This might come as a bit of a shock to you. Only you can empower yourself.
The personal development world may have fooled you into forgetting that. I know because I hang out in that world too. Not a day goes by that someone isn’t sharing how they are going to empower you. Empower you to take bold action. On another day it’s about empowering you to live the life you were meant to live. Or perhaps to empower you to make better choices.
Somehow, that authority figure has the tools or information that is going to empower you to make meaningful change in your life.
Except they can’t. Because only you can empower yourself.
If you’ve never thought about it before, this idea might feel a little scary. In order to empower yourself, you first have to stop looking outside of yourself for that power. You have to let go of the idea that some guru is going to make things better for you. You have to claim your own authority. Eek!
Empower: A Definition
The dictionary definition of empower is: “give (someone) the authority or power to do something.”
Last time I checked, as an adult (and so long as I am not breaking any laws) the only person who I need to ask for the authority to do something is me. I have the power to live my life the way I choose.
A secondary definition is: “to make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.” This is the definition people often refer to when they say they are empowering someone in their lives. It’s the definition I disagree with.
What I believe is more true is that as someone who is working in personal development, I can help to create the conditions in which you can choose to make yourself stronger and more confident, especially in controlling your life and claiming your rights.
I can offer you information. Through mentoring I can share my experience and offer advice. As a coach, I can suggest tools and processes that you may wish to build into your life.
Armed with that information, experience, advice, tools and processes, you then get to choose to empower yourself. You get to choose to claim your authority over your life. By practicing what you have learned, you can strengthen your self-awareness and confidence. You can empower yourself.
How Can You Empower Yourself?
Empowering yourself is a lifelong journey. Every day you must actively choose to be the authority of your own life.
For today, I want to offer you a small practice to get started. This small practice to empower yourself is to develop an awareness of when you are making conscious choice in your life. The other part of this awareness is recognizing when you are not consciously making choice.
What does that mean?
When someone asks whether you want soup or a sandwich for lunch, consciously make the choice of what you want and not saying ‘oh, whatever, you decide.’ If you find yourself with 20 spare minutes, consciously choose what to do with that time and not just carrying on with the un-ending to-do list in your head. Make choices to do what you want, not only just what you should.
As you develop this awareness, you will likely find yourself making more conscious choices. When you make conscious choice, you are empowering yourself. You are giving yourself authority over your life.
Photo Credit: Pierre Lognoul | Flickr.com