7 Keys to Personal Empowerment

7 Keys to Personal Empowerment

By: Amanda Fox

Empowerment. Ask 5 people what it means and the odds are you’ll get 5 different interpretations of what empowerment is. A psychologist may interpret it one way while a disabled person sees it another and a person of color yet another. It depends on the shoes a person walks in as to what the word means to them. Each interpretation is technically correct, but today we want to toss all of that out for a  moment and focus on one specific aspect of empowerment – personal empowerment.

When we talk about the empowerment of women, for instance, we call it the Gender Empowerment Measure. This is a real system of measurement that takes into account the number of women in political office, their position, their power – and it is this same model applied to measuring gender equity in the business world. That is all very important stuff, but we want to look at empowerment form yet another angle.

Empowerment is for everyone

It’s our belief that while measures to legislate or create some system of equal opportunity for women is essential, in order to truly take advantage of those opportunities and make the most of them, you have to have your own life in order first. It’s easy to tell people to clean their own backyard up and just get on with life, but it’s quite another thing to tell someone how to do it. Today, we’re going to do just that: This is how to empower yourself on a personal level.

1. Take control
The key to empowerment is deciding to seize it. You can’t just pay it lip service and expect the best. You have to want it and then you have to act on it. The only free ride is on the bus when ozone alerts are issued, otherwise, you have to take control and bust your butt to get what you want! No amount of planning is any good if you don’t follow through on them.

2. Be honest
You have to be honest not only with other people, but yourself as well. You can’t lie your way through life and get anywhere positive. Eventually, it will come back to haunt you. You truly are only as good as your word. Similarly, you have to be honest with yourself. Be honest about what you want from your job, relationships and life. If you lie to yourself, you start every endeavor on the wrong foot and often never get in the right step to succeed – even by accident.

3. Trust yourself
Trust your instincts and abilities. Stop selling yourself short. If you can’t trust yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to. If you constantly place yourself on the clearance rack and focus on your flaws, those clouds of doubt and self defeat will cover your potential and true worth. Be your own biggest cheerleader! Trust that you are worthy of the good things in life.

4. Never play the victim
It is true that during the course of each person’s life, they will be  victim of something at some point. Some people dust them self off and rise from the ashes to reclaim their power and others stay down in the cinders bemoaning their bad fortune. In fact, they do it so often that anytime something goes wrong in life they look for someone or something to blame and make them self a victim. That is not only disrespect to oneself, but to everyone else. Trust your abilities, take control and get up and make the change you want to see!

5. Don’t be too rigid
It is good to stand firm on some issues and in life – it is what keeps you from being a doormat. Being too rigid, however, is not a good thing. You have to be flexible and open to changing when it is needed. Flexibility allows you to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. It allows you to better manage personal and professional relationships. Being flexible is what allows you to make the most of any situation whether it be good or bad – and you will encounter plenty of bad situations in life.

6. Don’t be an ostrich
Take notice of what is going on around you and act on it when necessary. Don’t stick your head in the sand and try to convince your self that if you don’t see or hear bad things happening around you that they never happened. Everyone has a social responsibility to speak up and act when they see injustices. If you are unwilling to stand up for others in their time of need, can you really expect anyone else to do it for you?

7. Don’t give it away! (your personal power that is)
Far too often we are all guilty of giving away our personal power whether we realize it or not. What is your personal power? Your time? Your knowledge? That thing inside you that makes you feel whole? Everyone defines their personal power a little differently, so it is up to you decide what it is for you. Whatever that is, however, keep it for yourself!

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t volunteer, do for others in need or be charitable with what you have if that makes you happy. What it means is don’t just roll over and do, whatever, because you think it is what others want or demand of you. Just as you have the right to say yes, you have the right to say no. Saying no isn’t always easy, for some it is almost impossible, but it is you taking control of your life and destiny – and THAT is EMPOWERMENT!


Never settle for less than your true worth

Don’t wait for the world to do for you – do for yourself. That old saying you may have heard from your parents, at school or even on a flight when they talk about the airbags deploying is true – take care of yourself first or you can’t properly take care of anyone else. Never devalue yourself and don’t settle for anything less than your best! You’re worth it and it’s time you started believing it!

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