Dr. Bob Wright | February 18, 2020

Are Power Blockers Getting in Your Way?

Identifying power blockers and learning how to work through them will move you closer to what you want.

Are you getting in your own way? Identifying power blockers and learning how to work through them will move you closer to what you want.


You are alive (or you wouldn’t be reading this). Life flows through each of us freely and gives us power. It may flow through us effectively or ineffectively, but we are agents of our own lives.

We all want certain things in life. We have yearnings we wish to fulfill—deep, universal longings of our heart that move us closer to satisfaction.

Yet, there are many times when we stand in our own way. By identifying power blockers, we become aware of how we’re reacting to the world unconsciously, rather than consciously acting as agents of our lives.

Understanding the Common Power Blockers

As the Rolling Stones said, you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you can get what you need.

Identifying our power blockers will help us get what we really need (which may or may not align with those things we think we want). But first, we must understand what power blockers are.

Think of the ways where we block our own way. How do you stand in the way of getting the life you want?

Falling into the Drama Triangle

One common way we give away our power is by taking the position of the victim. When you put yourself in the victim role, you’re choosing powerlessness. You are handing someone else the control and power over your situation.

In the drama triangle, there are three roles: the victim, the rescuer, and the persecutor. Those drawn to the drama triangle often alternate between the three positions. We see this in family dynamics, in situations within the workplace, and of course, within our day-to-day lives.

Each role within the triangle is passing on responsibility. The positions are reactive and destructive, moving us away from what we want, rather than toward what we want. Whether you’re passing off your responsibility as the victim, blaming or shaming as the persecutor, or swooping in as the rescuer to do work that’s not yours, you’re shifting the power.


The drama triangle is a negative pattern where we choose powerlessness over a situation, rather than empowering ourselves to change.


Choosing Blame, Shame, and Justification

Another way we hand off power is by blame, shame, and justification. We’ve all seen this phenomenon play out in our lives, whether it’s at the office or home. Blame, shame, and justification closely align with the drama triangle. Each time you take the role of victim, rescuer, or persecutor and choose to justify your behavior, blame it on others, or shame someone, you are choosing to stay stuck in your situation.

If we want empowerment, we look at any given situation and take responsibility. We walk in and ask, “What needs to change, to bring me the outcome, I desire?” and then we design and align the system to bring us what we want.

When you blame, you are giving away responsibility. Suddenly you are a victim of circumstance. You are powerless to change because everything is under someone else’s control.

Similarly, shaming yourself, beating yourself up, and feeling embarrassed keeps you stuck. When you walk out of a situation and go, “I’m such an idiot. I’m so humiliated!” You aren’t identifying how you could change the circumstances; you’re simply staying in a state where you have no control.

Justification has a similar effect. When we make excuses, rationalize, and defend ourselves, we’re only guaranteeing we won’t change (and will continue our behavior). Justification means we admit we made a mistake, but it’s okay. “It’s not really a mistake.” Thus, we’re doomed to repeat the pattern.


Power comes from learning and exhibiting a willingness to change. When we act on these power blockers, we’re handing off our ability to learn from our mistakes.


Stinking Thinking

Do you catch yourself thinking, “If only I…” or “She always…” or “I’m too…?” Stinking thinking appears as truth, but instead, it’s us giving validity to our limiting thoughts, excuses, and negative thinking patterns.

Stinking thinking is the opposite of powerful thinking. When we fall into these patterns, we reinforce this line of thinking, and it becomes habitual. When we get down and begin trading our positive thoughts for negative ones, we can’t experience insight.

In fact, we may even look to situations to reinforce the negative thinking and self-fulfilling prophecies we’re creating. We might fear someone’s reaction. We hesitate because we’re projecting their resistance. We assume they’re going to act a certain way before it even happens. By going in with the assumption, we operate in such a way that we elicit exactly the response we fear.

We walk into the room and notice someone looks unhappy. We immediately assume it’s something we did. We begin on the defensive. We’re already assuming the worst.

Power Blockers and Limiting Beliefs

There are many different ways to work around our power blockers. It begins by identifying these power zappers before we act on them. When we identify power blockers, we shift our thinking in a more empowered direction.

There are a lot of different ways around our power blockers. But first, we must recognize them. They have to do with limiting beliefs. These mistaken and limiting beliefs are formed in our early attachment experiences and create our view about ourselves and the world around us. These beliefs limit our manifestation of personal power, spawn stinking thinking, suck us into the drama triangle, and move us to blame, shame, and justification.

When we act on our mistaken beliefs, we are unconsciously reacting to the world around us, rather than consciously creating the life we want. When we notice ourselves relying on power blockers, a little alarm should go off in our head. We’re handing off our personal power.

Power blockers are always an instance of “me getting in my own way.” I know when I experience them, I almost always track them back to a limiting belief. On our website, you’ll find a Stinking Thinking template that will help you take apart how you get in your own way.

When we shift our thinking from believing the world is self-centered and will only give us one unit of benefit from every ten units we offer, we start to give too much and expect too little. Instead, we can shift our thinking to realize the world has infinite amounts to give us. We can get what we want and what we need, as long as we stop standing in our own way.

For more ways to find empowerment, please visit the Wright Foundation. Many of our courses are available online at Wright Now. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to learn more about yourself and move toward a life of fulfillment and satisfaction.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Featured image via RawPixel.

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