With the historical inauguration on 1/20/2009, record numbers of Americans and citizens of the world paused to listen. President Obama's message ignited millions of people. Many were moved to tears or felt goose bumps and tingles up their spine. Why?

As summarized in the Denver Post on 1/21/09, "The president's much-anticipated inaugural speech fused inspirational rhetoric with pragmatic goals aimed at compelling Americans to act while reassuring them that the country can rise to the occasion." The inaugural address tapped into a ancient, universal and sacred process that has been proven to help people produce extraordinary results -- the results needed by America and the world. Here is an overview of how Obama's message utilized the four-step process, called the "Pursuit of Passionate Purpose" process (, to inspire hope, courage, and action.

Assess Progress.

Obama honestly assessed the current situation, "We are in the midst of a crisis..our nation is at war...our economy is badly weakened...our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and ... the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land--a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable and that the next generation must lower its sights. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America -- they will be met." Built from this honest assessment, the new president then reaffirmed our passion, connected it with our purpose, and established a clear plan of action to pursue.

Find Passion.

Passion is the fuel of any pursuit. It is found in the alignment of values with core competencies. Obama restated what we stand for, "We're guided on a path by core values and what our system stands for. Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true."

Our core competencies are many as Obama explains, "It has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are...productive. Our minds are...inventive, our goods and services...needed. Our capacity remains undiminished." Obama also stated, "Our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth."

Align Passion with Purpose.

Passion alone is aimless, it must be aligned with a meaningful purpose. As Victor Frankl concludes in Man's Search For Meaning, "There is a human need for purpose." Obama connected our values and gifts, our passion, with a noble purpose, "On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit,... to carry forward that noble idea that ...all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. We understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. The success of our economy depends not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity, on our abiity to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity -- but because it is the surest route to our common good. " Thus, our passionate purpose is to continue the journey toward freedom, greatness and common good.

Pursue Purpose.

In setting a plan with clear goals, the new president encouraged right action, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking America." Highlighting some of the key strategic initiatives in his plan of action, the president stated, "The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and
  • We will act--not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth...

  • We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.

  • We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.

  • We will transform our schools and colleages and universities to meet thedemands of a new age."

Obama continues:

  • "We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.

  • We will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

  • Those who manage the public's dollar will be held to account--to spend wisely, reform bad habits and do our business in the light of day."

Having a plan is not enough. It takes courage and action to pursue it. Obama charged Americans to pursue this passionate purpose and in so doing reap the real rewards of meaning and satisfaction, "What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility--a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

And so President Obama on this historic inauguration inspired Americans and the world to 'Believe and Act' and in so doing continue to bring forth the great gift of freedom.

Theresa M. Szczurek ( and


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)