A stand I take is that I am fundamentally able. I hold that, given the limitations of my human body, I am able to do anything I choose. This does not mean I am at this moment completely competent, but that I am able to learn and become competent. Personal empowerment begins when I hold myself as able. Team empowerment begins when I hold others as able.

The essential issue here is personal power. It is much more powerful to hold myself as able. From this position, I can choose. In high-performing teams, each individual is held and holds the others as able. That doesn’t mean they are equally competent, but it is from this belief in each other that support and coaching can emerge. When I hold others as able, I empower them and the team. When I take the stand that my team is able, I am willing to give them additional responsibilities, let go of control, and work as a coach, not a boss.

In a study I once read – two elementary school teachers were assigned carefully matched classes of students with a similar history of average performance. One teacher was told that it was a class of gifted children, and the other, that the students were remedial. By the end of the school year, the ‘gifted” students had made significant gains and were achieving well above average for children of their age. The “remedial” students had lost ground, actually dropping below average.

Each class had lived up to the expectations of their teacher. One class was held as able and the other as unable. I empower myself and everyone else to perform at an extraordinary level when I hold people as able.

Every time I say “I can’t,” I disempower myself and provide myself with an excuse for not risking. The issue for me is not whether I am able, the issue is, “Am I Willing?” I always have a choice between “I can’ and “I can’t ” Both are equally habit-forming.

Have a wonderful July!!

Elisa

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