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Nigel Risner on the top 10 steps to becoming personally empowered

Contrary to common belief, the most effective control over one’s life can be gained in an almost effortless manner. The truly empowered person “has it together”, exudes a glowing poise that is apparent to others. Here are ten steps whereby you can begin to experience empowerment in your own life.

Start from where you are and take one step at a time:
When you think about it, that’s the only place you CAN start, i.e. where you are at this moment. Begin with your present perceptions, understandings and strengths and move forward, one step at a time. In this world of objectives, goals and big plans, we often focus too much on the future with the result that our ability to concentrate fully on the present is severely compromised. Yet it is only in the present that we can make a difference.

Examine your resistance points – the things that irritate you, limit you or cause you to react:
We often resist what we most need to learn. The next time you find yourself resisting new information, a particular situation or something someone else is saying, ask yourself: What is it that is really bothering me about this? Is there something that I need to learn?

Recognise that whatever you are experiencing at this very moment is appropriate to your need to grow:
Implicit in this “rule of appropriateness” is the concept that there is a larger plan of which you are an integral part. Until you’re willing to acknowledge the possibility that such a plan exists, you will never be able to see it.

Stop worrying about whether others are getting theirs:
It’s easy to become preoccupied about what the other person is doing, getting, achieving etc. This kind of worrying is useless and wastes time and energies that are better spent on yourself.

Realise that it doesn’t matter what happened to you or who did it to you; the only thing that matters is what you do about it:
What happened and who did it to you are in the past. You can’t change the past, you can only change your perception of it. The ONLY thing that counts is what you do NOW in order to move forward.

Learn to refrain from having judgement:
To refrain from judgement is to accept what is. How often in conversation do you find yourself mentally correcting, criticising or re-phrasing? When you do, you risk hearing the real message which may not be in the words themselves. Rather than saying to yourself, “that’s inaccurate” or “he/she is incorrect”, try accepting the statement as simply a representation of the way that person thinks, feels or what he/she intends to convey. This simple technique can open up a whole realm of hidden meaning AND it enables you to respond more objectively and dispassionately.

Learn to operate holistically by opening up to the other possibilities that are always there:
There is always more than one way to solve a problem. You’re most likely to get “stuck” when you foreclose your options by setting up conditions, demands, expectations, fears, positions and prejudices.

Finish your unfinished business:
Most of us have “unfinished business” – failures, a relationship gone sour, or a good deed left undone. Getting beyond (fully resolving) is not always easy, but there’s a three-step process that, if followed, can do wonders for your psyche. It’s this: (1) Acknowledge the wrong, mistake, screw-up, etc., to yourself, (2) Admit it to one other person, preferably the person you’ve wronged and in the latter case, apologise and ask simply: “What can I do to make this right with you?” (Sometimes there really isn’t much you can do, but the simple act of asking is healing in itself), and (3) Move ON. You’ve admitted your mistake, taken whatever corrective action you could, and now it’s time to go forward. This third step takes discipline, but it works.

When faced with an apparently hopeless situation, take action, any action:
There’s something called the “log jam” theory that applies here: when logs in a stream become all jammed up, moving ANY ONE log frees the others to move, because the act of moving a single piece creates space which in turn allows the other pieces to move . It’s important to recognise that you’re not trying to reach a final solution in a single move; you’re simply taking “one step at a time” (Step#1)

Consider the wisdom of doing absolutely nothing:
As with the rule of appropriateness (above), there’s a hidden assumption here, namely, that we each possess an inner wisdom that is always available if we know how to tap into it. Call it intuition, spiritual sense, whatever, the fact is that this “still small voice” is audible only when we are very quiet. It’s a bit like a point in which you can see the bottom only when the surface is calm and the water un-muddied. Doing nothing means exactly that: nothing physically, nothing mentally, nothing at all! The Japanese call it “kokoro-no-mizu”, literally a “mind as water-smooth”, flowing and undisturbed. Try it, it works, and it’s fun!

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