by Jan Bolick
If you've lost power, or never had any to begin with, how can you possibly make a difference? Why bother dreaming? Or trying to make a goal? Or even setting one? Someone or something will keep you from it anyway. Might as well forget about trying to make a difference in someone else's life -- much less your own.
PLEASE don't listen to ANY of nonsense above!!! You have plenty of power. It might not be obvious. You may have to hunt around a bit. But it's there somewhere. I hope this reader will help you with search and discovery so that you find your power. And if you are a manager, I hope it will help you help others find theirs. A must for morale & productivity.
One December morning - the house was colder than normal. The clocks were dead. Out the window, we saw trees sagging under a beautiful crystal-like layer of ice; power lines across the road beneath branches, limbs -- even whole trees.
We learned from our battery operated radio that 90% of the homes in our town were without power. They said it would take 8 days to restore.
We went in search of breakfast and found only one restaurant open. It seemed the entire town was there -- hungry and powerless.
Powerless. We had lost possession of control.
It's funny the habits we found hard to break. Passing the neighborhood video store on the way home from breakfast, my son said excitedly, "No school today! Let's get a video!" "Oh -- I forgot", he said. "We don't have power." For two days -- I flipped the light switch every time I entered a room. "Oh -- I forgot. No power."
No lights. No video. No hot water. Or stove. Or refrigerator. No washer. Or dryer. No television. No computer. Or e-mail. No phone. Or fax. No traffic lights. Or streetlights. Never mind that our ancestors didn't have these things. Never mind that many people of the world are without these things every day.
WE HAD NO POWER!
We are spoiled by power. Feel entitled to it.
Yet -- might it be true that by losing it, we uncover forgotten power? Hidden power? Maybe even become more powerful?
We remembered some forgotten power fairly easily. Like the gas hot water heater. And the gas logs. Then we remembered the "old-timey" telephone in the attic. You know -- one of those that doesn't need electricity?
And what about the gas grill? It became a great and fun place to heat water for hot chocolate, cook eggs and a "mean" tasting grilled cheese sandwich.
Our power was revealed in other ways as well.
Gerry and his friend went out with their chain saws on that first day, clearing streets and driveways all over town. They did it because they had the equipment and the know-how. Not for rewards or payment. They told us about a woman who gave them a $50 bill to thank them for their help. They refused. She insisted. They took the money and gave it to charity. They used their power to help others and to pay it forward.
Other friends and neighbors who did have electricity called their friends and neighbors to check in and offer assistance. Once we located our old timey telephone, we were lucky enough to receive one of those calls from Lou and Tracey. They invited us over for showers and dinner and to spend the night. We gladly accepted!
The first night, we helped cook dinner for ten others who had been invited for a warm-up dinner. It quickly became dinner for 35 and a night full of fun and laughter. We all forgot about our own cold, dark households -- for three nights in a row. Meanwhile -- their showers had revolving doors. The washer and dryer worked non-stop. And the countertops were constantly lined with charging cell phones and laptops. Lou and Tracey had power and they shared it. In the process, they reminded the rest of us about the power of friendship and generosity.
Our neighbor, Beth, also had power. Looking for those without, she knocked on doors and called on the telephone, repeating what became a famous refrain "Come on over and BYOT!" (Bring your own towel).
WCHL, our community radio station that had lost power, but the engineers and generators kept the sound waves going 24/7. And somehow the sleep-deprived announcers kept providing information and entertainment, both vital during this emergency situation. One announcement was about Weaver Street Market. They had lost power and their food was spoiling. In an effort to turn their misfortune into good fortune for others, they asked WCHL to announce "Come take our food. It's FREE."
Sally heard the announcement and went right over. Her power was out so she had no place for the food, but she knew of a family of eight whose home had burned to the ground the week before. They were starting over in a rental home near Sally and they had power, an empty refrigerator and an empty freezer. So Sally drove to Weaver Street and let the manager know the situation. He loaded her station wagon with food which Sally delivered -- filling her new neighbor's freezer to the brim.
Sally had lost the power to do her usual job. Weaver Street had lost their power to provide fresh food. WCHL had lost their usual source of power as well. Even so, this threesome had a powerful impact on a family that had suffered a tragedy few of us can even imagine.
Dave also heard an announcement on WCHL about someone giving free wood to those in need. Dave had no use for wood, but he knew of an older couple nearby who had run out, so he filled his trunk with wood and delivered it to the couple. Dave had lost power to do his usual job, but he found hidden power to help another couple in need.
The power lines had been completely ripped away from our house. We had gotten conflicting information about whether to wait for the power company or call an electrician. On the fifth dark day, we decided to call an electrician. As you might imagine, it was hard to locate one at this time. We finally reached Sam on Sunday morning at 7:00am. He drove 40 miles to come over and repair the damage. When we asked what we owed, he quoted his normal weekday, non-emergency hourly rate. He had the power to repair the damage done by the storm. He did it. He had the power to charge far more than his normal rate. He didn't.
The power was on and everyone went back to work and school.
Shortly before the storm, Shelly Heath, a teacher at McDougle Middle School, had introduced "kindness" as part of a values curriculum. Our town's loss of power added power to this values lesson, as kids came to school after the storm, reporting their many powerful exposures to kindness.
People often talk about things they wish they could have -- things they wish were different. Those wishful statements are often followed by reasons these wishes won't or can't come true. Reasons or obstacles -- like spouses, kids, bosses, mergers, layoffs, the economy, war -- the list goes on and on.
These obstacles seem to zap our power like the ice did.
Yet if we truly want the things described in our wishful statements -- don't we have the power somewhere? Forgotten power? Hidden power? We certainly found a lot of it back in December.
Copyright 2010 – Business Class Inc
About the Author:
Jan has thirty years of sales and management experience and loves sharing it (plus her love for solving problems and for making work fun) with others so that they can get through tough situations, make big goals and celebrate these achievements.
She is now President of Business Class Inc. provides resources to managers and business owners such as one-on-one coaching, master mind groups and management team retreats. Plus FREE resources such as a Blog, E-Zine and Quote Library, which currently includes 153 motivational quotes ready to download, print, post and share to help teach, learn, remind and reinforce important keys for business success.