I just finished reading Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize author, does an extraordinary job of bringing Jefferson to life, his genius, idealism, practicality, enormous personal struggles and major shortcomings. Whatever one’s opinion of Jefferson, surely, without him, the United States as we know it today would not exist. The same can be said for George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams and a number of other former US Presidents who played a critical role in securing and significantly shaping the nation for the public good. We owe them a debt of gratitude because they sacrificed much of their personal lives and comfort for the country, and did so in the face of near incessant criticism.
This past weekend, I saw the documentary on Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City. I highly recommend you see it. It’s a modern day example of a man with a vision and commitment to transform an awful situation — NYC in near financial ruin, crime, homelessness — into the thriving vibrant city that it is today. And, yes, NYC still has major challenges, however, those challenges are much less than they would have been but for Mayor Koch.
In our own way, we each have the ability to gather our own power and use that for the benefit of others. You don’t need to be President, Mayor or in some significant public role. In our own lives, families, businesses and communities, we can make a difference, and many of us do just that. Many of my colleagues make such a difference every day in helping people resolve complex legal problems. And, many of my clients make a difference through their businesses. Whatever your situation, ask how you can make a difference today. Sometimes it’s the smallest act that can make a huge difference.