Jennifer Iannolo is a business owner, speaker, and proponent of empowered business owners.

Jennifer Iannolo, a recognized speaker on human empowerment and entrepreneurship.

When you think of yourself as a business owner, do you feel empowered? Jennifer Iannolo, a recognized speaker on human empowerment and entrepreneurship, believes every person should feel that way. She shares that the key to being empowered is by empowering yourself.   

And why do you need to be empowered? Good question! When you’re empowered, you have a certain level of confidence that allows you to go after what you really want, and you can feel more comfortable in your ability to make decisions and move forward – all great traits of a successful business owner. 

And, empowerment helps you change the way you react and move forward after a really bad situation – in your life or in your business – like what Jennifer experienced in her own career trajectory. 

Her successful food and wine podcasting career took a surprising tumble after she developed a number of allergies to the food and wine she loved and depended on for her livelihood. She suddenly found herself having to leave her passion behind and look for a backup plan.

She thought about what she wanted to do, where she wanted to go in her life, and more to discover a new passion. She started working with girls and women all around the world in a quest for them to empower themselves.

“The flaw of giving empowerment means that you can also take it away,” she said.

She writes about the idea of self-empowerment in No One is Coming: An Empowerment Manifesto. And, she shared some of these concepts with us — talking specifically about how business owners and people in the business world, in general, can use this concept to empower themselves to make decisions and ultimately live a happier life.

So how exactly can you achieve self-directed empowerment, as she calls it? Check out her three-step approach (plus a bonus tip!) below. 

Context: Check Your Lens

The first step in self-directed business empowerment is to “check your lens,” which simply means to examine how you’re looking at defining certain problems. Think about how easy it can be to feel deflated when something goes wrong. But, what if you thought of that problem as an opportunity? It would change the way you approached a solution and moved forward.  

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you check your lens:

  1. What are some “problems” or challenges in your business? 
  2. What meaning are you giving these problems? (Some examples: I’m not a good boss, I’m a terrible decision-maker, etc.) 
  3. How are some of these opportunities rather than problems? 

Collaboration: Eliminate Zero-Sum Games

The second step to empowering yourself is to eliminate “zero-sum games,” according to Jennifer, and make more situations into win-wins. This helps you avoid losses in your life and in your business and can help you build others up as well. Working with people toward a common goal and leading them in that situation can easily make you feel empowered. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. When you solve some of the problems above, who else can win, and what does that look like? 
  2. What are some ways you can collaborate in your business (maybe with people inside or outside of your organization)? 

Contribution: Take Responsibility

There are few things in life and in running a business that we can control. But one thing we can control is what we’re contributing – to our conversations, our relationships, our business, and our day-to-day. It’s about what you say and what you do to help you reach that collaborative state.  

Consider these questions:

  1. How can you be responsible for what you’re bringing to the conversation in your business? 
  2. What are some ways you can improve your contribution to your business or in your personal life? 

Bonus: Think about what you’re good at and embrace it! 

Jennifer shared that she believes we’ve really ingrained the saying “Things worth having don’t come easy” into our brains when it comes to work. And while that can be true about reaching your business goals, it doesn’t mean that you need to discard what you’re good at. You have unique talents and skills, and some things probably come really easy to you. Embracing those things and continuing to do them can help you feel empowered.