These days we hear a lot about ‘empowerment’ –but what does it really mean?
I offered a workshop last night to a group of women at the local gym. They are doing a 12-week challenge, and as part of their program, they have guest speakers come in and talk. I had previously presented to the group on hypnosis and weight loss (really, it was about self-esteem, body image and breaking unconscious habits and developing new discrimination skills around food choices) – and last night I ran a session on ‘busting problems and creating great solutions’.
This session was really all about empowerment.
This is not the sort of empowerment we see in politics, or represented in TV drama. It is not about finding false strength, or putting others down so you can pull yourself up. It is, instead, about returning CHOICE to people who have forgotten how to access it.
At the heart of any disempowerment is the lack of choice. When we are stuck in a problem, we lack access to the skills, resources and choices that would help us break free. This robs us of any sense of power and invites helplessness and hopelessness.
Consider a problem that you have. How do you feel about the number of choices you have? As you focus in on the problem, you amplify it. It fills your vision – leaving no room for your strengths, resources, experience or choices to be available for you. What choices are you not noticing as you focus on your problem? When is it not really a problem?
Empowerment is about returning choice to those who feel stuck. Empowerment is connecting people to their resources, skills and experience in a way that the problem can be solved.
This is one of the reasons I love what I do. I treat every client who presents (or anyone who attends a seminar or workshop) as someone with capabilities, strengths and so much to offer. I see my job as helping them connect to their resources, strengths and skills and to become empowered – by finding more and better choices and allowing them the possibility of acting on them.
Sometimes the bravery of people taking the first smallest step – particularly those who have suffered trauma, severe anxiety or severe depression – to come and see me is so inspiring. To help people become empowered is both what I love and at the heart of what I do. Hypnosis and Strategic Therapy are such powerful tools to help facilitate this, and using these approaches allows people to rapidly reconnect to the possibility of choice.
You can empower others by helping them find more and better choices. ‘Telling’ someone what to do can often disempower them – but inviting them to find their own resources, their own skills and create new choices gives them the power to solve their own problems. Who can you empower today?