Personal empowerment is about looking at who you are and becoming more aware of yourself as a unique individual.
Personal empowerment involves developing the confidence and strength to set realistic goals and fulfil your potential. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and a range of skills that are used in everyday situations, but all too often people remain unaware of, or undervalue, their true abilities.
A person aiming for empowerment is able to take control of their life by making positive choices and setting goals. Developing self-awareness, an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses – knowing your own limitations is key to personal empowerment.
Taking steps to set and achieve goals – both short and longer-term and developing new skills, acts to increase confidence which, in itself, is essential to self-empowerment.
At a basic level, the term ’empowerment’ simply means ‘becoming powerful’. Building personal empowerment involves reflecting on our personal values, skills and goals and being prepared to adjust our behaviour in order to achieve our goals. Personal empowerment also means being aware that other people have their own set of values and goals which may different to ours.
Many other, more detailed, definitions exist. These usually centre on the idea that personal empowerment gives an individual the ability to:
Take control of their circumstances and achieve their own goals in their personal and working life.
Become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses and therefore be better equipped to deal with problems and achieve goals.
Enhance the contribution they make both as an individual and/or as a member of a team.
Take opportunities to enhance personal growth and a sense of fulfilment.
Developing personal empowerment usually involves making some fundamental changes in life, which is not always an easy process. The degree of change required will differ from person to person, depending on the individual starting point.
Self-awareness onvolves understanding our individual character and how we are likely to respond to situations.
This enables us to build on our positive qualities and be aware of any negative traits which may reduce our effectiveness. Self-aware people make conscious decisions to enhance their lives whenever possible, learning from past experiences.
Values are opinions or beliefs that are important to us, but of which we are not always aware.
They can be any kind of belief or perceived obligation, anything we prefer and for any reason. The reasons we may prefer one thing over another, or choose one course of action over another, may not always be obvious or known; there may be no apparent reason for our values. Nevertheless our values are important to us as individuals. In order to be self-aware it is necessary to be aware of our values, to critically examine them and to accept that our values may be different from those of others.
An individual’s skills are the main resource which enables them to achieve their desired goals.
Skills can be gained through experience, practice, education and training. It is only by developing such skills that individual values can be translated into action.
Knowledge or information is necessary in the development of self-awareness and skills.
Knowing where to find appropriate information is in itself an essential skill. Without information, the choices open to people are limited, both in their personal and working lives. The internet has provided an easy way for everybody to access huge amounts of information very quickly and easily. The problem is then centred around the quality of the information found, and the skill set is concerned with finding accurate and reliable information.
Setting goals is a means by which an individual can take charge of their life.
The process of setting a goal involves people thinking about their values and the direction that they would like their lives to follow. Choices are made through reflection followed by action. Goals should always be both specific and realistic. Setting personal goals gives us a sense of direction in life, this direction is essential to personal empowerment.
There are essentially five levels of empowerment:
- Physical Empowerment
- Emotional Empowerment
- Mental Empowerment
- Spiritual Empowerment
- Financial Empowerment
Some Tips to Help you Empower Yourself
Self-empowerment is about giving you the power to take control of your own destiny, and live your life how you want to live your life. And Self-empowerment is a sort-after quality by employers, so it is a great asset for your career too.
Self-empowerment is the net effect of the way you conduct yourself, the image you project to others and the way you improve yourself – and it’s all inter-related. How you feel about yourself determines the image that you project onto others, and the image you project to others determines how they react to you. Remember the law of attraction?
And until you understand how you and your actions appear to other people, you cannot understand why they think and respond to you the way that they do.
Here are some tips to help you empower yourself:
- Have confidence in yourself – a confident (but not arrogant) image of your self will naturally project a more powerful image than if you are uncertain and anxious about your image. And more importantly, self-confidence feels good!
- If your self-confidence has taken a battering for whatever reason, ask yourself “why” – is it a physical image issue? Or an ability issue? The important thing is to identify what is affecting your confidence and take steps to improving it.
- Take care of your health – eat well, exercise regularly and take the time to manage stress in a positive manner. If you feel good, you will feel more self-confident and you will project a glowing energy to others.
- Make a positive impression – People react more positively to people who obviously take good care of themselves, so dress well, keep neat and tidy and hold your posture. It’s also important to focus on what you say – avoid excessive apologising, and speak with a thinking mind, don’t think with a talking tongue!
- Be constructive – so many people are too critical, gossip or just complain too much. We tend to slip into negative thought processes more easily than positive ones, so avoid the temptation to join the whinging club – be positive and optimistic, provide constructive feedback on issues and participate in finding solutions to problems rather than just finding all the problems.
- Don’t expect others to change – if you are unhappy with something or someone, don’t expect them to change to suit you. You can explain your feelings and perhaps suggest a way where both parties can compromise – but don’t just expect everything to change to suit you. Be prepared to make a positive change yourself!
- Thrive on feedback – to empower yourself also means to develop yourself technically, behaviourally and emotionally. Seek feedback and respond to it by identifying how you can change to better empower yourself. Don’t take criticism personally – but rather as an opportunity to improve. Don’t fear failure – learn from it. And don’t just observe life – participate.
- Focus on results and outcomes – in other words, focus on your goals, ambitions and desires. It’s easy to get tied up in how you ‘feel’ – and it’s important, but to achieve, sometimes we need to put feelings and emotions to the side.
- Focus on getting the job done, and once achieved you can look back on the experience and contemplate the emotional aspect of the journey.
If you take the above advice on how to empower yourself, I can assure you that you will feel more confidence in yourself and your abilities, and your peers will see you this way too – after all, how you feel about yourself determines the image that you project onto others, and the image you project to others determines how they react to you.