I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am a certified coach / counselor at Dutch...
How to feel empowered07 January 2014, by Dorota Klop-Sowinska
"Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go wherever they want."
This was the sentence I used to kick off my Female Empowerment event a couple of weeks ago. The title comes from a book written by Ute Ehrhardt and inspired me to write this article.
It is a great example on how our perception of ourselves guides us in a certain direction. How we perceive ourselves now, as women, is formed by what we were told and learnt to believe about ourselves when we were little girls.
The difference between a happy woman (and man) who achieves the things she wants, versus an unhappy one who doesn’t, is her belief system.
An interesting paradox about limiting beliefs is that what we think and believe has often nothing to do with reality, but at the same time it shapes our reality.
If your bike gets stolen, you can think:
› "Why does it always happen to me?" or
› "It was time for a new one."
One famous American motivational speakers said that quality of life and feelings of fulfilment depend on what you focus on, and your focus depends on the types of questions you keep asking yourself.
So if you keep asking yourself "Why does it always happen to me?", try answering yourself with "Will I achieve the things I want?"
Empowerment is a state of mind! As is feeling helpless and frustrated. Our state of mind and how we feel is fuelled by what we think and believe about ourselves, others, the world, etc.
Put yourself first
If our beliefs about ourselves and other women are things like:
› "Girls need to be sweet"
› "As a woman I need to be likable"
› "No one likes to work for a bossy woman" etc.
What will happen to our big dreams and the plans we want to achieve for ourselves?
Often women put others first and only then think about our own needs and desires. I heard that there is only one place where we women need to think about ourselves first and that is on a plane.
Remember, the flight attendant says:
"In the event of decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you... If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person."
In this instance, we can only help others if we ourselves have the energy to do so.
Envisage becoming yourself
Now I want you think for a moment about what you could achieve if you were not holding yourself back; if you put your own needs and desires in first place.
If I was not holding myself back I would: __________.
What is holding you back?
I often hear from my clients that they think that they are not achieving something due to external circumstances.
We often think:
› "I don’t have enough money”
› "I don’t have the time" and so on.
But in the world that we live in now, frequently it is the opposite that is true.
If we are not achieving something, it is related to our internal obstacles. These internal obstacles, called limiting beliefs in psychology, form a map in our mind. A map that guides our lives.
The question is: do we want to go where the map is guiding us? Will it guide us to heaven or will it guide us to where we want to go?
Now write down the limiting beliefs that are holding you back. Examples could be:
› "Nothing comes easily"
› "People need to like me"
› "As a woman one should not be overconfident"
› "I am not good enough"
The beliefs that are holding me back are: __________.
What empowers you?
Now the crucial question is:
"How do we change those limiting beliefs?"
Those limiting beliefs come from a certain state: you could call it the "critic" in you. The good news is that we also have different states in us that are our source of power, creativity and energy.
I would like you now to take a piece of paper and write "free child" on it, then put it on the floor and stand on it.
Now close your eyes and think of a situation when you last felt happy, empowered and ready to move mountains.
What did you believe about yourself in that moment? How did you feel? What did you do? What was the result?
Now open your eyes and write down on the piece of paper your empowering belief related to yourself.
The belief that empowers me is: __________.
Time for action
Last but not least, write down at least three actions that you want flow out of your empowered self.
The actions that I commit to take are: __________.
Please share at least one in the comments below, to also empower others! Just do so!