When I was a young boy, I was a right lil’ terror!! I used to steal things off people, I used to hate having my picture taken so I used to cry and struggle and do anything to get out of having my it done. (Oddly enough I now do anything to get in front of the camera!) 😛 Because I used to get bullied quite a lot I remember also trying to become a bully myself. It never worked of course and I think I got my ass kicked on several occasions.
The only time I remember being aggressive in anyway though was when I group of boys tried to attack my girlfriend of that time. Even though I was faced with 6 huge year 11 boys who wanted to beat the crap out of me, the thought of them hurting my girlfriend gave me enough strength and conviction to stand up to them. I think because of the conviction that I felt, they all felt a little intimated and ultimately made the smart decision to leave us alone *flexes muscles* 😀
I didn’t realise it at the time but after a while It dawned on me I had a strong desire to help other people and protect those who were, at the time, having difficulty protecting themselves. I didn’t want to take a persons power away from them, I wanted to empower them to help themselves. In some ways, this is a contradiction. How can you empower someone without, in some way, take away their own ability to help themselves?
I realised that just giving advice to people was not enough, in fact, for me, giving advice was the quickest way of dis-empowering someone. Although I would always be there to listen, I didn’t want to just listen and not in some way be an inspiration for them. I also didn’t want to become the solution to the problem as that was a sure fire way being the antithesis to the solution.
It was on that note that I decided to come up with my top 5 tips for empowering people to act on their own to overcome whatever it is they want to overcome, to do whatever it is they want to do, to achieve whatever it is they want to achieve, to become whatever it is they want to become!
1. Be A Good Listener
This is probably one of the most obvious ones and yet one of the least used. Can you sit there and listen to someone while they go on and on about their problems? Despite the fact that I believe listening achieves only a small amount on it’s own. People have a need to feel as if they’re being heard. So give people the opportunity to speak their heart out first and then once they have gotten off their chest what it is they that they feel they need to, you can then decide, based on their situation, which of the following steps is best to take.
2. Share Your Stories
Share your stories of both success and failure! Failure in many ways is more important than the success. Make sure you reveal to them what it was that you learned from the failure. Triumph over adversity is always inspiring especially when that story invokes in people strong emotions because they can relate to that story! Be a good story teller! I’ve noticed that some people have an amazing gift of being able to relate their stories with good humour and at the same time uplift the audience. It’s something that I was never very good at but it’s something that I’m practising now. I look back on my life and find those stories of success and failure that gave rise to change within me.
3. Ask Them Simple And Empowering Questions
As a Life Coach, I look to tools such as NLP to give me new ideas on ways to approach a particular problem that someone is having. NLP is great way of getting people to change their perception of the problem. If someone comes to me and says to me, “I hate my job and I want a new job!” I would then ask them, “What actions do you need to undertake now to land yourself the job you desire?” Or “What is your ideal job and what do you need to do to get the job of your dreams?” I may then follow up with something like, “What would happen if you decided not to take action?” And so on. I drill into them to find out what that person is interested in, what gets them motivated, what they want out of life etc until we got them to a stage where they felt compelled to act of their own accord.
4. Get Them Off Their Butts And Give Them New Eyes
If you do some kind of volunteer work, invite them along! This serves one purpose and one purpose only, it’s helps put their problems into perspective! Especially if you’re working with disabled children, the elderly, or any group of people that needs extra care and attention, it will offer them a new fresh dimension of life that they previously may never have thought of. There are so many charities, organisations, groups etc that need assistance and support so even if you do not do any, encourage them to find something in their local community!
5. Help Yourself
I left this one ’till last but in reality it is one of the most important aspects of helping other people. If you truly desire to help others, then first and foremost, help yourself! If you struggle to wake up every morning and you get depressed every other day then helping others is the last thing you probably want to do. You may end up passing on your depression and problems to the person you’re trying to help and then you’ll both end up in therapy for the better part of a month! :p If you, yourself, are not in a good, stable, and positive emotional state, then that’s the first thing you need to work on. Read powerful books. listen to uplifting music, surround yourself with positive and upbeat people. Don’t mask the problems, get to the root and close the chapter on them once and for all!
There is nothing better in this world then having a pure desire of helping others become more than any limitations that may have been placed on them or they may have placed on themselves. Remember that at every step, every individual has a choice as to which direction they decide to take their lives in so empower people and give them a glimpse into what benefits the power of choice will hold for them.