For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved biographies and autobiographies. Real life stories of courage amidst struggle, triumph over defeat, and hope in the face of despair. I love these stories not only because they’re interesting, but because they challenge and inspire us to grow beyond the status quo, daring us to dream and live our lives out loud — with passion, courage and conviction; transforming our lives from one of complacency to a derring do adventure.
Yet even as we are moved by the actions of others, far too often inspiration sits idly on the shelves of our lives as we silence ourselves, mock our hopes and trade our dreams for the illusion of safety or approval of others.
Some of us doubt and disempower ourselves, perhaps allowing others to make us feel small, insignificant or incapable, as if the truth of who we are is somehow not enough. Others of us willingly bury our dreams and barter our self-respect in exchange for outer measures of success, or wait passively for others to magically hand us the keys to our life, forgetting that we are co-creators in our own lives and destinies. Some of us resist stepping out in the name humility, though in the process we deny the world the gift of ourselves. We fill our minds with self-limiting (and perpetuating) beliefs, wondering to ourselves:
Who am I to try? What if I fail? What will ‘they’ think? What can I do? What do I have to offer? What difference can one person make?
Who are you not to try? I challenge you to consider. Who are you not to live your voice out loud? Who are you not to share your gifts with the world?
True empowerment is not just about what happens without, but what happens within.
It begins the deep knowing that you matter. That we all matter.
It is the belief that we each have within us the power to make a difference in our own unique way; that we each have the ability to touch, reach and teach another, through the gift of our own example.
Transformative in nature, it is the catalyst that converts ideas into action — giving birth to our dreams and life to our voice.
At its essence, empowerment is the fullest expression and collective gift of our authentic selves.
I’m curious… What does empowerment mean to you? What role does it play in leadership? What beliefs/tools empower you to live your life out loud? What challenges have you overcome on the way to your own dream(s)? What holds you back from living your life to the fullest?