Empowerment – What the hell is empowerment? We hear this word so often in today’s world, in the workplace, in all the self-development talk but can we really relate to it? Do we know what it actually means to us?
Ask yourself this:
What does it mean to be empowered? Or
What does being an empowered woman feel like?
For that matter- have I ever felt it?!
What the hell is this empowerment thing?
Sometimes the problem is in the definition. How we define things will either make them easy for us to experience, or difficult to experience.
So first, let’s take a moment to explore what empowerment is not.
Let me introduce you to her sister DISEMPOWERMENT – She’s the complete opposite of her stronger, cheerleader of a sister. Disempowerment can be characterised by the space you find yourself in when you’re not feeling your best.
We define it as “when you want or need to take a certain path of action but don’t because of internal stop signs”
Disempowerment can be a great big brick wall standing between you and your natural power.
What do I mean by internal stop signs?
These are reasons, the justifications and yes as uncomfortable as it is, the excuses that we tell ourselves which lead to inaction. It might result in procrastination or that feeling of just not being able to make that breakthrough.
Stop signs are the little voices that say icky stuff like:
- I can’t do that.
- I don’t have the time.
- I can’t afford it.
- I don’t have the right skills.
Now, please don’t get me wrong we all have these thoughts from time to time especially when we’re not at our best.
They are often absolutely 100% valid reasons and objections. “Look at my bank account” you might say, “I don’t have any money! Its not an excuse, it’s the truth.”
And while I get it. I also don’t buy it.
Stick with me on this – I promise I’ll explain without you stamping your feet and saying “She has no idea!!”
Let’s take a look at an example of what disempowerment can look like in action or should I say inaction!
Say hello to Suzie…
Suzie has been a stay at home mum for some time but her children are growing up fast and she feels that now is HER time to do something for herself, to get back in touch with the workplace and start up her own bookkeeping business.
She’s excited about this next chapter in her life. She knows what she needs to do – there’s a night class bookkeeping course running at a local college and YET she’s made no move to enrol – What’s holding her back? You got it, those darn stop signs!
Suzie is feeling disempowered because every time she thinks she’ll enrol she comes up with
- “We can’t afford it“
- “I don’t have child-care“
- “I don’t have the car Tuesdays“
- “I’m the one that does everything“
- “I won’t have the time, no-one ever helps me!“
- “Who’ll cook the dinner?“
This kind of thinking is never going to empower Suzie into action.
All these reasons are driving her lack of empowerment.
They are keeping her stuck in a rut and holding her back from unleashing her creativity, her innovation, her effectiveness.
You see, there’s way too many examples out there of women who may have not had the money, the upbringing, the privilege, the opportunity to do something they wanted to do. But because they had a vision- they still found a way to MAKE it happen.
Let’s look at it another way…
Here at One of many™, we work with archetypes to understand empowerment.
- The empowering 5 Women’s PowerTypes™:
- the Warrioress,
- the Lover,
- the Mother,
- the Queen
- and the Sorceress
- And the disempowering ones of
- the Bitch,
- the Martyr
- and the Victim.
It’s these latter three archetypes that are responsible for those stop signs. They can often be found blaming others, feeling like it’s them against the whole world or the whole world is against them!
They are unhelpful, unsupportive and totally disempowering.
So, how can we be empowered?
Step 1: Ditch the bitch! or whatever disempowering archetype is your poison of choice. Take notice of the part of you that surfaces when you’re feeling less than your best, lacking in confidence or fearful.
Step 2: Tap into the supportive and resilient energy one of your PowerTypes™ – there’s one for every situation!
You don’t have to choose between being a bitch or a martyr – choose to be a Queen.
The Queen PowerType™ is the perfect choice for empowerment. She holds a powerful vision for her future, she is decisive, resilient and not afraid to delegate or ask for support.
Let’s go back to Suzie for a moment – What would it look like if she chose to access to her Queen PowerType™, and ask “What would my Queen do?”
Well, it would probably go something like this…
- “We can’t afford it“: She’d see the course as an investment in her future. She’d apply for an increase to the credit limit on her card, or draw down on the mortgage, or borrow from her mum, or sell all the old baby furniture cluttering up the garage. She’d get creative about where the money IS and how she can access it to provide a better future for herself and her family.
- “I don’t have child-care“: She’d get creative in conversations with her husband, her neighbour, the 13 yo next door, she’d look at online courses she can do from home…
- “I don’t have the car Tuesdays“: She’d look up buses, borrow a bike,
- “I’m the one that does everything“: She’d ignore this little commentary from the Martyr, and set up a rota so everyone helps out.
- “I won’t have the time, no-one ever helps me!“: She’ll get her diary out and take control of her time, she’ll ask for the help she needs.
- “Who’ll cook the dinner?“: She’ll realise that no-one ever died from one microwave meal a week!
How different does that look? – How empowering!
You can almost feel the uprush of “make sh!t happen” energy that comes on the tail of being her Queen.
So just how can we recognise empowerment?
An empowered individual is someone who can access their internal resources to empower themselves.
They are resilient and can easily switch into problem-solving mode when faced with a challenge.
They are able to seek out or build a supportive network to help them to achieve goals and overcome setbacks.
Have you ever been “disempowered” in relationship to a challenge you’ve had, and then shifted your thinking to come up with creative solutions? Share in the comments. Let’s all inspire one another with stories of our own empowerment.
Who knows – your share here could change someone’s life!
Our intention is simple. To support professional women to handle the day-to-day so they can unleash the bigger impact they feel called to make in the world.
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