Absolute Power

A terrible Injustice

Today I was had.

It’s not a great feeling and it’s left me furious. As I reflect on the particular circumstances of the scam (no crime, just a disingenuous shop owner) I find myself trying to understand the nature of my rage. Because that’s what I feel. Rage.

It’s shouldn’t be a big deal. I have a new charger for my mac that works, but it’s not worth the money I paid and not as good as the proper Apple product. So why am I so upset by the incident?

Powerlessness. That’s what I felt. In the face of a reasonable request for a refund (the first one didn’t work properly) I was told that the terms and conditions of sale meant no refund was available. I was certain of my rights. I hadn’t’ been informed of these Ts and Cs and called my credit card company to stop the payment just half an hour after the original purchase. “Too late”, they said, “money’s gone” they said. “And it’s your word against theirs” they said. “There’s nothing we can do. Sorry.”

A lesson to be learnt

Apart from the particulars of the situation, it’s the sensation of powerlessness that has really rocked me. I felt completely unable to do anything to help my plight. In the end I had to take the exchange and go on my way. At least the second one worked.

This whole experience has me now reflecting on empowerment, and how important it is. Another area of my life where I recognise this is claustrophobia on the London Underground. When the tube stops in the tunnel I experience real panic. Rationally I know it’s safe, but not being in control of my destiny upsets and unbalances me.

As I think about my work and what matters to people, I’m beginning to realise in a deep way, how important empowerment is. The practise of my work with clients is all about empowerment, but I also manage a team. How well do I make them feel empowered? And more importantly, have I created the circumstances where by they actually are empowered?

Making it personal

So, as I develop myself as a leader, I have decided to take every experience and turn it into a piece of learning. I can still feel the frustration in my veins but what good is anger and rage? Especially when we’re talking about a piece of computer hardware.

Maybe the lesson I’ve learnt is worth far more than the eighty pounds I paid for the charger. Perhaps I should go back to the electronics shop on Tottenham Court Road and thank the man for this opportunity.

I could thank him for empowering me.