The Company We Keep

When you are at work, do you naturally migrate towards certain people? Have you ever asked yourself what it is about those people that attract you? Are they generally quite positive people? Conversely, do you find you try to avoid people who are constantly complaining or don’t offer much help? You want to find people who are going to have a positive impact on your life. This is not just for work but every part of your life.

When things are work are challenging and you are not necessarily feeling at your most positive it can be all too easy to be drawn in by the mood hoovers who will readily reflect back the negative thoughts you are having. Rather than being positive they will be all too ready to re-enforce your doubts and insecurities! So it is at times like this that we really should be thinking carefully about who we migrate towards and look to engage with people who will help us move forward rather than dragging us down. We need to look for those who will empower us and who are focused on the way forward.

  1. You get to choose who you surround yourself with so why not choose people who will improve your life?
    You can’t help all encounters, but you can limit your exposure to people who don’t enliven you. That is your best course of action when you run into these types of people.
  2. Find people who have integrity.
    These are the people who you can trust to do what is right. They won’t throw others under the bus. It’s difficult to question people who have integrity. Another great aspect of finding these people is they will keep you in line should your integrity come into question.
  3. It’s also good to find people who are energetic and willing to solve problems.
    These people are the ones who will advance quickly in their organizations. You will recognize them as ones who do not come up with excuses and are always offering suggestions.
  4. You want to align yourself with people who are leaders.
    But, remember that great leaders are also good followers. They allow people to shine rather than dictate what others should do. You don’t want to find someone who is egotistical. By nature, the egotist is only looking out for himself (or herself).
  5. Focus on the less obvious.
    For instance, quiet people often have a perspective that boisterous people lack. They are often good listeners, and they only speak when what they say is worth saying. They won’t focus on insignificant matters. This is not true of all quiet people but try to find ones who have this insight.
  6. Stay away from people who gossip about others.
    It’s likely they are doing the same behind your back. These types of people will never be there for you when you need them. This usually stems from insecurities they hold. However, this is not your problem. If you can avoid them, it’s best to do so.

Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude

2017 is the first year that I can recall where I have started the year in the position of looking for a new role as a Learning & Development Professional. So as I am sure you can imagine I have been reflecting a lot over the days leading up to the New Year. I have taken time to consider those things in my life which I am grateful for because in that way I have been able to focus on the positive.

I wanted to share some thoughts on how we can each cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  There are a number of ways to cultivate this “attitude of gratitude” so that we can recognise and feel that we are living an abundant life even when times get tough.

Below are some of what I think are the best ways to practice gratitude regularly.

Counting Your Blessings

Each morning and each evening, think of three to five things you are grateful for that day. Even on the worst day, there are things to be grateful for. If you do this daily, eventually you’ll find that you notice more positives and less negatives in your life. Several of my friends on Twitter use the #hashtag #3GoodThings to capture those good things they have experienced each day in a public forum.

Keep a Gratitude Journal

List the things you are grateful for by writing them down at the start and end of each day. Or engage in undirected writing in which you think about all the things you are grateful for and the best things about your abundance.

A gratitude journal can be particularly helpful if you know you tend to be more of a pessimist than an optimist or lean towards negative self-talk. By regularly journaling about all the things you have to be grateful for, you can maintain a positive and peaceful mind and abundant mindset – even when things start to get a bit stressful.


Meditating means to think. There are different forms of meditation – from Zen meditation, to contemplative meditation in which you choose to think about a particular topic. With Zen meditation, the goal is to empty or quieten the mind. This is a good starting point for then being able to think more deeply about important topics in your life, such as all the things you are grateful for.

Mindfulness meditation teaches you to focus on the here and now, so you can make the most of the present as it unfolds, moment by moment, and appreciate the abundance you are experiencing.

Practice Saying “Thank You” and “I Appreciate It”

Manners cost nothing, and the positivity of thanking others and telling them how much you appreciate them is always a good way to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Give Thanks and Pray

As I have written about elsewhere my personal faith is important to me and a source of strength and at time real challenge. However, no matter what your belief system, say thank you to any higher power you believe in for all of the abundance you have in your life. Wish the same for others. You will be amazed at the power of positive thinking.

The Skills You Need for Personal Empowerment

In the last few posts I have been looking at what is involved in becoming personally empowered. On a post earlier today on LinkedIn (see here) Ie looked at the importance of language to empower yourself in order to make progress towards achieving the goals you have set. In this posts I want to take a look at some of the other useful skills you need for personal empowerment.


Understand our strengths, weaknesses and limitations.

Willingness to Take Action

Once you have identified your weaknesses and limitations, are you willing to take practical action steps to overcome them?

Willingness to Learn

Once you have made a list of the things you wish to overcome or improve in your life, are you willing to learn effective strategies for doing so, and apply what you learn?

Willingness to Seek Professional Help and Support If Needed

Some deep-seated issues might be just too tough to tackle on your own. Being willing to seek help when needed, and support from friends, family, mentors and so on, can make all the difference in how rapidly you progress towards your goals.

Develop Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

It is easy to beat yourself up over all sorts of little things. Do you have the courage to go beyond your old way of viewing things in order to develop an entirely new outlook?

Positive Thinking

Taking an optimistic view will be a great deal more helpful than a pessimistic one. Think of the Little Engine that Could. As the great car manufacturer Henry Ford has been credited with saying, “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Evaluating, Not Criticising

Keeping a journal of your goals and progress towards them is one of the best ways to track your success and do more of what works, to achieve your aims even more rapidly. Evaluate, don’t criticize. You did the best you could that day, and will try harder tomorrow. Or, X might not have gone according to plan, but Y went much better than you hoped it would.

All of these skills can help your path to personal empowerment and tackle the weaknesses and limitations you observe in yourself, so you will no longer be held back from living your best life.

Whether it is physical, financial, overcoming negative habits, or some other form of personal empowerment you are seeking, I hope that I have given you some ideas, suggestions, tools and skills to help you succeed. Use language strategically to establish and maintain your personal power, and be pro-active about goal setting. Then see just how far you can transform your life for the better.

Ready, Steady, Go! Becoming Personally Empowered

In my earlier post I looked at What Is Personal Empowerment? and asked you to evaluate where you are right now. Once you have evaluated yourself honestly, without being arrogant or hypercritical, you will have two lists: what you do well, and what you wish you could do better. Next, tackle each item on your list, one by one.

Personal empowerment may sound selfish, like it is all about you. However, the truth is that making yourself into a better person, the person you truly wish to be, extends benefits outwards – like a stone being thrown in a pond and the effect rippling outwards. By looking inward, you can improve your relationships at home, work and so on. You will feel less trapped and more in control of your own life.

You will be able to deal with problems more easily and set and achieve goals. These might be personal ones, or career-related ones. No matter which, you are more likely to be a better friend, spouse, parent, work colleague and so on if you feel empowered, not a helpless victim of circumstances.

You will work better as a team, and thanks to your opportunities for personal growth, you will achieve a new sense of fulfillment. Just think how liberating it will be to get rid of the nagging feeling of discontent that might be harming your career and personal relationships.

But before you start getting too enthusiastic about the idea of personal empowerment and development, it is important to realize that the process will not always be an easy and comfortable one. The goals you set may be harder than you think. Looking inward may bring up a range of issues you might have been burying for years.

Personal empowerment will involve making some changes to your life, which is not always an easy process. The degree of change required will differ from person to person, depending on the individual starting point and goal. You will also have to watch out for self-sabotage, and sabotage from others.

Dealing with Self-Sabotage and Sabotage from Others

Neither you nor they might even realize your efforts are being sabotaged, because change can be very stressful and intimidating for yourself and others. Let’s look at the example of weight loss, which many people need to deal with these days, and the ways you might sabotage yourself or be sabotaged by others – either consciously or unconsciously.

On the one hand, you would like to look great in your clothes, happy, healthy and fit. On the other hand, it might be easier to stay the way you are than to make a lot of changes and then have to deal with being more “visible” and “attractive,” especially if you are a shy person.

In relation to your family and friends, they might secretly feel jealous of your better body. Family members also tend to pigeon-hole us into certain categories and behaviors. You might be the “fat” one, or the one with “the big appetite.” At family gatherings, well-meaning relatives might encourage you to eat more: “Go on, have a little.”

They might even fill up your plate, putting you in an awkward position because you don’t want to overeat, but you also don’t want to be rude to your hosts.

Predicting trouble spots and learning strategies to cope with these kinds of situations will be an important part of personal empowerment. Setting boundaries and sticking to them as needed, or letting them relax a little, can keep you on target with your goals. They can also help you build on the foundation of your accomplishments. Just because you eat one small piece of candy does not mean your entire diet is ruined and you should just give up and go back to the way you used to eat.

Self-awareness, setting values and sticking to those values, or adjusting them as needed, are all part of personal empowerment and development. So too will be gaining the skills you need to succeed in your endeavors.

What Is Personal Empowerment?

We’ve all heard the word empowerment, but what does it really mean? Personal empowerment is about looking at who you are at the present time and becoming more aware of yourself.

The goal is to appreciate yourself and try to become your best self and live your best life. It is about taking stock of your good points and the areas in which you would like to improve. It is about goal setting in relation to the areas in which you would like to do better, and following through with those goals through practical action steps.

There are four main areas in which a person will usually seek to empower themselves:

  1. Physical
  2. Mental
  3. Emotional
  4. Spiritual

Over the next few posts I will be looking at each of these in turn, and offering easy ways to empower yourself.

But first, let’s look at some of the main principles behind personal empowerment.

Starting On The Path to Personal Empowerment

Personal empowerment involves developing the confidence and strength to set realistic goals and fulfill your potential. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and a range of skills that they use in everyday situations. However, many people remain unaware of, or undervalue, their true abilities and sell themselves short. They hold themselves back from leading their best life, or feel stuck – as if they have no control over what is happening to them.

Personal empowerment is all about overcoming obstacles and taking control of your life through positive action steps. The first step is developing self-awareness, an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. You can maximize the one, and minimize the other once you know how.

Personal empowerment and personal development are intertwined. For example, if you know you are disorganized, once you admit that fact, your logical next step will be to learn how to become better organized. Once you have set this goal, it will be time to follow through. Action steps to take might include:

  • Taking a course
  • Getting a coach
  • Hiring a helper
  • Getting an intern
  • Using organizational tools:
    • Calendar
    • Jotter
    • Day planner
  • Buying organisational items:
    • A filing cabinet
    • File folders
    • Archive boxes

…and so on.

It will also include setting and following through with a new routine, such as 15 minutes at the start and end of each day for organizing everything you will need in the morning, and tidying your desk at the end of each day.

If you are struggling with self-confidence, there are also a number of action steps you can take, though they will not be as physical, concrete and obvious as buying organisational items and turning your dustbin of a desk into a model of neatness.

Yet there are several steps to better self-confidence that have been proven to work. These include:

  • Maintaining a good appearance
  • Engaging in positive self-talk
  • Ignoring negative self-talk
  • Not taking what people say as criticism
  • Not taking criticism too much to heart
  • Putting yourself in situations that challenge you, such as public speaking
  • Learning from your mistakes
  • Not comparing yourself to others all the time and thinking you are falling short

…and so on.

In the next post I will take a look at how we set our goals to enable us to move forward and become empowered individuals.