Today is our Federal Election. I wrote on my Facebook timeline “Voted. And wore pants. Two things neither of my grandmothers had a right to do for a period of their lives.”

Actually, I think about that fact quite regularly, that my grandmothers didn’t have the right to wear pants, because it is such a good reminder. A reminder of the struggles they survived, and the ones I face – which admittedly seem very small in comparison. I think about how monumental that must have been for them to win the right to vote.

And today, I voted, and I wore pants – neither act caused any kind of scene, neither made anyone gasp, or point, both seem terribly normal. I take a lot for granted and I have high expectations for my life, my dreams, and my opportunities. I want to have a voice, I want to wear pants, I want to make my own decisions, and I want the right to vote. I can’t imagine what would happen if any political party ever suggested that I, we, might lose those rights. I suspect we would question their sanity; find it laughable, idiotic, and impossible. I suspect, and hope, they would lose every seat and every chance of being elected for anything, anywhere. Perhaps that is the metric of how far we have come?

In our careers and our businesses, our goal should be to do better when we know better. To make changes that have a positive affect, and effect. To listen, even when we don’t want to, to see how progress is actually progressive, and when to not let fear stunt our growth. This campaign has been a cascade of fear mongering and negative advertisements to win our votes. You don’t win my business by putting down your competition, and you don’t win my vote that way either. My vote is based on your record of achievement, how honest I believe you are, what you will stand up for, and how my beliefs align with your party beliefs. Is our expectation of business much different?

If you think about this campaign and possible parallels with your business approach, or your approach to leadership, I think there is a lesson here; at least there is one for me.

·       Do focus on what you can contribute.
·       Don’t focus on what you think your competitor cannot contribute.

·       Do focus on whom you will help.
·       Don’t focus on whom your competitor won’t or doesn’t help.

·       Do make your goals and objectives about your company.
·       Don’t compare them to your competitors company.

·       Do champion your people.
·       Don’t condemn or criticize their people.

·       Do give your customers something tactile, meaningful, and useful.
·       Don’t hide the bad stuff, own it, apologize for it, and fix it.

·       Do work hard to provide great service or a great product.
·       Don’t spend your time chasing your competitors.

·       Do what you say you will do.
·       Do better.

We need to be cognizant of what we are taking for granted and what we focus on, since both can hinder success. If we spend too much time worried about our competitors, what will get missed for our own company? If we spend too much time wanting and not enough time working, will it eventually put us in a position of less? Just like voting, how you run your company or lead your team is a choice. Your choice. 
My lineage is littered with powerful, vocal, strong, superb women. As far as I know the women in my family have always voted. My mother votes, and I vote. And we all wear pants.

Do go vote Canada. 
Don’t sacrifice the gift of your voice.