photos – Clay Banks
I had one teacher that stands out from high-school because she never criticized me or made me feel like less. I carry her name with me because she gave me power in realizing my own value and strength. She was a large part in why I pursued a creative career. And because of her, I hope to empower someone the way she empowered me. What I learned from her was that you empower yourself by empowering others.
This is to imply that empowering others is by sharing in like beliefs and creating relationships based on enabling a person to achieve his or her best, and not by seeking self-interest or self-gain.
Finding Simon Sinek’s work is really special because he emphasizes the idea of building your own worth and self-esteem by supporting others. He adds that it’s actually a militaristic behaviour. Soldiers don’t go into battle or life risking and dangerous situations to seek glory or to be rewarded for heroism. They put themselves in danger to help their fellow soldiers and because they understand the person next to them would do the same.
At its core, empowerment means granting of the power, right, or authority to perform various acts or duties. But empowerment is not always externally granted, you can claim your own empowerment, so where does this happen? For the soldiers, it comes from a state of self-awareness they have in knowing they are there to help their fellow soldier. The important thing to remember is that you can’t help anyone else unless you are confident in yourself and your abilities.
Simon Sinek continues to say that authorities and parents are supposed to help us feel strong and good about ourselves, but too often they tell you to do more with less. He says what needs to happen is that we need to celebrate what we have instead of criticizing for what we don’t have.
When you align your beliefs with the value you bring to others, you get growth, you get support, you get a community, you gain trust and you empower yourself in the process. Establishing genuine relationships facilitates the connections to begin empowering those around you and in return, empowering yourself with the confidence to face challenges head on.
So spend time with those who are like-minded, who care about you, and can see your worth and value. Show your appreciation for them and tell them you’re grateful. Separate yourself from the people who attack or belittle you and would like to see you fail. Pay kindness and appreciation forward. When we help others, we help ourselves develop confidence and feel more empowered to take on anything that comes our way.