Ask 10 people what empowerment means and you will get a few different answers (plus a few blank looks). To some, empowerment can mean the ability to increase their own the level of confidence and that of others, whilst to other people, empowerment can mean the ability to help people tap into their innate abilities so they can achieve things that they didn’t think they would be able to achieve.
Within the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) however, empowerment avoids going too much into one’s ability to inspire or motivate (others and oneself), but by helping people to take full responsibility for what happens to their life. To take full responsibility of one’s life means to realize that you are responsible for not only what you do, but that you are also responsible for what happens to you. In other words, you need to have the belief that you, and you are alone, causes everything to happen in your own life – good or bad.
Wait a second. How about if I would like to change jobs during an economic downturn, leading to less jobs available during this time, it can’t possibly be in my control, right?
Whilst there are external circumstances that can affect our lives, it is the way we respond to them that determines how empowered we are. If I was to blame the economy for my future employment as per the example mentioned, I am giving away my power to external circumstances since I am giving permission for the economy to have power over me and what happens to me. However, if I was to accept that I am the one who caused my current situation – not the economy, not the job market – and take full responsibility for what is happening to my life, I take back my power. In other words, I have caused this situation to happen and therefore I have the power to change it. I may not be able to change the economy, but if was to realize that I have the power to change my circumstances, I would be more resilient and be less likely to give up. Instead of blaming the lack of jobs, I may enroll in a course to gain more skills, or go to networking meets to meet potential employers. It is all up to me to determine how successful I want to be.
For business development:
If your teams are not doing as well as they are expected to do, it would be beneficial to have a team meeting and list up all the reasons behind the less than ideal performance. Once that list is identified, go through them and ask how each member would change that situation, instead of blaming the situation. It may be a challenging conversation to have, but the benefits that come out of this exercise would be worth any initial reluctance.
For personal development:
Evaluate each of the following areas of your life and give of them a score out of 10 (0 being unsatisfied and 10 being satisfied):
Environment around you
Once you have done this exercise, identify those which have scored 7 or less and put together a plan to get them up to at least an 8. Your plan must empower you and you must take full responsibility for the actions. Others of course can help you along the way (we all need a pick-me-up every now and then!) but you must own the plan and be committed to follow it through.
Are you ready and willing to accept this challenge?
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