I was in the 6th grade (that time in your life when we have reached our optimal emotional maturity), sitting at the kitchen table lamenting over how my life had come to an end because of the injustices lobbied against me by the ENTIRE Universe, when my mother said to me, “Happiness is a choice.”
Like any good 6th grade daughter I thought to myself, “That woman is crazy. Happiness is most certainly not a choice.” While I was absolutely certain and shockingly clear on my mom’s mental state, I was at least smart enough not to say it out loud.
Years later, I was married with 2 kids on the ground, enjoying a fabulous career when a mentor of mine whom I adored essentially said, “Happiness is a choice.” I was transformed! If I had only known all along that I had a choice I could have spent the previous decade happy, not miserable!
Remind Them They Have a Choice
The best way we can empower each other is to help the person next to us understand she has a choice. Misery or happiness — we get to choose. Wayne Dyer says, "Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice."
I can choose what affects me.
I can choose to not be damaged.
I can choose to not be afraid.
I can choose to look at mistakes as learning experiences.
I can choose to be confident.
I can choose to be happy.
I can choose to feel loved.
I can choose.
Take a moment to make a list of what you can choose. It’s empowering. Empower the people in your world by reminding them they have a choice!
Fight the Bully (in Their Heads)
Researchers tell us we speak to ourselves 50,000 times a day and 80% of that is negative. 40,000 times a day we are saying disempowering things to ourselves. The absolute best way we can empower the women in our world is to fight for them. Don’t leave them facing the bully in their heads by themselves. Get in the ring with for her. Fighting for her communicates she is worth it!
Have you noticed how often women say things to disempower themselves, like starting their sentences with I’m sorry? Or using little words like just, tiny, little? “I’m sorry to bother you.” “I just need a minute of your time.” “I have this tiny suggestion.” These words reveal to us the bully in her head is hard at work. Help her fight the tendency to use disempowering words, even ask her to practice the sentence again with more powerful language. This will retrain her inner bully to become an inner coach.
A team of women had been creating, planning and hosting a remarkable event multiple times a year for many years. This particular event ushered in sweet freedom and spiritual growth for hundreds of women over the years. In the wake of changing leadership roles, these women were moved to my team. I showed up for a portion of their event almost every time they hosted one. They did not need me. They were capable and fully competent. And yet, when I showed up for the first time, they articulated how empowering it was to simply have someone in leadership show up.
Most of the time empowering the women around you is a simple act of really seeing her — noticing who she is, what she brings to the table, what she’s doing. Taking time to celebrate when she is experiencing success, sitting with her when she is grieving, and sharing your own experience when she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know are simple (not easy, but simple) ways to show up for her.
Empowered women, empower women. Go out and empower the people in your world.