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Personal Empowerment: Unleashing the Power of Agency

The journey towards self-improvement and personal growth is a winding road laden with opportunities for self-discovery and self-awareness.

 In each stride, you make choices and decisions that shape your path and influence your future. The concept of personal agency is a fundamental aspect that propels this emotional journey.

Personal agency is the control you exert over your life, your ability to influence your thoughts and behavior, and your confidence in handling diverse tasks and situations. 

This article is a comprehensive guide on understanding and fostering personal agency, thus helping you feel more in control of your life and work.

The Core Concept of Agency

Personal agency, also called self-agency, is the feeling of control you experience over your life and your capacity to influence your thoughts and behaviors.

 It’s the belief in your ability to impact your future. People with high agency have profound control over their lives and can make decisions to meet their needs and wants. 

They harbor an inner power that allows them to act upon their desires, make plans, and execute actions necessary to realize them.

Conversely, individuals with a low agency often feel that external factors such as luck or fate manipulate their life trajectories. 

They may feel powerless to alter the course of their lives, fostering a sense of helplessness and complacency. Understanding ourselves as agents of change can help us set goals, take steps to improve our personal and professional lives, and discard feelings of powerlessness.

The Building Blocks of High Agency

Albert Bandura, a prominent Stanford University professor of psychology and a pioneer in agency research, proposed that we start developing our sense of agency from birth.

Infants learn to interact with their surroundings and discover ways to alter their environments through their caregivers. Children learn to regulate their behaviors by observing their parents and caregivers. 

As adults, our sense of agency continues to evolve, influenced by several factors, including access to resources and the environment.


Intentionality is the proactive commitment to change your life or environment. It means you consciously decide to act and take control instead of letting external factors dictate your actions.


Forethought allows you to envision the future, set goals, and motivate yourself. It guides your actions in anticipation of future events and outcomes.


Self-reactiveness is your capability to act on your plans, monitor your progress, and make necessary course corrections if you stray. It means you need to be deliberate in performing towards reaching your goals and not simply waiting for results to appear.


This attribute lets you contemplate and evaluate your motives, values, and life goals. Self-reflection allows you to address any conflicts in your motivations and choose to act in favor of one over the other.


Self-efficacy is your belief in your ability to succeed. It’s as crucial as your actions in developing a sense of agency. How people perceive themselves and their environment influences their ideas about what is possible and determines their level of personal agency.

Transitioning from Low Agency to High Agency

Transitioning from low to high agency involves fostering a shift in mindset and embracing strategies that inspire personal empowerment.

Re-evaluate Your Beliefs

Begin by introspecting your beliefs about your sense of agency. Do you perceive yourself as someone with high agency or low agency? 

Do you feel a high sense of agency in some regions of your life, like your career, but a low sense of agency in others, like your personal relationships? 

Reflecting on where you want more control can help you set future goals.

Cultivate Intentionality

Start by setting small, achievable goals for yourself. It could be reading a specific number of pages of a book each week, organizing your workspace, or incorporating a new habit into your daily routine.

Understand Your Environment

High agency requires resources like time, money, knowledge, and skills. Evaluate the resources you have that can help you create and act on your goals. Identify the resources you need and the avenues to acquire them.

Seek Support

Consider seeking support from coaches, mentors, supportive family members, or friends. They can provide invaluable guidance and encouragement on your journey towards self-agency. 

If you believe traumatic experiences or mental health struggles are impacting your agency, seek support from a licensed mental health professional.

The Journey to Personal Empowerment

Remember, feeling in control of your life is not about controlling every aspect of it. Instead, it’s about exercising more control over your aspirations, understanding your sense of agency, and letting go of feelings of powerlessness.

Embracing personal agency is about believing in yourself and your capabilities. It’s about recognizing that you are the pilot of your life, steering it in the direction you desire. 

So, take the reins of your life, set your course, and embark on the journey to personal empowerment.

After all, as Albert Bandura rightly stated, “People are producers of their life circumstances, not just products of them.” It’s time to be the producer of your life and embrace the power of agency.

Written by Sarah Edwards, Project Associate of TPCT.  Want to get to know me? Say hi! https://liinks.co/setapartcompany

Disclaimer: Sarah Edwards is not a certified or licensed mental health professional—instead, someone sharing real-life experiences and findings for others to find commonality and seek actionable steps.

NAMI CT WALK 2016- Join Mind Over Matter

Join us for the NAMI CT walk this Saturday, May 21st!

We’ll be there alongside a few different young adult organizations. Join our young adult team and walk with us!

Here’s the link to join and/or donate : MIND OVER MATTER

“CT Strong, Turning Point CT, Advocacy Unlimited, Join Rise Be, InterCommunity, Jordan Porco Foundation, Connecticut Legal Rights Project, YAS Biz, Institute of Living and DMHAS Young Adult Services are all key organizations dedicated to advocacy and empowerment of young people with mental health challenges in Connecticut.” We’ll be walking in unison to stop the stigma around mental health, advocate, and of course to educate. Come have some fun!

NAMI Walk in Hartford May 21, 2016 at 9:00am

Bushnell Park
99 Trinity Street
Hartford, CT 06105

Need more info, Check out the official NAMI Connecticut Walk website –> CLICK HERE

Here you can check out any announcements!

Mental Health Open Mic Night

Mental Health Open Mic Night – RIPPLE (Recovery Innovations for Pursuing Peer Leadership and Empowerment) will hold its first Mental Health & Addiction Open Mic Night at Never Ending Books in New Haven, next Wednesday May 18th!

This is only our first open mic night!


Who can perform? If you have first-hand lived experience with mental health and/or addiction, whether or not you’ve used services, we want to hear your poetry, short prose, spoken word, and art!

Who can join and listen? Anyone at all! We’d love to have providers, family members, and other folks along with our peers sitting in the audience, witnessing the powerful performers sharing their work!

A word about language: You’ll notice the word “recovery” isn’t in the name of the event, or in the description; this is not an oversight. We’ve heard from too many of our peers that they feel they are not in recovery “yet,” because they are “still too sick,” or are “sick again.” We believe recovery is not the destination at the end of treatment – it is the journey itself, the method of travel – we believe that “set-backs” and “relapses” are part of the journey. Too many of our peers exclude themselves from the term “recovery” because they feel they are “too sick” to be in recovery; we want them to know they are welcome and that they have so much to offer!

Please consider sharing our flyer with your networks, we hope to see you at Never Ending Books on the 18th!

Have a great weekend, and keep on #RockingRecovery!