First 30 Days Blog

06 nov

Lessons from Obama’s Win

I watched the election results from New York City, our First30Days headquarters. Yes, I am excited, optimistic, hopeful, and just so incredibly proud of the man that will be our next President. I am proud for Barack Obama’s courage, his decision to run and take on the most difficult job in the world. For being a role model, for being a leader when the world so desperately needs someone to go first, show us the way.

Barack has challenged our connotation and relationship to change. Most of us hate change, fear it, resist it and are overwhelmed by it. With sheer determination and a striking presidential campaign he has gotten millions of people now to embrace and expect it. Anyone who can do that has the potential for great leadership and can take people to places they used to fear.

In the wee hours after Obama’s acceptance speech en route to a television interview (for French/Belgian TV seeking reaction from U.S. voters), I pondered whether Barack is a mix between the very best of Martin Luther King and Bill Clinton. I suppose time will support or challenge this assessment. My taxi driver (an African American) and I had an interesting chat while in transit. He was equally impressed with the accomplishment, but would have liked Barack Obama to acknowledge Hillary Clinton for all her work and trail blazing. He even offered up the idea that she should be Secretary of State.

Whomever you voted for, Barack showed us a few great lessons:

That the past does not equal the future. Despite the fact the country has been, and still faces very challenging times, that we lost the respect of so many countries around the world, it does not mean it’s permanent. It’s all too human to think that because  something has been the status quo for 1, 4 or even 8 years, that means it’s now what we should accept.

In victory he also showed the world that excuses are no longer acceptable, all those limiting reasons for what holds us back really do not hold much weight anymore. As he said in his speech, “All things are possible.” For Anyone.

Change is the word of the year, if not the decade. What is happening here is not about bringing things back into a place of stability and calm- its about getting this country good at dealing with uncertainty, getting people good at change. It’s the number one skill to learn now, as a country, individually, as families, companies and for the world.

Change takes time. “The road ahead will be long. We may not get there in one year or one term,” as he said at the beginning of his speech. We all overestimate how quickly we will see results–we will see them, I believe. And, we must give the   president-elect and his administration time. And we must give ourselves time, with any change we are in the midst of or thinking about initiating.

Countries don’t change, people change. Every single one of us needs to change now…This is not the time to sit back and become complacent or lazy because we have a new person driving the bus. It isn’t just about Barack doing all the heavy lifting. Now is our time to look at a change we used to place a big excuse in the way of accomplishing.

We owe it to ourselves and to the country to take a stand for something that’s important to us. Wherever you are on the political  spectrum, both the candidates deserve our utmost respect for the work, the endurance, the energy, the commitment they put into their respective campaigns, for educating us about the issues, for inspiring us once again to care, to remind us that each vote matters. They didn’t wake up and say, “I’m tired, I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m the only one going through this, I’ve never done this before, I’ve tried and it didn’t work, people don’t like me….”

Whatever those excuses are and have been, if someone like Barack can win this historic election, what is now possible for you? Yes you can.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on November 6th, 2008 in Global/Social Change | 0 comments Read related posts in

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