The self-empowerment process, that is, the process of opening new possibilities, might be applied to any kind of exploration, ranging from more concrete aspects – such as being open to the possibility of finding a different job, making a baby or launching into a career – to more psychological aspects – such as being open to the possibility of being courageous, resolute, empathetic or patient.

We are usually more attracted by the first kind of explorations, the concrete ones, as they entail visible actions, factual impacts and easily measurable outcomes. Therefore, we spend a lot of time wondering about what we should do or giving others advice about what they should do.

At the same time, however, the self-empowerment approach aims to stress the second level, the inner, psychological one, reckoned as grounding and somehow forerunning the other. For example, let’s think of a young man who wants to grow in his professional role without strengthening his leadership and empathy skills. Or, again, someone who dreams to live and work abroad without simultaneously strengthening his courage…

The idea of “stepping up in class” is often misunderstood and only circumscribed to the first, concrete, level: “I’ll step up in class if I become a manager – if I get to manage other people – if I enter a different team or change tasks – if I launch my own start-up…”

According to the self empowerment approach, those aforementioned are interesting, valuable, personal goals that, nonetheless, concern a different level from the main focus of our approach: the development of the personal and professional potential.

Here’s one of the main characteristics of those who know how to work on their own self-empowerment, that is, the ability to challenge oneself, to question one’s reactions, resources and limitations, to exploit any potential concrete chance (ambition, frustration, victory or loss) viewing it as a moment of self-reflection, as a trigger to take a new step and express new skills.

Lastly, we need to make one small clarification on the term “to step up in class”: this way of saying might seem rather ambitious and thus be substituted by an, definitely more humble and common, expression such as “area of improvement”. The are at least three reasons why we use such expression:

  • “to step up in class” refers to the concept of climbing, taking a step further, therefore, suggesting that a change per addition, rather than a substitution or the loss of something, is occurring… stepping up in class means adding some other skills or resources while maintaining all the ones you already have;
  • the expression “to step up in class” highlights that, among all the possible changes, some are key, more significant than others and really make the difference. Just like in a racing car, we can pimp the suspensions, brakes, engine or wheels: we know very well that some improvements, although being improvements in themselves, do not make the difference on the system as a whole, while others make a great difference indeed! Therefore, we need to focus on these specific changes (or additions) in order to identify or hypothesize the direction of our next step up;;
  • The expression “to step up in class” contains and refers to the idea of taking a step forward, thus underlining that during this kind of transitions, no matter how planned and prepared, there is always a moment when you need to launch yourself. When you decide to take a step forward, once your foot is lifted from the ground, you cannot step back.
    Metaphorically, working towards stepping up in class entails accepting there will be a moment when we won’t have all the answers and the certainties we would have had otherwise.

I suggest you a little reflection: think of the happiest moment in your past. No matter if it was long or short. If more than one episode comes to your mind, choose one far away in time. Now try asking yourself: “Why was that period so happy? What happened to make it special?”
A possible answer to this question is that that period was so happy because it coincided with you taking a step up in class. During that period you probably experienced an evolution of your own being that also included learning to think at yourself differently and acknowledging new possibilities. Try to think about it and in case you find out it was exactly like this, you’ll definitely know what we mean by stepping up in class…

Want to find out the Empowerment Alphabet?