🌻 Yes, I Can! 10 Powerful Strategies to Empower Yourself from the Inside Out
No one has things all figured out, but we can learn how to empower ourselves, strengthening our foundations for lifelong success.
It’s never too late to create transformative shifts in our lives! The American Psychological Association defines empowerment as the development of knowledge, abilities, and confidence needed to actively meet our needs, desires, and goals (2022).
Most of us yearn to feel greater ease, happiness, and fulfillment. Typically, we try a new idea once or twice, and if it doesn’t work as we hoped we drop it, perhaps assuming that we are not up to the task. But, would other choices serve us better?
Life is a process filled with transitions and choices. What if we choose to deliberately learn and practice strategies to help ourselves strengthen our personal empowerment? Learning a new skill typically involves multiple choices that proceed one step at a time.
💪 10 Powerful Strategies to Empower Yourself from the Inside Out
There are many ways to build your empowerment skills. Here are 10 evidence-informed possibilities:
1. Understand the power of choice. Big changes begin with the first step, proceeding incrementally with small steps, each one building on the one before. You don’t have to do it all today. Just a 1% change can make a difference. One step, one step, one step, and so it goes.
2. Choose a growth mindset. Your view of yourself and your capacities greatly impacts the choices you make. Consider the power of yet – I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m on my way. Empowering yourself with this growth mindset can help you overcome barriers and propel yourself toward your objectives (Dweck, 2006). With a growth mindset, you carry the belief that you can get better at things through your efforts. Yes, we all make mistakes – and then we can get back up, learning from our mis-steps as well as our successes.
3. Get Gritty: Build your persistence muscle. Grit is the drive and persistence to achieve a goal you care about. Grit is about effort rather than talent (Duckworth, 2016; 2013). Top performers have a conviction that their goal matters, and then put in time and careful, deliberate practice to advance toward their objective. They have the expectation that with hard work and practice they can get better and better.
4. Practice gratitude. The of the most well researched strategies to enhance our happiness is gratitude. And when we are feeling down, even brief mild positive emotions may help us feel better (Fredrickson, 2009). Gratitude, easy to learn and easy to do, can be as simple as saying thank you for noticing what went well today.
Lea Waters, Ph.D., suggests this strategy: Put a whiteboard in the kitchen where everyone in the household can write or draw things they feel thankful about (2017).
5. Savor good stuff. Empower yourself with brief intermissions during the day by pausing for moments to notice life’s small pleasures. Gandhi is quoted as saying: “There’s more to life than merely increasing its speed.” Savoring helps you empower yourself by momentarily hitting the pause button and shifting toward positive emotions. For example: noticing the sunshine, laughing out loud, smelling a flower, or pausing to notice the taste, texture, and aroma of your meal.
6. Connect with others. Interact with others in positive ways. Even micro-moments of connections can make an empowering difference in your own life and for the person you are connecting with, increasing positive emotions and reducing stress (Fredrickson, 2013).
7. Know your strengths and grow them. When you recognize your strengths and use them, you can feel empowered. Strengths can be learned and developed throughout our lives. What are you naturally good at? What do you enjoy doing? While there are many kinds of strengths, researchers have identified 24 character strengths common to us all. For more information on character strengths:
- The 24 Character Strengths
- Build on Strengths or Fix What’s Wrong?
- Nurturing Youth, Strengths, and Future Generations
8. Get quiet on the inside. It may seem counter-intuitive, but gently quieting down can help you feel greater wellbeing and empowerment.
Take time each day to pause and notice what you’re experiencing in this moment. You can intentionally decide where you want to pay attention and when your mind wanders (and it will), just gently bring it back to this moment. It can help to focus your attention on an anchoring thought, such as your breath, a background sound, a sensation in the body, or a repeated word or phrase (Shapiro, 2020).
9. Be kind to yourself and others. Empower yourself with kindness. Treating yourself and others with care and kindness can help you experience greater acceptance of yourself and others. Self-compassion can empower you by combining strength with love (Neff, 2021).
10. Move toward your goals. Build your empowerment and wellbeing by establishing clear, realistic, meaningful goals and working to achieve them. Even seemingly small goals can make a positive difference in life and at work (Feldman & Dreher, 2011) ? What goal have you been waiting to pursue?
Your own empowerment begins with you. How will you strengthen your empowerment from the inside out? What strategy will you choose? What’s your first step?
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- Berns-Zare, I. (2019). 3 ways to leverage your strengths and increase happiness: Gain momentum in your personal and professional life.
- Berns-Zare, I. (2018). Nurturing youth, strengths, and future generations
- Dweck, C.S. (2006), Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House.
- Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner.
- Duckworth, A. (April 2013). TED TALK – Grit: The power of passion and perseverance.
- Feldman, D.B. & Dreher, D. (2011). Can hope be changed in 90 minutes? Testing the efficacy of a single-session goal-pursuit intervention for college students. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13, 45-59.
- Fredrickson, B.L. (2013). Love 2.0: How our supreme emotion affects everything we feel, think, do, and become. New York, NY: Hudson Street Press.
- Neff, K. (2021). Fierce self-compassion.
- Shapiro, S. (2020). Good morning, I love you: Mindfulness and self-compassion practices to rewire your brain for calm, clarity, and joy. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.
- VandenBos, G.R. (2007). APA Dictionary of Psychology. Washington DC.
- The VIA classification of character strengths and virtues.
- Waters, L. (2017). The strengths switch: How the science of strength-based parenting can help your child and your teen to flourish. New York, NY: Avery.
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Ilene Berns-Zare, PsyD, PCC, CMC (ICF Credentialed) is an Executive and Personal Coach and Speaker. Ilene helps people live their best personal and professional lives by bringing mind, body, and spirit into flow with strengths, purpose, and potential. She inspires clients to find fresh perspectives and access their full potential as creative, resourceful, whole persons. Find Ilene online, set up a free discovery coaching consultation, and access free resources at https://ibzcoaching.com/.
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