The Solomon Individual Empowerment Star - or The Process
by Andrew Skadberg

Individual Empowerment: is the first step for building a bridge to the future. But the key to building this metaphorical bridge is not about trying to live in the future, but to do what we can today, Now, to reach some desired destination.

Success in the world is about individual empowerment being translated up the scales of organizations – or groups of people. In other words empowering individuals and then providing them the tools to help them to help others “people helping people”.

This is the main point of this short course, and process, is to help individuals, who have reached a level of self-confidence, and help them to Share that with others.

The dynamics of this process change as those people interact with the various groups in which they are associated, in other words people are part of successively larger groups as the move up in societal structure (e.g. individual, family, organization, community, region, nation). This idea is further discussed in our principle we call “success across scales”.

We have worked for many years in the area of community and regional development, and the success at this level is dependent upon the success of businesses, organizations, which lead to the larger community success. However, all organizational success is most importantly dependent on individuals. All organizations are comprised of individuals. Thus our interest is to stimulate the “Star” in each individual. For communities, there are often hidden powerful individuals that can become leaders in the transformation and revitalization of regions and communities. This topic is described in detail in the publication Identifying Community Power Actors, which is provided as a Pdf document in our Online Library.

So we are starting on the first step of a ladder, or building the foundation of an edifice by providing information and empowerment methods that will naturally progress, leading to “success across scales”.

For Solomon Experiential University we have developed the following short-course designed to create a transformation in an individual´s perspectives on how to get things done. It is grounded in what we call the “Empowerment Star”. It is a cyclical and iterative process that can be used by individuals or groups. The “modules” as one progresses, build upon the previous experiences and lead the student through a process that will build confidence and skills for accomplishing personal and group aims and objectives.

Diagram 1: Individual Empowerment Star 

The Solomon Individual Empowerment Star (SIES) is a model that is adaptable to any scale (individual, group, community), but more importantly to any individual. Originally these ideas behind the Empowerment Star were developed in the context of helping communities realize the potential of tourism in their communities. The concept was to offer a group of people within a community a way by which they could, through a step-by-step process: a) determine and capitalize upon the potential tourism in their community, b) organize themselves into a working group, c) identify a “product” (e.g. Guidebook, Website) and create it, d) establish a successful process for their group to work together, e) have a tangible, useful and valuable outcomes, and finally, f) this process would lead to the groups ability to expand and continue this same process for other projects.



This course has developed from our working with communities in tourism, but is linked to the Success Across Scales principle as described in JRLU Vision. The SIES (or The Process) is a valuable series of exercises or guidelines, for success working in groups, but this same process can be used by individuals. That is what is being presented here. Basically it is similar to completing a series of homework assignments, but The Process, the six points of the star, builds on itself, and can lead the individual to an entirely new perspective with a group of skills that will lead to greater successes, that can then be shared or experienced with others.

The various sources that has supported and guided the SIES are too numerous to mention. However, some quotes from the Bhagavad Gita, which I was studying at the time of this writing seem to be serendipitous. In this verse, Krishna, the Spirit of the Supreme, responds to Arjuna in the field of battle.

3: 16 Thus was the Wheel of Law set in motion, and that man lives indeed in vain who in a sinful life of pleasures helps not in its revolutions.

The SIES is also a wheel, driven by unselfish motivations to find ones own true path, and to be able to contribute to the betterment of the world. It is work, not laborious work per se, but work involving self knowledge, contemplation, and continual pursuit of finding one´s true purpose, and the Truth (I have added emphasis in italics in these quotes). Here again, Krishna is sharing with Arjuna

3: 20: King Janaka and other warriors reached perfection by the path of action: let thy aim be the good of all, and then carry on thy task in life.

3:21: In the actions of the best men others find their rule of action. The path that a great man follows becomes a guide to the world.

3:22: I have no work to do in all the worlds, Arjuna—for these are mine. I have nothing to obtain, because I have all. And yet I work.

3: 23: If I was not bound to action, never-tiring, everlastingly, men that follow many paths would follow my path of inaction.

3:24: If ever my work had an end, these worlds would end in destruction, confusion would reign within all: this would be the death of all beings.

3: 25: Even as the unwise work selfishly in the bondage of selfish works, let the wise man work unselfishly for the good of all the world.

. . . .

3: 35: And do thy duty, even if it be humble, rather than another´s, even if it be great. To die in one´s duty is life: to live in another´s is death.

The SIES is designed to lead a person through a set of procedures, or activities and actions that will naturally result in personal empowerment – the ability to succeed. We suggest that the student should read “When Love Guides Your Thoughts”, as a prelude to doing these exercises. This book is designed to illumine the individual to “correct thinking”, as indicated in the center of the yellow pyramid in the Empowerment Star diagram.

At the top of the pyramid is “Learning/Growth”, in other words, experience. In our view this is what life on this planet is really about, both for the individual and for the collective. We will not delve into the spiritual, metaphysical or philosophical support of this idea, because it could comprise an entire book on its own. Here we present it as a given. We could provide significant supporting materials and teachings, but it should not be necessary. All a person has to do is contemplate the idea and discover if it applies for themselves.

The third element of the pyramid is the foundation—Spiritual, Realization. In our experience, spiritual understanding, or a desire for it, are absolutely critical for growth and development as a human-being. We do not view the saying “we are not physical beings  having a spiritual experience, but Spiritual beings having a physical experience” to be a trite saying. Our view is that the truth of being a “human-being” is to be much more a spiritual entity than physical, “human”. If the reader questions this, they may not be appreciative to SIES. For support of this foundational principle, we would suggest a person look to those books that assist people to find their own spiritual truths, the Bible, The Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, or any of many, many books that teach about the true nature of the Cosmos, and our Being. A list that have helped the creator of this course is provided at the end of this course.

The outer, points on the star, are The Process. The Process, at the pinnacle of the star is the beginning, and the subsequent “points”, or principles, move clockwise around the star.

Here is a brief overview of this conceptual model. The actual course will have a series of specific exercises associated with expanded discussion.

1. The Process: This is the beginning, and the ending of a cycle. Like breathing. Imagine taking a breath before you do anything. The start of a race, preparing to speak, starting your meditation. But breathing never ends, so where does a cycle of breaths begin and end, after awhile it doesn´t matter. Just keep breathing.

This is a process. Like life is a process. Through utilizing these six concepts, a person will be lead to a higher understanding of life, which will naturally lead to a happier life.

Upon considering the SIES with no prior experience with it, this “point” on the star is the beginning! Be open to possibilities. Be aware that you will be supported and Loved through this process, and that it is YOUR process (more on this later).

After having completed a cycle, or many cycles, The Process step is one of evaluation and contemplation. Taking in the experiences and processing them for another go around. It should be natural and relaxed. Be aware of all that is supporting you at every moment for your own personal transformational process. Believe me, you have incredible support!

2. Fulfillment, Engagement, Flow: Whatever one attempts to do, one is motivated by “fulfillment”, which others might term as “rewards”. (A cautionary note:  rewards can be a trap, if they are attached to transient desires for “worldly” or sensual pleasures, we have found the Bhagavad Gita to provide wonderful guidance on this). Fulfillment may come in many forms. However, it is not our point to list what these might be because they can vary so greatly for each individual. And Fulfillment for an individual can change significantly over time. It is important to know that inherent in effective fulfillment  is a sense, or process, of encouragement which provides incentives to an individual to keep working and achieving. This fulfillment can be external, but the SIES process is really grounded in internal rewards which some might call self-actualization, or as “spiritual realization” (the base of the inner pyramid).

The next part of this first “point on the star” is “challenge”. A very important academic theory guides our understanding of this item which is called “optimal experience theory” (flow theory). There are a number of characteristics associated with flow theory, but the two most important are “rewards and challenge”. There is a dynamic relationship between these two – if the rewards are not enough, a person will quit. If the challenges are not enough, people will get bored, or if the challenges are too much they will quit due to frustration. For more on Optimal Experience Theory.

Here is the definition of Flow Theory Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.[1]

According to Csíkszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task.[2]

3. Skill sets, Organization, Replicability: is the third Point on the Star. The Process will lead an individual in a way that will help them learn organizational skills and also a process by which this “model”, or procedure, for their life will be replicable for them in any situation. This is not like goal setting. Goal setting is not a dynamic process that allows an individual to adequately absorb and comprehend new information, or power, which is inherent in the living process.

We see goal setting as a “behind the starting line” approach to life because from a vantage point in time “now”, people cannot see the true, or full picture—the true opportunities that await them as they move from Now into future Nows. We view living in a way that, as we move through our life experiences, and we are open to continual learning and growth,  in each and every NOW, and we relish the PRESENT, we are constantly presented with new opportunities, many which we were not previously aware of. So this idea of “Goal Setting” which is really based on our “historical” perspectives, really limits our ability to adapt and utilize new information and insights as we go along. When I set a goal, and I lock into that goal, I can very easily put blinders on to many, many opportunities that could be presenting themselves. Our friend Robert from Jamaica said he lived his life based on what he called “goal-less” living, and we can appreciate his statement.

In addition to this open-ness, SIES is very different in that it includes an element of constant evaluation and adaptation – allowing for continual adjustments to strategy to maximize a person’s ultimate results. Another way we might describe this is as a process to become a master at adaptive strategies. Adaptive strategies would be the ability to flourish and succeed in any situation or context.

4. Harmonic People Skills - Interpersonal: The fourth “Point”, or “principle” on the Star is an important aspect of SIES is to improve interpersonal skills. We believe this is pivotal for helping people to live a better life. If one examines life of humans in general, most of our problems are a result of us not getting along with other people. Why is this so? Of course innumerable reasons could be cited, however we believe that it really comes down to our relationship with ourselves first, which then end up creating the way that we interact with other people. In truth, most of these difficulties for ourselves and others could be put into the simple word, FEAR. Nonetheless, we end up treating other people how we really (subconsciously) feel about ourselves. So our focus with the SIES is on the individual, to give them skills to be agile and adaptable and understanding with all people. The principle is really guided by the Golden Rule – “do unto others as you would have done unto you”. To do this you must comprehend the true depth of this great teaching, and also internalize how you want to be treated. To accomplish this you must be on the path to “self knowledge” which is the first of the thirteen Thinking Rules in “When Love Guides Your Thoughts”. Shakespeare in Hamlet puts it like this:

This above all, — to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night and day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man

The SIES Process is a step up, or is complimentary, to the internal practices that must be developed for a person to truly “know thyself”. This means, that we are actively taking our individual growth and learning and attempting to Share it with others. This means that SIES, is complimentary to a person´s individual practices, meditations, spiritual pursuits, and aims to improve their relationship to other people. After these processes begin with a transformation of our personal perspectives, then we can begin to improve our performance as we live and work in the various organizations and situations of the world (family, job, social works, etc.).

A wonderful compliment to the SIES is The Practice created by Desmond and Dawn Green. Of course, we are not suggesting that there is one path to self transformation and empowerment. They are innumerable. Another is A Course in Miracles. Each individual should find their own solution, but the key is not to just float in the sea of confusion that exists as we seek “the Truth” in the external happenings of the world. The Truth, as revealed by all of the greatest teachers can only be found within. However, as we work to find our own best process, we can utilize the wisdom that has been provided to us by the ONE through many, many sources.

5. Demonstration—Becoming a Truth Leader: The next “point on the stor” with SIES we call “Demonstration—Becoming a Truth Leader”. The SIES Process, which has a very natural flow, actually creates a “demonstration”. We have observed that the greatest teachers throughout human history have taught by demonstration (Jesus, Buddha, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Norman Borlaug and many others). So this step is really to mimic those great people. Now, not everyone wants to be a “great teacher” and we have only listed the most prominent here. However, the important fact is we have all been touched by modest/humble demonstrations. In many cases it is our mother or father, or sister, teacher or professor. The main point here is to prepare a person to understand that as they improve their lives, people will watch. And if others can see that you can do it, then they might believe they can change their lives too. This is really the most effective way to teach. And this is not about becoming  a “clanging symbol” it is more like lighting a lantern and bringing some light to the world. This is what we mean by becoming a “Truth Leader”, by the simple discovery that honesty and sincerity are really foundational principles for living in peace, we can then share our “truths” with integrity. This simply means doing the best that we can at any point in time. No one can be expected to do anything else. Solomon´s Empowerment strategies are tested and proven throughout human history, because we believe these models have been discerned from the great teachings, at least we did our best. And they can be used by anyone. That is the beauty of this all. It is not rocket science.

6. Understanding, Awareness, Communication This is the final “point” on the star, before beginning The SIES Process once again. Another way we can phrase this is “Preparing for the World”. Almost everyone desires to touch people’s lives. If not in a big way, then in the way that improves the lives of the people around them. This last item is the step that prepares a person to take these same principles into the rest of their lives – to their place of worship, to their job, to their community, etc. All of the principles already discussed come to play here, but especially interpersonal skills. Here are the key issues that a person needs to master in order to have the best success with working with outside organizations:

a) Vision, Executions skills – knowing how to establish roles &
     responsibilities, and determine rewards (for each individual).
b) Communication skills (internal and external)
c) Outputs, which means “getting things done”
d) Maintaining harmony (conflict resolution/arbitration)
e) Process management
f) Progress evaluation – this occurs constantly throughout the process

Self Searching: this is one of the keys to success. This is where mastery of oneself and ones life arises. This topic is mentioned in When Love Guides Your Thoughts, and relates to the process of looking at one’s life and finding those areas where you have experienced challenges and hardships – these can especially be identified by emotional trauma. When have you experienced the most difficult and internally painful times? Or those times that may have occurred before your conscious memory that shaped the very foundations of your personality. This will go way back in your life in most cases. In the author´s case the first issue was being bottle fed rather than breast fed. One of our advisors has identified A Course in Miracles (ACIM) as the best tool by which to gain more clarity as one goes into the world.

However, we have created a very simple diagram that describes what seems to be a missing piece in how we have been taught, or learned, to live our lives successfully and happily.

Diagram C6-2:  Solomon´s Personal Empowerment—Thought, Experience, Processing

This is a super simplified diagram, but most good ideas are simple in concept. If we describe the center of this diagram with the three terms connected by arrows “thought, experience, processing”, we will understand in a metaphysical, and in fact literal way how we experience our lives, in other words our physical/material reality. Of course, an entire series of books could be written about just these ideas, but we just want to introduce these ideas to you. Just trust, or just contemplate, on our suggestion that your “ideas” that have become something “physical”. Have you ever touched “a thought”, or one of your ideas? How does something you cannot touch, interface with physical reality? You can study this subject through many sources, but it is best if you just spend a little time considering how all of our “reality” comes into being. Extremely simply, it begins with the first two terms “Thought  = creation” and “Experience = Manifestation”. This is how our ideas are turned into “things”, how things come into existence and create our “material reality”. If you haven´t considered this before, just trust that this is how it happens. One book that we recommend that goes into some detail, but with very little extra rhetoric is “The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles. Wallace´s book is provided as part of our “e-books” and we highly recommend that you add it to your digital library.

After we accept that the first two items are the truth, then we need to consider what appears to be the missing part of the picture. That relates to “processing”, the third step in our living process. Most people are stuck in the first two items (the 2-step) in this diagram. Most people believe that outside circumstances are just “happening to them”, that they do not actually have power over them. Repeating the same mistakes over and over again. In fact, usually this is occurring on an inter-generational basis in families. The truth is, we are the creators of all of our experiences—all of them. What has been missing in so many people’s lives is the third element — The ability to process, evaluate (or contemplate) and change the patterns, our internal reactions to, apparently, “external” influences. This is one of the key elements of the Solomon Source Empowerment strategy. To give you the ability to get to the “problems” or issues, honestly face them, and then move into a new paradigm of existence. It is really a simple process, but may require real dedication and courage. But the rewards are significantly greater than the efforts required.

Evaluation: The SIES is situated “metaphorically” in a “soup” of evaluation. This means that your evaluative mind-set should constantly be aware, or “turned on”. This is not as difficult as one might imagine. Especially if one has seriously studied “When Love Guides Your Thoughts” and has committed to seeking Truth and the pursuit of being Love to the world. It really becomes a sort of “watch program” that is constantly vigilant for situations which are going to bear sour fruit, or bad results.  In some ways, it is as simple as monitoring ones own emotional status. However, before those channels are clear there needs to be a serious inventory of past programs and trauma as mentioned in the previous item.

The evaluation mode is connected to adaptation so we learn to be constantly aware and are ready to make adjustments when necessary. Many of these concepts are touched on in “When Love Guides Your Thoughts”.

Getting Your Model: This is the last part of this introduction to the SIES process. It is apparent that, as we observe the struggles of so many people in the world, we all need a “model” for how to have a more successful life. And no one has ever really provided us one, that is because they have been trying to give you their model (in the case of some great teachers such as Jesus, it was others who altered a working model).

This is the issue. What we have not been told, or realized, is that we need to adapt “their models” to be our model. When we discover this simple truth a whole new world arises. It really doesn’t matter what a model looks like, the trick is to modify it to suit your needs. The key is to make it your own. So, we are providing you our “model” and want you to change it in a way that suits your needs – so it serves you and makes sense to you!! This is because it is your model ultimately. That is the only way that it will assist you to accomplish the things that you want to.

I think Jesus really points to this in the quote,

“Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these”. John 14: 12

In my life learning process, I have decided that Jesus was telling us that there is only one way to God, but it was not “his” way, but that the one way to reach God is through our own hearts. So there is only one way. Your way is through your heart, and my way is through my heart. This idea is captured in the following:

“It is the father, living in me who is doing the work.” John 14: 10

With SIES, all we are doing is providing you a structure, or concept, but it is only meaningful if it makes sense to you and you integrate it into your consciousness, your life. Pictures, metaphors, symbols, diagrams, flow charts, etc. work well for many people, others maybe a formula. In any case, don’t think we are telling you what to do, we are just pointing a way, but you choose the path.

Throughout this book are many diagrams that we have used to assist us in simplifying things and providing “a model” for our projects. Maybe one of these will work for you, or maybe some combination (maybe the puzzle, or mandala). Take what you want, but the key, again, is to adjust, alter and adapt the model to fit your needs, and also to be agile, adaptable and evaluative throughout the process. If a model doesn’t work any more, get a new one.

All rights reserved GBCI, SMI & JRLU Team © 2012