By Dr. Steve
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The Forces of Empowerment Or The Forces of
How does one become a butterfly? she asked.
"You must want to fly so much that you
are willing to give up being a caterpillar.
- Trina Paulus
I remember the day she came in to see me. I was doing some
psychological evaluation tests on volunteers to get my masters degree and Pistol had agreed to help. Pistol isnt her
real name, its just something I started calling her after we met. She was younger
than my other volunteers, maybe 19. And the conversation went something like this.
for coming in, I would like to ask you some questions, I said.
this is one of those tests isnt it. I cant stay long, and dont analyze
me. OK? she said.
just a few questions, I offered. Nothing too serious.
bet you guys say that to all of us. Well, Im not falling for it. This sucks. You and
all of your tests.
First question ... do you ...
changed my mind, I dont want to do this. This stinks. I hate when people ask me
all right, we can stop if you want to, I said.
I want to stop. She looked down. This always happens to me. I start doing
something I want to do and then I get scared. Then I back out and feel guilty about being
there in the first place, she mumbled as she talked. I think this is connected
somehow but I just cant put the pieces together.
Im only here to ask you questions, but I think you may be right. If you think there
is a connection, there probably is one, even if you cant see it.
backed out of going to my Grandmothers funeral. I quit a job after only two days.
And, I run out on every boyfriend who gets too close. So far I count three guys Ive
left, she said. I think these events all have something in common, but I
dont know what. Its like Im pre-programmed to do this stuff, you know
what I mean?
I do know, and no, I dont know what makes you do this stuff. Im just here to
ask some questions, remember?
yeah, she said. Do you think Im right about this pre-programming thing.
I mean I jump ship on situations that get too tight and my dad goes around getting hurt
and dumped by every woman he dates. I call that his M.O., you know, thats Latin, for
modus operandi. Its his pattern. And he
keeps repeating it, over and over again.
know lots of people who do the same pattern over and over again. Youre right about
that, I said.
thought so. Hey, this psychology stuff is easier than I thought. Go ahead and ask your
plight is one so many of us face. We are aware of the patterns of our life, but we feel
powerless to do anything about the grip these patterns hold on our lives. Its almost
as if there is some invisible forcefield that is shaping the direction our life
It is my most fervent belief that we all can create a life of personal freedom and
empowerment. We can create such a life through understanding what the components of this
forcefield are and how to transform the influence of those components from self-limiting
thats what we long for in our lives. We all are seeking a life of purpose and
meaning. We derive such purpose from the choices we make on a moment-by-moment basis.
These micro-choices serve to construct a life of empowerment, purpose and fulfillment, or
a life of quiet despair.
fact, I refer to this invisible forcefield as our personal blueprint. A blueprint from
which the patterns of our life unfold. This blueprint is made from the very fabric of who
we are. The combined influences of our personal choices, our style of thinking, the types
of action we take, and the impact on our emotional well-being from the obstacles on our
journey, all mold our personal blueprint.
can alter our lives by overcoming the obstacles in our path. We overcome the obstacles in
our path by creating different choices for ourselves. We can create different choices for
ourselves through combining different thinking with different action.
its not just any kind of thought or any kind of action we need to combine.
need to develop a specific mindset and combine it with some specific ways of thinking
about the events of our life. This is the formula for creating a new way of thinking.
need to harness the power of action. Not any kind of action, however. The type of action
that enables you to go one step beyond your zone of emotional comfort. We call that
risk-taking. This is the formula for a new way of being.
true beauty of our personal power is in our ability to consciously decide to better
understand our personal blueprint. By better understanding our personal blueprint, we can
alter it and increase the amount of influence we assert in all areas of our life.
following story is a good example of how blind loyalty to our personal blueprint
constricts our life experiences as we ignore all the choices that are available to us.
mom has a fish pond outside her house. She stocks this pond with her favorite fish. A
couple of years ago I came across some exotic fish I thought would be a great addition for
her pond. Boy, was she excited when I showed her the fish I bought for her!
we went outside to transfer them from the tiny bowl I had brought them in to their new
home in the fish pond. While we let them go, my mom was bringing me up-to-date on her
favorite stories about the other fish that were in the pond as well as stories about
her finch bird-feeder.
she was talking to me, I noticed something strange about the two new fish. They were
swimming in one corner of the pond in the same exact pattern as if they were still in the
tiny bowl in which I had brought them to their new home.
thought to myself how odd that was. Here they had been freed to swim in a much larger
environment with other fish. Yet, they stuck to their old pattern of swimming, as if they
were still in the tiny fish bowl.
thought about this for a second. It struck me how those two fish were just like you and me
and our loyalty to our own personal blue-print. From our own personal blueprint, we
develop our own routine, our own comfort zone, our own habits and patterns, and seldom
travel beyond them, whether we have the opportunity or not. We often choose to hideout in
our own little part of the world, to stay stuck in our habits and routines, though often
times it leaves us feeling isolated, unloved, anxious, and depressed.
empowerment is the tonic that will free anyone from the habits and patterns to which we
are slaves. These patterns of behavior keep us locked in our self-imposed prisons. We
remain mired in a life that takes us further from who we want to be. Our life remains a
mere reflection of other peoples will rather than our own personal choices.
follows is the premise for the program I have created to illuminate the path to personal
empowerment for thousands of people just like you. Do not let the size of this tip scare
you away from it. Understanding the tip and enacting it in your life will change your life
THE FORMULA FOR PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT IS: BY
CREATING NEW AND DIFFERENT ATTITUDES PLUS NEW AND DIFFERENT ACTIONS, YOU WILL CREATE
NEW AND DIFFERENT CHOICES EMPOWERING YOU TO OVERCOME ANY OBSTACLE ON YOUR LIFES
this one is a mouthful. I promise there are no more like this one in the book.
have a friend who says it much better than I.
he would say, if you choose to always think what youve always thought, and if
you choose to always do what youve always done, then you will always get what
youve always got.
hope this formula comes to mean as much to you as it has to me. This formula is a powerful
mechanism of growth that will enable you to develop a life that empowers you rather than imprisons you.
PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT EXERCISE-
purpose of this book is to illuminate the path that will take you from here to there. To accomplish this
goal, it is critical for you to clearly define from where you are starting and to where
you want to get.
following is a very powerful exercise I first discovered in Human Change Process: The Scientific Foundations of
Psychotherapy by Michael J. Mahoney. This exercise will help to identify a starting
point as well as a specific direction for your journey.
have designed this for you to do only one
section at a time, per week, over the course of three weeks. If you feel comfortable, I
would encourage you to use this exercise once a month thereafter. You will be absolutely
amazed at how your responses change.
separate sheets of paper, complete the following sentence stems. These sentence stems
should be answered as to how you were, are, and will be on your lifes journey.
Do A through G
in Week I:
was able to ...
I was not ...
I was not able to ...
I did not believe ...
Do H through N
in Week II:
I am ...
I am able to ...
I like ...
I believe ...
I am not ...
m) I am not able to ...
I do not believe ...
to list at
least five endings for each sentence stem.
Do O through U
in Week III:
will be ...
will be able to ...
will like ...
will believe ...
s) I will not be ...
t) I will not be able to ...
u) I will not believe ...
to list at
least five endings for each sentence stem.
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.