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The Craft of Power by RGH Siu – A very dense read, indeed – it was suggested several years ago that I read this book. It was out of print, but I found a beat-up copy on Amazon and bulldozed through it, as best I could. Bulldozed, because it was like walking through waste-deep, nearly-hardened cement. If I was supposed to test my ability to follow a concept or self-indulgent theories of power, then I was tested – not sure if I passed the test.
And today? That test doesn’t even matter, I have survived more professional and private turmoil than one should have to, really – and perhaps it is just me, perhaps I am too passionate about my work, my job, my career, my industry, my field, or what/who I love. Whatever the reason, I feel professional pain deeply and I yearn to just be able to pick up work at the door and leave it there, as well.
But perhaps that is what makes me good at what I do. Because I am so invested in my work, in my professional community, in my industry – maybe that is why I excel and really why I can’t just leave any of it at the door.
My Craft of Power
It comes to me at night.
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Many years ago, when I first really listened to the lyrics for I Dreamed a Dream as sung by the incomparable Patti Lupone in Les Miserables, it hit me. My tigers come at night, with voices soft as thunder. I feared those challenges and hardships – my tigers – who reared their very scary and ugly heads baring vicious teeth, ready to tear me apart. Deep in the night – when I was most vulnerable and alone. And I could respond one of three ways.
1. I could pretend they weren’t there, ignoring them, pretending they didn’t exists.
2. I could run from them, cowering in shame or fear.
3. I could stand up and face them, but not just face them – but move toward them and chase them away, instead of allowing them to do that to me.
So, that’s what I decided to do, and did.
I did not hone my ability to run roughshod over anyone in my way or become someone else’s tiger.
I did not allow a failure or disappointment to keep me down or become a speed bump.
I did not seek attention or bitch and moan.
I did not trash or belittle anyone else to make myself feel bigger or better…
And most certainly, I did not make promises I knew I wouldn’t or couldn’t keep.
I just worked. I never wanted to be king or queen. I just wanted to be professional and good at my craft.
Some are naturals
Some have the natural inclination for success. Some chase success til their deaths. Some fail to see success until it is too late. Some have no idea what it looks like or they chase the wrong thing.
And some? Some just work – they are plows – or they are bulldozers through nearly-hardened cement.
The Chase for Power
Is it a physical place or a mental state? Over the next several weeks, I’ll chase for answers. True power is more than a few bucks or a snazzy car, greater than an award or several awards, stronger than your ability to say no or even yes. It may be in your ability to say “I’m sorry” — but that requires letting go of pride or an admission of being wrong or willing to say someone else was right.
Power begins with the specification of purpose. And so begins the chase.
The True Craft of Power series