Empowerment is external; self-empowerment is internal.

Empowerment is when someone has power, permission, and/or authority to do something.  This often comes from outside the person.  For example, our supervisor might empower us to make decisions related to the business.  We might empower our attorney to make legal decisions for us.  Laws might empower women to have more equal status in the workplace.


Self-empowerment comes from inside of us.  It is when we give ourselves the power, permission, and/or authority to do something.  This might be to grow and develop into the person we want.  It might be to create the life we want.  We have the power within us to create what we desire.  Often what stands in our way is that we do not think we have the right to it.  We need to give ourselves permission to go after what we want.

Self-empowerment is when we use our power to take control of all aspects of our life.  It is when we take responsibility for our choices, our thoughts, our actions, and the consequences of these.  It is when we decide what we want, develop a plan to achieve it, and implement the plan.

Many wonderful things happen when we become self-empowered.  One is that it benefits us directly.  We have control over our lives.  We have ownership of our life.  We might not be exactly who we want to be yet--our life might not be quite what we desire yet--but we know we have the power to create who we want to be and how we want to live.  The knowledge that we have this power, the feeling of this power, can make us unstoppable.

Another wonderful thing that happens is that it makes it easier for us to empower others.  It becomes easier to grant others permission and authority to assist us.  It makes it easier to contract with others to do things for us.  When we are self-empowered, we realize that giving others power or permission does not diminish our own internal power.  We don’t have to do everything ourselves.  We can collaborate with others for mutual benefit.  This makes us stronger, not weaker.

Additionally, when we are self-empowered we can assist others in their journey to self-empowerment.  No, we can’t give anyone self-empowerment.  Self-empowerment must come from inside that person.  But we can assist her in getting there.  We can be supportive.  We can be encouraging.  We can be positive.  We can be a friend.  We can be an inspiration.

I don’t think anyone instantly becomes completely self-empowered.  I think it’s a journey in which we become more fully self-empowered in more aspects of our lives.  It can be a wonderful journey.  And we can invite others to journey with us.  

Susan L. Farrell uses her love of learning to inspire women to learn about themselves.  She urges them to empower themselves to achieve the lives they desire.  Susan draws upon her experiences as a leader, manager, consultant, coach, trainer, and teacher to provide ideas to encourage women to think about what they do, why they do it, and do they want to change.  She is the author of three books on self-empowerment for women:  Three Good Choices: Change It, Accept It, or Leave It; 52 Weeks of Wisdom; and Don’t Act Like Prey!  Visit SusanLFarrell.com for additional information on her books, blogs, and newsletter.