By Dr. Steve
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Personal Empowerment? -
Life moves on,
whether we act as
cowards or heroes.
Life has no other
discipline to impose,
if we would but realize it,
than to accept life unquestioningly.
Everything we shut our eyes to,
everything we run away from,
everything we deny,
denigrate or despise,
serves to defeat us in the end.
What serves most painful, evil,
can become a source of beauty, joy,
if faced with an open mind.
Every moment is a golden one
for him who has the vision
to recognize it as such.
- Henry Miller
day in college, I was sitting in the library. It was one of those sleepy, snowy, winter
afternoons. The truth is, I didnt want to work that day. It was more fun to look out
the window and watch the chunky snowflakes making their way to the ground through the tree
I went to the old part of the stacks and looked through the books randomly. I found one
and started reading. I cant remember the title, but it was archaic. In spite of the
books age, I was impressed at what it said. I jotted down a few lines that have
stuck with me ever since.
-An empowered life evolves from reevaluating and
expanding your life.
-An empowered life is congruent with who you are and reflects
through your life choices the essence of who you are.
-An empowered life reflects the core of who you are --
rather than a reflection of what others have chosen for you to be.
-An empowered life evolves from a mindset of
commitment, purpose, and perseverance.
-An empowered life is created through a combination of
thought and action.
-An empowered life is built upon the accumulated impact
of manageable risk-taking.
-An empowered life is nurtured through support
from the significant relationships you have in your life.
-An empowered lifes ultimate outcome is a life
rich with purpose, meaning, and control.
was amazed at this persons ability to express so clearly these simple yet powerful
I realized although the path of growth and empowerment is a unique,
individualized journey for each of us, there are universal principles for personal
empowerment applicable to all of us.
limitations create much of the frustration we experience in our lives. Our personal fears
create smaller and smaller boxes from which we live our lives. These limitations have
eroded our base of personal power and freedom.
honest truth is we have traded away developing our potential for the illusions of safety,
security, approval, and love. The tiny boxes we find ourselves stuck in
reinforce all the things we have chosen to believe about ourselves.
We believe we aren't entitled
to a life created by our choices.
We believe our life choices are
restricted to what others expect from us.
We believe we are powerless to
effect any kind of significant change in our lives.
We believe we are not worthy of
being emotionally autonomous.
We believe we do not deserve
relationships that honor who we are.
longer we cling to these beliefs, the smaller and smaller the box we live in becomes. The
longer we deprive ourselves of our birthright, the more we demonstrate how correct our belief system is.
have always believed you can have love and security without compromising your life
choices. By developing personal empowerment, you do not have to lose everyone in your
life. Living a life rich of meaning and purpose does not mean you have to forfeit all of
your worldly possessions. You can expand yourself and your life without living in fear
that it will all be taken away from you.
we need is a process to literally reinvent the blue-print from which we live our lives.
Understanding the influences that create our self-limiting blue-print is a necessary
precursor to personal empowerment.
we find a way to understand how to recognize where we are and see the restrictive
influences within our life, we can create an expanded blueprint for our lives.
have a friend who is tremendously successful in business today. Ive written about
her before. She loves her job. She makes a great salary and she has an active, exciting
social life. And she credits the keys to her empowerment to the things we talk about in
this book (although she found them on her own through years of effort).
afternoon I asked her what her life was like before she figured out the secrets of
I thought everything was fine, she said. I had graduated from a small college
where I met my husband Ted. He was a history student and floated from temp job to temp
job, never finding what he wanted to do.
on the other hand, she continued, had a secretary position because I could
type. Years must have passed, Ted never got a job. He got bitter, I got nowhere at work
and our marriage went from awful to worse. One day I realized I was doing everything to
make other people happy, yet I was dying on the inside. I struggled to make changes and
eventually I discovered the things you talk about in the book. I dont want to sound
too over-the-top, Steve, but that was twelve years ago.
my life does not include Ted. I help direct a company thirty times larger than the one I
was a secretary for. Some days I am so happy that I literally begin to cry tears of joy as
I have morning coffee. I tell anybody that if I did it, they can empower themselves,
indulge me one last story. I talked to a friend about writing this book. I shared with him
some conceptual problems I was having with the book and he shared with me some important
insights about his experiences with these principles.
said, Steve, when you first introduced me to these principles of personal
empowerment, I had two very distinct and dramatic reactions. My first reaction was,
Wow! This all makes so much sense. I felt excited, elated, and hopeful, all at
friend continued, Then I felt an incredible sinking feeling as I realized the depth
of what needed to take place in order for me to get there from here. A pervasive sense
of being overwhelmed quickly dashed my feelings of elation and hope. I thought to
myself that this may work for others but it is too much for me to do.
it was almost as if you handed me, one piece at a time, three hundred parts to an
automobile engine. You explained each part clearly and succinctly to me and then told me
to go ahead and put the engine together.
didnt think you could get any more outrageous, but my jawed dropped because of what
you told me next.
will never forget my reaction when you told me that The most important thing to do
is to just get started. Dont worry about understanding how the parts relate to each
said, Just as it takes two sticks to rub together in order to start a fire, all you
really need to do is just find two principles that seem understandable and manageable to
you and start there. The rest will somehow fall into place as you keep adding new
experiences to what you started with.
I thought that was an awfully cavalier attitude for something so important. But, you
know what? That is exactly how it worked for me. I started with a couple of the principles
that felt safest and most comfortable, and things just started to pick-up steam from
Steve, he said, I havent mastered all the different principles, but what
a difference the ones I have become comfortable with have already made. There are some
principles I dont like or agree with -- theyre just not all for me. But,
thats the beauty of your system. There are so many different ways to get there from here. I was able to do it in a
way that was safest and most comfortable for me.
was one last thing I was wondering about so I asked him, What does personal
empowerment mean to you?
forehead wrinkled as he pondered that question for a moment. He then looked at me and
said, You know, that has really changed for me. When you first explained these
different principles, I viewed personal empowerment as the miracle I had been
searching for. I thought of it as this huge way of being different. I thought of it as
something I had to grow into being.
I believe it to be now is the cumulative effect of a series of small victories that has
added up to an indescribable feeling that is the combination of happiness, fulfillment,
disappointment, setbacks, and overcoming any challenge.
think of myself differently. I see myself differently. I carry myself differently. People
treat me differently.
series of small victories have embedded in me the belief that I am equal to any challenge.
My spirit is a formidable resource I can use under any circumstance with any person.
importantly, at the deepest gut level, I am able to look fear in the eye and not have to
back down from it anymore. I now have an assortment of tools with which to handle any
person or circumstance on my journey.
me conclude with some advice that has guided me for years and never let me down once as we
begin our journey together.
A bit of advice
given to a young Native American
at the time of his initiation:
As you go the way of life,
you will see a great chasm.
It is not as wide as you think
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