A New Day

As Abraham Lincoln said:

“It has been said of the world’s history hitherto that might makes right. It is for us and for our time to reverse the maxim, and to say that right makes might.”

Today is surely a new day and we are newly awakened in it! Today, with our new President-elect Barack Obama, it looks like right has won. I watched the elections last night with my mom, brother and nephew at our family home in New York. We were celebrating mom’s birthday and what a gift!

Although we had voted early and were praying for Obama to win, I think we were each in a bit of disbelief when the networks called him the winner. Given we’ve had lynchings in the United States as recent as 1998 (James Byrd, Jr.), it was indeed surreal to think that we would have an African-American president. I felt proud of this country to have finally taken this mighty step. I only wish my dad was here to witness and comment on this moment given his years of fighting for civil and human rights in the U.S. and around the world.

I was a Research Associate at Harvard Business School when Obama was at Harvard Law School, so I am particularly proud. I see many connections and sense a kindred spirit – with my family’s work in Kenya and my own switch from a six-figure corporate job to my current community work. In Obama, I feel an authentic commitment to good and an actual honed ability to take purposeful action. That gives me hope for this country.

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with the election results. Today, on the plane from New York to Savannah, Georgia, the older White gentleman sitting next to me seemed awfully uncomfortable as I was reading through The New York Times, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal and every other paper I could get my hands on – all with covers of the First Family! He seemed to be annoyed at my smile, but I couldn’t help myself. I was not trying to disturb him, but I couldn’t stop grinning. It felt like we had crossed over to “the other side” – a new unknown dimension.

At the airport in Savannah, you could instantly tell who voted for McCain and who voted for Obama. There were many long faces, but fortunately the smiles outnumbered the frowns – even in the entry to this solidly red state! I don’t remember the last time I was greeted by so many smiling black and brown faces. My driver, who was an older Black gentlemen, had a certain pep in his step and his sense of pride was palatable.

Obama certainly has a huge task ahead of him. For him to succeed, we each have to step up to the plate and offer our best as he has done. He is a clear example of Purpose With Results – how inspiration and purposeful action can create incredible results which can help move our nation and our world forward.

Now is the time to think about what you will do to inspire positive change in your community. That is how individual transformation can affect social change. We each can raise the bar in our own lives and hold ourselves to a higher standard. That model of excellence and perseverance can then lift others up. It becomes a ripple effect of good. For more inspiration and examples, read “The Power of… ONE.”

With Purpose & Power,