A friend sent me a copy of President Obama’s first inaugural address and I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say this year. Having had the opportunity to see President Barack Obama speak several times, I’m looking forward to hearing a great and moving speech. My friends inside the White House are telling me we should expect something incredible. Having written many speeches for many great leaders, I thought I’d share what I hope to hear on Monday.
I’d like to see President Obama ask for our participation is something larger than ourselves. We are living in trying times. Many people are still either unemployed or underemployed. He could ask us to believe in ourselves again. Why ask versus tell? Well, most great leaders understand the power of asking to get involvement from others. President John F. Kennedy famously asked his fellow Americans, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Serving Leaders ask other people to get involved in their greatest challenges.
I would like to see President Obama inspire us again. Inspiration may be his greatest gift as a leader. John Quincy Adams said “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.“ I know President Obama understands the power of inspiration to move others to his point of view. Let him inspire others through the power of a shared mission. Serving Leaders inspire others to take action towards their dreams.
The third thing I would like President Obama to do is challenge us. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” I don’t anticipate agreeing with everything a president does. However, I have the right to be able to disagree with his thinking. I’d like to see President Obama challenge the way we see things and allow for discussions about the challenges we face as a country. Let him advocate his position to the people who disagree with him and accept a frank discussion of the issues. Once these conversations are completed and these challenges debated, let’s be ready to move ahead. Serving Leaders understand that challenges are our opportunities to grow stronger together.
In closing, I would like President Obama to use his ability to influence others to convince us why it’s so critical to take on the big challenges today in a civil, thoughtful way that includes everyone’s point of view. There is nothing to be gained by letting time pass. We face many towering problems in our society today. If we hope to continue to be the world’s leader, we must start solving our problems today. Abraham Lincoln once said “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” Let us begin the work today to build our country for our children’s future. Serving Leaders understand why it is important to take action today for a better future tomorrow.