How I Empower Myself
Growing up and all through my twenties, I had little to non-direction in life, and most of the time, I would often feel overwhelmed in the sea of life.
Looking back at my life and where I am today, it becomes evident that lack of motivation was never my problem. My biggest challenge was the lack of Empowerment.
It took me many years to fully accept and take ownership over my Empowerment.
“Empowerment can be seen as a process and an outcome. The process through which I attain knowledge and skills allows me to first acknowledge the need for a change and then change my life.”
At first, it was challenging for me to fully understand Empowerment and understand the difference between Empowerment and motivation.
The word Empowerment refers to taking control of my actions and life situation.
Opposite words and feelings to Empowerment can be:
Empowerment is the opposite of learned helplessness, and it's a pretty accurate description or indicator of my ability to do or perform something.
It is, to some extent, a matter of personality; however, I have learned that I can influence my level of Empowerment to a very high degree.
Self-empowerment has given me the power to make conscious decisions to take charge of my destiny. It involves making positive choices, taking action to advance in life, and being confident in my ability to create and execute decisions.
Self-empowerment has made me understand my strengths and weaknesses and motivated me to learn and achieve beyond my comfort zone.
The lack of Empowerment is, in many as the opposite of learned helplessness.
A sign of Empowerment is feeling proactive, capable, and knowledgeable.
Empowerment starts with a well-executed goal statement and often requires knowledge of the subject or professional help — however, there are some shortcuts that I picked up along the way that I will share in this blog post.
Empowerment Creates Motivation
Most Empowerment comes about during the journey, and it is not a finished state that I achieve by checking off various boxes but grows accordingly to my level of Empowerment.
Empowerment is mainly situational, meaning that it is bound to the current situation and my agency level.
Questions I ask myself every day:
-When do I feel that I lack Empowerment and cannot influence my situation?
-Why do I feel this way?
-What would Empowerment feel like in this situation?
When I have a high sense of Empowerment, the following takes form in my mind and my actions:
- I can (for real)
- I know (for real)
- I have the ability (for real)
Empowerment is often mistakenly confused with motivation, although they are not the same thing.
Motivation is linked to my desire or drive to approach or move away from something.
While motivation is essential, and I may be highly motivated to do something, it becomes nearly impossible if I experience a low level of Empowerment.
Imagine that I just started a brand new job. I am highly motivated to put my best foot forward and show my worth, while at the same time, I feel a lack of Empowerment at work because everything is so new to me.
Or imagine that I just had a health check, which showed that my lungs are in an inferior condition.
I may feel very motivated to quit smoking, but at the same time, I lack the necessary Empowerment as I don't know how to start or do it.
I start to doubt whether I can quit smoking or how much change I can create.
I am now experiencing a lack of Empowerment.
How do I achieve Empowerment?
I have identified four factors that are essential for most people to feel Empowerment.
1. A solid relationship to self and others:
It all starts with a good relationship with myself and others, as I achieve most of my Empowerment through relationship(s).
My parents and my upbringing have had a powerful influence on my Empowerment.
My upbringing may look good on the surface, but if no one bothered to help me put my feelings into words, this could effect my sense of Empowerment.
2. Good Communication:
Creating good communication with myself and others is an absolute necessity for Empowerment.
I get to know myself through communicating with others.
3. Good Participation:
At the individual level, participation in the step required me to feel that I have choice, influence, and agency.
At a societal level, participation means being able to participate in and be part of society.
It means making independent choices decisions and influencing my own life as much as possible.
4. A good Support:
A quick search on the word support gives me the following:
"Something that holds something in place so that it doesn't fall over."
Looking back on my life, I can see the benefits of very early in life figuring out what support means to me and what it looks like applied in my day-to-day life.
Support looks different for everyone, so it's essential to ask the following question:
What kind of support do I need to achieve Empowerment?
Two types of Empowerment
I always keep in mind two types of Empowerment to take control of my personal development.
- My own Empowerment
- The Empowerment I help others achieve
To help other people feel empowered, I must first achieve Empowerment myself, so I know what it feels like and how to guide someone through the process.
When I learn to formulate strategies to seek and get the Empowerment I need, I can take myself from the present to the desired future.
Things that can effect my ability to feel and exercise Empowerment:
-Psychological, physical, cognitive, and financial resources
-Your internal and external environment
-The culture you live in
When I can articulate my current needs, what I need to do to achieve my goals, and what stands in the way between my desired outcomes and the plan, I am well on my way to Empowerment.
The difference between a goal, strategy, process, and Empowerment
Knowing the difference between a goal, a strategy, a process, and Empowerment is essential if I move forward in life.
-A goal is essentially an idea of the desired future state or outcome that a group of people or I envision, plan and commit to achieving.
-A strategy is some long-term plan or planning activity that I lead towards some long-term goal.
-A process consists of a structured set of activities, their outcomes, and an evaluation.
There are endless ways to map processes.
I prefer to talk about input VS output and make a clear distinction between these two.
My input determines my output, and my results give me a solid or weak sense of self.
I focus on the resources, requirements, and risks associated with each activity within the process.
In practice, this helps me visualize the flow of the process, and it becomes clear to me how the process is influenced by a range of factors, particularly where I have autonomy or not.
All goals involve strategies, a process, some change, and a hefty dose of Empowerment.
Goals without goal-setting strategies, process, Empowerment, and time constraints are not goals but hopes, wishful thinking, and fantasies.
The problem is never dreams; my worst enemy is the lack of goal-setting strategies, a well-thought-out process, Empowerment, and a time constraint to launch my goals.
I write down the following on a small piece of paper or have it as a screen saver on my phone every time I set a new goal:
-Is it specific ?— be clear and very specific about your needs and goals.
- Can you measure it ?— document and measure your success all the way.
- Do you Accept it? — have you accepted your goals, or are have you still not decided yet?
- Is it realistic? — Do you have the Empowerment you need to accomplish your goals?
- Is it time-bound? — Goals with no time limit are tackled when you feel like it and get prioritized last.
-Who can help me achieve this?
I always use SMART GOALS + WHO CAN HELP ME ACHIEVE THIS thinking in my everyday interactions with myself and others.
Performance targets, Behavioural targets, and Empowerment
Research shows that most dieters return to their previous weight after just three years. I can confirm that; for years, I struggled with my weight getting nowhere.
Dieting became a battle against my body's robust survival mechanisms, a struggle that I lost every time.
Getting rid of excess fat is not just about too little exercise, a bad diet, and a lack of motivation. I was asking the wrong question.
I was asking;
How can I lose weight?
When I Should be asking;
Who can help me lose weight?
Whether I am trying to lose weight, save money, start or stop something, outcome goals, behavioral goals, and Empowerment is crucial.
The most important thing is to know the difference between performance targets, behavioral targets, and Empowerment to know where I am and what I am dealing with.
Outcome goals are the desired result I want to achieve:
- I want to lose 30 pounds
- I want to get an A grade
- I want to buy an expensive car
- I want to write a book
A behavioral goal is a behavior I wish to achieve:
- I will go to bed at 9 pm every night without my phone so I can get up and exercise the next day.
- I will get up at 6.30 am every Monday to Friday
- I will eat and live like a healthy person
-I will research my book for at least 30 minutes every day between 7–7.30pm and write for at least 30 minutes Monday to Friday between 6–6.30am.
Behavioral goals move me the most on the scale, no matter what direction in life I am going.
What's so great about behavioral goals is that they are immediately measurable.
I can tick off my calendar as soon as I performed the desired behavior, long before I lost a single gram, got an A, written a best-selling book, or bought the car of my dreams.
Questions I ask myself:
- What is the difference between an outcome goal and a behavioral goal?
- How can I identify both?
- How do I know if I am working on the right goal?
Empowerment is the genesis of all things in my life, and it is the power that fuels performance and behavior and ultimately enables me to create desired outcomes.
It can be challenging to understand what I need to take control of my own life; however, it is not impossible or particularly complicated.
What is almost impossible, however, is to change what I believe I am already doing right,
I, therefore, need to be brave enough to question what I think I am already doing right if I am to have any chance of creating Empowerment and consequently a difference in my own life and that of others.