Wheel of Personal Responsibility and Empowerment

Updated: Mar 25

"Our collective goal must be to create workplace cultures, policies, services, and daily practices that are healthy, emotionally supportive, inclusive, and healing for everyone who engages with them" - Julie Nicholson, Priya Shimpi Driscoll, Julie Kurtz, Doménica Márquez, LaWanda Wesley


Last week, my blog took a version of the workplace wheel of power and control and I adapted it to be more reflective of how power and control show up working within schools.


My friend and our guest blogger on the site, Leona, writes often about the ways that abuse can show up. Identifying abuse and then answering "what next?"


A few days after I created the adapted power and control wheel, I asked myself (and quickly, asked Leona) - what is the opposite of power and control? She named personal responsibility and empowerment, as well as The Four Agreements (we're both big fans) and Trauma-Informed Care. She pointed out: power and control are what you do to others; personal responsibility and empowerment are what you do to yourself. Power and control is inflicted; personal responsibility and empowerment are practiced and shared.


With these ideas in mind, I created a similar wheel to reflect ways that we can counter how power and control manifests within relationships on individual, collective, and organizational levels. This is not to say that only features of personal responsibility and empowerment OR power and control can exist at any one time. Relationships, systems, and people are complex and may simultaneously perpetuate aspects of both wheels.


Ideally, we can create and function collectively within personal responsibility and empowerment to access healing and wellness for everyone.


What resonates with you on this wheel? What would you like to purposefully create or advocate for more of?


*a note 3/24/21: from feedback and reflection, I am processing how to make some updates to the section "Don't take anything personally" - if you have ideas, I welcome you to share them!*

CA: Alison, Lucy, Rebecca, Megan, Barb, Emily, Eliza, Jennifer Washington - Tara, Mallory, Amanda, Chandler, Melissa Oregon - Maro, Pam, Tessa A blue background with a white circle on top, lines splitting it into eight even sections. In the center is a smaller blue circle and black text Personal Responsibility and Empowerment. The top half of the circle is four quadrants with the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz with descriptions under each. Don't make assumptions: 1. Be courageous: ask questions and express what you really want, 2. Communicate with others as clearly as you can, 3. Ask yourself "Do I really know that?" when you explore your beliefs about assumptions you make. Be impeccable with your word: 1. Communicate with integrity, 2.  Avoid communicating harm towards yourself or others, 3. Use the power of your language in the direction of truth and love. Don't take anything personally: 1. Nothing others do is because of you, 2. What others do and say is a projection of their reality, 3. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you decrease needless suffering. Always do your best: 1. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick, 2. Doing your best will help avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret, 3. Extend self-compassion, love, and kindness inwards. The bottom half of the sections include Peer Support, Collaboration and Mutuality: Value and high regard is placed on how individuals with shared experiences can support one another. The decision-making that is hierarchal in nature is removed in favor of collaboration and shared decision-making. Voice and choice: Individuals and groups are viewed as the experts on their lives and experiences, with emphasis placed upon their strengths and inherent worth as humans. Self-advocacy is fostered and supported. Cultural, historical, and gender legacies: Recognition is given to the ongoing epigenetic impact of intergenerational trauma, particularly as it relates to race, ethnicity, gender, and ability. High regard is placed upon individual and community capacities for resilience, hope, and healing. Safety, trust, and transparency: Establishing a foundation of safety, trust, and transparency is core to building connected, meaningful, and sustainable relationships in any context. This is established through a  reciprocal exchange of dreams, ideas, feelings; a welcoming environment, and people being able to see themselves reflected in the lives of those around them. On the bottom left, two sources are identified: Don Miguel Ruiz - The Four Agreements and SAMHSA (2014)  - Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach https://ncsacw.samhsa.gov/userfiles/files/SAMHSA_Trauma.pdf. On the bottom right corner is the handle @resiliencetogether.


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