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EP18: What Empowerment Really Means

What does it mean to be empowered, and what happens when you are? In this episode, Coach Genevieve talks about what it takes to be your best self, and why connecting with your purpose is at the heart of empowerment.

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Victoria: Welcome to another episode of Hello CoachCast. Empowerment, or being empowered, is a buzzword, used a lot in business and personal development, but really what does it actually mean and how can we be empowered? And what happens when we do? I’ll be talking empowerment today with my guest Coach Genevieve.

Gen is an amazing corporate coach who has had a career in leadership roles. She’s coached individuals and corporate clients in areas such as leading teams, handling stress and finding creative solutions to problems.

On today’s show, she’ll share with us the secrets to being empowered in your life and your career, the very important support structures you need to have in place to facilitate it, and how becoming empowered may just make you feel a little more like a superhero. So welcome, Gen. Great to have you here today.

Genevieve: Hi, Victoria. It’s great to catch up.

Victoria: It’s lovely. I always enjoy our conversations, Gen, and today is no different. It’s such an important topic, regardless of what is happening in the world and in our society to feel empowered within who we are in spite of what I call the ‘external white noise’. It’s such a great topic and I would love to unpack the ingredients, firstly, of really what does empowerment stand for and how can we unravel it in a way that ends up being step-by-step practical ways of what it looks and feels like in our life when we are the embodiment of empowerment. And on that note, I will hand over to you.

Genevieve: Thank you. I love this word. It really embodies so much – empowerment – and it’s something that I do literally every day with business owners, leaders, and busy professionals that when we’re not feeling empowered… let’s start there. Not feeling empowered is like an empty petrol tank. And if you imagine you’re trying to drive a car and if there’s no petrol in the tank, it’s really, really hard to get anywhere, can’t go anyway. So. empowerment is about actually feeling fueled. Filling up your own tank. So then you can be your best self to help others, whether you have a leadership role, whether you’re an influencer – I work a lot with influencers, and so it’s about their ability then to influence others.

And it’s really tricky to do if you’re not feeling empowered, if your petrol tank isn’t full. And it’s not just a conversation about nutrition, okay. Or hydration. Which are two very, very important topics as well to feeling, and being your best self on any given day. Feeling empowered is about knowing how to fill yourself up so that you can actually be your best self in that working environment and managing the other aspects of life that come as well.

And so there’s lots to unpack with it. It’s a really important.

Victoria: What are the gaps? I’ll ask a couple of questions. What are the gaps or the blockers? I love that word blockers. What are the blockers that may prevent people from feeling empowered? So one of them, you mentioned having an empty fuel tank, which I absolutely agree. So that can spin off into a multitude of areas where, and how we can fuel our tanks and yes, nutrition, hydration, sleep, self-care rituals, routines…

In your experience, when clients book you and work with you, what are some of the gaps that they come to you with? What are some of the areas that they’re struggling with that, you know, straight off that they’re feeling disempowered?

Genevieve: One of the biggest ones, and it’s often the big crunch sugar that we come back to time and time again, is they’ve actually lost sight of their purpose. And I say that – it’s a big word, purpose – the purpose statement of why they’re here on this planet. And most people can’t think past the week ahead of them.

And when they’re busy, literally anything beyond three months is where people kind of max out with when they’re super under stress. And so, they’re thinking and functioning and living week to week, month to month and go no further than almost that three month mark. So, getting people reconnected with their purpose.

That purpose statement, if you like, that empowers them. Getting very clear on core values and what those value words are that aren’t just written on a wall that are actually lived in braids so that we, one way of matching ourselves up with future employers or in a business environment. But also, that just keeps us, it keeps us feeling aligned. And by that is a way of an example, I’ve got a particular client and one of his big values at the moment is progress. So he’s been transitioning from employment, which he’s doing part-time to starting his own new venture. And so it’s all about progress. So that word for him is his is a value because every day then it’s about getting up and doing those baby steps that keep this new venture progressing forward. So our values… words are so important to the roadmap that we’re, um, you know, following, having a roadmap. So, some people don’t even have a plan and it’s okay. Because we know COVID has meant everyone’s had to adapt and flex and change the plan enormously. That’s been pretty, pretty new.

Victoria: I’d love to go back to one of your comments around a purpose statement. Because there are many, many definitions of a purpose statement. We can have a purpose statement for a business. We can have a purpose statement for a sales team, but when it comes to ourselves, I, and I’m fully on board that, the importance of having your own purpose statement, and, for me, it has always been a purpose is an internal guiding light that sets your compass, your True North, that you, you know, who you are. Which touches on values, you know, what your values mean to you and you walk them and you live and breathe them.

However, you get up every day with a sense of this deep north point connection that you know, why we’re probably going to get into a spiritual realm here, but you know why you’re on the planet, you know what your mission is, you know, where you want to be of service, you know, where you want to make impact. And I’d love for those who don’t understand how to arrive at their own personal statement… would you mind sharing a little snippet of the journey that you take your clients on to help arrive with their mission statement and their purpose state?

Genevieve: Oh, it’s quite fun. And it is quite a journey. Like often we will reflect firstly on, it’s, there’s a big part of it is about language because we’re actually going to be using the words that really resonate and are meaningful for that particular client. So we would offer and look back at the words and experiences and what they’ve done and highlights of life from zero to 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, 40 to 50, 50 to 60.

Like I have clients that are older that are reevaluating their purpose and where they’re at right now. So that statement can evolve. It’s not the same statement that you might’ve had at 10 is what you’ll have at 40. So, this purpose is about then looking and recognizing key highlights. And what brought someone, joy or fulfillment or where those memories come out. And so, that’s why it is kind of a journey with someone it’s, it’s hard to sit there with a blank canvas or a piece of butcher paper yourself and land on it. It is a really great experience to unpack it with someone and actually work through it, and it’s to tell a personal story.

I found it transformative when I had my own purpose statement, many years ago now. It was a statement that has landed in sat so well with me because it’s my personal life, as well as my professional life. It doesn’t mean that I need to have two different statements. It’s who I am. and it was all about unlocking the infinite performance in human, infinite potential in human performance.

And so for me, if I’m coaching the girls at soccer on a Saturday, or if I’m turning up on a Wednesday and I’ve got Hello Coach clients locked into my calendar, I’m still doing that beautiful, same thing of helping find people’s potential and helping them unlock it. So the statement will be different for every single individual and it is a journey to unpack it.

It’s really great looking at those yearly chunks that’s first step. And then we have all these, okay… and it’s a bit messy and that’s where people are really happy just to sit back, look, and then we start to talk and it’s often people will come up with that purpose statement through their own language, through great questioning, to then land on what that statement is of why they’re on the planet.

And to be honest, I always recommend if someone hasn’t got one, the ideal statement to start with is be your best self being the best version of you. And you can start with a very simple, simple statement that you then use claim, take, wear that for a while, and then you’ll find it shift and journey. I had one lady came up with hers and, um, her statement was simply, I am joy and sparkle.

And that’s what she wanted. Just her purpose statement. That’s what she wanted to be known for. That was her rocking chair moment later in life, when she would look back, she just wanted to be known for being ‘joy and sparkle’. And that was her purpose statement. So it doesn’t need to be rocket science either.

It doesn’t have to be, like, 10 pages long. It’s really simple, short and sweet. That just gets you out of bed. That gives you a reason. And that is your reason for being on this planet.

Victoria: I love her purpose, summary of being joy and sparkle, because our purpose is so connected and linked to what brings us joy and sparkle. I get it. If it’s not linked to join sparkle, when you are off track people and it’s about connecting into what brings your soul harmony and music and joy. And that is what you’re here to share.

I mean, it’s many conversations I’ve had over the years where if you do know what your joy and sparkling. The world needs to hear it and you need to share it because there needs to be more of it. And if you hold on to those, moments where, you know, you have something good to share, if you don’t, you’re ripping others off. And, it’s again, it’s linked to making impact and making a difference on the planet and being kind and compassionate and caring and thinking outside of where you can make a difference. I mean, that’s a whole other conversation. However, it still links so deeply to our sense of purpose and who we are at the core.

Thank you for sharing those steps. I think that’s such a wonderful journey for anyone to go on to discover their purpose. And often when we’re in the midst of chaos and lots of noise that is happening around us, it can often bring us incredible comfort and courage to stay connected to that sense of purpose and identity in terms of who we are. So, thank you.

Genevieve: Um, definitely. And I think even more so at the moment, because there are so many people that have had to transition or they’re finding themselves in really different and unique situations, whether it is that work from home or juggling work and schooling from home or whether it’s changing industry.

So that’s where that sense of purpose. As a clear and simple statement helps you come back to your true, your words, your true north each and every day. In spite of challenges, in spite of adversity, in spite of newness, in spite of uncertainty.

Victoria: I wanted to touch on some other gaps, behavioural gaps, mindset gaps that can encourage our disempowerment. So, some of them I know are common. However, I’d love to be able to unpack some of these and their procrastination time management. Uh, helping yourself be more assertive, being able to delegate. And when we don’t have those working for us, the balance of scales can sometimes topple over the edge and we lose our footing.

And when we lose our footing, we lose our sense of empowerment. how common are those? Gaps or those blockers. And is that something that you hear on an everyday basis in the majority of your coaching sessions with your clients, that these are common areas that people struggle.

Genevieve: Oh, they are so common. Very, very normal. So, we all know what we know, but we don’t know what we don’t know yet. And invariably, we always have to actually go and focus on both things. What our strengths are. And then also where our gaps are, those areas of development and the critical ones. in terms of empowerment, they’re varied, depending on people’s roles, that specifically, priority setting is a massive one.

Time management is huge. Self-care so someone that’s feeling, disempowered often may not put enough time and energy into their own self-care they give a lot to. And or to the business potentially. And so they end up feeling disempowered because they’re not looking after their own self-care, the routines and rituals for good health so to speak. The priority setting is actually knowing how to prioritize in the workplace. put out the bushfires yet also, still be able to prioritize the, not-so-urgent stuff, time management. This is such an interesting one. So, people go, I’m pretty good with time. And then I asked some of the fundamentals around, okay, show me your calendar.

Share screen and show me how your calendar looks. Um, well, um, there’s a few gaps, like, okay. So potentially like basics around, meetings. For example, every person through COVID has found themselves Zoom-fatigued, because meetings are booked hour to hour to hour. And there are no chunks of time.

So. Are you running 30-minute meetings or 45-minute meetings, or are you still expecting people to turn up for an hour meeting? There’s some really great essentials around managing time that is critical, both calendar as well as, structurally, as well as actually you’re running great. So, a lot of people find they’re going into meetings.

There’s no thinking planning, agendas, notes, taken. There’s no follow-up. There’s no delegation of who’s in charge of what particular follow-up. So there’s some really small little aspects to managing time that become, you know, big and actually can make or break someone’s ability to manage time. Being assertive has come up a lot, learning to say no, how to say no, actually the language of how to say no, or the, it could be the language around, how to like interrupt.

Let’s say you’ve got someone – it’s all about them, their ideas, their opinions in the workplace – and how to be able to weave in your ideas and thoughts, in a really great way. Or if you haven’t been a contributor, to start pushing yourself and going, ‘Right, well, I’m gonna be the third person off of mute today to talk, I’m not going to wait till the end of the meeting to contribute my ideas’.

That might be being assertive to someone. So there’s lots of different ways to measure being assertive and it’s going to be different, for people as well. So there are a few, I mean, there’s so many Vic, I could talk for hours on this particular topic of capability development for, you know professionals in the workplace.

Victoria: What about, we just go through each of these and we address the problem and we offer up one solution?

Genevieve: Sounds good.

Victoria: Let’s play.

Genevieve: Let’s play.

Victoria: So the problem of procrastination. What’s one step forward that our listeners can take to move away from procrastination? One step, Gen, I know got a bag full of tricks there, but one solution?

Genevieve: Ask yourself your strategy for avoidance. Why are you choosing avoidance? Why are you choosing to avoid… and many people when they actually can ask that question, will go because I’m scared of X, Y, Z, and then it could be about, well, what’s this really about? And maybe they won’t own, they won’t own what they’re scared of first.

It’ll, there’ll be some, oh, what’s the word for it? Surface thing… but then it’s like, what’s real? What’s this really about; what’s really going on underneath? Well, I’m really reluctant to have that conversation with Fred or Mary or Sam, because the last time we had a conversation, it got really heated and tense.

And so then there’ll be a reluctance. Okay? So avoidance, procrastination, reluctance, like what’s going on behind it? And generally, then the next step is actually mapping what I call a strategy. How do we know how to do something? So how does someone do procrastination? Did they just faffed around for 10 minutes at their desk and get a coffee and another coffee and open the fridge five times?

Um, you know, I sit on the balcony, scroll through Facebook, what is the actual avoidance strategy? And when we can recognise that again, it’s a choice, gotta be adult about this. Sometimes people go, oh, but I’ll just sit there for 10 hours it’s like, really, is that helping you? At some point in time, people are going to have a little bit of discipline to, to actually go, ‘Stop. I’ve got to break this, this pattern, this habit of avoidance’. Because, ultimately, it’s not getting anything done now. I’m not an avoidant. There are avoidant people who do it. I don’t do procrastination very often. I’m the flip: I’m on hyper, hyper achievement – not avoidance.

Victoria: I think you and I both share that jam thing. I’m listening to this going, ‘Man, I am the opposite of procrastination’. You should have heard me this morning on a team meeting with everyone. We are just anything but procrastinators and it’s it feeds into having this deep level of accountability. And I think as coaches where it’s now, it’s naturally in our DNA, we’re trained in it.

We teach it. And when you have that sense of responsibility and accountability, just doesn’t even come into your mindset because it’s either been so coached out of us over the years that they, the there’s no benefit in procrastination. It doesn’t move your life forward. And that’s a really, I really love that.

So procrastination… being able to be aware of your avoidance strategy, number one.

Genevieve: And I will say there are a lot though. There are a lot of people that do this. So I do want to give a tool on this one as well, is that you really actually have to look underneath and question yourself around emotional resilience. What’s my ability to actually deal with my emotions and what emotion in that moment is coming up to recognise it so that I choose not to procrastinate?

Okay. And so that emotion that comes up for someone might be, perfectionism. It could be a bit of, like the fear factor that we talked about. It could be just laziness. So then it’s okay to be, not feeling energised, but if I choose procrastination strategy again and again, and again, then that’s not going to help me get anything done.

So it’s just getting, it’s really just digging in there and understanding a little bit of the why, and then how you choose to do it. And once you start to recognize those patterns and you want, you want to make a shift, that’s where you probably do need to ask for help and get the coach. This is, you know, this is the factor of having someone to support you with those strategies that they may be working for you.

But if they’re not, then that’s the question to ask.

Victoria: I think there’s always another great question here. When you know that your clearly doing procrastination, what is the reward? What’s the upside? If you do take a step out of procrastination and what would that behaviour look like? So, therefore, the reward point and it’s balancing out the motivation. On the reward at the end of what lies at the end of moving away from procrastination into action.

And often, sometimes people also are not asking the question around what that motivation factor is and what the reward is. If they move towards that as well, rather than focusing on, ‘Okay. Yes, I’ve got these avoidance strategies going on, but what’s the upside?’ If I do take action, how will that then? The impact that I’m wanting to therefore feed motivation, engagement, and accountability.

It’s almost, that’s the contrast with any blocker, there’s always a contrast moment, but I’m always curious to explore that when our motivation is high, where we’re usually knocked down any blocker that we have along the path, If we’re aware of what the upside is, and we’re so motivated to get there rather than focusing on the fear.

Genevieve: Hmm. It’s interesting ’cause we’re all wired so differently. Some of us, are that pleasure focus or that reward motivated, but then some of us are away from, and we like the pain. Go figure out like where the people that do the report, last minute at night and it’s due at 7:00 AM the next morning, but we’ll be up at 11 o’clock at night finishing off that report because we actually get, we enjoy the pain factor to it rather than the pleasure of having it done two weeks in advance.

It’s human nature, you know, and we’re all quite unique with our innateness, our personality, but we’re actually able to adjust it and tweak it as well if we want to get a different outcome.

Victoria: The second gap that prevents people from feeling disempowered… we’ve touched on procrastination. The big one I do believe, is self-care. Because when we’re not feeling fueled, We feel flat and we feel drained and it impacts our brain function. Our physicality, our energy levels, our motivation, it impacts so many things and self-care has it’s not, it’s, it’s not a new, new age thinking anymore.

It’s not a new-age philosophy. It’s becoming a very common practice. However, again, starting with self to feel empowered in who you are, then transcends everything else around you. And I’d love to hear some of your rituals and routines that clients have come to you for coaching around that have been examples of some of those strategies of self-care that have made a profound difference in their lives.

Genevieve: Well, I think we’ve actually one of the gifts from COVID has been people’s ability now to refocus back on self-care and realising how critical it is. And so we’ve definitely seen a shift in this where I would have worked with individuals, two to three years ago with extreme burnout, um, going 24/7… I think this factor of individuals being at home now in lockdown, has certainly helped them realize ‘Yep. It had to shift’, which has been a great thing, but what I want to make sure that that stays with us. And then suddenly if, business goes back to more normal, the new normal, that people don’t forget how critical their self-care is.

So, some of the rituals and routines, and I’m, I’m going to talk specifically work examples if that’s cool with you. So for example, a couple of clients where they asked to physically go into the office or to their working environments, uh, their, um, essential industries, they stress mechanism for self-care on the way home, rather than drive straight home and go back into that family environment or to then, you know, there’s different situations, cooking, dog care, et cetera.

They actually drive and they’ll go and walk straight away. So leave work and go for that walk or run to switch off. Okay. To do a reset. Now, not everyone has that timeframe.

So then another step around looking after that would be listening to music on the way home. So then you haven’t got that hour or half an hour drive time of negative self-talk that can come or listening to crazy radio talk. It’s like, actually put some music on so that you can reset your brain a little bit again.

So that’s one random tip around self-care. Definitely connection. So, realising the value. Some people will choose to disconnect because they might be more naturally introverted and they love their own energy – that’s how they recharge. However, self-care at the moment, even for introverts, it’s really about connecting with caring people and having those conversations so that you do feel better by talking to someone.

I think it’s really important and it might not be a long conversation, particularly if you’ve had a big day, then you may actually feel you can’t talk. Cause most of us are talked out from doing a lot of that connecting anyway, and putting more effort into the connection, but having your own personal connection time is really valuable too, with those special friends, and/or your special community.

So let’s say it’s not necessarily, a bestie or anything, the BFF, but connecting with your communities that matter to you. And, that you can collaborate with as well.

Victoria: I think that is such an important aspect. Self-care. And also, I probably wanted to emphasise the importance of self-care even more so when you live by yourself. It’s easier to connect when you have family, during, particularly in lockdown. And we’re not always going to be in lockdown, but I know that self-care can sometimes be a little bit harder to make time for when you are living by yourself. And I’ve experienced this in my own world. And I think that we together, again, it’s just being mindful of our friends and family around us that do live by themselves to check in with them. And it’s still finding ways to connect with them on a Zoom call or FaceTime or a phone call, and check in on their, you know, that they are doing okay.

And they’re not, they’re not alone. And, I’m just wondering whether there’s, some of your clients that do live alone, if you had some self-care solutions on where you’ve coached some clients to really encourage that in their world right now.

Genevieve: Yeah, there’s definitely the rituals that have been so essential. So for example, the meal preparation and actually taking time to cook well, and to plan and to have those healthy meals in the fridge. Now, this might seem like a fairly obvious one, but for a busy, stressed out professional that works like is literally in the office from 7:30/8 in the morning, till six, seven at night. Or on zoom for that length of time, then some of those basics around going for that walk, eating good food. they’re not normal.

So then that’s where that self-care is really important to come back to. So we will actually step through lifestyle habits. the choices that they’re making currently. There has been a lot of conversation about weight loss, um, you know, the COVID kilos, um, uh, addiction.

So also we’ve worked with some habits, whether that’s been, alcohol consumption or tech addictions, chocolate addictions, you name it. That conversations come up too, because, it’s really been understanding the drivers for changing and shifting breaking habits and aren’t necessarily serving and supporting lifestyle.

I think they’re the main recent topics that have been coming up, Vic, in a lot of coaching sessions.

Victoria: No, that’s all really, really, really wonderful. it’s almost like when you, you know, for those of us who do live alone, it’s, there’s probably needs to be a greater emphasis on the importance of connecting.

Genevieve: Yeah.

Victoria: It probably does need to be amplified more so than if you had a partner or children and you know, you’re living under the, under the one roof.

So gosh, I have got a list full of insights that has just been amazing from our conversation today talking around the importance of empowerment and how we achieve that through. A sense of creating purpose in our lives and our work lives. And for those… there’s, many of us who there is… it’s not separate, they are the one journey of knowing our purpose and our sense of knowing our compass point and our north star, as I call it in many conversations, knowing your strengths and your gaps and being aware of what your gaps are.

And we touched on some of those today around procrastination, assertiveness time management, prioritization, self-care. I mean, gosh, there are so many goodies in today’s conversation. and the importance of. No matter what fueling yourself and fueling your bucket and fueling your life force that encourages your motivation to move beyond procrastination, to move into a greater sense of control and power in your day around that you, we do have choice.

I know that for many of us, yes, our choices might be a little more limited right now. However, Being aware of where we do have choice and we can still make a difference in our lives within ourselves and our work communities and our professional lives feeling empowered. So thank you so much, Gen, so many amazing ideas and solutions and strategies here on the topic of empowerment.

And I know that we could continue this conversation and there’s probably five other different conversations that we can have around all these sub-areas of empowerment. And I’d love to get you back for another conversation. So, thank you very much for being on today’s podcast.

Genevieve: Thanks, Vic. Love to have a chat about it again soon.

Victoria: I will certainly get you back, Gen. So if you would like to get some more information around Genevieve view or find her on our website, hello-coach.com and our other coaches. However, thank you again for being a part of our conversation today and our hello coach podcast. And certainly, we’ll have you back again.

Genevieve: Bye now.

Victoria: Bye, Gen.

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