For many years, I’ve been greatly inspired by some of JFK’s speeches from his time as President.  Perhaps the most inspirational of them is the speech he gave at Rice University regarding the space program and his challenge for the USA to go to the moon in the 60s.  As a side note, I find it somewhat disturbing that a video of this historical significance has less than 200k views, yet random videos of people falling off of treadmills get millions of views.  But I digress.

JFK at Rice UniversityThis speech is particularly powerful to me because of the challenge that JFK put forth to our nation.  It was a challenge of almost unimaginable proportions and one that he had no concrete plan for how to solve.  I thought about his message this past weekend at Creating Irresistible Presence when we were talking about stepping outside our comfort zones and pushing all the chips to the center of the table.  The parallels are clear to me. Sometimes we have to push ourselves beyond what we know intellectually and into what we know in our core.  When we know something at the gut level, when that burning passion is there, we must go and do what we are called to do.

Perhaps the most quoted portion is at 8:48:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.  Because that challenge is one that we’re willing to accept – one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others too.

This famous message holds lessons for us all.  On a personal level, we each have our own challenges that we must overcome – some of which seem insurmountable right now.  But we can overcome, and we can achieve greatness when we believe in our dreams.

If you have never watched this speech, I highly recommend it.  It’s just under 18 minutes long, but is a true testament to the power of inspirational leadership.

What does this bring up for you?  Feel free to share your thoughts or reactions in the comments.

photo courtesy of nasaimages.org