This is part 9 of a 12 part series.
For these two weeks I’m sharing my thoughts inspired from the book Real Power by Janet Hagberg. It’s a very unique book, that I like to describe as a truth-speaking Trojan Horse cleverly disguised as a corporate self-help book. It has meant so much to me that I could go on and on.
Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt
Read Ecclesiates 3:9-13
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[ no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
More thoughts to ponder
Stage 3 of Janet Hagberg’s Model of Personal Power: Power By Achievement
Janet Hagberg says “Stage three is the dynamo stage, the success stage.” “They know how the organization works and help make it work better. The threes are in charge. They have the feeling that ‘This is it!'” She says “This is the most externally oriented and externally rewarded of all the stages.” And it “is the most representative of our culture, of what our culture strives for.” It’s what we think of when someone gets that big promotion, with the raise, you’re now “the boss”.
It rewards strong, decisive people, experts and the competitive. Generally you would have figured out that, to get to this place, you might have to play by others rules for a bit, keep certain people on your side, or what they call politics. In this stage people usually operate on what works, and not necessarily what ought to be. It doesn’t necessarily mean going against your conscience, it might mean you’ve learned that getting things accomplished might not happen the way you’d dreamed they would. I remember when Obama first showed up, the news kept talking about “Pragmatism,” It sounded like a new idea when I first heard it. Like it was an unused word in our national vocabulary. They were using it to mean someone who sees what needs to happen, makes some expedient decisions, is willing to comprise a bit, and can get things done.
Now, in my circles in particular, we might feel a little shy about being a position with power. But there’s nothing wrong with being successful in our work, or our lives. Having built your skills up to be someone desirable, is a great feeling. Christ doesn’t call us to a life of being sub-par. The challenge with being here is that it’s easy to become too self-confident, secure, and decide to stop growing. This is a spot where once you think “you’ve made it” you can easily stop questioning things, It’s challenging to question ourselves, especially if we feel secure and confident. “Why should I go any further, I’ve made it!” My synopsis of Hagberg’s thoughts, combined with my own are, “Enjoy it, you’ve gotten to a great spot in your life, just don’t stay there too long, there’s a lot more work to do”
If we read Ecclesiastes this way, we get a little dose of permission. If it’s a gift from God to enjoy the fruits of your labor, then it must be a good thing. We can embrace this idea in one hand, while at the same time holding onto the warnings of God about wealth, greed and self-flattery in the other. Go ahead and enjoy the mountain top, just make sure you continue your hike.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about Stage 4: Power by Reflection and what comes after “succeeding”.
Suggestions for action
Do you feel you’ve found success in your life? It’s okay to be happy. Just keep in touch with God, and try to balance out what to do with it, or how to keep growing.
If you are still aspiring to reach this stage, feel inspired. It’s a good thing to get proficient at something, move up a position, or learn to be the boss. Keep learning new skills, and figuring out how things work.
God does tell us to be as innocent as doves, but as shrewd as serpents. I think this can also mean to operate in a kind, peaceful way, but we’re supposed to be smart, we should understand how the world does things.