Mad Power | Jennifer Magley

A time when you felt powerless?

A time someone used power against you?

A time when you discovered you had more power than you thought?

Whether it be a stubbed toe, an irritating boss, or a political position chances are you have been mad recently. Anger is a shapeshifter, an ever present phantom always in our ear prepping to whisper or rage depending on the trigger. Perhaps this article photo was a trigger?

Photo: Allison Dugan/Win McNamee

Photo: Allison Dugan/Win McNamee

By definition anger is “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility” and is prominent in our current mainstream. Furthermore, individual anger is no longer a personal problem due to the ease of social media. Staggering to think that eight seconds of irritation can now outlive you in an online tweet.

Eckhart Tolle, the famously calm talking spiritual teacher and author, has a compelling observation when it comes to being mad, “Powerlessness is always behind anger.” If this statement is true it means that anger has more to do with control than it does emotion. In other words, whatever you are angry about is something that you do not feel in control of. And alas what is control but power?

Literally, control is power in action, “the power to influence or direct.” Over the last 10 years while coaching high performance athletes, executives, and owners I’ve seen my fair share of anger. For many, anger is the auto response when faced with being without power.

Stubbed my toe: pissed. When did that toy get there?

Stepped on the scale: wtf. How did I let this happen?

President #45 Donald Trump: makes me so mad or I’m mad he is facing such resistance or everyone please shut up.

Either way, frustration has to do with not having control over oneself or others. In navigating this time of aggravation, here are some tips to harness your mad power:

  1. Think Twice

    Before hitting send or post give it 24 hours. Let the alarms ringing in your head have time to turn down a notch before taking the leap. If this was the last text or post you ever made would it be awkward to mourn you?

  2. Do Something In REAL Life

    If we are all being honest, is it possible that social media is one of the laziest forms of protest? Unless you are giving of your time, treasure, and talent to a plausible solution perhaps a social media post is problematic. Anger, when most effective, moves to action rather than rumination. Real life advocacy trumps faux social media outrage any day of the week.

  3. Question Your Feeling

    Is it possible that you have more control/power than you think? One of my favorite quotes is by Marcus Cicero, “I criticize by creation not by finding fault.” We are better served when we go to boxing class than mentally beating ourselves down over our weight. Unless you harness anger and make it work for you it is as useless as a chocolate craving. It gets you to the store to buy a bar but doesn’t inspire you to open a cocoa bean fair-trade farm. Are you feeling anger or are you actually angry to the point of grafting yourself into the narrative?

As each day seemingly spins out of control the one thing that lays within reach is the control of our emotions. Lay claim to your mad power by acknowledging that anger is a choice and what we do with it holds more influence than the emotion itself. We have the power when we realize we do.

Jennifer Magley is a former professional athlete, speaker, author, and High Performance Coach. Article originally appeared on More information can be found at and videos on YouTube.