In high school, I decided to play softball my Sophomore year. It was a small Catholic high school and sports and activities for girls were limited. After all, everyone couldn’t be a cheerleader back then. I had played in 8th grade as part of St. Bernard’s championship team, so how hard could it be? I went to every practice, worked hard and was excited to be part of the team. Now, I was not a stellar athlete and I knew that. I was average, but I was also a team player. I could sit the bench and support the team, fill in where I could, and still be ok with that. Little did I know that this would be one of many lessons on empowerment for me.
Fast forward to the first AWAY game. For some reason, (my memory doesn’t serve me well in this instance) it was decided that two of us couldn’t go, and we needed to give up our jerseys for that game so that the team manager and statistician could wear them instead. Keep in mind there was never a discussion about this, no explanation, no encouragement as to how we could improve our game—just a passive aggressive message telling us we weren’t good enough to even tag along for an AWAY game.
I made the decision then and there that I wasn’t going back. It didn’t dawn on me back then, but I didn’t want to allow anyone to treat me that way. I wasn’t willing to put myself back in a situation that didn’t support, acknowledge or help me gain confidence and self esteem. Why would I choose to go back to an environment that continued to support the message that I’m not good enough?
This is one of my earliest memories of being empowered, though I didn’t see it until just this week when I was discussing a similar issue with my niece about her soccer team.
Empowerment comes from within
Looking at my career, I thought of empowerment as someone giving me the power to do something. In other words, I thought empowerment was something I received from someone else. Through my own personal development and from the help of valuable mentors, I eventually realized that if I waited for others to empower me, I wouldn’t get very far and that empowerment was an internal event, rather than external. It became obvious I needed to empower myself, much like I had with the softball team decision.
If you’ve ever coached with me, I’ve probably asked you “What do you have control over?” at one time or another. That question is one of the most effective tools we can use to empower ourselves.
We all have control over an enormous amount of things in our life, believe it or not. We just tend to focus a lot of negative energy on the things we don’t have control over.
Here’s just 5 to get you started:
- The number of times you smile in a day.
- Your level of honesty.
- How well you prepare.
- The number of times you say Thank You.
- How much time you spend worrying.
If this topic resonates with you, try making a list of 5 things that you’ll focus on next week that you have control over, and that contribute to your own inner power. You can get some additional ideas HERE.
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
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