Bye bye Empowerment. Hello Discipline. – By Kirsten Jepsen

One of the most celebrate phrases we hear now a days is:

Empower others!

Be a leader and empower your team!

Empowerment leads to greater achievements!

So how exactly are we supposed to do this?

We all know that no one really learns about empowerment by reading about it. If this were true all the self-help sections of bookstores would be secret havens for the most successful people. We also know we don’t become automatically empowered because we hear an amazing speaker that inspires us for a couple of hours. So why do we keep on doing the same things expecting an enlightening moment to hit us, take over our bodies and suddenly become unstoppable? Because it is the easy thing to do.

Empowerment is defined in the dictionary as the measures designed to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities in order to enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority.

I define empowerment as discipline.

Discipline to make the hard decisions

Discipline to work day and day out

Discipline to take on the responsibility no one wants to take

Discipline to learn

Discipline to show up

Sound less sexy? For sure. Is it real? Absolutely.

I had the great privilege of mentoring 10 startups over a 5 day period during the month August.  They all have hopes of becoming the next best medical startup in the country, maybe even go global one day. Impossible? Not at all although the medical field presents challenges not all startups have, such as special FDA and other government requirements. My biggest advice over the 5 days I spent with these amazing minds: Make a plan, execute, measure, revise, repeat. The latter is worthless without discipline.

A startup takes discipline.

Discipline to make a plan,

Discipline to execute it,

Discipline to measure its results,

Discipline to revise it,

Discipline to repeat this exercise over and over again

What most people don’t understand is that discipline grants you enormous freedom. Freedom to be your own boss. Freedom to make your own mistakes. Freedom to make your own achievements. Freedom to learn. Freedom to grow. Freedom to change the rules. Freedom to make a change. Freedom to be you.

Empowerment is not about magically feeling inspired. To be truly empowered you must be disciplined enough to show up, day in and day out, make the tough choices, fail, get dirty, get up and do it all over again.

And again.

And again.

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