Ryan Underwood is the CEO and Chief Leadership Officer of TEAMTRI and a Sector Partner of GiANT Worldwide. Ryan helps multiply leaders to serve and create awesome futures. Ryan and his wife Carrie Underwood attended the Presidential Inauguration and share with us lessons from this unique experience. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @TEAMTRI_CEO
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We recently had the opportunity to attend the 58th Inauguration of the President of the United States as guests of Congress. Our home, like all of our Team at TRI, split our votes in a number of ways for a number of candidates just like America did.
The point of this reflection is not to call out a party or politics, but, to call up all of you to reach for a higher level of leadership, service, and love from yourself, for one another, and for our nation.
In the video I shot on my phone from my vantage point on the inaugural platform, you’ll experience what we experienced during the swearing in ceremony. Listen closely. This is what most of the world didn’t hear if you watched it on TV.
Listen past the Supreme Court Chief Justice trying to conduct the ceremony. Listen past the pledge of the President. Listen for the voices in the crowd SHOUTING the Preamble to the Constitution over the top of the ceremony to try and distract, disrupt, and derail the proceeding. They are not hard to miss.
Did you hear “WE THE PEOPLE…?!”
Did you hear some of the audience trying to disrupt the swearing in ceremony?
There was nothing wrong with the inaugural platform, speakers or AV. There were speakers placed throughout the platform and we all heard every speech, presentation, and prayer clearly during the ceremony—until this moment.
The Preamble was being SHOUTED in a rehearsed, choregraphed, and orchestrated fashion right over the top of the swearing in ceremony. How the Chief Justice and President got through this moment without error still amazes me. It was the exercise of the First Amendment guaranteeing FREE SPEECH at full volume carelessly attempting to interrupt the first part of the Constitution that makes possible that very same right.
And while inauguration week ended with the transition of power, my lesson on that day comes from the beginning of the week when we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Day. Dr. King famously said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
As I’ve reflected on inauguration day and Dr. King, it occurred to me that, “Drama cannot drive out drama, only leadership can do that.”
In a democracy, we choose officials who represent us. They do more than represent our perspective, issue, or opinion—they represent our current collective level of leadership.
If we want better leadership, we’re not going to get it by SHOUTING at officials rudely as that is exactly what our leaders are going to do back to us. We’re going to get great leadership when “we the people” become “we the leaders.” When we use our voices as leaders in the right time and the right space with the right message not to “call out” others but to “call them up” to the higher level of leadership we as citizens exhibit and expect.
A clear example of using your voice the right way, at the right time, with the right message can be learned from Dr. King. And, I’m not talking about Martin Luther, I’m talking about another Dr. King—his youngest daughter Reverend Dr. Bernice King.
I loved her message, especially at the 12:55 mark when she said, “People no longer care whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, they are looking for leaders willing to serve humanity at all costs.”
When we limit our view to seeing ourselves as just people, then we the people disrupt and shout. And we get people at all levels who disrupt our lives and shout at us.
But when we see ourselves as leaders serving humanity at all costs, we are going to get leaders who serve us and humanity at all costs.
The best the laws of man can do is create a Constitution for we the people. But, the laws of humanity call us to stand on the foundation of the Constitution and rise and reach to become we the leaders.
Rising up happens in your house…in my house…before it happens in The White House. Rising up means we can do better than shouting. Rising up means realizing actions do indeed speak louder than words. Rising up means we serve. And when we rise, we the leaders will raise up true leaders to serve humanity and the shouts we hear will be shouts of joy!