What is Personal Empowerment?

It’s probably rare that you’ll be at home and your partner will tell you to “feel empowered” when deciding what you want for dinner. But perhaps your boss will tell you to feel empowered to move forward with a proposal or idea at work. Or the entertainment news might talk about Selena Gomez looking to inspire women’s empowerment through fashion. Are these things even related? What is empowerment? And why is it important for personal growth?

Let’s start with this – ‘empowerment’ is, by its simplest definition, the authority or power given to someone to do something.

When we talk about empowerment of a person, a gender, a race, a culture, we are talking about the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.

Personal Empowerment is just that – becoming self-aware, finding strength and confidence, and taking control of our lives.

Taking control of our lives means getting where we want to go and doing this by having realistic, achievable goals, working out a strategy to achieve them and executing that strategy.

Does that sound complicated? You might be asking yourself “What do you mean, a strategy?” or “I can’t do that” or “I wouldn’t even know where to start”.

I have a newsflash for you. Everything you do every day of your life involves a goal, a strategy to achieve that goal and a plan of execution.

Imagine you have no food at home and you are hungry. Your goal is to get food and feed yourself. Your strategy to do that might be to go to the supermarket, or to a restaurant or to order take out. Once you’ve decided which strategy you will use to get your food, you have to plan your journey to get there. But! If you actually want to eat, you’re going to have to do something – drive to the supermarket, walk to a restaurant, pick up the phone and call a takeaway. You execute any of these things and there you have it, you have achieved your goal – you have food, you’re eating, you’re no longer hungry. Success!

Ok, this might seem like a very trivial example, and that’s because it is. But the process of Personal Empowerment is really no different. So let’s explore that next.

Easy steps to Personal Empowerment

  1. Understand your strengths and weaknesses – we might well all be superwomen, but even superheroes have their weaknesses. Having a weakness doesn’t have to be a roadblock on your journey to Personal Empowerment if you can identify it and acknowledge it. This is about being realistic, without being pessimistic. Have confidence in your abilities, these are your strengths.
  2. Identify your values and goals … and WHY you want to achieve these things – what is it that really motivates you? When you dig deep, the end motivation usually isn’t just something like money. Perhaps you want to wake up every morning and look forward to going to work, rather than dreading it? Perhaps you want a career that allows you to spend more time with your family? Perhaps you want to have more time to travel?  Perhaps you simply want a better quality of life? Work out what really drives you and make that your end-goal.
  3. Develop a plan – what do you need to do to reach these goals? What steps do you need to take to work towards them? It’s probably not going to happen overnight and it might even need to happen in stages, but focus on the end goal to stay motivated and try to stick to the timelines and deadlines you set yourself for each step of the journey.
  4. Stand your ground – be assertive when communicating what you want with others, at work, at home and in life overall. If you don’t feel comfortable being assertive, get some help and upskill your abilities. Stand up for what you believe in, but don’t be aggressive.
  5. Learn how to communicate effectively – are you really listening? Are you being empathetic when you need to be, and assertive when the situation calls for it? Do you ask open ended questions? All of these contribute towards good communication skills.
  6. Be Resilient – I always talk about bouncing forward, not backwards, because you should learn from mistakes and setbacks, and then move on positively, rather than go back to where you were before the mistake happened. Stand up and keep going. (And don’t make the same mistake again!)
  7. Be Optimistic – studies show optimistic people tend to be more successful in life overall. We all have off-days and sometimes we want to throw our computer / phone / husband out the window. But take a breath, remember everything is temporary (this too, shall pass) and bounce forward with a positive attitude – you will succeed.
  8. Be serious about becoming empowered, but don’t take yourself too seriously!

Why is Personal Empowerment especially important for women?

I have worked with women of all ages, life stages and career levels. And there is one common thread that connects us all and impacts our personal growth – we remain unaware of, or undervalue, our own true abilities. This is a particular issue for women, because we are already fighting the battle for equality – in our homes, in our jobs, in society.

A recent example of this is the rejection of Julie Bishop’s prime ministerial candidacy, by the party she was not only loyal to, but served to an exceptional level, for decades. Yet, despite her competency and popularity with the public, Bishop was the first to be dismissed by her party for candidacy – with evidence supporting that it was her gender that stood in her way.

This should be surprising in 2018, seeing how far we have come in the last century, right? Yet despite women and girls making up over half (50.7%) of the Australian population, accounting for about 47% of all employees in the country, still:

  • Women take home on average $251.20 less than men each week (full-time adult ordinary earnings).
  • The national gender “pay gap” is 15.3% and has remained stuck between 15 per cent and 19 per cent for the past two decades.
  • Australian women account for 68% of primary carers for older people and people with disability.
  • 95% of primary parental leave (outside of the public-sector) is taken by women and women spend almost three times as much time taking care of children each day, compared to men.
  • In 2017, Australia was ranked 35th on a global index measuring gender equality, slipping from a high point of 15th in 2006. While Australia scores very highly in the area of educational attainment, there is still a lot of progress to be made in the areas of economic participation and opportunity and political empowerment.

(stats taken from a 2018 article by the Australian Human Rights Commission)

The point here is, if we women do not take steps to empower ourselves, to identify our realistic goals, to create a strategic plan to achieve those goals, and actively execute that plan, sure as hell no one else is going to do it for us!

But that’s not a negative comment – let me explain why.

We women are amazing. We are already stronger and more powerful than we think. We already have all the tools inside of us to achieve the life of which we dream. Sometimes, we just need a little push, or a helping hand to guide us on the right path.

So are you ready to start your journey? Are you ready to achieve Personal Empowerment? Do you need a little more help?

Stage 1 of the Be Unstoppable empowerment program for women is all about the topic of Personal Empowerment – making good decisions and choices, having control over what you do and setting goals. Learn how to take charge of your everyday life by becoming more empowered, focussing on what makes you happy and feeling in control of you. Find out more here: www.empoweringwomentothrive.com

If you’d like to discuss any concerns or ideas you have about personal empowerment, book a free discussion on https://my.timetrade.com/book/QGY21 today!

Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash

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