How To Be More Empowered
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Get A Boost1 of 8
By Natasha Burton
Stress from work, romantic relationships and family situations—just life in general—can leave us with that deflated, I'd-rather-stay-in-bed feeling. We chatted with career and creativity coach Gail McMeekin, author of The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women, about some of the emotional triggers that can leave you feeling less than empowered. Read on to regain that moxie.
If You're Unmotivated2 of 8
"When we're feeling apathetic, it usually means that we've lost touch with our life purpose and passion," McMeekin says. She suggests keeping what she calls "an excitement list" on your phone, on your computer, or in a notebook for two weeks in which you write down everything that excites you. "It could be a color, a quote you read, music you love—doesn't matter what it is, but at the end of those two weeks, you will begin to see some patterns in what you're attracted to."
If You've Been Undervalued3 of 8
Positive recognition is the number one motivator in the workplace, McMeekin says. But nowadays, many managers are doing jobs in addition to managing, leaving them with little time to give that reinforcement. "One thing I suggest, particularly for introverts who don't toot their own horn, is to send your manager a quarterly email updating her on your successes," she says. If anything, your note will remind your boss to give you the props you deserve.
If You're Overwhelmed4 of 8
McMeekin says that, in our 24/7 culture, we need to set limits so we don't get burned out. "Women fry themselves waiting for someone to say, 'You've done enough,' and to notice them or give them a promotion," she says. "It doesn't work that way. Work smarter, not harder." Sometimes this weighed-down feeling is triggered by your work environment. "Be careful if you work for a workaholic," she says. They never feel done, and that attitude can rub off on you.
If You've Been Taken Advantage Of5 of 8
"When we get taken advantage of, our intuition starts screaming," says McMeekin, so listen to your body to know when enough is enough. Because we often put everyone else's needs first, women can get caught in relationships in which we feel like we need to constantly help those we care about. "We have to set a boundary and say, 'This person is not able to have a mutual relationship, and I need to let go,'" McMeekin says.
If You Feel Insecure6 of 8
"Make peace with inner critics and the ghosts of people who aren't around anymore who may have traumatized us," McMeekin says. "When you feel judged, tap back into your strengths and your life's purpose." If you feel unconfident in your abilities when confronted with a new type of work task or if you don't fully understand an assignment, then know that it's OK to seek outside assistance. "We need to be willing to say, 'I can't be good at everything, so who can I ask to help me?'"
If You've Been Rejected7 of 8
"It can be really hard to let go of the expectation that everyone has to like us all the time," McMeekin says. "When we're dating or stretching ourselves in any way, we have to expect rejection." Of course, doing so isn't easy, so having a support system—a friend, a mentor, a therapist—is so important. "We have to have good people around us. Women really need their girlfriends, people who you can call up and say, 'Oh my god, I just met this jerk and he did X, Y and Z.'"
If You're Uninspired8 of 8
Set up a schedule where you can take a vacation and get some rest, which will spark your creativity, McMeekin advises. "Time away—whether it's hiking, going to a spa, doing something totally different— actually gives your mind a rest. You can get incredible creative ideas by stepping away from what you're doing."
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