Does Empowerment Require Permission?

Does Empowerment Require Permission?

When you hear the word empowerment, what do you envision? Do you think of advocating for something to make a difference?  Do you think of someone granting you the freedom, the title and the responsibility to stand up and drive change?  In my career, I have suffered from seeking permission to lead. 

I wanted the green light from a boss to take charge, to take on more responsibility or lead others who didn’t report to me.  I’d wait to take steps that were beneficial to the company because I wanted permission first. 

And I don’t know about you, but that waiting game, made me feel stifled and controlled.  I wasn’t free in my daily work and I was the only person making me feel this way.  If we are honest with ourselves, we are giving up our personal freedom by not utilizing empowerment properly.

History of Empowerment

If we look at the history of the word, empower originates from the Old French prefix 'en-'meaning 'in, into' and the root 'power' which comes from the early 1300s,meaning 'ability, strength, might'. This history is based on YOUR ability andstrength and doesn’t mention looking to others like a boss, loved ones or society to get it. 

Waiting for Permission Can Hurt You

Don’t allow yourself to wait.  If you like to advocate for things, if you have passions you deeply believe in, how can you take a stand and empower yourself now?  Don’t wait for permission to act toward what you believe in.  

I was recently in a situation where I had sold myself short because of permission.  I knew I wanted to level up in my career, but I didn’t think I had enough time in my current role to prove to a new company I had the skills. 

Time is irrelevant, I had the drive and the will to learn it faster than most.  I didn’t think that was enough and I was afraid I couldn’t convince others to see it the same way.  I am sad to say I didn’t believe in myself enough to try, so I made a lateral move to another company. 

My soul was screaming at me to do something else, to try and think bigger to find the job that I REALLY wanted.  But I was too eager to get out of my current job, made the move and spent the first few months beating myself.

The Learnings

During that time of feeling pain – I learned that I really didn’t want to convince others I was capable. I thought I wasn’t great at selling myself and didn’t want to try if it was a long-shot.  Now I will never know if I could have landed the higher-level position I wanted.  On top of that, I ended up reporting to someone with a similar experience level - further proof I should have put myself out there.

Even though the learnings from this situation are insurmountable, it still hurts to know that I didn’t even try.  Don’t make the same mistake.  If something inside is making you feel uneasy, or you have an unexplainable drive pushing you in another direction, don’t think or wait…just follow it.  That drive could be your signal to empower yourself and follow your gut.  Listen to that intuition.  

Empowering Yourself

I never wanted to work for other people but didn’t think I could be on my own so I didn’t do that either. This entire situation, the waiting for permission, the lack of self-belief, forced a behavior change. It was time to believe in me and there were no excuses.

I used the money I had to act in the direction my heart, gut, soul – whatever you want to call it was screaming at me to go.  In one month I had a team of three people that I hired to help me build an online company from nothing. 

I was pulling together something with my strategy, my vision and had full control over every step.  I was paired with the best people I could afford.  I leveled myself up and created the opportunity I wanted when I knew a corporation wasn’t the right place to get it.  

How Failure Guides Us

Sometimes we wait for permission and make mistakes in the process.  Those mistakes can hurt but they also teach us.  It forced me to use positive affirmations to believe in myself. It forced me to make a sizable effort to run my own company versus dumping my energy into a corporate job. 

It pushed me to believe I could be a business owner when before I told myself I wasn’t a visionary. Sometimes our mistakes allow us to fail forward, to make positive change and make decisions for our lives that send us farther ahead of what we could have imagined for ourselves.

What can you build? What steps can you take to empower yourself and create your own opportunities? If you have struggled with believing in yourself like I have, click here to learn more about how to reverse your self-limiting beliefs.  These are the steps I used to believe in myself and it’s made a significant change in my life.  I believe it could help you too.


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