President Barack Obama’s Biggest Error and Michelle Obama’s Greatest Victory

Recently while giving a lecture on Leadership, I used The President as an example of one critical error that many leaders make. This error is usually made as a result of ‘chronic people pleasing’ and while it may seem noble, it is still a very critical error.

The error is quite simply leading without a clear Definite Purpose.

Some years ago, I read the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and my main take away was the understanding of the importance of Definiteness of Purpose. This is what I am suggesting is lacking in the current presidency.

Since President Obama assumed office, he has tackled many, many issues including “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Race Relations (remember the Black Harvard Professor, Dr. Henry Gates and the Caucasian Boston police officer?), The War in Iraq (Or is it Afghanistan?), Unemployment and a devastating Economic crisis. The list goes on and on and on!

Before I go any further, let me be clear; I have a lot of respect, admiration and even Love for President Obama and my intention is not to start a campaign on why he should not be President or how lousy of a job he is doing as President. As a college instructor and a life strategist, I teach leadership and personal development courses and programs so I am able to recognize basic leadership errors and my intention is to point out one very common and critical error that many leaders (even President Obama) make.

Lacking Definiteness of Purpose is the reason why many leaders fail. Having a definite purpose is the anchor of every accomplishment by a person, company, institution or even an administration. Former President George W Bush was on Oprah sometime last year and while I do not agree with most of the policies that he enacted while he was in office, I can honestly say about him that he was clear about his purpose; War on Terror! He tackled many issues, as of course any President would, but he remained clear about his purpose; Get the Terrorists! His policies, agree with them or not, were aligned with the purpose that he was clear about from the beginning; Get the Terrorists!

So, what is President Obama’s purpose, as a President? No one really knows… Yes, he has made history by becoming the first Black President and even then, some argue that he is not “black enough’. That being said, I believe that President Obama does not have a definite purpose. After he leaves office, what will his legacy be, other than that he was Black? What is the one thing that we will remember him for?

Success is quite simply accomplishing what you set out to do. Former President George Bush had a definite purpose and he accomplished it. Again, agree or disagree with him, but he was successful. (Remember Saddam Hussein?)

Another great example of a success story is Michelle Obama. As First Lady, she has had one main goal and that is to start a process that will eliminate childhood obesity. This is her DEFINATE PURPOSE and we all know about it. When I watch children’s television shows with my babies, I often see her on the kids’ channels encouraging the children to be more active. Again, this is part of her “Let’s Move” campaign which she is using to start the process to eliminate childhood obesity. She encourages us to prepare and eat healthier meals and she has led the way by planting fresh vegetables in the White House garden. There are many other actions that she has taken and I won’t go on with the list but the point is that her purpose is clear and her actions are in alignment with her purpose as First Lady and this is her victory!

So, what’s the lesson? The lesson is simple, if you want to be successful, approach your goal with definiteness of purpose. Be deliberate about thinking thoughts, speaking words and taking actions that align with whatever that purpose is. If you do this, you will be successful; you will accomplish your goal! As for President Obama, let’s continue to pray for him as he leads the country and hopefully, before his term is over, he will leave a Legacy that we (and he) can be proud of.

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3 Responses to “President Barack Obama’s Biggest Error and Michelle Obama’s Greatest Victory”

  1. Shannon Silvis says:

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  2. flo says:

    I think you make some valid points. However, I think you overlook some important things, too. The Presidency is like no other ‘occupation,” so you cannot compare it to any other. You cannot compare Mrs. Obama’s achievements to President Obama’s. She has one main focus. He has many! And even George Bush did not accomplish anything extraordinary–except in his final year of presidency. I don’t think he left office with a good reputation simply because he got one terrorist! Then, too, he made such a huge mess of everything. He certainly is no one to point to as having achieved a great purpose.
    Too many on the outside criticize because we simply will never understand the office of the Presidency fully. We’re on the outside looking in, and if we don’t see our pet peeve concerns handled, or something done speedily, we believe he’s failed. No other President in U.S. history has faced the onslaught of consistent problems as has President Obama. I think you have overlooked the fact that he has to have more than ONE PURPOSE as the President. He CANNOT be a one-trick pony. I believe you have failed to see the successes he has achieved, in spite of so, so, so much opposition–opposition mainly because he is African-American. What about the Health Care Bill? Wasn’t he purposeful in getting that passed? And if you look at other focused purposes, you’ll see that he’s done a lot. He’s still operating with seeming chains. Opposition on every side! I applaud him for not losing it and telling them all to kiss his you-know-what! But since I’m not the President, I’d like to say it for him! –FJ

    • Thank you for offering your views. You’re right, most of us will never understand the gravity of running a country. Yes, President Obama has accomplished a lot but it does not change that he does not seem to have a clear and well defined purpose. It is possible to deal with many, many issues, which he will but he still needs one thing that we will remember him by.

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