I sat on the plane yesterday, on my way to INBOUND, completely stunned, and working hard to fight back tears.
Sure, I have a few friends who are Trump supporters and I did my very best to talk with them and to read everything I could about “the other side,” including this piece in New York Magazine.
It was important to me to understand all sides and to try to make the most informed decision.
But, the truth is, I don’t understand it.
I watched all three debates.
What I saw, through my lens, is a man who bullies women, who treats well-educated women as adversaries, who completely speaks down to women’s experience, and who well, quite frankly, attempts to use intimidation to get women to back down.
How he treated Hillary Clinton on stage during those debates is something I’ve experienced a handful of times in business.
And it’s not fun.
But it’s not just women.
It’s people of color. And people who are not Christian. And people with disabilities. And people who identify as LGBTQ. And people who have come to this country because America is the land of opportunity.
So, from where I stood, I didn’t see any way he could win the presidential election.
If people were watching the same debates as me, there was no way he would be elected.
As it turns out, I live in a bubble and I had no idea how far removed I am from reality.
It was a good wake-up call.
We Just Don’t Know
After only two hours of sleep on Tuesday night, I got out of bed yesterday morning at 5:30 to get on a plane.
I checked my email and there was a note from a friend in Switzerland.
In my raw, emotional, and sleep-deprived state, I responded to her without filter.
I told her I am scared. I told her I don’t know what this means, as a woman business owner. I told her I’m very, very nervous.
This was her response:
My Dad would have said, “Well, Bob’s your uncle. Who knows?”
And that was exactly what I needed to hear right then.
None of us knows what this means or how it may or may not affect us.
But we do know how each of us, individually and as a group, will behave.
We can analyze what’s going on and speculate.
It’s easy to stress ourselves out that way and there is plenty of information to be able to do that.
But There is One Thing We Can Control
But we can’t control that.
We have to focus on what we can control.
Yes, we absolutely should be informed and civically engaged.
We should join groups, such as Showing Up for Racial Justice, and be prepared to march with and fight for those who don’t look like we do.
And then we should focus on the one reality we can control.
Michael Smart said it best:
The way you’re going to grow—both personally and professionally—is to wake up every day and ask yourself, “What can I do today to provide more value to more people than I did yesterday?” Then go do that.
The Opportunity for Communicators
As communicators, we have a huge opportunity in front of us.
We mold messages. We protect reputations. We work one-on-one and one-on-many to do the very best for our organizations and for our industry. We are persuasive.
Don’t underestimate your role in being part of the America you want.
Go to work today—and for the next four years—ready to provide more value to more people than you did the day before.