presentsThe Evolving Self
When growth is the only option...

The Evolving Self is an e-newsletter that reflects the belief that growth is a choice that can bring an ever deepening and expanding awareness of who we are and what we are here for. The reader can expect affirmations, quotes, book reviews, insightful commentary and tips that support the growth of the individual.

Affirmation: I speak up for myself.

Quote: Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The Human spirit is to grow strong by conflict." -William Ellery Challning

Newsletter archives:

  November 2020 - Self-Management/Strategies

October 2020 - Eat a Toad for Breakfast/Kaizen

September 2020 - Red Flags/Discernment

August 2020 - Changing the Rules/Setting Boundaries

July 2020 - Hidden Landmines/Self-Examination


Certified Aromatherapist

I am a Clinical Aromatherapist, which means I am qualified to work in a healhcare setting as an Aromatherapist and of course, to make custom blends to address various health concerns and skin issues. Many aromatherapy blends also have a quality of emotional support.

A few of the blends I have made recently:

-Anti-viral lotion (it helps hydrate amidst all the hand-washing)

-Hair thickener

-Muscle cramp oil

-Arthritis blend

-Hand sanitizer with or without alcohol

-B'Itch Balm (effective with hives)

If you are interested in any of these or custom blends to support your physical and/or emotional health and/or coaching along with aromatherapy solutions, please email me at

Contact me to get your own custom blend!

Positional vs Personal Power

Over thirty years ago when I first got involved in teaching Assertiveness, I worked for one of the first entrepeunerial companies in Silicon Valley. It was exciting times when companies were allowing people freedom to do their jobs in a way that worked for them, allowing people to show up for work in their own choice of clothes, having beer busts on Fridays and providing on-site services for employees like a Rec Center. The spirit and heart of the company was based on innovation and creativity. Maybe it was luck or maybe it was Kismet, but I count myself as fortunate to have been part of that company at that particular time and to have experienced the growth and expansion it inspired. 

I was there in a moment when leadership and developing people was highly valued. I was on a team whose mission it was to provide tools for employees to communicate better so that they could more clearly convey their ideas. But more than that, there were values that that company held that were instilled in me. I can see the influence that had on me now. My views about Assertiveness and communication were largely formed by those early experiences. As a result, I put a lot of stock in leading with heart rather than relying on positional authority.

So, it makes sense that when I encounter a person in my life today who is not only using positional power, but abusing it, that it would get my attention.

Positional power is authority granted by an outside entity. An organization whether that be government or private, where the authority is part of a ranking system, e.g. manager vs. employee. The authority granted is based on the rules established by the bestowing organization.

Personal power is something that emerges from within a person based on their characteristics. In particular, their credibility, integrity, and emotional maturity. Personal power is inspired and passionate.

Personal Power leaders know that how they interact with their people is most important. They typically listen carefully and are able to read between the lines. People trust them because they do what they say they're going to do and what they choose to do is the right thing for the people involved. While they have their eye on the mission, they are aware that people make the work happen. Their time and investment is in the people.

Continue reading below...

Positional vs Personal Power

When you work for a person who abuses positional power, fear of reprisal is often rampant. People don't feel safe to express how they truly feel for fear of retribution. There have been disasterous results linked back to people not speaking up out of fear.

For example: "A woman checked into the hospital to have a tonsilletomy, and the surgical team erroneously removed a portion of her foot." How did this happen? In part, because no less than seven people wondered why the surgeon was working on the foot, but said and did nothing.

In my work, teaching Workplace Violence Prevention, the subject of co-workers challenged by Supervisors abusing their authority comes up frequently. Yelling at people, using excessive control tactics and micro-managing. While they have plenty of reason to speak up, people are afraid  because they work 40 hours a week with that person and they know from experience that the Supervisor is likely to retaliate.

When you have an issue with a person who utilizes personal power, it's typically pretty easy to resolve because they are approachable. They listen well and take action based on the best interests of the people involved in the situation.

An example of abuse of positional power:

The Supervisor's approach to managing is to expect compliance without question even when she is managing people with vastly more experience than she. She favors people who don't push back on her or think for themselves. When brought to her attention, she doesn't do her homework to understand the complexities of the situation. She is so focused on the mission of the work, that she completely dismisses the person, just doesn't really care. She is so entrenched in her belief that she is right in her approach that she doesn't respond to coaching from her own manager to modify behavior that is in clear violation of the company's policies.


Utilize the programs offered through the organzation to protect you from abuse. In doing so you need to be prepared to deal with conflict and stress while the issue is being addressed. It could go on for awhile. You will need to take into account, the seriousness of the offense, where you are in your career and your assessment of the support you may receive.

Take classes to improve your assertiveness, listening, stress management and calming skills.

Get support from your Employee Assistance Program which offers confidential counseling.

Consider moving to another job within the organization, if possible.

Consider getting a job within another organization.

Do not take it personally and focus on taking care of yourself!

If you are interested in improving your ability to interact with others, consider health and wellness coaching. Click here to contact me. 

Click here to find out more
Jaqui Duvall works as a coach, mentor, trainer, facilitator and public speaker developing and delivering workshops, leading mentoring groups and working with individuals to help them identify and express their inner spirit and live a life of consciousness and intention. •  San Jose