I’ve heard from some people that for the last year or so, world events have dampened their enthusiasm for their creative work. I get it. It’s easy to get discouraged and to sideline our creative work when we feel angry, fearful and disempowered.
The problem is, we need our power now more than ever. When the world ‘out there’ tries to disempower us, we need to do what we can to claim our power. And, I believe that taking up an art form is one of the best paths to personal empowerment there is. I’ve coached hundreds of women (and men) to find their power through their words and creativity. I have been blown away by the strength we access when we commit to and follow up on our creative dreams.
Showing up for our writing sessions sends a signal to ourselves that we matter. It says that when we commit to our projects, it means something. Most of my work as a coach involves helping women set up their lives so their creative work has the space it deserves. Writing a book may seem in conflict with our other commitments, but we actually gain a lot for our lives.
When we learn how to stake a claim for ourselves in this way, our lives are better. The real, deep work of committing to a creative path has a great side benefit of personal empowerment. Staking a claim for our projects is a power move. In our work together, we discuss:
- setting and keeping boundaries.
- communicating our needs to loved ones and others.
- making choices about how we spend our time.
- releasing beliefs, objects and obligations that no longer serve us.
- learning to prioritize projects, tasks and commitments.
When we consistently show up for our work, we grow. When we empower ourselves through our creative work, we gain confidence. This confidence extends to other areas of life.
The recent situation with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford can send a signal that women’s words, lives and experiences do not matter. In a recent episode of Hidden Brain, they looked at how in the past, when women have spoken up about harassment, nothing changed and their experiences were disregarded. This prevented others from speaking up. This is called ‘social proof’. Why bother? It wouldn’t make a difference. This has changed with the #metoo movement, but we see with the recent Supreme Court Justice appointment that we still have work to do. But we should not take this as proof that our voices, our stories and our experiences don’t matter.
Some of us are galvanized by world events. One of my clients said that recent events spurred her to stop playing small. This is what I want for us all: that we recognize that we are in charge of our own empowerment. No more waiting for permission. No more waiting until we feel stronger or more confident. We are the gatekeeper to our power, and we have the keys to empower ourselves. The time to act is now.
We may not be able to change policy as we wish. But we can lead the change we seek in our own lives. I believe that when we empower ourselves it has a ripple effect. First we feel it in our intimate relationships. Then our work relationships. And on and on.
Maybe you don’t see your creative work as a personal growth path. There are many ways to empower ourselves and make a daily difference in the world. We are empowered when we:
- help a stranger.
- say no to something that isn’t right for us, even if we worry about how others will respond.
- negotiate for the true value of our work.
- speak up for ourselves and others.
- donate our resources to causes we believe in.
- take an honest look at how our actions play a part in keeping ourselves in a one-down position.
It is time for each and every one of us to claim the power each human has and deserves. Power to be self-determining. Power to express our truth. Power to play a role in a world that treats every person as equal and deserving of dignity.
However you are stepping up to claim your power, know that you, and your empowerment, matter. It does make a difference when you make space for your creative work. It does make a difference when you take a stand for what you know to be right. My hope is that this article has rallied your courage and that you feel your power now and that you feed its growth.
How do you experience your creative practice as a path to empowerment?