I live North of the Border, in a country that is known more for it’s cold weather and love of double-doubles, ice sports, and kindness than pretty much anything else. Like many I know, I was watching the US election last night, glued to my monitors, staring in disbelief at what was happening before me.
I went to bed not knowing what would happen and woke up shocked at the result.
Immediately, upon seeing the results, I felt like I was back in grade school, staring at the chalkboard, wondering what the day would bring with blissful abandon, looking around at everyone pulling out their projects and realizing I had forgotten mine (or in some cases completely forgot to do it).
That pit in your stomach feeling was now enveloping my entire body as I sank lower into my chair – dreading every little thing that came next after the election.
From there, my day began with an impromptu talk with my children (all girls) about what had happened. From ages 7 to 13 they were all concerned about the impact it could bring. It was in that instant my perceptions and concerns flipped from mind to theirs.
It was no longer concerned about what had happened after the election. But instead about moving forward, onwards and upwards.
We’ve been fooled into believing that this election was about defining a country and its people as to who they are – one side or the other – no middle-ground, no compromise. We boiled it down to a home renovation show where the option was to renovate or move out – but not discuss everything in between.
But something so complex could NOT be decided by a checkbox alone.
So if you are feeling dismayed after the election – hopeless, powerless, directionless – unsure of where to go next, then please read on. If anything, you should feel emboldened and resolute in what you can do next.
Here’s what WE all need to do next.
We Are the Leadership
We don’t apply for jobs as “Leadership” – we apply for jobs in Management. The Leadership quotient is not readily advertised – whether it’s Product Support Manager or President. Sure it’s a bullet point on the application form and everyone “wants” it, but it’s okay if it’s not there because that’s not the focus of the job that you are applying for.
We forget this. We assume this is not the case. We assume that every great manager we hire is going to be an equally great leader. Sometimes they are, and sometimes they are not.
Leadership is a trait, a characteristic, a direction, a vision that points you on the path you need to go. It is shaped from the depths of our beliefs, environment, and experiences and comforts us when our plans go awry.
When you woke up this morning the headlines did not read “You cannot be a Leader” did it? Not that I saw. No one is stopping you from taking that initiative, purpose and drive and leading you or team to do more.
Perhaps the piece we have all missed is the footnote, underneath the headline, in very small print that only we can read that says – “We need you, now, more than ever, to stand up and lead”.
The Choice You Now Have
Everyday we choose the way in which we want to live our lives, the path we want to be on, and the how in which we will stay true to that path.
And nothing there has changed; no one was taken your choice away from you. You simply didn’t get the result you had hoped for. If you don’t like the new policies, there is the choice to move. Don’t like what comes next, stand up against it. Someone hurt your feelings, walk away. The list goes on with some choices being hard and others easy.
So on today, of all days, you – we – must resolve to understand that choice still exists after the election. You and I can choose who we are and how we want to live our lives.
No one has stopped you from doing this.
Last night was a big, huge, overarching choice: a yes or a no, a “this way” or a “that way” choice. But life and everything in it, is not comprised of a single choice that defines us. It’s the myriad of choices that we go through, daily, hourly that define who we are, who we want to become, and where we want to go.
Just like the kid in the classroom who forgot his project when everyone else had theirs, you could choose to go home and watch TV. Forget it ever happened. Netflix and Chill. Or you could go home, work on the best project you could ever come up, with and hand it in tomorrow.
Maybe it would be accepted, maybe it would not. But in the end, you chose to stand up and put in your best work possible – irrespective of the outcome. YOU did it.
After The Election: Change is a Kick
This change that we are in, that we are experiencing, it wasn’t soft, it wasn’t comforting, it wasn’t glorious. It was a swift kick to the back that we thought would never come, but came nonetheless and has knocked us down.
So there it is, you’re down, but definitely not out. Our strongest moments, our proudest moments, are the moments where we feel kicked down, gasping, wheezing for air, not knowing if we can carry on – but then we do, one hand in front of the other, we stand up once more. We’re ready to meet the change head on.
We can look at change and view it with all the disdain that it can be OR we can take that kick and treat it as a jumpstart to conversation. Start a meet-up, start a website, start a discussion, start something that grows with every voice, tweet, and email that gets louder each and every day.
You might be feeling knocked down, directionless and lost depending on what side of the election you are on. Take a moment and breathe it all in. Reset, re-focus, find your path and then, when you are ready, lead the change and choose your path.
It’s because now more than ever is when we need you.
And remember the footnote on the headline: that is yours to write – and your choice to make.