An excerpt from our upcoming ebook (Working Title), Lessons from the Village: what business leaders can learn from some of the poorest villages in the world
"I Can Do That" & the "Power" of Empowerment
‘What a human being can conceive, they can then believe and achieve’ ~ Ted Turner
We were standing near a mango tree in the village of Garmaam, looking at rows of seedlings that had sprouted in a small plot. I asked what it was, and Jeff said, "we are teaching them planting and irrigation methods, then locals will take the sprouts and plant them in other fertile areas in the village". They must grow these sprouts in their area and reseed the area they came from. And then, Jeff said something simple and profound, "if we show them and they see it works, they say, “I can do that" and keep it going.
There were children standing around us (the little boy in this picture in particular), and I teared up instantly at the thought of these families and children being able to say, “I can do that” about such a critical skill at such a young age. Imagine a small child, a starving child, being shown how to plant seeds and grow vegetables, and seeing their big eyes look up at you, smiling, and saying, “I can do that”. It’s hard to describe the magic that is inherent in motivating, teaching and inspiring people to think, and then to exclaim, those words. Especially when their wellbeing or even their lives depend on it.
Applying that to our every day lives (both personal and work), to teach skills, in such a way that simply the knowledge that it can be done inspires confidence to act, is one of the great gifts we can provide in life. Are we looking in our lives and businesses to see which people only need to be taught or see something modeled in order to step up? Are we personally looking for opportunities ourselves to say, "I can do that" about something new?Work on teaching others and empowering them to say, "I can do that"!