I had the privilege of working the absentee ballot center in Ingham County on election day. Fifty of my fellow community members and I were sequestered from 6am - 11pm. What I experienced, makes me optimistic about the future.
- "I'll risk getting sick so that someone higher risk can stay home." was a consistent response when asking why someone elected to become a poll worker. Isn't that what community is about?
- At key decision and accountability points in the process, red and blue name tags sat next to each other and resolved all issues. Isn't that what a 2 party system is designed to do?
- "I hope turnout is great" was a common comment while sequestered with no outside contact. People seemed to have trust in the process and a wish for high engagement regardless of election result. Shouldn't we celebrate an engaged electorate?
- People from both political camps were working together towards a common goal (confirmed ballot and vote count by polls closing). Shouldn't the common goal supersede an individual's (or individual party's) position?
- The demographics were diverse. Shouldn't diversity of background, experience, ideas, age, gender, race, and culture represent who we desire to be?
Our team's accuracy, work ethic, and outcome was incredible as a result of the above.
My hope for today and forward is that this pebble of 50 or so people ripples in the bigger pond of our community. Despite views of different ways to get there, I believe most American's have a similar vision of what we aspire to. We have an opportunity to sit together, respectfully hold each other accountable, celebrate and blend our diversity into that shared vision.
Could my optimism be seen as naive, short-lived, or idealistic? Maybe. Regardless, I'm going to live-breath-wear this moment and be confident in the future.
1. Remember to slow down and embrace positivity. Wear it, enjoy it, use it as an opportunity to focus and balance your own mental health and perception of the world.
2. As business leaders, you can be a catalyst to optimism by helping your team focus on the shared vision, embrace diversity and bring their skills to reach the desired outcome.