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Glenford Smith | Obama's ultimate lesson to Jamaica's corporate leaders

Published:Sunday | January 29, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Then President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk down the steps of Air Force One upon their arrival at Boston’s Logan International Airport, Thursday, April 18, 2013. The Obamas were attending the ‘Healing Our City: An Interfaith Service’ dedicated to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

The Americans experienced the peaceful transfer of power on Friday, January 20, 2017.

For eight years, Barack Obama, the first black president, and First Lady Michelle Obama occupied the most powerful seat in the world.

During this time, they graciously shouldered the pride and hopes of blacks around the world with them. These masses of people around the world are saddened that the Obamas' two terms have ended but they can all rejoice that not even smidgen of corruption has tainted a White House during their time in office.

Obama is regarded around the world as an erudite orator. His wife, when she chose to back Hillary Clinton, went on the campaign trail and gave some memorable speeches. They are seen as two of the country's foremost intellectuals. Sure, they have had their detractors, but no one doubts the level of thought and discourse they brought to the table.

They brought to that office something each individual can take - not just American people - the 'audacity of hope'. It is this presidency that succeeded the 2008 global recession and led the world out of it. There was a lot of uncertainty at the time President Obama took office, but he entered with self-belief and confidence, and the world followed suit.


Believe in yourself


He knew that if we are confident that we can transform the hard times, we must come to believe in ourselves. It's the ultimate lesson to our corporate leaders about transformation. if it is to happen, each person must believe in himself or herself. Each person has to believe in his capacity to push through obstacles until the goal is reached. If the goal is non-negotiable, we have to tell our young people that study is not optional. We must commit to work.

Barack and Michelle were resilient in the face of resistance to their studies, but they believed in themselves. They were committed. To them, excuses counted for nought; they believed they would find a way or make one. They were finally Harvard lawyers, and it's a training that proves that education can take you anywhere.

Despite the workload of the presidency, Barack and Michelle found time to invest in their health. He is known for playing golf with players such as NBA superstar Stephen Curry and does a regular workout. Michelle has invested, not just in her daughters, Malia and Sasha, but is the key spokesperson for the Let's Move! campaign. It encourages kids to be physically active.

Obama has left a left a legacy of restoring relations with Cuba after 56 years of bad blood and disputes. His injunction lifts the embargo on Cuba and calls for positive engagement with the Cuban people and government. It can only get better from here on.

Finally, it will be the Americans who will make a judgment about what he did right and what he did wrong. In the end, places like Jamaica, which he visited in 2005, will feel an affinity and affection for him.

His tireless optimism and hope in people will be vindicated if we recognise the call to be and do the best we are capable of.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.