“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”-Mahatma Gandhi
Mentioning Empowerment- the word “Empowerment” is overused in today’s business, professional and personal development arenas. Managers and leaders talk about “empowering” employees and supervisees. Therapists talk about “empowering” their clients. Professors talk about “empowering” their students. Look again at this issue’s quote. Empowerment isn’t something that is done to you. The bottom line is Empowerment begins with YOU! Let’s take a look at some questions you should ask yourself on your journey towards empowerment.
Critical “I” Questions for EMPOWERMENT SUCCESS-Readiness Self-Analysis
and Mutual Trust
· Do I feel like an insider or an outsider?
· Do I belong?
· Do I want to belong?
· Do I fit in?
· What can I do to fit in?
· Who’s calling the shots?
· Who will have the most influence?
· Will I have influence?
· Will I be listened to?
· Will I be able to contribute?
· Will I be allowed to contribute?
· How will I get along with other staff members?
· Will I be able to develop a cooperative spirit?
· Are there any hidden agendas?
· Is there a sabotage fighter on the team?
Once you are ready to begin your journey towards empowerment, it’s time to look at your environment and see if it is conducive to empowerment. In the Artists Way at Work-Twelve Weeks to Creative Freedom by Mark Bryan with Julia Cameron and Catherine Allen-(p. 152) the authors suggest describing your business environment as a forest. Think about your forest and have fun and be creative as you answer the following questions:
What kind of forest is it? A jungle? A maple forest? Western? Eastern? High altitude? Low altitude?
Name the dangerous situation in your forest? Any possible flash floods? Mud Slides? Places where you must be alert for snakes? Rockslides? Mountain lions?
Name the dangerous predators in your forest. Give them animal identities. Any bullying grizzly bears? Cunning sidewinders? Wily foxes? Deadly scorpions? Which are you?
Name and describe the beautiful elements of your forest. Any waterfalls, meadows, bushes with berries?
Name the friendly plants and animals in your forest.
CONGRATULATIONS…You are now ready to begin your journey towards empowerment. You are armed with your clear personal commitment and you are armed with the knowledge/awareness of your business environment.
The Minute-Being mindful of your answers to your empowerment questions and your description of your forest environment-What do you think and feel about this? What do you do about this? Is there anything you would like to do differently about this in the future?
Debra Gould & Associates, Inc.
Phone: (504) 460-9641