Is self-empowerment something you strive for in life? Do you work towards growth every day?
To some people, self-empowerment and growth come naturally—to others, not so much. Some people cannot grow because they fear change—they fear stepping out of their comfort zone.
Some folks say that change is the only constant in life.
I don’t believe this to be true.
The only constant in life is resistance or reluctance to change. We’re conditioned to wait for change to happen to us and seek superficial evidence of positive change, which can include a promotion, raise, or recognition of some sort.
If you are seeking success, self-empowerment is something you have to develop on the road to change. But the road to change isn’t an easy one. It has its ups and downs—which is why you should empower yourself by stretching rather than changing.
If you’re seeking success, change might bring that about. If you’re seeking a life of significance, you must abandon your pursuit of change and learn to empower yourself by stretching.
Self-Empowerment is All About Stretching Rather Than Changing
Self-empowerment means being able to make decisions by acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses.
Through self-empowerment, you can make positive choices that give you the confidence to make decisions, even if they are hard. If you are self-empowered, you are motivated to learn new things and don’t back down.
Many people fail because they can’t change the bad habits that hinder them. Successful people can change, but they progress only up to a point—then they stop and stagnate.
People who never progress lack an internal drive to surpass themselves. They are happy and comfortable with their success. They refuse to step out of their comfort zone.
Instead, they would remain in the realm of what they know rather than venture into the riskier realm of the unknown.
Is great good enough? Some people may think so—but I don’t. When you feel that great is good enough, you refuse to go beyond change.
You refuse to empower yourself. You refuse to embrace stretch—a more profound, personal, and meaningful growth process that helps you empower yourself.
If you don’t know how to empower yourself to be better today than yesterday, you aren’t on a
path that will lead to a life of significance.
Stretching Requires a Level of Discomfort
Stretching will make you uncomfortable. But, to grow, you have to suffer and sacrifice certain things. You have to get out of your comfort zone and start feeling uncomfortable.
I liken it to physiotherapy.
When I was recovering from a snapped Achilles tendon, the physiotherapist pushed my foot just past the point of comfort and held it there.
Was it painful? Absolutely. Was it harming me? Absolutely not. My muscles were getting a reminder of their range.
In the beginning, she would press my foot just beyond my limited range of motion, painfully stretching my Achilles. She held it there, and when she let go, it would snap right back to its original position.
How often do you see this in your organization? Your team goes to a training seminar. Guest speakers get everyone fired up and committed to personal or organizational change. A few weeks later, everyone snaps back to their old habits.
Stretching Requires Embracing the “Why”
Why do people so often resort to going back to their bad habits?
Do they lack self-empowerment? Is growth too challenging?
Many leaders make the same common mistake: They ask their employees to change. They force them through exercises designed to change them. Then they let go of the reins.
When leaders let go of the reigns, they leave employees, expecting them to embody these changes. They leave their employees without support.
With no support or feedback from their leaders, employees start to lose their motivation.
Their leaders told them “what” to do but not “why.”
When my physiotherapist pushed my foot beyond my comfort zone, I was clear on why I was experiencing the pain. I sacrificed comfort in the present moment for better mobility and a full recovery later.
Ask yourself this question—and be honest: Do you, as a leader, share the “why” with your employees? Or do you assume they will follow orders because ‘you said so’?
Action Steps to Achieve Self-Empowerment
My book, The Art of Significance, goes into greater detail about The Third Law of Stretching, but here’s a summary of four suggested actions you can take to empower yourself.
1. Accept that no matter where you go, there you are
Changing offices, projects, jobs, and cities won’t change what’s inside you—your true character.
You will always be you.
If you commit yourself to changing a bad habit about yourself, you must also commit to stretching yourself from the inside out.
Conduct an honest assessment of yourself using these guidelines. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 15. I refer to this as a “Balance Wheel” on page 67 of my book.
- Physical fitness
- Continuous education
- Deeper spirituality
- Emotional stability
- Social networking
- Financial responsibility
- Family togetherness
- Leisure fun
- Charitable giving
I designed the Balance Wheel as a visual aid that gives you a place to start your personal development journey. It’s a tool you can use to track your progress in specific areas of your life, allowing you to see where you’re stretching and stagnating.
2. Create a “board of directors”
Once you’ve created your Balance Wheel, pick at least six people from diverse backgrounds, vocations, and religions and enlist their assistance.
Approach each person with the humble request that they become your “physical therapist” of the mind and heart—the person who will mentor you and help you stretch from where you are to where you need to be.
3. Give your board of directors a list
Make a list with your mentors and outline one thought and action in each of the nine areas you can and will immediately work on.
The objective? Stretch up just one notch on the Balance Wheel measurement line.
If you rated yourself as a five for spirituality and committed to an hour of Bible study a day to raise yourself to a six, tell your mentor your plan. Ask that they support you while you make an effort to fulfill that promise to yourself.
4. Recommit in writing
Each time you stretch and improve one number and one step on the Balance Wheel scale, commit yourself in writing to sustaining this new behavior until it becomes a new habit.
Recommitting in writing ensures that you will never flip back to your previous mindsets and behaviors.
It’s the Journey, Not the Destination
Successful people change their destinations and relish the arrival, while significant people stretch and thrive during the journey.
Significant people are willing at any moment to sacrifice what they are for who they could become.
To stretch is to know that the greatest reward for your hard work is not what you get for it but what you become by it.
It can be challenging to start that journey. We’re more accustomed to being led than leading ourselves. But if you work towards self-empowerment and empower yourself to stretch, you’ll discover that you are a better person today than you were yesterday.
Read more about empowering yourself in my best-selling book: The Art of Significance – Achieving The Level Beyond Success.
Would you like help getting started? Dan Clark is a motivational speaker and keynote speaker who offers executive coaching, to work with Dan, connect with him here. Dan will get you set up with the tools, resources and desire to see you become the best version of yourself from the inside out.
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