Some people would have you believe that power is fleeting. Here today, gone tomorrow.
There are many quotes which can be attributed to the understanding that “glory is fleeting” – but I am not referencing glory – I am, instead, referring to power – the power of growth, the craft of your own power – in your own universe, in your own community, within yourself.
If I listened to what others have said about me in the past, or worried about what others thought, I would be in a grave by now. I am who and where I am by sheer will, by grace-laced tenacity, by covering “acres of self” along the way. Many years ago, a former boss told me that, “It’s none of your business what other people think about you.” This drove me mad. I knew he was right, but this was a control thing for me — I wanted only good thoughts thought about me. But you cannot control what other people think or what other people do. This is not George Orwell’s 1984 yet, thank God.
A Truth and A Lie
Many years ago, very soon after my first marriage ended, I was in dire straits. I had gone back to school, but I was still several years away from completing my degree. It had been a particularly trying time as I learned, three months after he moved out, that my ex had taken our kids on vacation and brought another woman, his new girlfriend. Friends and family rallied around me as I applied for jobs – trying to make ends meet. One friend in particular bought me a good luck lunch prior to a job interview. My ex-husband and I had vacationed with this friend and his family, wife and children. Unfortunately, this friend mistook my gratitude and kissed me after that lunch. Confused and heartbroken, I rebuffed the kiss saying, “No, we can’t do this – I can’t do this.” It ended there, or so I thought.
A few years later – his marriage melted down and he confessed to an affair with me that never happened. His wife reached out to me for the truth, which I gave her but she didn’t accept. It was a big hairy mess, as you can imagine. Friendships lost, lies and hate ensued. I made it through by sheer tenacity.
Truth had been scrambled like eggs on drugs.
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And my former boss told me once again, “It is none of your business what other people think of you,” as I sobbed in my office. People will believe what they want to believe.
My marriage had already failed, friendships and truth had failed and I felt powerless. Completely. Until I didn’t – until I remembered that I am in control of me – I have power over me. And then I understood that I can only control what I think and how I choose to respond or move forward.
Truth Gets Lost
When we consider hunger and thirsting for power, however great or small, truth gets lost and relationships always suffer – personally and professionally. Employment lawyer and writer Heather Bussing recently published, Why the CEO Cares More About Money than About People at HRExaminer.com. As professionals, we know these truths and yet we are shocked or disgusted when we read them or, God forbid, if they happen to us.
Keep honing your power of self. Power is not fleeting, as some would have you believe. It lives in you. Don’t let it die there.