Archie Snowden, award-winning news journalist, video producer, and director of Empower Your Community Network, asks, “What does empowerment mean to you?”
To me, empowerment can be grand or small gestures, thoughts or words that elevate you and/or others to a deeper understanding, greater heights, and a happier, peaceful, and productive life.
You may never know how powerful your words and actions are, or ever realize the impact they make on other’s lives. Empowerment is an unstoppable force for good. A few words from a loved one or a stranger can change the way you think and proceed.
When I was eight months pregnant and due to give birth on Christmas Eve, I was holiday shopping in a local department store. The cashier smiled and asked, “When are you due?” Up until that moment, and from the second I was told my due date was December 24, I was displeased because I believed, “This is the worst birthday to give a child, he will never have a birthday of his own.” With regret in my voice, I replied, “Christmas Eve.” The cashier’s face lit up, and she exclaimed, “That’s my birthday!” She proceeded to tell me how it’s the best day all year to have a birthday and she explained her reasons. Her enthusiasm, her words, and our chance encounter instantly empowered me to change how I viewed my due date and my approach to celebrating my son’s birthday. Each year when he was a child, he would say, “This is the best week of the year”, and still, thirty-two years later at birthday time, I quietly thank this woman for her empowering words. Her name is unknown to me, but her words are not.
Snowden claims, “To empower someone is to give them the means to achieve something.” It makes them stronger and more confident, ready to take control of their life, and to also be an advocate for themselves.
Who has empowered you? Has anyone changed your perspective, the way you conduct yourself, or how you view a challenge? Do you empower others? I always suggest to my clients to listen to unsolicited comments, because they are a wealth of information. When others compliment you or thank you, that means you are empowering something within them but are not aware of the positive impact you created.
In my line of work I hear unsolicited comments and compliments often. The truth is these compliments are about the individuals who share their thoughts. It means that they have empowered themselves for their own benefit and now embrace a healthy lifestyle. Once they feel better about themselves a whole new world opens up, and by making a change, they go on to empower others. I receive e-mails and social media comments often, and I quote:
- Dear Margaret, Sometimes we have certain assumptions that guide our thinking and actions. You provided a way to be authentic about what was in mine.
- Hi Margaret, Healthy living means living healthy. I truly understand what that means now. You knew this, but I didn’t.
- Margaret, You keep doing what you do. It has wonderful affects on everyone you encounter by just being you.
- Margaret, You are making miracles in people’s lives!
Unsolicited comments like these mean my work, words, actions, or goals have empowered others to be their best. Their comments have little to do with me; they speak to the sender. Their words do confirm to me that these people will go on to empower others. Empowerment is never-ending, is far-reaching, and strengthens both sides.
Snowden knows this to be true, and as a seasoned news journalist, he witnesses that there is more happening inside communities than the harshness we watch on our local news. He has observed communities band together for the greater good of its residents during the hardest of times. Now he covers stories on people who are making a positive impact in their community. He describes men, women, young adults, and children who are making it their mission to sacrifice their time, and quite often, their personal lives, to inspire and empower others. Snowden knows that his stories on Empower Your Community Network will continue to empower others to greatness, making communities and their residents healthier and stronger, and in turn, positively impact our world.
How do you answer Archie Snowden’s question, “What does empowerment mean to you?”
Margaret Marshall The Healthy Living Expert is a media personality, an international speaker and the creator of “The Five Finger Food Guide”. She is the author of “Body, Mind & Mouth” and “Healthy Living Means Living Healthy”. She is an articulate communicator who employs realistic strategies to maintain a healthy mindset and lifestyle that result in successful career paths for her audiences.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com