Year after year, we flock to “empowerment” conferences, retreats, workshops and speeches that promise to provide us with “empowerment”.  They speak to our most basic feelings of insecurity, vulnerability, helplessness and powerlessness by dishing out a healthy portion of motivation, catchy slogans and simple steps designed to “change your life” and “empower you to become a NEW you”.

Well, here’s a stark realization for you.

Empowerment isn’t what others can give you or do FOR you.  Empowerment already exists WITHIN you.

Once the pumped up music has subsided, once the crowds are gone, once the event is over—you’re still left with YOU.

Sure, you may feel a bit better—more inspired, motivated and determined—but how long does that last?  What long-lasting changes have you actually made in the 60-minutes of inspiration and “empowerment” that you’ve received?

What we’re really searching for isn’t “empowerment”–it’s PERMISSION.

We want permission to believe in ourselves.

Permission to chase our dreams.

Permission to try something new or think outside the box.

Permission to live out loud; speak up; show up and be authentically and fully ourselves.

When we look for empowerment, what we’re really saying is that we want someone else to believe in us and give us permission to believe in ourselves.

No one can open you up, pour in a healthy helping of “empowerment”, close you up, shake it all around really well and then voila! You’re empowered!  It doesn’t work that way.

True empowerment is an inside job.

It comes by recognizing your gifts, talents and abilities.  It comes when you believe in yourself and your dreams.  It is nourished and cultivated when you are praised for a job well done or encouraged to keep going when you’re unsure.  True empowerment is really just recognizing the innate power that you already possess.

The conferences, books, events and videos are simply providing you with motivation, inspiration and affirmations that (if actually applied) will help you to change your self-talk, create new patterns and ultimately start helping you to believe in yourself.  Listening to the stories that others share of their triumphs and tragedies is a way for us to connect and to see proof that others have gone before us and been successful.  Everything that we look to externally to infuse us with power actually is only designed to assist us to recognize the power that already exists within us.

I’m not saying that empowerment conferences, events, tools and affirmations are a bad thing.  I’m not saying that they don’t help.  What I AM saying is that you have to realize what purpose they serve. To be committed to not just basking in the glow of motivating stories and great sayings; but to actually doing the work for yourself on yourself in order to go beyond feeling different to being different.

It’s a process.

So the next time you find yourself lacking confidence or feeling as if you don’t have “what it takes” to make a change in your life and create the success you desire and deserve; then maybe it’s time to go a step beyond looking outside to feel empowered and start working within to recognize your power.