Takeaways from the evening with Barack Obama: use power for good

I recently attended an evening with Barack Obama during his tour in Amsterdam. If I were to describe Obama in one word, it would be “hope.” And that’s what he left me with that night — hope for a better world, hope for progress, hope that if we continue to take small steps towards a better future, it will get better. Nevertheless, there were more than just hopeful words shared at the event. Here are a few of the takeaways that stood out for me from that inspiring evening:

Don’t believe the hype.
The danger for any leader, anybody who occupies an important position, is that they start to believe they are different from everyone else. They may lose that sense of connection and the normality of life. It’s important to stay grounded and connected to the people around you.

Embrace that better is good.
Perfection is a mirage, but progress is achievable. Keep striving for improvement, even if it’s in small steps. Have hope that together, we can make the world better.

Remind others that they matter.
It’s not enough to speak in dry terms of economics and policy. People need to hear stories that connect them to a sense of purpose and meaning. We need to care and be kind to each other.

Be in touch with reality.
Obama read ten letters from regular people every night during his presidency, thus how he stayed connected to the everyday life of those he served. It’s tempting to get caught up in the big picture, but it’s the people around us who have dreams and fears of their own that need attention.

Don’t chase power.
Learn to appreciate the life you have, and use your power to do good. Obama is an example of someone who uses his influence to bring about positive change and uses his power for the greater good.

As a personal branding consultant, I believe that the lessons we can learn from Barack Obama’s approach to power are especially relevant to those looking to build a strong personal brand. By staying connected to your audience, focusing on progress rather than perfection, and using your influence to do good, you can create a personal brand that truly resonates with your target audience.