A Coaching Power Tool created by Teresa Shaffer
(Executive Coaching, UNITED STATES)
Imagine going through each day with peace of mind, an open heart, positive energy, and clarity about your purpose and calling. Imagine you start each day feeling passionate, excited, and joyous. You can have all this by taking 100% responsibility to create the life you desire—no excuses.
Regardless of what happens on the outside, when you stand firmly in a state of empowerment, you understand that the only real power is over the Self. You can’t have power over others. This is merely an illusion. Empowerment is an inside job and the power in em-power-ment is personal power. You have a choice about everything you think, say and do.
When you become the captain of your own ship, chart your destiny, and steer your ship in the direction you want to create positive outcomes, your life will unfold like a lotus of beautiful petals and limitless possibilities. In Deepak Chopra’s book, The Soul of Leadership, he writes that “Empowerment is the fruit of successful action.” And Wayne Dyer writes in his book, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, that “defining empowerment only in material world terms is a reflection of being spiritually disconnected.” Empowerment and personal power walk hand in hand. Empowering ourselves and others is both worldly and spiritual and vital to the evolution of humanity.
We hear a lot about empowerment in books, magazines, and seminars. It is a desirable state to achieve. So what does empowerment really mean? Wikipedia’s definition of “empowerment” refers to “increasing the spiritual, political, social, educational, gender or economic strength of individuals and communities.” Dictionary.com’s definition of “self- empowered” is “deriving strength to do something through one’s own thoughts based on the belief that one knows what is best for oneself.” Despite the different definitions, it’s possible to explore your own definition for empowerment or to create a new frame as it applies to important aspects of your life, such as being empowered emotionally, spiritually, physically, professionally, and financially.
However, it is probably safe to assume that, amid the many definitions of empowerment, it springs forth a power from deep within and acts like an inner compass that guides you. It is an inner strength, courage and belief in oneself to follow your inner voice, walk with faith, and live a life that is best for you regardless of others’ opinions or expectations.
Being empowered is also seeing yourself as a sculptor. Just as Michelangelo would take a big piece of marble, get rid of the excess marble, and create a masterpiece; you, too, are the Michelangelo of your own life – creating a masterpiece, one chisel at a time. Your job is to get rid of all the useless marble – feeling powerless, relying on others’ opinions in order to feel happy, lacking self–esteem, self–compassion and self–love–all of which hide your True Self. Being empowered is an amazing journey of self–discovery and learning that the only real power we have is found within as we learn to be the expert of our own life.
Certainly, we can become discouraged because life is full of disappointments, failures, rejection, unexplained adversities and fears, which can be a blow to one’s inner strength, confidence and faith. The Free Dictionary definition of discouragement is “to deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit.” During life’s challenges, sometimes we give our power away because we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or we don’t know how to access our power from within.
Discouragement is a common response to the curve balls life throws our way. There are three phases of discouragement. The first phase is mild discouragement. It can be related to a specific goal. For example, Jim didn’t achieve his goal of five new clients in Quarter 1. Or, Alexis didn’t train six days a week over the last month to prepare for her upcoming marathon. No one else really notices Jim and Alexis’s discouragement, and it’s not really interfering with their lives.
The second phase is moderate discouragement. It may affect more than one area of life. For example, Audrey is a vice president at a medical company. She is brilliant, strategic and highly motivated but she has a problem: When anyone gives her feedback or has a different opinion, she becomes very defensive and arrogant with colleagues and her supervisor. Audrey is stressed and short- tempered with her husband and children when she goes home. She feels frustrated, agitated and is having difficulty sleeping. Now, others are beginning to notice. It may be affecting Audrey’s relationships, as well as her emotional and physical health.
The third phase is severe discouragement. This phase of discouragement can lead to depression and even despair. The person’s whole being – body, mind, heart and spirit are affected. For example, John is a CEO of a financial firm and announces he is having the worst quarter of his career. The firm is failing in the tough economy. John is working on a reorganization to save the firm, working 80 hours a week and traveling nonstop. His team’s morale is low because layoffs are imminent. His wife is threatening divorce. John is feeling burned out, overwhelmed and disenchanted. John is in a panic and doesn’t know where to focus.