Do you feel like you’re in charge of your life? Do you feel like you’re actively choosing your outcomes or that you’re settling for ones you don’t deserve.
Today, we’re going to talk about self-empowerment. If there’s one thing that separates the successful from the average, it’s the courage to take action and make decisions that align with their ideal future.
Fear, discomfort, and anxiety come with the territory. If you want to live an empowered life, you need to develop the confidence to face down these things despite whatever comes your way.
A life without pain is a life without challenge, and a life without challenge is a life without growth. In this article, we’ll discuss what self-empowerment is and five different ways to foster it in your daily life.
What Is Self-Empowerment?
Self-empowerment is simply about having the fortitude to make decisions that move you towards your self-defined goals.
Once you have the awareness to set goals and determine why they are important to you, the only thing left is making empowered decisions that help you achieve them.
It’s not enough to feel empowered. Feeling empowered is easy. Open up Youtube and throw on a few motivational videos. Or maybe even read some true motivational stories about successful people.
The surge of motivation is nice, but it’s short-lived. Self-empowerment goes deeper than motivation. Self-empowerment means increasing the actual amount of actual influence we have over our surroundings.
It’s about believing that our decisions have the power to make an impact. Now that impact is different for everyone reading this – maybe you want to get out of debt, fix your anxiety, or build a million dollar business.
Whatever it is you want to achieve, your first need to adopt the belief that your success in these endeavors is not up to anyone but you. It’s not about luck or chance, or your upbringing, or where you went to school.
That’s how average people think. Circumstances play a role in where you start, but they don’t have any impact on where you finish.
That part is completely up to you.
What Is The Importance Of Self-Empowerment?
Self-empowerment isn’t just important for achieving your goals and dreams – it plays a role in pretty much every outcome you’re getting in your life.
It’s a lot like confidence, which is typically considered a meta skill that impacts several areas of our life:
- People with confidence make friends easily, people who lack confidence don’t.
- People with confidence don’t struggle to find romantic partners, people who lack confidence do struggle
- People with confidence pursue their ideas even if they sound risky, people who lack confidence are too afraid to try
- People with confidence stand out at work, people who lack confidence just tend to fit in
Confidence is only one trait, but it has a gargantuan impact on the kind of life that we live. Well, self-empowerment works the same way because it revolves around how much direct influence we believe we have over our outcomes.
Here are few examples of self-empowerment in action:
- Being born into a life of poverty but not accepting that lifestyle as your future and committing to make something good out of it
- Being passed over for a promotion and instead of sulking, getting motivated to work harder.
- Suffering from social anxiety and deciding to take action every day to fix it and instead of accepting your awkwardness as a character trait
Life is not about what happens to you, but how you react to what happens. The following tips will outline how to become the creator of your life instead of constantly being on the defense.
5 Keys To Living An Empowered Life
Now that you’ve got a good handle on what self-empowerment is and its importance, let’s talk about how to live life on your terms and the specific decisions you can make to foster self-belief.
Making the following decisions on a daily basis will ingrain the mindset that you’re in the driver’s seat of your own life and not just along for the ride.
#1: Face Your Fears
One of the most common ways that we give up power in life is retreating from the things we’re afraid of.
Fear comes in many forms – fear of rejection, fear of failure, even fear of success. Yet most of us decide to let it control us and seek to organize fear out of our lives completely.
We don’t take risks, we don’t try new things, we stay stuck in our comfort zone – all because we’d rather live our fears than our dreams. We’d rather settle for the ordinary and be comfortable than stretch for the extraordinary and figure out how much we can handle.
You can’t get rid of fear completely, but self-empowerment isn’t about getting rid of fear. It’s about having the courage to take action in spite of it.
Here’s my best advice on overcoming your fears
- Start writing down things that scare you
- Think about situations that you actively avoid on a daily basis due to lack of confidence or fear of being rejected/failing
- Start voluntarily exposing yourself to these situations
- Each day, write down something that’s slightly outside your comfort zone and do it. Set yourself a target that’s just barely outside your safety net.
- Continually raise the difficulty as you get more comfortable
Each day that you face fear just a little bit, it’ll start dying, and you’ll start growing. Suddenly, you’ll become addicted to that growth.
#2: Start Winning In Small Ways
You don’t need to achieve huge goals to gain a sense of self-empowerment. All you need to do is give your brain evidence that you’re someone who takes action towards what they want.
The action part is what trips people up, and we usually sabotage ourselves specially by setting daily targets that are way too high. When most of us think about taking action towards our goals, we think big and let our emotions get involved.
We say that we’re going to read for an hour per day, or write for two hours per day, or meditate for 30 minutes – we overestimate our willpower and self-discipline.
And when we don’t live up to these unrealistic targets due to laziness or lack of motivation, we blame ourselves which perpetuates the narrative that we’re powerless.
Small wins are the perfect antidote to this problem. The most important part of developing self-empowerment is keeping your word to yourself.
What’s the easiest way to keep your word to yourself? Well, a good place to start is by setting a target that you can actually hit. Small wins every day stack up a lot quicker than you expect them too.
Want to write a novel? Start with writing 100 words every day.
Want to start exercising? Start by walking 50 steps per day.
Want to improve your diet? Start with a bowl of fruit every day.
As you continually hit this target, your willpower and motivation will increase naturally and you’ll be able to start pushing yourself to reach new heights.
#3: Trust Yourself During Uncertainty
In life, we tend to have a great deal of anxiety about making decisions. When pondering the consequences of decisions that we’ve made, we tend to say things like:
- Did I think about this long enough?
- Did I take enough data into consideration?
- Did I consider all positive alternatives?
Here’s what’s ironic about this: if you think it through, you’ll realize that you never could take enough data into consideration.
The data for a decision in any given situation is infinite. Because of this, we always seem to be in a perpetual state of doubt as to whether we’re doing the right thing or behaving the right way.
We lack a certain kind of self-confidence because we’re always worried about variables that are beyond our control.
So if you want to start living an empowered life, it’s important to see yourself as a cloud. Here’s some clarification from Alan Watts talking about what exactly that means.
“Have you ever seen a cloud that was misshapen? Have you ever seen a badly designed wave? No, they always do the right thing. If you will treat yourself for awhile as a cloud, or wave, you’ll realize that you can’t make a mistake whatever you do. Because even if you do something that’s totally disastrous, you’ll come out alive in the end and develop a certain kind of confidence.”
What Watts is saying here essentially boils down to this – whatever you decide to do, you’re going to survive it.
Making the wrong decision isn’t the end of the world, in fact it’s not even the worst thing you can do. The worst thing you can do is mentally wobble back and forth between options and stay stagnant.
Empowered people are quick decision makers. They’re action takers. Become one of those people by going with your gut instinct and trusting that the decision you make will result in a positive outcome.
If it does, you’ll gain more self-confidence. If it doesn’t, you’ll learn and grow from whatever the experience teaches you.
- All day long you’re faced with decisions
- Start getting in the habit of going with your gut and making quick decisions
- Try this with 2 decisions each day
- Just go with whatever choice your gut tells you to choose and don’t go back on it
#4: Only Compete With Your Previous Self
One of the simplest ways to lose your sense of self-empowerment is by comparing your progress to the success of others.
Some psychologists believe that our desire to compare ourselves to others is a basic human drive. Just like we need to eat, sleep, and reproduce, apparently we also need to know exactly how we measure up to other people.
Comparisons can be helpful, they can also be discouraging. The small sliver of people’s lives that we see on social media or in-person doesn’t provide the full picture of their existence.
Nobody’s posting an Instagram photo or Facebook status about their struggle with anxiety, or the fact that they don’t know whether or not they’ll be able to afford their bills in a few months.
We all highlight the sides of us that we want people to see. Realize that you’re only seeing a fraction of what’s going on in people’s lives. Realize that your journey is not the same as anyone else’s – that’s what makes you unique.
Furthermore, you are the only person you should be measuring yourself against.
Are you better than the person you were last week? Last month? Last year? Are you making forward progress, even if it’s in small ways, or can you feel yourself slipping backwards?
Life is a game of You vs. You. Start asking yourself these questions regularly and you’ll have a clear picture of whether or not you’re on the right path.
And as long as you’re on the right path, then don’t worry about when you’ll finally reach your desired future.
You’re headed in the right direction, and that’s all that matters. Whether or not someone’s already reached the destination before you is irrelevant. Just keep doing the right things and you’ll join them eventually.
#5: Hang Out With People Who Empower You
Your level of self-empowerment is directly correlated to the people that you spend the most time with.
Look at the kinds of people successful people hang out with. What do you notice? They’re typically other successful people.
That’s because successful, empowered people know that who they hang out with ripples over into their own character.
Think about your top three friends and compare what you were like before you met them:
- Notice any difference in the way that you talk/think?
- Have you developed certain interests that you didn’t have before?
- What new habits have popped up in your life since they became apart of it?
We all mold our personality to fit in with the people we’re close to. It’s human nature to adjust our behavior to match the “tribe.”
The first question you need to ask yourself is this: “What are the current behavioral norms in my tribe?”
And the second: “Do these norms empower me and turn me into a better person or are they stunting my growth?”
If those norms revolve around playing the victim card, or being reckless with money, or constantly judging other people, it may be time to find some new friends. At the very least, start limiting the time you spend with people who aren’t adding value to your life.
Find other people you know that exhibit some of the characteristics of happy and empowered people. Begin spending more time in their company. If you don’t know that many people who match this description, then go out and meet new people.
Over time, the hard-wired survival instinct you have to fit in will work for you and your personality will undergo a fundamental shift.
Final Thoughts On Self-Empowerment
Whether or not you get the life you want comes down to one variable – you.
It’s true that some of us have it easier than others. Some people are born with a silver spoon while others have to scratch and claw their way out of poverty.
Some people are born with exemplary role models as parents while others are born with ones who never quite learn the meaning of the phrase, “Set the right example.”
The climb isn’t the same for everyone. But ultimately, fostering self-empowerment is a necessity for successfully making the climb towards your desired future.
Self-empowerment is not about feelings, it’s about evidence. Anyone can watch a motivational video and feel empowered, but that’s not the same as being empowered.
If you start making some of the decisions that are outlined in this article, you’ll realize just how much influence you have over the outcome of your life.