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Would you call yourself a powerful person? 

Do you trust yourself with power? Does owning your power feel a bit like holding a hot potato?

The many ways we learn about power–often by having it taken away from us, seeing it taken away from others, or seeing people go to great lengths to take and keep power, no matter the cost or casualties–understandably influence our understanding of power for the worse. 

We have benefitted from many pioneering scholars and social justice leaders who deeply embraced their personal power in the face of systemic abuses. These leaders saw personal power as a birthright and generative, not as something to fear.

Owning your power can feel liberating. It’s liberating to no longer live from a burdened sense that we are flawed for doubting ourselves or that we are in deficit because we feel shut down and stuck in our pain and the pain around us..

Today’s guest has a lens on power that runs contrary to what many of us have been taught about. She believes that personal power is not something to gain but something you already have and intrinsic to who you are. She sees power itself as neutral. 

Dr. Cedar Barstow has a long-time devotion to helping people own and use their power wisely and well.  Her book, Right Use of Power: The Heart of Ethics and engaging courses are offered through the Right Use of Power Institute.  In addition to being founder of Right Use of Power Institute, Cedar’s background includes being a Hakomi Mindful Somatic Therapy trainer and therapist, and an ethics consultant.  She lives with her husband, Dr. Reynold Feldman, in Boulder, Colorado.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • Why leaders need understand the overlap of ethics and power
  • Breaking down the definitions of power and ethics and how they impact our relationships
  • Why Dr. Barstow believes we need to focus on our own personal power
  • The potential consequences of trying too hard to flatten role power and why we need to reconsider hierarchy as a neutral tool
  • The impacts of status, collective, and systemic power
  • What the 150% principle teaches us about managing conflicts and grievances
  • How the spiral down process can help us productively reflect on conflict 

Learn more about Dr. Cedar Barstow:

Learn more about Rebecca:


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meet the founder

I’m Rebecca Ching, LMFT.

I help change-making leaders get to the root of recurring struggles and get confidently back on track with your values, your vision, and your bottom line. 

I combine psychotherapeutic principles, future-forward coaching, and healthy business practices to meet the unique needs and challenges of highly-committed leaders in a high-stakes world.

This is unburdened leadership

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Everybody’s carrying a burden that’s weighing them down. If you dare to care, it is inevitable you will end up carrying the burdens from grief, betrayal, and rejection. And these burdens are often unseen. These invisible struggles fuel loneliness, shame, and despair. Eventually, the unaddressed burdens we carry start to impact our ability to live […]


EP 27: Frank Anderson, MD – Challenging the Fear of Rejection and Leading with Vulnerability – Part 1

We watch leaders crash & burn all the time. We watch with morbid fascination as leaders fall out of grace because their unaddressed pain led them on an unsustainable path of poor choices–even dangerous and deadly choices–to avoid feeling the vulnerability of rejection. Those times when you experienced the pain of rejection leave their mark […]


EP 21: Leading With Body Resilience with Co-Author of More Than A Body, Lindsay Kite, PhD

Caring about those you lead means caring about the harm you may unknowingly be doing. Many of us who fit western standards of beauty and live in conventionally abled bodies don’t understand how our choices can cause pain. We’ve internalized ableism and fat-phobia to the point where we can’t even grasp how our words & […]

Mental Well-being

EP 19: Defining Your Own Version Success with Natalie Borton, Founder of Natalie Borton Designs

The quickest way to crash and burn your business and life is to place your worthiness and safety with the opinions of others. This may sound like a captain-obvious statement but the pull to care what others think is something fierce. And it is sneaky. The competitive drive is no stranger to many of you. […]

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EP 17: Community Over Competition with Co-Founder of The Rising Tide Society Natalie Franke

Community over competition is indeed a well-worn hashtag. The cynical can dismiss it. Those beat up by year after year of injustice understandably call BS. But in practice, leading with the lens of community over competition is subversive and culture-shifting. Community over competition requires deep life-long work to unburden the load we carry of scarcity […]

Leading Teams

EP 02: How Self-Leadership Saves You From The Relentless Drive To Succeed with Dr. Richard Schwartz

My body was telling me to take a step back and reevaluate. Five years ago I had pneumonia and I couldn’t really do anything other than prop myself up on the couch and breathe… …breathe and think about how I ended up in this mess I’d run myself into the ground. My schedule was full-to-overflowing. […]


And clearing the way for a more innovative, inclusive future.

Unburdened Leaders are breaking
cycles of workplace burnout…

Are you about this, too? Let’s meet and see if I’m your coach – no expectations. Just connection.