E is for Empowerment. This post is part of our blog series, The A to Z of Being Babyproof, a celebration of the attitudes and behaviours it takes to balance career and family – because “babyproof” is not a destination, it’s a blueprint for having it all and making it work.

 

The essence of self empowerment is when you remove the obstacles that are preventing you from realising your true potential and find the strength to exert influence over the outcomes in your life. It is about doing what you can do, to be all that you can be, and about taking control of the direction your life.

There can be many barriers to self-empowerment. Some practical and external forces like a discriminatory workplace, a lack of education or an unsupportive spouse can make taking positive action much more difficult. However – how we deal with these external problems is largely determined by forces within ourselves. These are the inner obstacles we need to overcome in order to be self-empowered:

self empowerment

 

Fear

Fear can be paralysing. It is a natural physical and mental response to new, and what we perceive to be scary, situations – a relic from our prehistoric past when we needed to escape predators and be hyper-aware of our surroundings. But now we no longer need to do battle with sabre-toothed tigers, our fear response can be the biggest obstacle to us moving forward in life and achieving our goals. However big our dreams and positive our outlook, if we can’t overcome fear and take action, we can never be empowered to realise our ambitions.

Self empowerment therefore comes through courage. There is nothing wrong with feeling fearful, but accepting your fear for what it is – a ‘feeling’ rather than a ‘danger’ is key. You might think that courage is something you either have or you don’t have, but being courageous is a skill that can be learned and practised. (I talk more about techniques for finding courage here). If you can tap into the courage to overcome your fears, you will feel in control of your life – and achieve self empowerment.

 

Perfectionism

Those who have ambitious goals and high achievers often suffer from perfectionism. You will always feel inadequate if you are constantly striving to reach impossibly high standards. But remember that no-one is perfect. Not even Meghan Markle, however exquisite she may seem! You don’t have to achieve brilliant results in everything you do, and trying to will only slow you down and result in missed opportunities. Being good enough is fine for most things in life and releasing yourself from the tyranny of perfectionism will energise and empower you.

 

Preconceptions

Sometimes our backgrounds or upbringing can lead us to hold negative preconceptions which can stand in the way of self-empowerment. Perhaps a traditional family background has made you wary of combining a top-flight career with motherhood. But you should always rigorously examine your beliefs and question where they originated. Do your research and find evidence to challenge limiting preconceptions. Understand that beliefs and attitudes are not fixed and can change over time and in different situations. Challenging your existing preconceptions will allow you to be self-empowered and take positive action.

 

Lack of purpose

The first part of the Babyproof Your Life online course involves ‘Picturing Your Journey’ – and for good reason. If you don’t have clarity of vision and purpose and a defined set of goals to aim for, you cannot achieve self empowerment. You need to know where you want to go in order to take the right steps to get there. If you don’t have a clear direction, you risk putting effort and energy into the wrong activities and your progress towards achieving your potential will be hindered. Knowing exactly what you want is the best way of ensuring that you get it.

 

Imposter Syndrome

It’s a biggie – for high achieving women, in particular. If you feel unworthy and fraudulent when you are successful, welcome to our world! The constant doubting your own abilities and fear that you don’t deserve to be where you are can be stifling and a real barrier to achieving true self empowerment. But you need to embrace your inner imposter! Recognise the fact that if you suffer from it you are most likely a high-achiever who has overcome obstacles and found success – and that you are in good company. Hugely successful and powerful women like Emma Watson and Sheryl Sandberg admit to imposter feelings too. Accept your inner imposter – use these feelings as fuel for your ambition. It’s part of who you are – and only by being true to yourself can you find ultimate self empowerment. (Read more about embracing Imposter Syndrome here).

 

Have you overcome obstacles to achieve self-empowerment? Share your experiences with us in our Facebook and Linkedin Groups. The Babyproof Your Life online course is launching in January! Find out more here.

 


self empowermentCaroline Flanagan is a Keynote Speaker, Babyproof Coach and Author of Babyproof Your Career, The Secret to Balancing Work and Family so you can Enjoy It All. Caroline believes passionately in the dream of having it all, and founded Babyproof Your Life to train and prepare ambitious career women for the marathon of working parenthood so they can find their own way to #enjoyitall and #makeitwork. You can reach Caroline at caroline@babyproofyourlife.com