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10 Transformational Empowerment Strategies for Life and Work

Yes, you can empower yourself from the inside out—starting now.

Key points

  • Empowerment starts with you.
  • Life is a process with many transitions, opportunities, and choices.
  • With a growth mindset, you can overcome barriers and strengthen your empowerment.

It’s never too late to create transformative shifts in our lives. The American Psychological Association defines empowerment as the development of knowledge, abilities, and confidence to more actively meet our needs, desires, and goals (2022).

marcos-paulo-prado / unsplash
Source: marcos-paulo-prado / unsplash

Most of us yearn to feel greater ease, happiness, and fulfillment. Typically, we try a new idea once or twice, and if it doesn’t work as we hoped we drop it, perhaps assuming that we are not up to the task. But, would other choices serve us better?

Life is a process filled with transitions, opportunities, and choices. What if you choose to deliberately learn and practice strategies to strengthen your personal empowerment? Learning a new skill typically involves multiple choices that proceed one step at a time.

10 Personal Empowerment Strategies for Life and Work

There are many ways to build your empowerment skills. Here are 10 evidence-informed possibilities:

1. Understand the power of choice.

Big changes begin with the first step, proceeding incrementally with small steps, each one building on the one before. You don’t have to do it all today. Just a 1 percent change can make difference. One step, one step, one step, and so it goes.

2. Choose a growth mindset.

Your view of yourself and your capacities greatly impacts the choices you make. Consider the power of yet: "I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m on my way." Empowering yourself with this growth mindset can help you overcome barriers and propel yourself toward your objectives (Dweck, 2006). With a growth mindset, you carry the belief that you can get better at things through your efforts. Yes, we all make mistakes—and then we can get back up, learning from our missteps as well as our successes.

3. Get gritty. Build your persistence muscle.

Grit is the drive and persistence to achieve a goal you care about. Grit is about effort rather than talent (Duckworth, 2016; 2013). Top performers have a conviction that their goal matters, and then put in time and careful, deliberate practice to advance toward their objective. They have the expectation that with hard work and practice they can get better and better.

4. Practice gratitude.

One of the most well-researched strategies to enhance happiness is gratitude. And when you’re feeling down, even brief, mild positive emotions may help you feel better (Fredrickson, 2009). Gratitude, easy to learn and easy to do, can be as simple as saying thank you or noticing what went well today.

Lea Waters, Ph.D., suggests this strategy: Put a whiteboard in the kitchen where everyone in the household can write or draw things they feel thankful about (2017).

5. Savor the good stuff.

Empower yourself with brief intermissions during the day by pausing for moments to notice life’s small pleasures. Gandhi is quoted as saying: “There’s more to life than merely increasing its speed.” Savoring helps you empower yourself by momentarily hitting the pause button and shifting toward positive emotions. For example: noticing the sunshine, laughing out loud, smelling a flower, or pausing to notice the taste, texture, and aroma of your meal.

6. Connect with others.

Interact with others in positive ways. Even micro-moments of connections can make an empowering difference in your own life and for the person you are connecting with, reducing stress and increasing positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2013).

7. Know your strengths and grow them.

When you recognize your strengths and use them, you can feel empowered. Strengths can be learned and developed throughout your life. What are you naturally good at? What do you enjoy doing? While there are many kinds of strengths, researchers have identified 24 character strengths common to us all (Niemiec, 2014). (For more information on character strengths, check out the VIA Institute on Character at

8. Get quiet on the inside.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but gently quieting down can help you feel greater well-being and empowerment.

Take time each day to pause and notice what you’re experiencing in this moment. You can intentionally decide where you want to pay attention and when your mind wanders (and it will), just gently bring it back to this moment. It can help to focus your attention on an anchoring thought, such as your breath, a background sound, a bodily sensation, or a repeated word or phrase (Shapiro, 2020).

9. Be kind to yourself and others.

Empower yourself with kindness and self-compassion. Treating yourself and others with care and kindness can help you experience greater acceptance of yourself and others. Self-compassion can empower you by combining strength with love (Neff, 2021).

10. Move toward your objectives.

Build your empowerment and well-being by establishing clear, realistic, meaningful goals and working to achieve them (Feldman & Dreher, 2011). Even seemingly small goals can make a positive difference in life and work. What goal have you been waiting to pursue?

Your own empowerment begins with you. How will you strengthen your empowerment from the inside out? What strategy will you choose? What’s your first step?

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No content is a substitute for consulting with a qualified mental health or healthcare professional.

©2022 Ilene Berns-Zare, LLC, All Rights Reserved


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Dweck, C.S. (2006), Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House.

Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner.

Duckworth, A. (April 2013). TED TALK - Grit: The power of passion and perseverance.

Feldman, D.B. & Dreher, D. (2011). Can hope be changed in 90 minutes? Testing the efficacy of a single-session goal-pursuit intervention for college students. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13, 45-59.

Fredrickson, B.L. (2013). Love 2.0: How our supreme emotion affects everything we feel, think, do, and become. New York, NY: Hudson Street Press.

Neff, K. (2021). Fierce self-compassion.

Niemiec, R.M. (2014). Mindfulness & character strengths: A practical guide to flourishing. Boston, MA: Hogrefe.

Shapiro, S. (2020). Good morning, I love you: Mindfulness and self-compassion practices to rewire your brain for calm, clarity, and joy. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.

VandenBos, G.R. (2007). APA Dictionary of Psychology. Washington DC.

The VIA classification of character strengths and virtues.

Waters, L. (2017). The strengths switch: How the science of strength-based parenting can help your child and your teen to flourish. New York, NY: Avery.

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