Leadership, like voting, is a responsibility and a privilege

“My family and I became new citizens on Friday, May 4. I mailed in our voter registration forms on Monday. We cannot wait to take part in the democratic process fully and have our voices truly heard in this country. It’s our responsibility to participate.”

– Brenda Larson, my friend, a Canadian by birth and now an American by choice

I voted today. I consider it a cherished right and privilege. When you take a global view, there are so many countries where people do not have the right, where people die trying to register to vote, where women have no voice. Here, we have the right. Here, we have the voice. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to help elect leaders who will make a positive difference.

My friend, Brenda, is a good example of someone who has not had the right to vote in this country in the 15 years she has lived here. Arriving on visas, obtaining permanent resident status, and, now, citizenship, gives Brenda and her family that right and she’s raring to go!

Participating in the democratic process is not just a privilege, it’s a responsibility we share. We have to take care of our country and uphold its values. Seeking out lawmakers who will do that on behalf of constituents is critical to our nation’s well-being.

The lawmakers who establish platforms that reflect the best interests of the nation are the ones who will lead. And, when you think about it, that’s what you do every day when you are a leader at work and a leader in life.

Leaders get voted on or off the bus every day, based on their performance, their opinions, their communication strategies, the success of their companies (or their country!). Voting is really about power and privilege, which we explore at length in our Pyramid Resource Group programs in the second phase of coaching. Voting is one area where we can all express a sense of power and it is a privilege to choose who will lead.

For those courageous enough to choose that life of public leadership, I’m proud of you. If you’re there in the first place because you have a pretty healthy ego, you’ll find that ego becomes quieter in service to something larger, to people, to your country.

It’s is not often something we consider, but each one of us has a particular way of holding the concepts of power and privilege based on our tribal understanding … how does the environment around us, how do the people around us, shape our thinking about leadership? One of the things that moves us beyond our early years is a growing self-awareness of who we are and what we believe at our core. Those beliefs will shape our decisions every day about how we view leaders and, in turn, how we make decisions about our leadership or our followership.

If you haven’t voted yet today in the primaries for North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, I encourage you to do so. Your voice matters. Every voice matters.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.