What is empowerment and how does it help?
The process of self-empowerment or empowering others is to offer them belief that they have control over their situation and options. It allows them to seek and find new opportunities, try new things and develop trust in themselves and their capabilities.
Empowerment allows you to recognize and eventually use your resources, find the right opportunities that will enhance and improve your situation and future lifestyle.
Increasing your autonomy, allows you to self-determine what you want and can do, and what you choose not to attempt or achieve too perhaps! It works for individuals but also whole communities who need to see new options, new ideas and new ways of helping themselves - informed choices and more effective decision-making that can only be beneficial for them.
Feeling empowered is very powerful if you haven't felt that way before - repressed, freed or even never realising there are other options out there, around them!
This is what education does - it helps you to see new ideas and theories, try them out and find what works for you; reading and speaking to other people, finding out about them and their experiences means you have other options already to hand! Personal power is important to extract the best from your life, to exert your freedom of choice no matter how limited the options might be. Even just changing your response to an awkward or unpleasant event can help you feel better and more powerful, even if you can't actually improve your actual circumstances for now.
If you have ever felt powerless then this is something huge for someone who may have a limited life experience, or new cultures, new people and places they are unfamiliar with. Empowerment is freedom to choose, freedom to act and freedom to stay put if you want that.
But knowing what is out there for you is the key - that empowerment alone is helpful and impactful.
One psychological experiment in the 1950s demonstrated animals - and people - will accept their lot, even if it is unpleasant, or even harmful. Even when the door to safety and pain-free box was made available and easily seen, animals and us might well not move because they have simply 'learned' to accept pain and unhappiness.
Stuck in a job they hate, feeling unable to make changes and relying on beliefs developed in the past can leave them feeling powerless to do anything - but all it takes is 'different' - outlook, action, thoughts and they can change. People to change, grow, improve their situation and coaching is one tool that can offer this opportunity if that is where you are.
Empowering people is motivating them to embrace change and personal growth, developing new ways of being and living, doing things even slightly differently - but first, you have to see there might be alternatives and then choose the right ones for you.
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About Julie Crowley
Julie Crowley is a life management coach working in Manchester and Saddleworth. Aiming to support people to live their dreams. Having recently explored the world for a year as a solo backpacker, the later-life career change she made into coaching, and starting her own business after years of employment she knows how effective coaching can be.