Covering the 2008 National Democratic Convention as a tv reporter stays engraved in my mind for one reason, I knew history was being made and couldn’t help but wonder how Hillary Clinton was going to handle it.
Barack Obama was on track to be the first black democratic presidential candidate, but all eyes in the newsroom were glued to the screen when Clinton took the stage. She was gracious, even after failing to get the democratic nod. It was resiliency at work, manifest for the world to see.
Author Rebecca Shambaugh chronicles Clinton’s resiliency factor in her new book Leadership Secrets of Hillary Clinton (McGraw-Hill 2010). I’m currently reading the book and find it to be an incredible look back at history and in depth psychological profile of a woman who continually broke the glass ceiling, while taking plenty of hits along the way.
Here at WorkLife Nation, I often write about resilience in our new economy. We’re living in times that call for nothing less to be successful. Cultivating resilience is not an overnight process, it’s a journey of exploring who we are at our best when chaos slams us with curve balls. I’ve written about the Well of Resilience that we have to dip into when the going gets tough. Check out my post WorkLife Detox Helps to Cultivate Resilience.
Meantime, here’s a guest post from Rebecca Shambaugh where she focuses on the resilient nature of Hillary Clinton:
Are You As Resilient As Hillary Clinton?
We all get discouraged at some point in our lives. We reach a point when we wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to just give up. We begin to doubt our own abilities and lose faith in others. The “thrill of victory” is no longer so sweet, and the “agony of defeat” doesn’t seem so bad. Our energy is drained, and we’ve stopped having fun. This is when you need to dig deep inside yourself and find that well of determination and inner strength that will help you face your fears, counter the ensuing complacency, and keep you committed to reaching your goals.
Having this sheer determination is one of Hillary’s keys to success. Never being a quitter was wired into her DNA early on and was reinforced while she was still in college. When she first arrived at Wellesley, she struggled academically. She called her parents, hoping that they would tell her to come home. She told them that she didn’t feel that she was bright enough or up for the academic challenge. Dorothy Rodham, her mother, told her that she had not raised a quitter and that dropping out of Wellesley would be a catastrophic mistake. Hillary stayed in school and, with her incredible work ethic, keen organizational skills, and sheer determination, stayed on top of her grades. In fact, she gained enough confidence in her scholastic abilities to take on political leadership roles and was elected president of the Young Republicans. Pretty impressive for someone who wanted to drop out of school!
Sticking it out till the end
And if you followed the 2008 presidential campaign, you know that Hillary stayed in the race to the very end. And yet this particular defeat is perhaps the greatest example of her being resilient. While Hillary failed to get the nomination, she showed up at the 2008 Democratic National Convention with a sense of inner confidence and strength and gave an inspirational speech in which she declared her support for the nomination of Barack Obama. She said, “I am here as a proud mother, as a proud Democrat, a proud Senator, a proud American, and a proud supporter of Barack Obama.” She followed with, “Whether you voted for me or for Obama, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose.” Toward the end of her speech, she shared with the audience that even in the darkest moments, Americans are known for their ability to keep going. She said, “We’re Americans, we’re not big on quitting. . . . In America, there is no chasm too deep, no ceiling too high, for all who work hard, have faith in God and our country, and each other.”
Hillary’s resiliency — her unique ability to face adversity and bounce back, as she did in this recent presidential campaign — has won her the respect and admiration of people from all political parties in the United States. And her decision to continue to make a difference by taking on a global leadership role in lieu of being president has impressed people around the world. Truly there are many leadership lessons to be learned from this outstanding woman.