Empowering people matters. Be this special someone who makes a difference.

This post was born 31 May, 2019 2 Comments
Empowering people

Empowering people doesn’t always take much, you just have to be your kind self…

As part of a previous job I had in Italy, there were ladies who would come and stay on a yoga retreat to “re-connect” with themselves. I soon realised that quite a few of them had gone through some hardships like divorce, tough diseases, loss, redundancy etc. I found myself really touched to be there and to be part of their “journey” through recovery in some way. I learned to grasp the impact of how “damaged” and hurt they were and how much self-esteem they had lost in the process. However their willingness to get better and to move forward was still there. I could see it all slowly bubbling back up day after day thanks to what they were experiencing on the retreat as a whole and I am so grateful to have been part of this. It really was truly amazing to witness and I felt so proud of them!

Empowering a person should be a selfless act, don’t do it for your own agenda

We often hear about Companies claiming that they’re all about “empowering” their employees, so they feel valued and appreciated at work. While this all sounds wonderful and very promising, there is always a catch of course. The wellbeing of employees and growth within a company rarely come first. The real concern is money.

The truth is that the current world we live in makes no place whatsoever for people who do not like “fighting”, don’t know how to or don’t want to! The lions in the arena seem totally oblivious to the fact that the crowd outside the arena is as worthy as them though and that they have some knowledge & skills to share too. Individualism and greed are literally driving us to our end.

Empowering and supporting people should be viewed as having manners and respect for other human beings. It’s as simple as that. By ignoring people around us and by focusing on targets and money only, we are basically telling people around us that they do not matter.

Empowering people

The truth about humans…

Even though we would all prefer to always feel invincible & unstoppable etc, life isn’t quite like that… It isn’t always kind and everyone can one day experience struggle. Don’t ever assume that you’d do better in the same situation because you just don’t know!

I am convinced that even people who think that they are worth more than others and that they are “fully equipped for happiness,” could easily lose their act if taken out of their “comfort zone” by surprise. We all have weaknesses or times where we could use some support and we all need to remember that. We shouldn’t ever take what we have for granted.

Being kind to your family, close friends and colleagues should pretty much be a given, but it doesn’t always have to stop there. A kind word, a kind attention and showing some support out of the blue to people around you will always be appreciated. When you can read or guess some obvious struggle that is easy to fix for you, say or do something kind. Watch what happens within that person because YOU have the power to turn things around & make them feel worthwhile. Sometimes it really doesn’t take much to transform someone’s life by just showing care, trust and by giving them the right tools to achieve greatness.

How do you spot someone with low self-esteem or in time of struggle?

Empowering people

At work:

It will be someone rather withdrawn who will avoid people and eye contact at all cost. If your colleague tries his/ her best to keep some distance from you or other colleagues and never really interacts with others, that definitely is a sign. Some people like their alone time (I surely am one of those!), but if you pay close attention and observe the body language/ attitude of your colleague, it will appear very obvious if the person is having a hard time. Colleagues who struggle with self-esteem will rarely come forward to ask questions and won’t easily mingle. Their aim is to basically do their job while trying to be invisible to others around them. It really is unpleasant and stressful, but there is no snapping out of it without care & patience from colleagues around.

Solutions:

Think about how well you know your colleague first. Have you been working together for long? Are you reasonably close or not? Was there a sudden mood change? Could it be related to something that happened at work earlier etc? Whether you are the Manager or not, keep this to yourself at first and try to make contact with your colleague. No need to make this super official and drag the HR department in this straight from the beginning. Try to establish some trust and the most important is to be patient. It takes time for some people to word their issues and you have to respect that. See how your colleague is responding to the attention and depending on that, see if you can talk openly and express your concern or not. Remember that some people simply need to talk to someone, they just want to be listened to. I know it can sometimes be tempting to thrown in some “useful” advice, but unless your colleague asks for your thoughts, don’t say anything. If the person doesn’t feel like talking, maybe you can suggest that they email you on your private email address when they feel ready…?

In your personal life:

Once again, it’s about observing what’s going on around and looking for the signs. You go out of your house to do your shopping and there is a world of opportunities out there that would welcome some kindness. I know loads of people feel rushed and they have plenty on their plate, they don’t have time, it’s not their problem or they can’t be bothered etc. Of course there is always a multitude of reasons why you can’t help. Of course, it actually is easier, but does it really have to be this way??

It could be your neighbour who is going to a job interview and she feels lots of pressure because she’s been looking for a job for a long time. It could be someone at your favourite café place where you like sitting down sipping your first shot of the day. Maybe there is a new barista or waiter who is on trial and super nervous they’re going to fail as they’re being watched by their boss. It could be your child who had a bad mark at school, your wife or husband etc. Sometimes life throws curve balls at us and it’s easy to lose confidence when we seem to be getting all the proof in the world that we’re not good at something or not capable of doing better.

Solutions:

First, it’s all about observing and establishing trust. You cannot just “barge in” and tell the person that there is no reason to worry or make a big deal out of it. You have to respect the fact that it is an uncomfortable situation for the person. They are most likely ashamed or even feeling some guilt and the last thing they need is to have an insensitive person throwing nonsense at them. If you do not feel like you are able to help at this stage in a positive manner, ask someone you know who may be able to help out. The most important is that if you know someone reasonably close to you who is having a hard time, don’t let it go unnoticed.

Empowering people

How to try & empower someone:

  • Acknowledge the person maybe a little more than usual and try to actually connect with them
  • Throw in a smile and a kind word
  • Give the person your full attention if they want to talk (choose a place where there are no distractions)
  • If the person doesn’t feel like talking, suggest to do it in writing whenever it feels like a good time
  • Interact with the person, looking at them in the eyes and show some actual care. Be prepared to spend a little bit more time looking out for them.
  • Ask how you can help. It is a very simple, but important question, don’t underestimate it

Conclusion:

Empowering people is easy and it doesn’t require any specific status or fancy diplomas. You just need to be mindful and kind. Look around you, observe and listen to people. If they start talking to you about projects, ideas or dreams they have and they don’t match your personal goals, don’t judge. We need to respect each other’s desires, lives, passions, struggles and we need to be supportive of each other no matter what. Dismissing people who have different objectives, beliefs or plans isn’t acceptable. Full stop.

Wouldn’t you appreciate the help if one day someone offered you some? Wouldn’t you appreciate it if someone stopped rushing through their busy lives just for a minute and helped your brother, your sister or your son/ daughter if you were not around? Please think about that… How would this make you feel to know that a stranger was there to help at the right time when you couldn’t? There are great people out there who may not be famous, rich or making life changing discoveries, but they have their role to play. They have their dreams, their hopes like anyone else and anything we can do to make them more reachable, we should be there to cheer them on.

Little bonus: Helping others feels REALLY good for you too. Dare to give it a go and learn something new about yourself! It involves showing some vulnerability and that’s perfectly ok, even if you don’t know how to at first. The important thing is to be willing to try.

Thanks for reading!

 

"When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower." Alexander Den Heijer

2 thoughts on “Empowering people matters. Be this special someone who makes a difference.

  1. Thank you very much for this beautiful article. This is really great & innovative. I appreciate your thoughts & writing skills. Your ideas are really helpful. Well done.

    1. Hello Reese,
      Many thanks for your kind comment & for taking the time to post it. I really appreciate it!

      Take care.
      Addie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *