I recently wrote a speech for a client that was designed to inspire and promote positive and effective leadership. While writing this piece, I became enthralled by the empowerment aspect of it. The truth is, empowerment seems like a grand and often unreachable concept. When in reality, it is actually much easier to accomplish than we make it out to be.
This morning, I was sitting on my front porch drinking coffee and watching my son ride his bike before school. I realized, that even in this simple moment, I felt empowered. Having the ability to write and edit has awarded me this opportunity to spend mornings with my son and not be rushed to get him to school so I can get to work on time myself. Flexibility is what has driven me to start a freelance writing career in the first place and I feel truly blessed that I have a talent that allows me to work from home.
At the same time, I struggle because being self-employed and working from a home office is quiet and lonely. I sincerely miss the hustle and bustle of a busy corporate office. I miss interacting with others on a daily basis and having a team of people to work on mutual goals with. I am torn between two passions and desperately seeking a way to bridge that gap.
So, how is this internal conflict empowering? Well, I got here, to this point in my life because of the challenges and setbacks that I have faced on this great journey. I have had the bad boss that we all dread. I have had the interoffice feelings of inferiority that often come when working with others. On the flip side, I have also had some amazing and inspirational bosses who truly know what it means to empower people. I have also made many life-long friends while working the traditional 9-5 job. I wholeheartedly believe that both the good and bad that I have met with over the years has brought me to this point. These experiences have given me an understanding and I am more confident now than ever, that I am on the right road. I do not currently know where that road is going yet but I do not regret a single moment that I have gotten to spend as a stay at home mom. Although, it led to a spotty work history as I have spent many years working on a degree remotely and trying to establish my passions and career goals at the same time.
Nevertheless, it was on my front porch this morning that I realized that empowerment is simply a personal connection. Those amazing leaders that I wrote about in that speech for my client, made personal connections with others. Investing in people helps leaders build trust and establish respect. At the same time, bad leaders are also making connections. Except, when you are connecting with people based on selfish objectives those connections fail to empower other people. Instead, it brings out the negativity in others and makes them feel unappreciated. In my situation, if I were to only focus on my internal struggle, the fact that I can’t decide if I want a traditional job or to continue this freelance career, I would be brought down as well. Focusing on the problem was blocking my mind from realizing that. I am blessed because I have the ability to do either one and excel at whichever option I choose. I can make the commitment to invest a little of each day seeking a traditional job and a little of each day investing in my freelance writing and editing career. The path I choose is only limited by my ability to try. As Wayne Gretzky said, “you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Both of these possibilities are very important to me and ignoring one to focus on the other is not an option.
Empowerment is making connections. Great leaders make positive connections with people. Empowering ourselves is a concept that is often more difficult to see and define. I choose to feel empowered because I have amazing options that have presented themselves in my life. Empowering ourselves has to be a choice that we alone must make. We have to form positive connections that directly align with our goals and objectives. Nobody else can bring you to greatness but you.
How can you work to define empowerment with your internal struggles? How will you tackle the challenges that you face without losing sight of your goals?