Is Your Mother Driving You To Drink?

All holidays are stressful and they’re coming up. It’s either the good stress of trying to do all you have planned for those you love or the dread you feel about again being in certain family situations that you felt you “escaped” as an adult. Or maybe it’s a combination of the two.

As complicated as family gatherings are, perhaps the most anxiety-provoking is when you are again going to need to be in contact with your mother. You love her, and you will gather with others to celebrate her, but you worry about her and her unacknowledged problems.

Your mother was your first role model for so much in your life. Perhaps she carved a clear path that you followed, one that afforded you a route toward of owning your power and joining with other women who developed avenues that afforded them having a voice in their own lives.

Or maybe your mother was like Lily Myers’s mother, a complex woman plagued by her own demons who tried to drink them away, a mother who created a model of womanhood that you felt you needed to push against for your own survival.

Take a moment and watch this short video as you ask yourself if this seems familiar to you.

Source: Lily Myers “Shrinking Women”

Drinking Away Your Demons—Your Girly Thoughts

What you learned in that powerful video is the way so many women internalize societal messages about what weight they should be, what age they should never move past, how they should stuff their sorrows—what I have named girly thoughts: the inner toxic self-talk that robs women of their energy, desire, and confidence.

These girly thoughts act like inner demons, constantly berating a woman and resulting in so many women doing what Lily’s mother does: drinking away their feelings. This leaves their daughters angry, confused, and longing for the mother they need.

If your mother is like Lily’s:

  • share with her what she is doing and give her the name girly thoughts. Why? Because naming something gives you power over it.
  • identify together when either one of you is thinking a girly thought.
  • use the term girly thoughts with your mother and your friends as a shorthand way of sharing how you are beating yourself up.
  • identify the sources of your girly thoughts—ads, TV shows, and movies are a good place to start.
  • encourage your mother to go to an AA meeting to begin to look at her drinking, while you attend the Al-Anon meeting down the hall and see how you have been impacted by her drinking. What a gift this would be to help your mother begin her own recovery.

For better or worse, your mother gave you what she had, girly thoughts and all. But this doesn’t have to be the end of your story. Recovery from alcoholism and from girly thoughts can make you and your mother closer as you develop a bond based on supporting each other. Work as a team to develop coping skills that don’t involve drinking away your problems or beating yourself up for having those girly thoughts. What a great way to ensure that the next family gathering will be really filled with joy.

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Email your stories about how your girly thoughts led you in the wrong direction:

Remember, you’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my two latest books, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power

Want a Memorable St. Patrick’s Day? – Try Sobriety


Are you making BIG plans for St. Patrick’s Day? Consider making this St. Patrick’s Day a sober one—for your sake.

Pub Crawl, Anyone?

St. Patrick’s Day used to be a day for families to celebrate the best in Irish culture. This included everything from proudly marching in a local parade to the “wearing of the green” to buttons that proclaimed “Kiss Me, I’m Irish.” It was a day of fun, laugher, even silliness, where toddlers could be seen perched on their fathers’ shoulders to watch a marching band, and teens and their parents wore clothes that weren’t the height of fashion but were worn because they were green.

Today, you’ll still find the parades and the wearing of the green, but added to this mix is the pub crawl, complete with maps posted on social media sites of which bars to hit in which order; the goal is to go from bar to bar getting as drunk as possible. Men and women can be seen trouping along in a group drunk, laughing, throwing up, stumbling, kissing strangers, being groped, being culled out of their group to head off with a stranger, and having a grand old time.

ARE they having a grand old time?

Ask yourself if this how you want to spend your St. Patrick’s Day.

Don’t Let Your Girly Thoughts Drive You to Drink

There is so much pressure to go along with the crowd, to be part of things with your friends, even things that may not be the best for you. One reason why women get drunk on days like St. Patrick’s Day is because they have internalized toxic societal messages—which I have named girly thoughts—that tell them to be desirable they need to engage in all sorts of harmful behaviors. Getting drunk on St. Patrick’s Day is one of those behaviors.

Real Consequences

Being part of a drunken St. Patrick’s Day can be dangerous:

Many women have had the experience of waking up after a night of partying and trying to figure out who they are sleeping next to. “Your name again is …?” Not a fun way to begin a relationship for either of you.

Doesn’t sound very merry, does it? Want to have a memorable sexual encounter on St. Patrick’s Day?

How About Going on the Wild Side—and Going Sober

Yes, you can still have a great time while being in control of your body and keeping yourself safe. Check out a Sober St. Patrick Day celebration in a location near you. Here’s their website: I’ll be at the New York City party and look forward to seeing you there !

Photo courtesy of

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, speaker, a psychologist in upstate New York, and the author of nine books, including The Girly Thoughts 10 Day Detox Plan and The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power She is a regular blogger at The Powerful Woman and Learn more at

Detoxing From Valentine’s Day


He loves me, he loves me not?

The bigger question is: Why do I care so much?

Well, the BIG Day—Valentine’s Day—has come and gone. This day of tension, caused by the painful and anxious feelings produced by your girly thoughts telling you that your lovability is demonstrated by what your partner does or doesn’t do, is over for this year. A question to ask yourself—because you have total control over this one—is:

Do you want to go through all this drama again next year?

If your answer is no, then this is a time of opportunity. Now, in the aftermath of Valentine’s Day, is your opportunity to learn about yourself, your needs, your wants, and how to take care of yourself. You know that Valentine’s Day was not a referendum on your:

  • worthiness
  • desirability
  • beauty

Do we need to add to this—thank God?

So . . . How Did You Do?

How would you describe your Valentine’s Day? Was it a painful day because you listened to those society-prescribed girly thoughts that resulted in you:

  • feeling defeated because you didn’t feel you had control?
  • feeling anxious?
  • holding your breath waiting for a text, email, call, gift?
  • feeling a tinge of your self-worth hanging in the balance?

Or instead, were you able to kick those girly thoughts aside and:

  • think self-loving thoughts?
  • appreciate your beauty?
  • smile instead of frown when you looked at your face?
  • make this day special for yourself?
  • laugh at all the hype?

And if you didn’t receive what you wanted, did you think, “It’s your loss, buddy”?

What Is Valentine’s Day, Anyway?

Valentine’s Day presents an opportunity to build resilience—that well of strength, of resources, of strategies that work within you—that helps you get through difficult times. 

Looked at this way, Valentine’s Day can be a win/win. By providing a window into your relationship with your partner and into your relationship with yourself, the day:

  • provides an opportunity to see if you have picked someone who can take care of your needs and your wants.
  • gives you an chance to see how well you have done in communicating these same needs and wants to the one who loves you.
  • teaches you about yourself and about building more resilience from the pressure and stress generated by this one day.

Please share your insights into Valentine’s Day with me by sending your comments through my website:

(This blog was originally posted on 2.20.15)

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my book The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power



Enjoy Valentine’s Day – Don’t Indulge Your Girly Thoughts

“How do you spell ‘love’?” – Piglet

“You don’t spell it . . . you feel it.” – Pooh

—A.A. Milne, “Winnie The Pooh” 


Perhaps no other holiday creates as much tension as Valentine’s Day. This is the day of love, of being loved, of receiving gifts, all of which say that all of your hard work at maintaining your relationship is worth it!

Yes, it is a day of drama, full of tension and storms, the day that keeps us “in the game,” and due to all the disappointments and heartbreaks you have experienced, it is also a day that has helped you grow deep roots.

Girly Thoughts: the Legacy of Fairy Tales

You were raised on tales of Prince Charming coming to your rescue and thereby proving his undying love. You’ve seen numerous movies and read many books where even strong, feisty women are in need of rescuing by the men of their dreams.

While you may no longer be reading fairy tales, you may unconsciously still be living by the messages they taught, messages that are part of the fabric of your girly thoughts, those toxic messages that tell you your self-worth depends largely on how someone else values, even loves you.

Valentine’s Day Is a Day that Proves . . . Your Self-Worth?

Perhaps on no other day do these messages play out as they do on Valentine’s Day . . . the day your “prince” will prove your genuine lovability.

As a result, you probably attach a great deal of importance to the actions of the one you love on this one day.

We pressure our partners to use traditional tokens of love and appreciation—cards, flowers, chocolates, perhaps even Champagne—to demonstrate our importance in their lives and prove their devotion to us. If they fail in some way, we are tempted to feel diminished, less important, and—sadly—unloved or unlovable.

As a Result, You Feel Held Hostage

You put pressure on yourself to be seen and rewarded, signifying that all the sacrifices you made were “worth it.”

And if you are not rewarded as you feel you should be, your girly thoughtstell you the fault lies within you, and you must try harder, do more.

Or your girly thoughts tell you you’re not loveable because you are too old, not exciting, too fat or too thin, and the inner monologue about your real or imagined negative qualities goes on . . . and on . . . and on.

In this way, Valentine’s Day holds you hostage, creating anxiety and uncertainty, draining you of your power as you unwittingly give it over to another person.

This is the exact opposite of what you’d hoped for.

Does Waiting to Be Loved Work for You?

If waiting to be loved actually makes you anxious and miserable, as it does most of us, I suggest an alternative: Why not (also) love yourself?

This isn’t meant to subtract from your loved one’s importance in your life, merely to balance it by also caring for and cherishing yourself.

Yes, you can still be appreciative of the gifts from your partner, boyfriend, or husband, but you also give yourself something perhaps even more important . . . self-love and self-appreciation, instead of indulging those girly thoughts all day!

Appreciate Yourself on Valentine’s Day 

You may be planning a romantic dinner with your boyfriend. If you have children, you may be putting valentines in their lunch boxes. Perhaps you’ll be posting a Valentine’s Day message on Facebook for your friends and family.

But what about you? What can you give yourself on this day of love? Give yourself …well…gifts! Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  • Plan what you are going to wear on Valentine’s Day in a leisurely way. Instead of just focusing on what you will be making for dinner, think about yourself. Ask yourself: What looks good on me? Which outfit makes me feel good about myself?What do I feel comfortable wearing?
  • As you wear your favorite clothes on Valentine’s Day, tell yourself: I look really good!
  • Write down two things you really like about yourself. You don’t have to display that list, but put it somewhere you’ll see it—and say those words out loud each time you do. They may be as direct as: I am Smart! I am a Good Friend! I can kick (you know what)!
  • Think of ways you can act on those positive qualities and get others to also see them. For example, if you like your voice, sing in your car, sing at work, or entertain your partner.
  • Give yourself attagirls throughout the day for stepping out of your comfort zone and into your power.
  • Tell yourself . . . I love you. 

Now you’re creating a day full of love. You don’t need to spell love, you just need to feel it within yourself.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photo courtesy of

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my book The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power


Had Enough Bad Sex? Try Sober Dating

A few weeks ago, a writer for contacted me about an article she was working on—sober dating. I was excited but not surprised that sobriety is being discovered by the women’s media. It was a fun project that produced a terrific article, which I encourage you to read: Eight Amazing Thing You Learn from Sober Dating by Helaina Hovitz.

Here are the high points:

  1. There are a ton of alternatives to grabbing drinks. Bring your creativity into play to find places conducive for getting to know someone. Search out juice bars with evening hours, a nearby park, a fun hike, an art exhibit, or an ice cream shoppe—each can be a place to relax and be curious about the person you are with. The point of a date is getting to know someone, isn’t it? Ruby realized.

But you don’t have to feel you need to avoid alcohol at all costs. If you are comfortable being around alcohol, try ordering a mocktail, which is becoming increasingly trendy in many high-end bars, or even seltzer and lime. This will give you an opportunity to see how comfortable your date is with your choice of no alcohol.

  1. You’ll waste less time on dates that aren’t going anywhere … Being sober changes many relationships, including intimate relationships. You may find you have less patience for dating those who want you to continue to party with them, or those who can’t relax without drinking. You may find yourself thinking things like, I can’t believe I thought this was fun … this is so boring … what did I ever see in him? You may also find, as Esme did, that once she got sober, the man she had been with who continued to drink just didn’t taste or smell right.
  1. And you’ll have fewer face-palm moments the morning after. Carolyn got tired of waking up in the morning and having no memory of what had happened the night before. In fact, I got really tired of not even remembering some of these guys’ names. I realized that I deserved better. Not remembering what happened when you are drinking is called blacking out. A blackout is when the part of your brain that stores recent memory doesn’t work well, and it’s scary. It’s also a serious problem. Consider if you want to live your life without remembering it.
  1. When it comes to sex, you’ll be confident in a real way. For some women, an underlying driver of destructive drinking is their girly thoughts. Getting sober helped Ava understand that part of why she was drinking too heavily was her shame of her body. If she was drunk enough she wouldn’t worry if he saw less-than-perfect buttock, or too large breasts. I stopped listening to my body-shaming girly thoughts! So instead of drinking to try to quiet those girly thoughts, try telling them to get lost, and share them with your girlfriends so you can laugh at them together.
  1. You’ll know whether you’re actually ready to sleep with someone. Many times women have sex because they want to be nice, they want to be wanted, they want to make him happy—all girly thoughts. After being sexually intimate to please someone else, Charlotte realized I wasn’t sexually satisfied, and part of this was because I had never asked myself if I wanted to be with him. He wanted to be with me, and I thought that was enough, but it wasn’t. Not drinking will help you understand if you want a relationship with someone instead of waking up in a relationship with him. It will also help you begin to understand what you want in general and when you are ready to act on what you want in many aspects of your life. Yes, you can take time to figure this out. This is your life, and you deserve to live it the way you would like to.
  1. You’ll start recognizing what you actually want in bed.

Sobriety turned into a fun journey for Enid. I began to understand myself in so many ways, including sexually. In the past there were certain sexual positions I would avoid out of shame. I didn’t want him to see my small breasts, my big bottom, my stretch marks, so I avoided doing some things that would have been pleasurable to me. Now that I’m sober and not drinking away my shaming girly thoughts, I’m more in touch with my body and my sexual needs. Being sober allows me be to be more confident in many areas of my life, including sexually. Begin to fantasize about what you would and would not like sexually.

  1. Your newfound honesty will make your connections deeper. Isn’t that what you really want? Meaningful connections are made by being honest about what you understand and what you accept about who you are and who the man you have chosen is. Sobriety makes this possible. Not only did I find this amazing man who gets me, but I get me, Elizabeth said with a smile. No more booze, no more blackouts, no more girly thoughts, I’m really liking the person I’m getting to know, finally!

(originally posted 2.10.17 Counselor Magazine Blog)


Trump’s Gift to Women

FORT WORTH, TX - FEBRUARY 26: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Fort Worth Convention Center on February 26, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. Trump is campaigning in Texas, days ahead of the Super Tuesday primary. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TX – FEBRUARY 26: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Fort Worth Convention Center on February 26, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. Trump is campaigning in Texas, days ahead of the Super Tuesday primary. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

This campaign season has highlighted realities that women have known for a long time. What is both surprising and gratifying is that men are becoming aware of just how different the societal rules are for women. This may be the Trump’s gift to women. Things have become so extreme that they are obvious—finally.

The Double Standard that Trump Has Made Very Clear

Some of what Trump has dramatically brought to our collective attention, issues that women have been trying to address but with little success, include:

We all know what it is like to have a man invade our personal space, repeatedly, whether this is at work, during an argument with a boyfriend or on the subway, and then deny that they were doing anything untoward. We also know how this makes us feel—vulnerable, intimidated and mad.

Girly Thoughts

What do you do with all of this anger? Unfortunately, you turn it against yourself by eating too much, drinking too much or exercising excessively, and with what I’ve named girly thoughts—how you do to yourself what society does to you, what the men in your life do to you: judge yourself and find yourself deficient, wanting, unattractive.

As a male supervisor I once worked for helped me understand, it is important in a conflict to use the other person’s momentum to your advantage. In this world of double standards for men and for women, we have Mr. Trump to thank for repeatedly giving us high-profile examples of how unfairly women are treated so that we can all take a look at this and say, “No more!”

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD is a psychologist, speaker, author and blogger.

Learn more about overcoming girly thoughts at The Powerful Woman: Women and Resilience, and in The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power.



Miss Piggy? REALLY? Stop Weight Shaming Yourself with Your Girly Thoughts


“She gained a massive amount of weight … it was a real problem.”

—Donald Trump

Weight is a h-u-g-e issue for you—no pun intended. If you’re like most American women, you probably

  • go on an endless stream of diets.
  • try on a pile of clothes before you find something that looks okay enough to wear outside of the house.
  • say “I’m fat” whenever you look in the mirror.

Have you ever wondered why weight is such a hot-button issue for you?

In Monday night’s presidential debate, women’s weight took center stage when Hillary Clinton referenced former Miss Universe 1996, Alicia Machado. According to a report in the Washington Times, Donald Trump “had called her an ‘eating machine’ and ‘had her work out at a gym in front of reporters and camera crews after a post-pageant weight gain,’” while he looked on smirking—a look you probably know all too well.

Take a peek of her winning Miss Universe.  What do you think?

Ms. Machado was treated like a piece of meat, but do you need to do this to yourself?

The Impact of Being Treated Like an Object? You Learn to Do This to Yourself

Part of the answer is that women are treated like objects when

  • products are advertised with scantily clad models, to sell everything from cars to furniture.
  • trying to convince you to buy the latest fashion, even if the model’s image has been photoshopped, with inches taken off her waist and inches added to her height

This endless faultfinding with your weight sends a message to men, even obese men like Trump, that they have power. The disgrace here is that they have cultural permission to criticize you.

Girly Thoughts—Doing to Yourself what Society Does to You

What is the impact of this barrage of cultural messages about your weight? Girly thoughts! That’s the name I’ve developed to label this type of negative thinking. Your girly thoughts about your weight cause you to:

  • misdirect your energy, spending it worrying about your weight instead of strongly stating your professional opinion in that important meeting.
  • spend money needlessly buying clothes that fit perfectly for every few pounds your weight varies.
  • deplete your energy by saying mean things to yourself when you look in the mirror.

Society already makes you feel “less than,” so why do this to yourself? Why allow these girly thoughts to take up any space in your life?

Stop Weight-Shaming Yourself with Your Girly Thoughts

Whenever you catch yourself comparing your body to someone else’s—particularly someone you see in the media—try these tips instead.

  • Look in the mirror and admire your body, curves, dimples, flatness; this is YOU … the miracle that is you!
  • Say nice things to yourself as you look at your reflection.
  • Eat a healthy, not faddish, diet so you are taking care of yourself.
  • Show that you like yourself, even admire yourself, by your positive attitude, your confident posture, even by the swish of your hips as you exercise and move through your day.

Now say, “Yes, I can love myself and my body and stop my girly thoughts that say otherwise.”

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my two latest books, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power and The Resilient Woman: Mastering The 7 Steps to Personal Power.

Photo courtesy of:

Is His Affair Really Your Fault?

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tightening their grips on the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tightening their grips on the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.

“She couldn’t satisfy her husband.”

Donald Trump speaking about Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump has spewed plenty of cringe-worthy, even disgusting, statements thus far in his presidential campaign, but one of the most bizarre was when he challenged his rival about her sexual desirability and blamed her for her husband’s affairs. Since the time I first broached this theme in my blog in January, the sexual politics of this campaign have only become more intense: women have been called names and bullied, and even a reporter and protesters were assaulted. But maybe he’s done us a favor by putting on the national stage how women are held to a standard that men are not.

Does Blaming Women Make Men Look Strong?

A man who blames woman may think he looks more powerful. For men like Trump, power is in their ability to direct responsibility elsewhere; if there’s someone else to blame then they are less culpable.

Why Blame Women?

There are probably many answers to this question, but the simplest one is that men still feel they can blame women for their own poor behavior.

But that isn’t the full story. There are still enough women who accept this blame.

Why? Because societal messages have been drummed into their heads with the message that while women are weak, they are nevertheless responsible for anything that goes wrong. Interesting paradox, isn’t it? Being powerless while having the power to make everything go wrong.

Simple Solutions—Why Women Blame Themselves: Girly Thoughts

Blaming another is a simple solution to the complexity of many problems. So I’ve come up with a simple antidote.

This is why I’ve developed the term girly thoughts. Women blame themselves for just about everything, and I wanted a term that captures these negative feelings so they can stop. Wouldn’t it be interesting if women stopped blaming themselves for their husbands:

  • having an affair.
  • drinking when he comes home after work.
  • not being sexually attentive to her needs, only his own.

Perhaps when women stop taking responsibility for the actions of the men in their lives they will encourage the men in their lives to step forward and learn to say a phrase that women use way too readily and some men seem allergic to: I’m sorry.

We can learn to hold other men responsible for their actions instead of making excuses for them and blaming ourselves instead. We need to call Trump out on his disrespect of all women, including:

  • his accusation that Hillary was responsible for her husband’s poor actions.
  • attempting to humiliate Hillary by inviting to their first debate of a woman with whom her husband had an affair.

Blaming ourselves for the actions of others is one way we perpetuate our own girly thoughts, which only serve to disempower us, and in a funny way also disempowers men because they don’t learn the ramifications of their own actions.

Now repeat after me: Yes, I will!

And please . . . VOTE!

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my two latest books, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power and The Resilient Woman: Mastering The 7 Steps to Personal Power.

Why You and Female Olympians Struggle to Get a Compliment


Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult for you to take a compliment? Why you tend to disparage your achievements while men more readily acknowledge theirs?

Girly Thoughts

Well, stop beating yourself up. The answer is that you have learned to do to yourself what society does to you: criticize yourself endlessly so that nothing you do is ever enough.

And you have gone one step further and internalized all these value judgements into a negative self-talk that I’ve dubbed girly thoughts. Why give this process such a ridiculous name? So that you can identify when you are doing this. The name is obnoxious but memorable, and reminds you to tell yourself to stop.

Even Olympians Are Treated Poorly

In case you think having girly thoughts is just something you or your girlfriends do, tune into the Olympic coverage for examples of how we all continue to be conditioned not to celebrate the best that is in us.

Let’s face it: for a woman athlete, being in the Olympics is just terrific. The hours of dedication, strength building, skill building, early-morning practices, and travel result in the sacrifice of not being with friends, missing school events, even being unable to attend a community school. These sacrifices all come together to create an extraordinarily focused young woman.

But if you listen to media coverage of our medal winners, you will hear that even these champions still have their personal bests stolen or minimized by the media:

What to do?

  • Celebrate your favorite women Olympians by loudly giving them all the credit they so richly deserve on all your social media sites.
  • Take on the media in their persistent negating of the accomplishments of women earning a medal by Tweeting or Facebooking your disgust.
  • Use your anger at what the media does with women to also help you catch and stop yourself when you are thinking a girly thought—such as it will be too hard o find a man if I’m too successful.

So think like an Olympian and shrug off the negativity that surrounds your accomplishments. Strut your stuff, and don’t listen to those girly thoughts that tell you not to try something because it’s too . . . BIG.  Celebrate everything you are, and go for that gold!

Remember, you’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my two latest books, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power and The Resilient Woman: Mastering The 7 Steps to Personal Power.