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Tag: awe

A day of awe

Do you remember this day?

Inauguration Day

Isn’t it quite astonishing that we welcome a politician with such excitement and anticipation?  I would so love to see pictures and videos of what you are are doing as you watch Obama take the oath of office and make his first speech as President.

Today, I chatted online with another “non-American” who added the usual “touch wood” caveat that I mentioned yesterday.  None of us want to be too excited “just in case”.  And to work through our anxieties seems  ill-timed.

Good leadership is about us

The level of our excitement teaches us an important lesson about leadership.  Good leadership is not about the man or woman walking in the leader’s shoes.  It is about us.  It is about our expectations of ourselves and of the people around us.

Do Americans trust themselves?

How much do we believe in Americans, and how much do they believe in us?   How much do Americans believe in each other, and how much are they willing to reach out to each other to show that commitment?

A day of belonging for many

Today is the day of those who have worked long and hard for this moment, and who lived their lives believing that this day would never come.  Today is the first day they believe they fully belong.  This day is theirs to celebrate and to cherish.

A day of reflected joy and marvel for us

Today is the day we get to bask in their reflected joy and to marvel at their resilience, determination, loyalty and generosity.  There are not many moments like this in a lifetime when we stand in awe of people who have accomplished so much.  It is a day of gratitude when we are happy for no reason than the world has taken us gently by surprise.

A day when we quietly wonder whether we are much better than we though we were

It is a moment in which we ask  – are we not a little better than we thought?

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“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day”

A defining moment

The early hours of this morning, Wednesday 5 November 2008, were one those times when we will ask “where were you when  . . .”.

Stomach-wrenching

The long wait for the election results during the night was stomach-wrenching.  I flipped from one service to another, trying to catch the results from whomever broke them first.  Ultimately, I plumped for BBC, who seemed to be ahead of everyone most of the time, filling with intelligent analysis, and giving us good timings.

The countdown

The countdown to the announcement of California’s results, adding 55 electoral votes for Obama, began.  9 minutes, 6 minutes, 30 seconds, and boom, it was done.

The concession

We waited a decent interval for McCain to telephone Obama, and then McCain came out to give his concession speech.  He was brilliant.  If he had spoken like that throughout the campaign, he might have had my vote.  He was sincere, he was warm, and he showed great leadership setting the stage for working constructively with the Democrats to rebuild America.  I believe his speech will be dissected by students of leadership for many years, along with the magnificant speeches made by Obama.

Winning for the young and the old

Back in Chicago, the groups at Grant Park waited for Obama.  The cameras picked up more than human moments.  Jesse Jackson stood very still, talking to none of cheering party faithful around him, tears rolling down his face.  It was perhaps this image that helped me as a foreigner, understand how this election will heal the wounds of America, that are after all, a legacy of British rule.

The American dream

And then Obama spoke, and spoke to the great American dream – the belief that the US is strong precisely because they recognise their diverse interests.  How important that is to us all!

Awe

This morning, when I awoke around 11am British time, it took me a moment to remember the events of the night, and I found myself not exhilarated but struck by awe.  I checked out the chatter on line, and on Twitter particularly, and was struck by the sense of confusion.  I was not alone.  The only people in the world who treat the results uncomplicatedly are the Kenyans. They have declared Thursday a national holiday.  What dazzling simplicity!

A quiet celebration of a new dawn

I spent a good two hours pondering the gamut of emotions we are feeling and then Twitter threw up this link to a song “Its a new dawn”.  It’s mellow.  Its soulful.

“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, its’s a new life for me, and I am feeling good.”  Thanks @sondernagel.

Today we are mellow.  Tomorrow:

“It’s a new world, it’s a bold world”

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Vocabulary of positive psychology

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Image by foghornleg90 via Flickr

A good article here on savoring and a list of actions and the corresponding emotion we feel.

  1. What did we take the time to marvel at today and did we feel awe?
  2. What did we stop to give thanks for and did we feel gratitude?
  3. Did we have five minutes to bask in a task well done, or a compliment, and feel pride?
  4. Did we luxuriate in the bath, or the park, or some where else and feel pleasure?

It would be good to extend the list. I’ve just started a little public wiki for anyone who wants to join in.

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