Standing at the Precipice of Monumental Change

On the precipice; photo by Steve A Johnson on Flickr
On the precipice; photo by Steve A Johnson on Flickr

There’s no question: losing an election is painful. Looking around the room on election night at the dejected volunteers and staff members who had invested hours of time and energy in the Massachusetts Dignity 2012 campaign, I knew there would be a necessary re-building and healing time.

As an individual who’s looked up to for leadership in our movement, I had to quickly recover from my own disappointments and act like the role model I’m viewed as. Easier said than done, I learned.

I read a book about struggling at work, and I was reminded struggles are the result of taking a chance, of doing something new and different outside of one’s comfort zone. I spent some time reading leadership advice from sports greats, and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said it most clearly, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

The recovery was slow, but the most difficult part has passed. When I look at the activity all over the nation, I know the loss in Massachusetts marked the precipice of monumental change for the movement. We’re involved in active campaigns all over New England. Groundbreaking Death with Dignity policy reform is underway in Vermont; New Jersey is considering a referendum to put Death with Dignity on the ballot for voters to decide. Connecticut is making a serious legislative attempt at policy reform, as is Massachusetts. Groups are organizing in Maine for a ballot initiative.

Change is on the horizon.

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