For the first Soul Boss series, I wanted to tackle a sometimes difficult topic. Power can be an uncomfortable conversation for spiritual people. Empowerment is a common idea, but we become uneasy talking about being powerful. We’ll look at expressing power with integrity in the May series, Genuine Power.
Marianne Williamson likes to joke, “A show of strength isn’t strength.” Actress Phylicia Rashad learned that first-hand as she prepared to play a centuries old, mythical wise woman on Broadway. To her surprise, the most powerful people in her character study weren’t loud, brash arm twisters like Donald Trump or anyone from a Real Housewives cast. The opposite was true: “True power isn’t loud. It’s actually quite subtle. And everyone in the room maps to it.”
The simple version of the shadow side of power is being powerless. However, it’s more complicated than that. As Marianne Williamson pointed out, the opposite of genuine power isn’t being weak, it’s being much too strong.
Greg had plenty of bluster. A talented television producer, he was bursting with creative ideas. He loved long lunches with new producers on staff. He often dropped by the editing suite unannounced, sure that everyone would benefit from his years of expertise. He couldn’t stop himself from telling other producers how to recut their segment.
Greg had seen a lot of changes at his local station. Once dominant on the airwaves, programming had become unstable. The creative team kept changing and the formats changed with it. One Creative Director focused on news and politics. His successor wanted Dr. Phil style relationship shows. Greg’s hours began to dwindle. To shore up his income, he began to teach a production class at a neighborhood community college.
The boom was lowered when they were bought out by a national network. Much of the programming could be handled remotely, so it wasn’t necessary to have a full-time creative staff. After almost 20 years on the job, Greg could have been devastated. However, he had a light bulb moment.
“There’s something about the students that just brings me alive. It wasn’t until I started teaching that my job at the station took on a different light. All the “help” I was giving the other producers? I slowly began to see that I got into their segments because I was bored with my work. No wonder they were resistant. I didn’t mean to be, but they probably saw me as a pest. Being let go has forced me to start finding work I care about.”
A Soul Boss tenet is the ability to accomplish your goals without rolling over others. Have you been shying away from being powerful because you don’t want to become like Greg? Power doesn’t need to mean throwing your weight around or not knowing when to quit. It’s time to create a new paradigm and replace “domineering” and ”overbearing” with “graceful” and “strong”, the qualities exemplified by martial arts expert Michelle Yeoh. This is the week to step into genuine power, your way.