What is Personal Empowerment?
Personal empowerment incorporates several different factors, two of the most significant aspects being our overall sense of confidence and competence. First of all, confidence is characterised by a sense of trust in yourself and that you have the ability to implement control over your life. Furthermore, when we have a high sense of self-confidence, we believe that we are able to meet life’s challenges head on and are willing to be adaptive in order to succeed in our goals and aspirations.
Competence on the other hand is real world evidence that we can meaningfully impact our environment. For instance, learning and developing a skill such a public speaking and then receiving feedback after a presentation that you articulated discussion point effectively. Interestingly, we observe that when an individual’s sense of competence in an area increases so does their confidence. Therefore, one way to achieve true personal empowerment is to establish a balance between our sense of confidence and competence in any given area.
What Does Personal Empowerment Feel Like and Why is it Important?
Entitlement is when an individual believes that they should be automatically awarded benefits and privileges. On the other hand, empowerment is the result of increasing your overall sense of control in life and through continual self-reflection, making decisions that are in your own best interest. When someone has a high degree of personal empowerment, they also tend to increase their self-esteem.
How To Achieve Personal Empowerment?
One way to achieve personal empowerment can be setting meaningful and achievable goals for yourself. Through this process, focus on what are the necessary skills/processes/competencies that need to be developed and utilised in order to achieve these goals.
A useful blueprint that facilitates goal achievement is to make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. These are known as SMART goals. Lets say that we are trying to boost self-empowerment by focusing on our health through exercise, specifically running. Rather than telling ourselves, I want to run more, we can use a SMART goal to increase our chances of establishing and maintaining this new behaviour.
- Specific – Try to be precise when establishing a goal, rather than saying I want to run more, we can say, I want to run 5km at a pace of 6km per hour.
- Measurable – We want to be able to track our progress either with measurable criteria of quantifiability, this will help to build and maintain motivation towards achieving our goal. For instance, downloading an app that logs your running distance and pace which can provide consistence feedback of progress towards achieving your goal.
- Attainable – We want to try and avoid setting ourselves up for failure through unrealistic goals setting. For example, 5km is a much more achievable goal to strive for, rather than setting an unrealistically high distance such at 40km. This can lead us towards burnout if we perceive that we are not progressing effectively.
- Relevant – There needs to be an inherent personal importance to the goal. For instance, the goal is relevant as it will help us to increase our sense of self-empowerment. Increasing our fitness levels may lead to increased self-confidence, this will be demonstrated by developing our competence with running faster and for longer distances.
- Time-bound – It is important to set a time limit for when you will achieve this goal that is realistic however not to far off in the future. E.g., I will achieve this goal in the next three months.