What Is The Gift Of Empowerment?
Empowerment is a hot buzzword these days.
Read on to witness the beauty of its gift.
A fledgling group of parents wants to become more involved in their children’s school, but they do not know how to go about that. One evening they meet with an established PTO officer. She shares the steps of becoming an official PTO group within their own school. She shares organizational ideas, fundraising ideas and pitfalls to watch out for. She provides examples of bylaws and a list of community contacts. An hour later the group of parents has developed a plan of action for setting up their own leadership team as well as sketched out three family events and fundraisers.
A young man feels stuck in his life. It seems to him that nothing is moving, nothing is shifting, and try as he might, he seems to run up against brick wall after brick wall. Nothing he does seems to help. Taking a leap of faith, and with a spark of hope, he reaches out to a life coach. Throughout the next weeks he is introduced to a handful of strategies, techniques, and perspectives. His coach supports and guides him as he explores each one, tries them out in his day-to-day life, and reflects on their impact. The more he applies these strategies and techniques the more they become second nature, and the more aware he is of his ability to shift his life.
A colleague is losing her passion for a career she once loved. Then she is chosen to join the business’s innovation team. This team is expected to tackle marketing challenges but in out of the box ways. They work individually, they work in groups, they throw ideas ‘out there’ and then throw some ideas just plain ‘out’. Management encourages them to steer away from the tried and true, and the team becomes stronger and more creative as they shed their preconceptions of marketing strategies and embrace their imaginations.
What caused these shifts?
Empowerment is like a magical potion that enables you to become stronger and more confident in manifesting your goals and dreams.
The process of empowerment leads you to have more control over what happens to you in your personal and professional life.
When you feel empowered you believe in yourself and your ability to influence what happens in your life. You feel more optimistic about your day-to-day happenings and motivated to become your best self.
How does this empowerment come about?
Each one of us has the capability of lifting others up.
Be it in the workplace, at home, or in your circle of family and friends, offering others the opportunity to see things in themselves that they may not realize are there, or becoming part of something bigger than onself, provides clarity, purpose and wonder.
Here is a cheat sheet of tips for inspiring others to become more than they imagine they can be:
Have a conversation!
Take the time to really talk to someone. Really listen to what they share.
Get to know a little more about what makes them tick, what makes their heart sing and their eyes twinkle.
Your questions help them to define what it is they truly want out of life (career, relationships, etc.), what they think their next steps may be, and will give you insight on how to support them in attaining these.
Once you know what goals they have you can then offer more purposeful and specific support.
Help them make connections to gain the knowledge or experience they need.
Share your experiences with them.
Share your expertise with them.
To the best of your ability, provide them with the opportunities and tools they need to reach new heights, both with you and on their own.
State the question, not the answer!
Help them clarify what it is they are working toward. Help to provide resources and tools that might assist them.
But do not give them the answer.
The opportunity to struggle is as much a part of the answer as the actual solution. It allows for creativity and imagination to expand.
Trust that they can do it on their own. In doing so you build their self-confidence and self-trust.
Give them space!
Step back from the driver’s seat.
Yes, you are right there to support them as needed, so allow them the freedom to explore and expand their ideas. It can seem scary to watch them go off on their own, but it is a powerful gesture.
Giving them space also encourages accountability on their part. While they are making their own choices, they are more invested in the process and outcome than if they just follow what someone else has said to do.
Encourage, encourage, encourage!
Until they can become their own number-one cheerleader, you can be their number-one cheerleader. Applaud their baby steps forward.
Appreciate their failures for the insights that they provide in moving forward.
Celebrate their successes in ways that are meaningful to them.
Honor that this is all about them and their journey to create the life they dream of and deserve.
Just as in the earlier scenarios, one small door opened by a mentor, coach, or manager can lead to huge shifts. Sometimes all you need is someone to believe in you, to share some helpful strategies and tools with you, and to be there to cheer you on and pick you up when you fall.
Before you know it, you are leading the parent group, making positive life changes, and creating solutions you have never thought of before.
Being empowered, or supporting others in their process of empowerment, is not too challenging to do and the gift of empowerment is priceless.
It changes lives, and ripples out to change the world.
If the sun is shining, my Crosstrek is calling me to fill up her tank, throw open her sunroof, and head for the back-roads. With wind in my hair, I smile at everyone I see. Grace smiles back at me (even through the trees).