In my novel The Fellowship of the Heart, Anne Lafarnge is a structural engineer who has advanced rapidly, especially as a woman in a still male-dominated profession. In the 2030’s of the novel, many women would be in the profession but not in power positions. Anne is on the verge of being offered such a place, but it is before she has come to an understanding of her own heart. The episode does not come without a challenge and conflict.
That conflict comes in the form of one of the ego-driven antagonists at odds with another. The only difference is that Stan Boyle is lobbying to be the next partner in Paragon Structural Engineers. Paul Egan, one of the founding partners, has other plans. Both have deafened their ears to their own hearts.
Before I give you their exchange here, I would point out that those driven by ego not only will be in conflict with their own hearts and the Spirit of the Universe, but also with others who operate by the same principles. It is a struggle for control by master manipulators who are self-deceived, and they are good at it because their emotional well-being depends on it: they need to win to be important, which momentarily fills their soul’s emptiness. Conflict between such people can be very destructive, because they are so self-absorbed it matters not who or how many are hurt in the process.
Contrast that to those who hear their own hearts and connect to the positive spiritual flow of the Universe — no deception, no pandering, no sacrificing self or others on the altar of fame power, wealth, or importance — and they are significant and fulfilled.
With that, here is the ego to ego conversation of Stan Boyle and Paul Egan.
Paul: Stan, I know what you have to offer, but bigger forces are in play here.
Stan: Bigger than the profits I can produce by “overseeing” accounts on major projects. Not all those regulations are required, you know.
Paul: Be careful. Neither are you.
Stan: Is that a threat, Paul? I have helped you develop not only an extremely profitable engineering business but also an influential political force. Do you have any idea…
Paul: Yes, Stan, I do. You have made it abundantly clear to me and the other partners here. You earned your CPA for us; you have a law degree, and both in addition to your engineering degree. Since you have decided that you have the right to be so blunt, let me return the favor. You are a mediocre engineer, at best, which disqualifies you from this partnership position. And yes, you helped make some connections with Governor Etts and his supporters, including the manufacturers and labor unions. Somewhat impressive and not unrecognized by us.
Stan: But not enough to be rewarded, right?
Paul: Will you just simmer down? We have the plans for you that will lead to more important roles than this.
Stan: Like what? You said it yourself, I’m not that great of an engineer, so what would you do? Make me lead on the new Canyon River Bridge Project? Whoop!
Paul: You can be a real ass, Stan. Please shut up and listen to me.
Stan: Okay, fine, Paul. What am I listening to?
Paul: Bad news first, but keep your mouth shut till I’m finished.
Stan knew that he was on the verge of taking too much liberty with a very powerful man. Paul slapped the sole of his Verragamo down hard as he took a step towards Stan, his finger pointed straight at Stan’s face. At this distance, the fragrance of Clive Christian No. 1 was easily detected. Stan’s shoulders sagged ever so slightly.
Paul saw it, even though Stan himself didn’t realize it.
Paul: Okay, Stan. We are offering the position to Anne Lafarnge. Wait! Not a word! We want no attention drawn to the firm, no accusations of sexism. She has proven that she is an excellent engineer. But she also has proven that she knows how to pick the right man. Her husband..,
Stan: Yeah, I know him from several parties — Eric. He’s a big shot lawyer.
Paul: Well, he’s about to be a lot bigger shot. You know our associates in our little consortium, Actov and Colboard, are Eric’s bosses. They are going to offer him a partnership. Stan, you have lobbied enough and done enough dirty work for us that you know we are always ten steps ahead.
Stan: Why do you think I am pushing so hard for this?
Paul: I know. I understand, and your work is valued by our little group. This is what we have planned for you, my friend. We are supporting Governor Etts’ re-election, and he will win. But before his second term is up, he will be his party’s next candidate for president of the United States. We don’t care about the party; we only care that he is deeply indebted to us.
Stan: Where do I play in all of this?
Paul: We have Eric Lafarnge slated for the next governor of Missouri. We want Anne to represent our equal-rights-for-all stance. We are not 100% sure of her response, but we need you to keep tabs on her and her team as she takes on the Canyon River Bridge Project.
Stan: She’s getting the bridge, too!
Paul: You have no idea what is ahead. Well, hopefully some idea. Your accounting acumen will be your ticket to Anne’s team. It’s your legal background, though, that will put you on the Lafarnge team after you help Anne to be successful on this project. You will be at the highest level of state government. How does that sound?
Stan: Like I’m on Anne’s team.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!