|What is your definition of power? Unfortunately, when the subject
of power comes up, the context is often negative: abuse of power,
power hungry, etc. The use of power in our civilization has been
linked to war, corruption and other atrocities.
Power is neither positive nor negative, it simply is. Consider
my favorite definition of power: the ability to move things around
in the physical universe. We often say that powerful people are
known for their ability to get things moving. What is their
Successful people throughout time recognize the paradox of power:
to wield power, one must give it away — that is — to empower.
A simple example of empowerment is the rechargeable battery. By
itself, a battery is only a vessel for power. Charge it up and
it energizes your cell phone or laptop. Forget to recharge your
battery, and it will ultimately fail you.
Microsofts Bill Gates understands this paradox. To achieve his
goals, Gates hires and empowers the smartest people he can find.
He wants only the best for them, and expects only the best. Through
the employee stock program, Gates has helped create hundreds of
millionaires. When asked about the success of Microsoft, he invariably
replies, We have the smartest people. By empowering his smart
people, Gates has risen to the top of his chosen field.
It has often been said that the fastest way to get what you want
is to help others get what they want. Align your goals with the
success of others and you create a feedback loop of empowering
efforts that propel you to even greater success. Oprahs Angel
Network is aligned with the goal of empowering others. She shows
us that by giving from the heart we make others feel better and,
in turn, we feel better ourselves. Oprah recently described how
a group of volunteers with Habitat for Humanity were able to build
a home in only five days!
While an insecure person seeks to discredit or dis-empower other
people, a wise person focuses on empowering others in his universe.
Create a list of the people (family, friends, colleagues, customers,
employees, etc.) that you empower and those that you dis-empower
(discredit). You might also create a list of organizations that
you empower or discredit (alma mater, professional groups, bank
or credit union). Examine your lists and you will discover your
own patterns of empowerment or self-sabotage—in other words a
snapshot of your current success in life. Determine how you can
empower those people and organizations and you hold the secret
to getting things moving in your universe.
What are some specific ways to start your empowerment program?
You can empower others by teaching or coaching. When you tutor
a child, you empower a future generation. You can also empower
others simply by finding their good qualities and focusing your
attention on them. Appreciation, praise, and encouragement are
extremely effective empowerment tools. This is why the really
successful companies hold fancy galas to honor their top performers.
There is a lot of talk these days about self-empowerment. Expand
your definition of self to include your network or community and
all empowerment becomes self-empowerment. As we expand our definition
of community to the entire planet, we will set into motion the
start of an enlightened planetary civilization whose alignment
will bring achievements we can only begin to imagine.
Publisher, The Holistic Networker
©1998, Tony Cecala