“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu
Empowering others happens as you develop into a better leader and friend. After empowering YOU, the key is using that courage and sensibility to lead and change lives. Building a community, a tribe, a plan for world domination—all of that big, heavy world-changing stuff begins with the ability to make other people do positive things they already want to do. Sounds crazy, right? Strong female leaders such as Michelle Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi are able to mobilize entire communities and countries, with just words and actions, and they do it with intellect and style. Here are 15 fifteen-minute ways to empower others:
The universe is made up of little interactions that stimulate the energy and growth within a community. Whether that community is New York or Reykjavik, friends and strangers alike are influenced by a simple smile.
2. Be positive.
Be conscious about your words and actions so that you can be a positive force, rather than fueling the fire. Your energy will offer insights to any discussion and invite others to see things from your perspective.
I’m a firm believer in saying what you want, when you want to—especially if what I say will make someone feel great. Whether it’s acknowledging someone’s generosity or their new shoes, compliments generate conversation and allow others to open up to you.
4. Challenge others.
My friends often impress me with their talents; however, many of us are plagued by extreme self-doubt or paralysis-by-analysis. I try to help by brainstorming ways in which my friends can take their skills to the next level, either to make money or gain followers. It’s rewarding, and I find that we challenge each other to be better every day.
5. Encourage creation.
From themed movie nights (like rom-com marathons) to cooking classes to photo-shoots, doing things with friends is an excellent way to foster creativity and refine skills. MAJOR plus: there’s nothing like taking great photos to post on Instagram or making new friends through collaboration.
6. Do things together.
Little things matter, like grabbing breakfast or lunch with coworkers or calling a friend who’s having a bad day. Smaller groups encourage sharing and empower the shyer ones to speak up.
7. Share ideas.
Budding entrepreneurs and artists can relate because sharing ideas is crucial to the work, but everyone thrives from idea generation because it leads to incredible bonds and unforeseen adventures. Sharing ideas can take 3 minutes or it can turn into hour-long conversations over caffeinated beverages… so share away.
Education is powerful and necessary, but not left to just certified teachers. The most prolific and impactful teachers are often friends and family. It could be a small anecdote of how you overcame an obstacle, how to do a V-lookup on Excel, or dating advice. Teach others so they can be more efficient, knowledgeable humans.
Attend events (join Local Levo here), inspiring lectures, and even parties. Seek them out, and be a resource for others. If there are places you want to go, chances are others do, too—but need an extra push, so don’t be afraid to motivate others to join.
Okay, so traveling takes more than 15 minutes, but booking it only takes a few! Exploring new, exotic places immerses you in a diverse environment. It makes you a more open-minded, innovative, inviting leader because living outside of your comfort zone requires resourcefulness and courage.
Working together toward a common goal or purpose is a surefire way to empower an entire team. Suggest volunteer days with your pals, or join a meet-up for a cause you believe in. You’re bound to meet like-minded individuals and inspire each other to do even greater things together.
12. Live outside your comfort zone.
It’s contagious. Start by making video blogs or striking up conversations with strangers.
13. Make connections.
By expanding your network, you’re gaining influence in your “tribe”—your beliefs and values are as contagious as laughter. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.
14. Pay it forward.
Hold the door open, turn in a lost wallet, or recommend a friend for her dream job (find your dream job here). Pass on the goodwill.
15. Trust in karma.
Whether you believe it or not, treat positive energy as a plentiful renewable resource. It doesn’t diminish with use. So do good things, give freely, and treat others with respect. That positivity will inevitably come back around.
Being the agent of positive change for those around you is a responsibility, so wear it wisely and wear it well. It takes real determination and commitment to your own values to be a great leader. However, learning about you, your community, and the way the world works is a valuable tool for success and happiness.
Read next: How to Not Sweat the Small Stuff