Using the ‘Empowerment Formula’
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Using the ‘Empowerment Formula’

Last year, my husband got me a FitBit for my birthday. That gift inspired me to give myself an ongoing gift of self-care: I’ve been walking 10,000 steps at least three or four times a week while listening to podcasts. I’m proud to share that I’ve walked more than 750 miles in the last eight months.

That means I’ve also listened to hours and hours of podcasts. One that I’ve especially enjoyed is Life Coach School with Brooke Castillo. In one episode, she shares a model that I call the ‘Empowerment Formula.’ The premise of her model is that by understanding and directing your thoughts, you can change your feelings and actions, which then leads to results. It’s all about understanding how to empower yourself to get the results you desire.

I feel like the model is simple to understand, but can be really hard to put into practice. I’ve been using situations in my life to see how I can change not only my own perspective, but also the outcomes of many situations.

Here’s an example from my own life. First, I’ll walk through the model driven by negative thoughts, and then we’ll go back through with positive thoughts instead.

Circumstances: Julia’s annual IEP meeting is scheduled, and I’ll be attending, along with five or six members of her school team. Julia is currently doing a homebound program, and attends class once or twice a week via Skype. The speech, physical and occupational therapists each provide a half hour of consultative services quarterly.

Thoughts: I’m nervous about attending because I will be outnumbered, and that intimidates me. I’m also expecting to be disappointed because the school keeps taking away services that I think my daughter needs and deserves.

Feelings: I feel angry, anxious and defensive – it’s a trifecta of negativity.

Actions:  I come to the meeting nervous, with a bit of an attitude. I’m outspoken and overly assertive during the meeting, which causes the school staff to withdraw and be less collaborative.

Results: The new IEP is simply a repeat of last year’s IEP. It does not reflect any of my ideas, and it doesn’t address my concerns.

Let’s try this again, with positive thoughts this time:

Circumstances: These don’t change because the circumstances are the facts. Julia’s annual IEP meeting is scheduled, and I’ll be attending, along with five or six members of her school team. Julia is currently doing a homebound program, and attends class once or twice a week via Skype. The speech, physical and occupational therapists each provide a half hour of consultative services quarterly.

Thoughts: The two teachers on Julia’s team have been collaborative and open to new ideas over the last two years, and I’m excited to run some new ideas past them to get their feedback. I want to make sure we continue to Skype in for Reading class because Julia really enjoys that, and she’s made some great friends there. I know that Julia doesn’t receive a lot of therapy services, but I’d like to explore how we can leverage the therapists’ expertise to help make it easier for Julia to access and participate in activities at home.

Feelings: I’m excited to collaborate with the team. I feel a little apprehensive because these meetings are important, but overall I expect things to go well.

Actions: I come to the meeting ready to share my ideas and listen to the team’s input, prepared to collaborate on an IEP that builds on the things that are working and makes some changes to improve things that could be better.

Results: During the meeting, many great ideas are shared and discussed by everyone. My ideas and concerns are taken into consideration, and there is a true spirit of collaboration. By the end of the meeting, we all come to a consensus about the plan and next steps. While Julia’s plan is very unique, it is a great fit for her needs. The meeting ends with me telling the team how happy I am that Julia’s plan is truly individualized, and I feel like the whole team is doing what they can for her.  

Here’s what I hope you take away from this application of the ‘Empowerment Formula’: If you can truly listen to your thoughts, look at them objectively and actively manage your mind, you can change your thoughts, which then changes your feelings and actions and ultimately impacts the results. I’m NOT saying that an IEP meeting that does not go well is your fault. However, I have been through both the negative and positive scenarios above, and I no longer underestimate the power my thoughts have over the eventual outcome.

Give this model a try, and let me know if using the ‘Empowerment Formula’ helps you gain a better understanding of how your mind works and how you can get more control over your thoughts, feelings  and actions to achieve the results you’re looking for.

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