:
- I have to be perfect to be worthy.
- I must put everyone first to be a good girl.
- Success comes easily to others not me.
- I must continuously prove my worth.
- People will see my worth through my hard work.
I had to accept:
- People aren’t mind readers: I have to speak up for what I want.
- The more evidence we offer about what we deliver, the more acceptance by others is possible.
- You teach people how to treat you
- Feeling comfortable is not a prerequisite for asking for what you want
ME: YES! OMG! This is me. I do this all the time (except expecting people to be mind readers. But this is me for sure.
ME PRETENDING TO BE A MAN: WHAT? No one is perfect. You have to go and get what you want. I’m totally worthy. As for evidence — I’m not sure about that one. Decisions are often emotional and when I am confident, people just go with it. People will believe what you tell them.
So, Are You Ready For Transformation?
Only you know the answer to this question. I found this book an uncomfortable and somewhat confronting read. The stories Caprino shared sometimes hit too close to home. And, when I stopped to reflect on her lessons of “bravery” and closing the gaps I could feel myself pulling away from the conversation.
Am I ready for this conversation. Maybe not all at once, but I can see all the different ways that I can slowly begin integrating these practices into my live.
I did learn one thing from The Most Powerful You: I am the creator of my experience. While can look to systems and structures upon which to place blame, the only one who can change my experience is me.
Now it’s your turn. Are you brave enough to close the gaps that are keeping you from being your most powerful you?