Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tonya Antle's 5 Lessons on Empowerment

Thursday I was privileged to attend a luncheon where a woman named Tonya Antle (pronounced tone-ya) delivered a remarkable speech. The event was hosted by a local women's empowerment group that works within the business community to help give women opportunities to succeed.

At our tables were small journals that were ours to keep. Tonya's speech included an interactive segment in which she described the lessons she hoped we would take away from the stories she shared, and she suggested that we write them down in the journals. Now, you know I loved this part. A luncheon that includes prompts and writing and journals?? Oh my!

Here's what I took away from each of her lessons:

  1. Start with yourself. Of course. It all begins right here. Whatever you want from your life, you have to start with yourself because at the end of the day, that's the person you will always have to deal with. You have something to contribute. You matter. 
  2. Define your spheres of influence. Whom or what do you want to influence? Although it seems counter-intuitive, narrowing the areas in which you want to be influential down to 3 or so will actually open up more opportunities. This is what's known as focus. Focus keeps you from taking on the task of trying to change the world. Instead, work on changing your spheres of influence because those spheres are your world.
  3. Invest your power: time, talent, and treasure ($$). Basically, whatever you have to contribute to your spheres of influence, give it. 
  4.  Align your life. Organize your life to accommodate your priorities. Too many of us haven't spent enough time on #2. Our priorities are vague and we feel pretty weak about them. We tend to take on whatever comes our way in the order it comes our way, but just because something's recent doesn't make it important. Align the different aspects of your life so everything (or almost everything) works together to help you get where you want to be. 
  5. Create a human forcefield. Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you. Everyone else has to go. 

Tonya also spent a good bit of time talking about the importance of having a life partner. Even though you might not expect to hear a woman in a women's empowerment organization talking about the crucial role her husband has played in her life, I'm glad she said it. It's true. Not that every woman needs a man (or vice versa), but I think we underestimate the value of having a life partner. Partnership is often what allows us to be the best version of ourselves we can be.

What lessons have you learned on your path to success?

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