Written by: Christelle Soto-Suarez, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Empowering ourselves, feeling empowered, feeling we have THE POWER within us… feeling that we have the confidence, the strength, the courage, the bravery, the guts… to act as we want to act, to say what we want to say, to be who we want to be…
Who doesn't want that, deep down within themselves? I'd say that most of us do… for some, this "dream" is very much at the surface, and for others, it's buried much deeper – whether we realize it or not. But once we realize that this dream is here, it keeps coming back to our mind… and then we have to “deal” with it!
Even more so when we find ourselves in a “minority” position – for example, when being a woman in a STEM field such as construction: it’s often “intimidating” to be one of the few “diversity” persons in the group, when not the only one! Yes, that “intimidating” feeling varies depending on our personality, our past experiences, the current circumstances, how inclusive the others around us are, etc. But I believe this "intimating" feeling is there most of the time, even when we've learned to bury it…
Much has already been said about Empowerment… but in this article, I'd like to look at it from a different perspective, one that we can practice both at work and outside of work, starting at a level that is challenging enough without causing excessive stress, and that we can adapt to our specific situation and environment: let’s Explore, Experiment and Expand to exponentially Empower ourselves!
First, let’s look at Empowerment
I didn’t use to like that word because I connected it to “power over others”:
To give somebody the power or authority to do something. ¹
But since learning about life coaching and becoming a professional life coach, I changed my perspective, and now, I love this word… because I see it as Empowering Myself, finding the strength, the courage, the bravery within myself to take steps toward being who I want to be, doing what I want to do… and accepting that even very small steps are as valuable as the big ones…
To give somebody more control over their own life or the situation they are in. ²
Interestingly enough, both definitions refer to “to empower” and come from the Oxford dictionary…
Now, how do YOU see Empowerment? What meaning, feelings, and sensations do you want to associate it with?
And then let’s look at Explore, Experiment, Expand
What do these three words mean to you?
To explore: This word used to represent adventures, discoveries, a whole different world and life to mine… but then I realized it could also refer to exploring what was going on in my normal, day-to-day life: my presence, my behavior, my thought process, my interactions with others – exploring who I was in different environments and circumstances…
To experiment: Scientific experimentations, trying out a new recipe, to see what works and what doesn't, what taste good and what doesn't… are the meanings that come to my mind first. But then I also think of figuring out what I like best in my life, what works best for me, what environment I'm more suited for…
To expand: My knowledge, my know-how, but also what I think is possible, as well as going outside of my comfort zone to expand my horizon…
I think these three words are especially meaningful when we find ourselves to be one of the few “diversity” persons in the group, because of our gender or otherwise… because we need:
To explore our environment, our circumstances, who we are in these situations, how we “fit in” (or not), what’s our presence, what’s our voice, how our knowledge and experiences are perceived… but also how others around us are with us, with others – To know where we stand.
To experiment with different attitudes (how we express ourselves, how much we “raise” our voice, how we change our presence in a room or in a team), ways of approaching an issue, dealing with challenges… and reviewing the results (what we notice within ourselves and in others’ reactions), adjusting and trying again, and again, and again – To know what works well and what doesn’t, for us, in a specific environment.
To expand our views, our perspective on who we could be in that specific environment, on how that environment could be changed to become more inclusive of us, on what environment is more suited to us – To know where we want to go, who we want to be.
Of course, these are just a few examples of what we can do… and yes, it’s easier said than done! But who says we have to “go big” from the start?
Build up the habit… and Empower Yourself
Why not start with quietly exploring our environment and circumstances, maybe making notes on what we notice?
Why not start experimenting in a “safer” environment, where we’re not a “minority”, where we know and trust the people around us (or where we don’t know anyone and are unlikely to meet them again!), where others are also experimenting?
Why not start expanding our view of what’s possible for us in our mind, writing it down just for ourselves, maybe speaking with some very trusted friends?
Let’s build up the habit, one step at a time, of exploring, experimenting, and expanding in ways that work for us… slowly not only feeling more comfortable with acting like this but also feeling more knowledgeable about ourselves: who and where we are, what works and what doesn't work for us, and who and where we want to be.
And this “self-knowledge” is a key element in feeling empowered to take action to move toward who we want to be, toward where we want to go… And this feeling of Empowerment exponentially increases with us strengthening our habit of Exploring, Experimenting, and Expanding…
So, what’s your own perspective on Empowerment? How would you define Empowerment so that it represents the meaning, feelings, and sensations you want to associate with that word?
What first steps are you ready to take right away to start Exploring, Experimenting, and Expanding? How would you feel actually taking these steps, however small they are?
What other, maybe a little bigger, steps could you take next? What do you need to have the strengths, the courage, the bravery to make this happen?
How would you feel taking these more significant steps?
I trust you’ll feel a little bit more empowered each time you take a bigger, more significant step, each time you learn something else about where you stand, what works well and what doesn’t for you, and where you want to go!
Wondering what’s the connection between what I do as a Personal Leadership & Development Coach on one side and exploring, experimenting, and expanding to empower people on the other?
Well, “Empowering Yourself to Create the Life and Career You Want" is my motto and is what I strive to achieve through my work as a professional life coach.
And both “explore” and “expand” are integral parts of my 5-step process to “Empowering Yourself to Create the Life and Career You Want”…
Interested in knowing more about my 5-step process to “Empowering Yourself to Create the Life and Career You Want”? Book a free 45-minute Empower Yourself Discovery Call!
Simply curious? Then check out Pistachio-Cassis Coaching website!
Subscribe to my Pistachio-Cassis Newsletter for monthly insights on Empowering Yourself to Create the Life and Career You Want.
Follow me on LinkedIn for inspiration, motivation, and education about how to empower yourself. And please, reach out to me via LinkedIn or email to let me know you’ve read my article. I’d love to hear from you if you have any feedback, suggestions, or anything else you want to tell me!
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Christelle Soto-Suarez, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Christelle Soto-Suarez is a Personal Leadership & Development Coach who empowers Women in STEM / Construction to create the Life and Career they want, and is the founder of Pistachio-Cassis Coaching. She’s a certified professional coach and a member of the International Coaching Federation.
However, coaching is her 2nd career. Previously, she spent 25 years as a construction professional, working on a wide range of construction and engineering projects and in different roles. She worked and lived in several countries, experienced working in multicultural teams, and speaks 3 languages.
But however fulfilling and challenging these experiences were, the time came when she realized that she actually felt unhappy, unfulfilled, unsatisfied with where she was in her life…
Through her own exploration journey to discover how to create the life and career she wanted for herself, Christelle realized she was actually following a life coaching process… That fascinated her so much that she trained as a professional life coach and she set up her own coaching practice to empower others to also create the life and career they want.
Outside of coaching, Christelle loves expanding her horizons through reading, conversing with people with different backgrounds and experiences, and relaxing in nature.