The Audacity of Hope

“Nobody will think you’re somebody if you don’t think so yourself.”

African-American proverb


While reading the weekend paper I came across an interview with David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker Magazine, and author of The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama.  The above quote, so appropriately incorporating Obama’s dual heritage, came from The Positivity Blog, one of my many regular subscriptions. Today’s journal entry sprang from my related musings.

Remnick admits to having lost a bet with his own editor who had suggested that “this guy could be president.” Remnick disagreed. “I thought there was no way in the world. Hillary Clinton was running; a guy named Barack Hussein Obama in a post 9/11 world?” I’m sure he was not the only one guilty of this possibility-limiting thinking.

Which brings me to the many career transitioners with whom I chat on the phone as they explore their options. Many are apologetic for not having “enough” education or experience; for having been laid off, downsized, or terminated; for lacking the resources to make a change — the justifications for their inertia are endless. And yet, I have served many clients who did not have the usual credentials but reached the level of Director, never attended college and serve as Manager, never attended high school and did not know from where they came (and certainly had no parents to fund their education) but managed to put themselves through university. 

It all comes down to attitude. Obstacles can be disassembled with attitude. Perceived career-killers can be overcome with attitude. Obama did not allow his colour, heritage, name, or historic presidential  traditions or prejudices stop him. And which attitude did he embrace? Did you know that Obama has written an autobiography and titled “The Audacity of Hope?”