Heavily scheduled weeks and long days cause us to lose sight of the big picture. Our ability to think past next week becomes eroded, never mind contemplation of how our role in society contributes to global affairs. Yet, all it takes is one simple reminder to think higher, bigger, farther - and we’re instantly realigned.
Alongside many other bright-eyed Winnipeggers, I had an opportunity to watch Hillary Clinton speak during a cross-Canada tour this week. And, who better to vigorously re-instill the big picture than Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton herself.
Hillary spoke not only to politics and shared a clear stance on international conflict resolution, but sharply articulated how each of us contribute to a vision that powers our collective future. Her commanding intellect lent perspective far transcending the political realm – touching sectors in health, business, innovation and entrepreneurship, energy, and beyond. Hillary’s key messages were loud and clear, and regardless of your job title or place in the world, her advice fairly steers an expectation in each and every one of us. From the boardroom, to the living room, the classroom, and beyond, Hillary drives home basic principals of human conduct:
1) We are better working together than pulling apart. But, never do a bad deal – zero deal is always better than a bad deal.
2) The values of tolerance and openness define our democracies.
3) It’s no coincidence that places where women aren’t valued are places of conflict. People say those concerns are not the core, they are “soft”, and dismissed. But I do not agree – they are at the heart of the problem.
4) We can’t give in to division or distraction. We have to go back to the principals of our DNA. We must remember that no matter our differences, we truly are all in this together. Our people have to believe they too have a stake in our prosperity and our future.
5) The internet is so pervasive in our lives, and how we interact with it is a gift. But, it is also a powerful device, often linking people in negative collaboration.
6) We have to show the world that free markets, human rights, and human dignity IS our core strength. Standing up for our own values, countries, and communities is just as important as promoting them abroad.
7) [Canada] You invested in yourself and it made a difference.
8) Authoritarianism cannot compete with democracy at its best. If we come together, live our values, and understand we must export our values to others, it gives us the chance to prosper.
9) As we start this New Year, let us resolve to be resilient. We have a set of responsibilities not easily overlooked or abandoned, even though we may want to (as carrying them around can be a burden sometimes), but we can’t stop trying. You can’t give up – and must move the agenda forward. You can’t underestimate how critical it is, in countries like ours, in holding out those values that promise the purpose, and the possibilities for the future.
10) Just because you reach a status of “good”, you don’t quit. Once we thicken cooperation (and build stronger relationships) with those around us, we can then look to enhance cooperation and explore new opportunities.
Fitting that the woman championing advancement of global human rights was addressing one of the world's few cities with a human rights museum - and she was quick to commend it. In closing, Hillary also touched on the importance of entrepreneurship to the strength of the economy and domestic job creation, emphasizing more people-to-people connection.
Whether people-to-people constitutes individuals, companies, provinces or states, countries, economies, or industries, Hillary imparted a valuable lesson to us all. This incredible vision, energy, and advisory shared through a global lens delivered the pep talk many leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, and citizens needed to start the year. And – if we’re lucky – we might look back on this week as the time we listened firsthand to the first woman President of the United States of America.
Lead well and prosper in 2015.