What it Means to Live an Empowered Life
It is not enough if you just live life as it comes to you like a floating leaf in a pond. Make use of the powers bestowed in you and soar like an eagle. ~Stephen Richards
A lot of us have goals for the New Year (or soon will) but for many those goals will look suspiciously like shoulds on an oversized task list … lose weight, get organized, stop smoking, start a business, and finally write that book.
The question I’m going to ask you to consider today is whether or not the goals you’ve set for yourself are designed to create an empowered life.
The concept of living an empowered life is founded on the belief that you have the ability and authority to create your best life – whatever that may look like for you - and most important of all, that you deserve it. To better understand what this might look like for you, you need to understand the difference between an empowered life and living by default.
The Empowered Life vs. Living by Default
Does your current life represent a path you’ve chosen for yourself? Is it based on your dreams and created by choices you’ve made about how you want to live each day … or did you simply happen into your current life as a result of circumstances?
Maybe you are living a good life, not all that you dreamed it would be, but it’s okay. After all (you tell yourself) a lot of other people have it tougher, right?
Are you gliding along and letting things happen, reacting to whatever (and whoever) comes your way, simply going with the natural flow of things? Not necessarily bad in and of itself, but in choosing to live this way you relinquish control of your life to serendipity … good luck, bad luck, whatever the fates happen to serve up; in other words, living life by default.
Or you can choose to be an active participant in creating your own life experience — empowering yourself to make intentional choices and decisions, creating focus and direction and turning dreams into reality. Of course this requires more work, and no small amount of courage, but the rewards are also far greater.
An Empowered Life Will Look Differently for Each of Us
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for living an empowered life because we each have different interests, passions and dreams, but regardless of the desired outcome it all begins with the decision to live with greater intention.
The interesting thing is that when you begin to pay closer attention to what is happening in your life, you may make some surprising discoveries. You may find that there are things in your life that no longer serve you.
And it won’t just be physical objects or routines that you find cluttering up your life. You may run into friendships, acquaintances, even romantic relationships that are called into question, especially if – once you start actually paying attention to them – you find that neither of you is getting anything out of it; or realize the relationship is unbalanced. Just like physical objects and everyday routines, sometimes there are relationships that have run their course; that we hold onto out of habit, but that would serve everyone better if we simply let them go.
An Empowered Life Requires Courage
It is human nature to look for the short cuts, the easy answer, and the uncomplicated solution, so it is important to understand going in that choosing to live an empowered life takes courage.
It requires planning and becoming clear about who you are and what you truly want in life; following this path you will continually push the boundaries of your comfort zone, and there will be periods of uncertainty and times you’ll be required to make tough choices.
In fact, courage may actually be the single most important characteristic for creating positive life change because it provides the determination that you need to initiate change and the passion to adhere to your new path through periods of uncertainty. Courage enables you to change old habits, and to make difficult choices to do what is in your best interests however uncomfortable it might initially make you feel.
The good news is that courage can be developed over time, which means that even if you are not feeling particularly courageous right now, you can start small and grow from here.
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble in life, you wouldn’t sit for a month. ~Theodore Roosevelt
Choosing to live an empowered life is not about turning your life upside down. Nor is it about manifesting change simply for the sake of change. It is about coming to a realization that there are things that you would really like to have more of in your life. Things you didn’t even realize were missing until you started paying attention.
It’s also about doing everything you do with complete and total awareness that – for better or worse – it’s the choices you make each day that ultimately creates the quality of your life experience. In other words, living an empowered life requires that you acknowledging that you are fully committed to becoming the person you are meant to be.
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