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If anyone understands power, it's Maria Shriver. She's had a ringside seat to it, in the political sense. She is a force in her own right, professionally and personally. And she's married to the guy whose muscles launched the bodybuilding craze. So when the former news anchor, now First Lady of California, says that every woman is born with tremendous power, you can believe her. "It's in our souls and hearts," explains Shriver. "Within us all, there lies some unique and special light."
To help empower women, Shriver has transformed the California Governor and First Lady's Conference on Women into a much-anticipated event that draws 14,000 people and sells out in less than 72 hours. Before the conference, held this year on October 23 in Long Beach, Shriver sat down with FITNESS's Caroline Hwang and shared her personal must-do list:
6. Serve your community at least once a year. Build a playground, tutor a child, or deliver food to a home-bound senior citizen. I know that helping others makes me feel better about myself and my purpose in life. Not sure where to begin? Check out volunteermatch.org. (If you're in California, visit CaliforniaVolunteers.org.)
7. Read The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle. It's a beautiful book that encourages us all to live in the present as a way to be happy.
8. Keep a record of tips and inspirational quotations that you can refer to each day. One of my favorite quotes, which I have on a T-shirt: "Well-behaved women rarely make history." For advice from remarkable women, visit californiawomen.org.
9. Stay curious. Be open-minded. Ask a lot of questions and get a lot of answers. That's information -- and wisdom.
10. Pledge to "show up" in your life as yourself, not as an imitation of anyone else.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November 2007.