Title: The Power of 10: A practice for engaging your voice of wisdom
Author: Rugger Burke
Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc.
Release Date: June 30, 2015
How do we become our greatest selves?
The Power of 10 is a practice for engaging your voice of wisdom through a process of inquiry and advocacy. Inquiry increases awareness of what is through questions that invite us to examine our current state of being. Advocacy advances what is possible by encouraging us to live into that greater way of being in every thought, word, and action.
Together, inquiry and advocacy evoke the voice of wisdom—that quiet, still voice inside us, the confluence of knowledge, experience, and insight flowing through all living beings that speaks to us through our bodies, hearts, and minds.
We know more than we think we do. As we learn to listen closely to our voice of wisdom, it reveals our true nature and purpose, calls upon us to commit to something greater than ourselves, and guides us toward choices that help us reach our highest potential. When we live in harmony with our voice of wisdom, what is and what is possible align, and wholeness and happiness become our way of being.
Put simply, the Power of 10 is a practice for engaging your voice of wisdom to become the greatest you—the you who is meant to be.
Why did you write this book?
It’s the book I wish someone had given me…years ago. At its heart the book is about making good choices. Looking back, I made lots of poor choices—and the worst ones affected people I love. Many of those decisions were largely avoidable. Realizing this made clear the importance of learning how to make good choices. Knowing this now, I would have benefited from such a resource both as a leader and in my personal life.
There are many new books published each day. Why this one?
I’ve had the good fortune to be exposed to wonderful teachers and travel the world, but nothing like this exists. I searched, trying everything from a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Japan to a yearlong leadership program. Along the way, I read innumerable books ranging from the oldest texts of wisdom traditions to the latest primers on leadership in the age of artificial intelligence. There are lots of good books out there, each with something to offer. But I don’t think any provide a concise, integrated approach to what is arguably the most important skill in life: learning how to make good choices. So the book was born out of this need.
Ok, I’ll bite. Tell me more: Why are choices so important?
Every day we are confronted with hundreds, if not thousands, of choices. Each choice will in some way, small or large, influence the direction of our lives and the lives of those around us. But nowhere in our educational system is there a class called “How to Make Choices 101.”* If we’re lucky or persistent, we learn a few things from others. Still, we most often learn by trial and error. It’s helpful to have a frame for making those choices. When you think of it, what is a better skill than learning to make good choices? I think this holds true whether you lead an organization or you’re thinking about your family or children.
*Most advice we get in life takes the form of “work hard and someday you can pursue your dreams”—as though the two are incompatible. Perhaps a better approach is to start by looking into what you dream about and then committing yourself to the hard work it takes to fulfill those dreams. Win win.
So how does one learn to make good choices?
Learning to make the right choices starts with asking the right questions even before you are faced with a choice. By asking questions of meaning you learn what is important to you, what you value—what matters most. Then you can form a set of core values or advocacies to filter all your decisions through. In fact, those advocacies tend to answer the questions for you. If one of the core values you advocate is family first, then in deciding whether to work an extra hour or go home, you go home. To ensure that you are staying on track, it helps to have challenger, mentor, and guide. That’s the role of the voice of wisdom.
The book talks about inquiry and advocacy. What do those terms mean? Why are they important?
Inquiry is a practice of living in relation to questions of meaning, both qualitative and quantitative. Such questions inevitably shift our focus from knowing to wondering, tapping into our natural inclination to learn and create. Advocacy, as expressed in the book, is expressed through committing ourselves to the intentions we form in response to questions of inquiry. While inquiry rewards us with insight into what is, advocacy helps us realize what can be. Together, inquiry and advocacy evoke the voice of wisdom—that quiet, still voice inside us, the confluence of knowledge, experience, and insight flowing through all living beings that speaks to us through our bodies, hearts, and minds. The voice of wisdom is the part of us that knows the right choices.
You describe what’s in the book as a practice. Why?
To be clear, the book is not about the perspective if x, then do y. It provides a framework for learning how to make the best choices for you. Since we are continually facing new choices and none of us is perfect, it’s necessarily a practice.
How does the practice described in the book relate to leadership?
A good friend and leadership expert, Rand Stagen, frequently says, “leaders get the company they deserve.” What I think he means is that organizations are a reflection of the people who lead them. So if there were a universal instruction manual for success in business, step one would be to hire a great leader. The best leaders embody the behaviors described in the book: they take time to consider important questions, they make clear commitments, and they give their very best in everything they do.
But aren’t great leaders just naturally born that way?
A few, maybe. But many (if not most) great leaders learn to lead. As Jim Collins points out in Good to Great: “Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.” There is good reason we have business schools, leadership academies, and executive coaches. Skills such as how to create a strategic plan, how to manage time and resources, or how to position others for success are invaluable. This holds true whether you are in a position to influence one person or thousands.
In the book one of the suggested advocacies* is “Choose Love.” Isn’t that a little soft or wishful sounding in a business context?
It’s funny: walk into any dry cleaners or bank and you’ll likely find a sign saying: “We love our customers.” But outside the marketing department, in a business environment most people shy away from talking about love. “Love” is one of those words that we fear in the public realm, so we turn it into a cliché. But what is a stronger motivator than love? Nothing.
While Jim Collins and others make a good case that the best leaders demonstrate both professional will and personal humility, what they often leave unanswered is what motivates them. But we don’t need to conduct a study to figure it out. Anyone who cares deeply about their work already knows the answer.
What motivates great leaders—truly all “great” people—is love. That is the secret that no one wants to say out loud: what makes a great leader is not that they are great at running a company, but that they infuse their leadership with love. While a company may need the love of its leader to be great, more often than not, the leader needs the company to pour his or her love into for their greatness to be revealed.
[*The five are: Stand Tall, Be Kind, Plan Ahead, Let Go, Choose Love]
What kind of person would benefit from reading the The Power of 10?
Anyone wondering about purpose, greatness, happiness, and how these relate to each other. The book will help whether you’re a high achiever setting out on the path or a seasoned leader who has enjoyed years at the top. It’s for anyone with a nagging sense that life’s purpose encompasses something more than mere financial success.
While the book falls into the category of “leadership” literature, leadership spans a large range. CEOs and entrepreneurs in companies of all sizes—from multi-billion dollar global enterprises to early-stage startups—are all leaders. So is a parent charged with caring for a child, or a college student simply trying to navigate life’s choices. In other words, anyone seeking purpose, connection, increased awareness, even greatness, particularly those striving to grasp the brass ring or who grasping it, discover how cold it can be.
It’s more than a book. It’s a challenge. Grasping the ring is easy—mere success. Greatness takes more—real commitment, not only to being the real you, but the best you. No excuses. So who is the right reader? The real answer is someone up for a challenge, maybe the challenge of a lifetime.
If the reader were to understand one thing about the book, what would it be?
The book is about learning how to make choices. Specifically, it’s about learning how to make the right choices. Your success in life—really, your health and happiness—depend on making good choices. This holds no matter what your goals or aspirations. Learning to make the right choices and recognizing the impact of those choices on ourselves as well as the environment we share not only offers an advantage, but may be the key to our very survival.
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About the Author
Rugger Burke lives in Dallas where he works for a private investment firm. Along with pursuing his life’s goal of learning to play a Halo handpan, he is an avid traveler, having visited six continents and motorcycled across four—still searching for the world’s best chocolate chip cookie. Rugger shares his home with a border collie, Peaches, a.k.a. Superdog. For more information, visit ThePowerOf10.com.