Tripping on Power

I love my job.

I’m going to say it again, because it’s been a hard week for me to consistently believe it.  I love my job.  I LOVE MY JOB.  Ilovemyjob!  Wink! Smiley face emoticon!  Love it.

Sincerely and putting all kidding aside, I love many things about my job (and in spite of the challenges, this week was no different).  I love that I have had the opportunity to hand-select some of the most talented, dedicated, passionate people in this town to be part of my illustrious dream team.  I love that the people we serve have stories that shatter my heart into a million pieces and in the next turn meld it back together with unthinkable stories of warmth.  I love that no two days are the same.  I love that every day – every single day – I will be faced with a question or a problem that I don’t yet know how to solve, and yet nearly every time I somehow find a way to know in the end.  I love that I get to lead, to research, to write, to speak publicly, to work and play alongside an incredible community of providers.  It’s a job that lets me do all the things I love to do, while at the same time requiring me to do very few of the things I don’t.

Because part of my job (one of the parts I like least) includes helping to disperse a proverbial bag of money, there is a fair amount of power that comes with it. I’ve never cared for that part, that kind of power makes me uncomfortable in my own skin.  I don’t care for power.  Power is fueled by ego and there are few who can handle it with the required levels of grace and aplomb.  I suppose like any human being I have my own moments of unbridled narcissism, but I really do try to keep those moments in check.  I don’t need power, and you know why?

I don’t need power because I’ve got something much better.  I’ve got Influence. In the Changing the World family, Power is the drunken asshole brother who dropped out of community college, drives a big over-sized truck, wears Ed Hardy T-shirts and pokes fun at everyone in a way that isn’t fun at all. Influence, on the other hand, is the quiet, soulful, thoughtful brother  who got straight A’s, quietly led the debate team to conference championship and was kind to the kids everyone else was picking on.  Influence may not command as much attention as Power, but is infinitely more effective.  That is because Influence thinks with his heart.  And when you think with your heart, you simply aren’t reckless with the hearts of others.

So following a week that was harder than most, I remind myself of this: Influence is my friend.  Every feeling of positive regard I have for the people around me.  Every belief I have that the people we serve deserve equal footing in this world.  Every bit of positive energy I have to infuse into this world of mine. It’s all propelled by influence, and that is a beautiful, wondrous thing.

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