According to Wikipedia, Empowerment refers to measures designed to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities in order to enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority.
In simpler terms, empowerment means recognizing the inherent power that you, as an individual, have over the direction and circumstances of your life. An entire industry has exploded around the concept of empowerment. Sections of bookstores are dedicated to self-help, positive thinking, and self actualization. From Dr. Wayne Dyer to Seth Godin to Deepak Chopra, seminars, blogs, videos, and online courses hawk remedies to your sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not disparaging any well-intentioned teacher or mentor from encouraging people to find their value and power in order to shape the kind of live that they want to live. In reality, I think that personal empowerment is THE most important thing that any person can do for themselves.
For many, developing that feeling of personal power is a tough, long, and sometimes painful process, but the rewards and feelings of owning your own destiny and navigating your own life make the journey well worth it. Empowerment is something that I have been interested in and researching my entire life. In its most basic form, I think empowerment can be boiled down to three elements that I am calling the 3 Cs: Confidence, Capability, and Courage.
Confidence – belief in yourself, in your power and abilities.
Capability – having ability or skill to do something, accomplish a task.
Courage – the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty,danger, pain, etc., without fear.
The definition for courage I take a little exception with. I don’t think that courage is the absence of fear, I think courage is in spite of fear.
In the weeks to come, I would like to explore these 3 Cs and examine how they become the building blocks of developing your own personal feelings of empowerment.