Faith Lost and Faith Restored

Yesterday the American people participated in record numbers in the greatest act of optimism and hope that the world has seen in a very long time. Around the world we witnessed extended line-ups of people who participated in a strongly-worded, strongly-felt clash of ideas and visions.

And it was so much more than that.

Barack Obama declared that he will listen, especially “when we disagree, I will listen”. Is this not the bravest act?

Many cynics are probably thinking, yes but he hasn’t done anything yet. It will probably end up being business as usual. Nothing will really change.

But even the cynics will not have failed to notice the stirring in their own hearts; that the door is now open. The possibility is there.

This was an election where negativism and personal attacks did not win! When either side resorted to the “tried and true” character assassination approach, it did not have any magnetic power over the people.

Barack Obama understood and responded to a deeper need. Who would have thought just a few years ago that hundreds of thousands of people in the US would be evicted from their homes? That so many were going to lose their lives in Iraq? That the financial system itself would almost collapse? That it would become unacceptable in America to go bankrupt because you need medical treatment?

He touched all of our unspoken desires. To live in the world of the possible, where all good things can happen, where it DOES concern everyone and everyone is truly engaged. It is our job to make the world a better place.

John McCain also understands this! In his concession speech he spoke about Barak Obama:  “that he managed to do so (become the next president) by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or so little influence in the election of an American president is something I admire and commend him for achieving. This is an historic election.”

This is what true charisma is all about. Tonight I will be speaking in Berlin and my topic is “Presenting with Charisma.” As of this morning, November 5th, 2008, I have thrown out all my notes and my carefully-crafted slide presentation. Instead I want to speak about what happens when you touch peoples’ hearts and make them see beyond their noses, beyond their current realities. What happens when you make them actually feel, actually believe that good things can happen. That change IS possible.

If leaders had only one important function, it would be to inspire others; to bring out even more than the best we can be, even more than each of us thought was possible, to galvanize us and to bring us together.

Whatever you are doing right this moment, perhaps you are now exquisitely aware of how important you are to everyone you know and everything you do. That is what this is really all about.

This election is an invitation to you to get involved, to be engaged in the things that really matter and to take the lead.

I look forward to hearing from you.


11 thoughts on “Faith Lost and Faith Restored

  1. Patricia Tolppanen

    Shelle – you have enough charisma to fill a whole room. If anybody
    should be giving that presentation it should be you. You go girl!

    As for listening when we disagree – that is what interest-based conflict
    resolution is all about. I, like you, am hopeful that he will set a
    great example for the US and the world.


  2. Brenda Spiller

    Thanks Shelle for taking the time to write this to us.

    You are truly an inspiration, and I felt today that a great depression has been lifted off the world, and that has been brought about by the ‘highest’ thoughts of all the people around the world…great isn’t it.

    All the best in Berlin tonight, my thoughts are with you.

    London, UK

  3. Brian Boyer

    Dear Shelle,
    Thank you for the inpsirational email.

    When I think about what Barack Obama has achieved, it inspires me to stay on track.
    If he can reach his goal with all of the percieved obstacles in his way, then my way should be very easy.

    More important for me is that he gives hope to many in our country who may have felt they did not have a voice or a chance – very powerful symbol indeed.

    Brian Boyer
    Lafayette, Louisiana

  4. Teresa Pignatelli

    Dear Shelle, these words of yours have touched me far more than anything else you have taught me so far (which already has revolutionalised my life!). And we can only be credible when we speak from that place : the heart.

    I will not be throwing away my notes… yet ! but soon I hope.

    I believe we are entering a new era. There are many challenges ahead… and much hope too.

    With love, Teresa

  5. Russ Milland

    Thank also for yoru inspirational blog

    I can’t agree with you more than inspirational leadership is what we really need from our leadership. All of the finest leaders I have had the fortuen to work for or associate with had this trait in spades.

    Another trait that I recall a study once finding as a critical factor in the finest of leaders was humility. For example, Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, was a humble man to the end driving every day to work in an upstairs office above a store in a smal town in his beaten up pickup truck with his dog as company. Having listened to Obama many times I believe while he is a strong tough leader (as was Sam Walton), he is also a very humble man.

    Perhaps the opposite of humilty is arrogance. I have seen many an arrogant leader bring an organization to the brink of ruin and sometimes to ruin itself. Arrogant leaders lose touch easily with their stakeholders and also reality.

    Oakville, Ontario, Canada

  6. Pat Milland

    Shelle – I am in tears. What a beautiful, thoughtful and inspiring message and reminder of what we are ALL capable of – if only to believe – and then to act.

    My journey has been one of great growth often filled with doubt and also with great excitement and hope. It is all about this moment – not the past, this moment, and in how we make this moment will create our future.

    Being a bit of an ‘away from’ I want to find a new title for an upcoming presentation from Getting Unstuck to … It will come to me.

    Have a wonderful evening. I am sure you will be a grand success.



    Pat Milland MNLP

    Watch for my blog at:

    The Universe Unfolds

    ~~~ going beyond…

    ~~~ creating preferred realities

    Catalyst for Change Coach

    Keynotes & Workshops

    T: 905-469-3373

    E: [email protected]

  7. Joe


    That was powerful. I must admit, I did not listen to either candidate. I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. I have been so jaded to the political process I simply shut it out of my life. And honestly, the message Obama had given was spun through the media… and to them especially I did not want to listen. But coming from you… someone who has impacted my ability to communicate with others MUCH more effectively… I listened. — Tears welled up from emotions you touched within me.

    Thank You.

  8. Louis Kirstein

    Hi Shelle – you summarized and said it well!

    In South Africa we experienced the big chance in 1994 and we all were excited about it – it was a miracle that the politicians could work out their differences and come up with a vision and a real model for working together. Unfortunately it is not going well at this stage, but if you look back and compare with how things were prior to ’94, you realize much has been achieved.



  9. Vicki

    McCain’s speech summed it up for me, and he also did a great job of delivering it, as he acknowledged the power of Obama’s message. You quoted him speaking about Obama, “that he managed to do so (become the next president) by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or so little influence in the election of an American president is something I admire and commend him for achieving. This is an historic election.”

    Obama has managed to pull or push millions of Americans into believing that “Yes, we can” and that we do have influence. A simple idea, powerfully personal and something each of us can do for ourselves that will benefit others-something that shows leadership in action. Hopefully this translates into constructive dialogue on the many challenges we face, intelligent debate on possible courses of action and consequences, and the joining together of Americans to face their challenges-united and determined. Seems possible…

  10. Bernie Morrow

    Hi Shelle,

    As usual, you have inspired thought and hope in those you touch with your words.

    As I watched and listened to Obama’s beautifully paced and rythmic speech last night I couldn’t help but wonder about what those around the world were thinking as they witnessed this historic moment in American history. Lucky for you that you had the opportunity to share that experience in Berlin.

    While America has many detractors, perhaps even its enemies had to marvel at the magnitude of yesterday’s events. People effect change when inspired by hope. I wonder what last night’s event meant to those that are suffering in poverty, in war and in politcial exile. Obama’s victory is a victory for anyone who has hope for a better world.

    Bernie Morrow

  11. Duff

    Obama is a very charismatic speaker. In addition to speaking to people’s hearts, he also used some powerful hypnosis techniques. Towards the end of his speech, he used a story about a 106-year old woman, within which he embedded stories about times of great change in America, creating nested loops, and riled up our emotions using chaining anchors to the phrase “yes we can” which he has been anchoring for months. Brilliant work, really. It’s also important to maintain access to our rational capacities when presented with such impassioned and charismatic trance induction.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *