10 Steps of Self-Empowerment
What is Self-Empowerment?
Let's start by looking at what empowerment means, which is the authority or power given to someone to do something, authorisation, enablement, permission and the process of becoming stronger and more confident. Please take a moment to reflect on what you have just read and then reread it before continuing. When you add the prefix of self before the word empowerment, it is a declaration of you sitting in the driving seat of your life and taking ownership of empowering yourself.
Self-empowerment means making a conscious decision to take charge of your life, future and destiny. It is the by-product of you making positive choices, being proactive in progressing, and having confidence in your ability to make things happen and get results. Self-empowered is often found in individuals who understand who they are, acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, and have a growth mindset that motivates them to learn and achieve.
Steps to Self-Empowerment
In this blog, I will be focusing on two of the ten essential steps that you can use to help you evoke the behaviours that nurture the spirit and attitude of Self-Empowerment.
1) Become a student of self
The first step that can teach you valuable lessons is Self-Empowerment is becoming a student of self. What I mean by this is that you begin to have intention and attention around being a pupil, apprentice and scholar of you! When you fully understand yourself, you navigate through life in a completely different fashion. This includes things such as what makes you tick, your values, being connected to your emotions instead of avoiding them and knowing your strengths and acknowledging your vulnerable points, to name a few.
Three essential areas come to mind when I think about being a student of self, without which it won't be easy to advance in the art of Self-Empowerment. The first is Self-awareness which is emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence. Having this skill means that you understand what is happening within you, and you can make sound judgement and precise self-assessments as to what has caused it amid a conversation or situation. Having these first two factors provides you with confidence to know what is needed to change or better yourself or a barrier that has presented itself. There is nothing scarier than experiencing things internally and not knowing their cause, which can be disempowering.
“Self-awareness gives you the capacity to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes. It enables you to keep growing.” - Lawrence Bossidy
Next is Self-regulation, which is the ability to control one's behaviour, emotions, and thoughts. For this to happen, you must be self-aware to understand what has caused the feeling, emotion, of frustration in the first place. When you have identified the root cause, it clarifies what to do about it. Before any action is taken, we often need to self-regulate. This step is a game-changer in the outcomes that will manifest in your life when done because it involves self-control, adaptability, innovation.
We can at times experience intense emotions that compel us to want to charge ahead and act upon how we are feeling in the heat of the moment. This can seldom achieve the desired goal and regularly results in regret and disappointment. When we can exercise self-control and refrain from acting on impulse, we make decisions based on long-term gains instead of short-term gratifications. So, adaptability is paramount - having the ability to feel or experience a feeling or urge without being ruled or controlled by it. When we learn to do this, innovation is birthed as you create the narrative you tell yourself, which influences the emotions you have and determines the behaviour you express.
“The main factor behind success is self-control.” - Rig Veda
The final step of being a student of self is Self-reflection - the ability to analyse and examine yourself without filters objectively. To do this, you need to regularly and intentionally think about your character and actions and if they are lining up with where you want to be or become. Self-reflection is the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle and plays a critical role in elevating your self-awareness. Only taking moments out to stop and reflect allows us to look objectively at our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. In these pivotal moments of self-reflection, we are able to examine ourselves with interest and curiosity while making amendments where necessary. Only when we embark on this journey can we truly understand the statement's weight - knowledge is power, but knowledge of self is self-empowerment!
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” - Aristotle
2) Take control of the day
One of the most important things that we can do with each opportunity of a new day is to make the most of it.
Start each day with intention
The best way to achieve this is by starting each morning when you wake with intention. By intention, I am referring to having meaning, purpose, aim, goal. When you wake and how you do rise each day is essential. What is your routine? What is the first thing that you do? What do you tell yourself when you wake? What are you feeding yourself mentally, physically and spiritually? What have you done to prepare yourself for the day ahead? Have you cleared your mind of the troubles of yesterday? Remember that where the mind goes, the energy flows. Do you stretch, meditate, chant, declare your affirmations, exercise, drink water or a healthy smoothie etc.? In essence, what are you doing for yourself to ensure you get the most of each day?
“Make each day your masterpiece.” – John Wooden
Plan, plan, plan
Planning is one of the core skills that you will find in all successful people in any field or industry. People do not reach the top of their profession or craft by luck or chance. It is by design and choice because they decided to plan. As Benjamin Franklin once said… Failing to plan is planning to fail! Why? Simple, because you haven't set clear objectives for yourself or taken time to consider what is required and what it will take to achieve your desired goal. Without planning for the future, you leave yourself completely open to the elements of life and will at some point (if not already) feel the bitter sting of utilising this powerful asset.
Always remember the 5 P's: Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance! This is true for all aspects of life, whether taking an exam, sports, going to an interview, delivering a presentation or public speaking, getting married or cooking a nice meal. There are so many benefits to planning ahead, which includes having peace of mind over tasks that you have to complete, taking control over you will deal with situations or obstacles rather than just reacting at the moment, providing motivation and commitment as you feel organised and ready, encouraging innovation as you have had time to consider the best way forward, builds confidence because you have clarity or direction. It reduces levels of worry about what will happen tomorrow or next week.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
I hope these first two nuggets have stirred some reflection within you and provided you with some action points for empowering yourself. We all must conclude that we are the gatekeeper of our destiny, and it is by our thoughts, decisions and actions that we evolve and reach the next level of enlightenment. I implore you to be inquisitive as you enrol on the lifelong course of being a student of self and become diligent in planning for everything important to you. Finally, I would like to leave you with what I call the Powerful 5 P's: Let Purpose and Passion Push you to Preserve and Prosper!