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 secret?
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.
Microsoft’s 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. Oprah’s 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
About Tony Cecala
Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind.