The road to self-empowerment may not begin where you think. In fact, it starts with how others experience you - also know as self-awareness. Think of self-awareness as point A and self-empowerment as point B. In order to boldly be your true self, you find the road from point A to point B.
There are three landmarks along this journey:
Embrace who you really are
Empower yourself to be successfully you
Now, these are the landmarks you must hit on this road trip, but you must first know what they look like, so you can identify when you arrive. Let's look at these landmarks in greater detail and understand what we should come away with after we visit them.
Landmark #1 - Encounter Yourself
The first step to self-empowerment is to encounter yourself. It is important to know yourself: what matters most to you; what gets you going; what kills your vibe. These all impact how others experience you. Getting to know yourself is not what you think. When I say you need to encounter yourself, I mean you need to experience yourself through the eyes of those around you.
I know what you're thinking... "I know myself." That's true, but you know yourself much more deeply than we do. You know yourself in light of your history and your motives and your intentions and your likes and dislikes, etc. And others experience you void of all that information. This means, that the way you intend to come across, does not always match the way you are received. Most people see it as being them misunderstood, but actually, it's more about them not being self-aware.
One great way to encounter yourself is to take a credible personality test like Everything DiSC® by Wiley. This personality profile not only gives you your tendencies, but takes a deeper look and pulls out your priorities, motivators and stressors, i.e. what makes you tick. You priorities are the things that matter most to you like the bottom line, or the process, or people's experience. Your motivators are the things that get you going like the prospect for success, or providing great quality, or collaborating with a team or keeping things predictable. Your stressors are things that put a wet blanket on your fire like tight deadlines, or isolation, or unclear instructions or a slow pace.
Landmark #2 - Embrace Who You Really Are
Once you really encounter yourself, the next stop is to embrace the real you. Acknowledge your whole self and accept the good with the bad; the ugly with the beautiful. Show yourself love and don't put conditions on loving and accepting yourself. This type of self-acceptance is based on understanding your intrinsic value as a human being. This value is not based on what you do, but what you are - a living person.
Knowing yourself better than anyone else, you should value yourself more than anyone else. Coming to this place of being to embrace yourself impacts the way you treat yourself. You will know you have come and gone through this landmark when you:
Believe in yourself
Work hard for yourself
Stand up for yourself, and
Empower yourself - which is our destination.
Landmark #3 - Empower Yourself
Now to the fun part - using what you know about yourself to give yourself the greatest possibility of success! These two steps to empowering yourself for great accomplishments in your work and leadership will carry you down the road toward success.
First, equip yourself with the necessary skills and behaviors be your best working as an individual and as part of a team. Learn to see your drawbacks before they become setbacks. Put mechanisms in place to deal with them before they arise and conquer them. Also, learn how to better collaborate with others for the best and quickest results.
Next, give yourself what you need to capitalize on your strengths and make up for your weaknesses. If you're forgetful, buy software that will remind you of tasks, deadlines or meetings. If you dislike repetitive tasks, delegate them to someone who does. If you don't like to do sales or negotiate pricing, let your business partner who is better at that handle it, or engage a service company that does. Utilizing the tools and people around you to take care of the things you're not so great at or don't want to do frees you up to focus on the areas you excel in and enjoy.
When you get to this point in your life, you will be working on what matters most at the right time while loving it and killing it.