THE GLOBE TROTTER‘S JOURNAL: Power and responsibility
YOU can always learn from the efforts displayed by our leaders in the past. I am reminded by leading entrepreneur and humanitarian icon Sir Richard Branson of his efforts in setting up the Council of Elders, an assembly of the world’s most influential figures in working with the youth to solve our world’s pressing issues.
And as part of my world expedition in 2011, I was about to meet, do some meaningful work with them and learn from their experience in using their influence positively to change our world.
Indeed, people were commenting that I was about to start a one-year world expedition mirroring towards pursuing a one-year ‘MBA’ course in global leadership, diplomacy, entrepreneurship and volunteerism all piled in together. And I am all geared up for it, representing Malaysia as its global youth ambassador!
On Jan 7 last year, I boarded a flight bound for the UK with exciting news — I was scheduled to meet with Major-General Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the 6th Duke of Westminster and the richest British person (according to the UK’s Sunday Times Rich List 2012).
I was briefed that my first task on meeting him was to discuss raising awareness on volunteerism and social enterprise matters.
This sent shockwaves down my spine as this was the closest I was to actually meeting a British “Royalty” and I would be learning from him for a day!
The game plan for meeting all these global icons had multiple benefits in terms of making my ensuing world expedition a success!
Firstly, like any influential figure, they would have a strong following in their community and hence their opinions matter. Secondly, these meetings would serve as my research, as I uncover the relationship between doing good and giving back to society would actually resonate with becoming more successful in life.
Lastly, these accomplished leaders would be the most resourceful, where assistance in terms of funding and support can be channelled to the right projects and platforms, especially in the various humanitarian projects that I will be involved in throughout the 22 countries coming up.
It was during this time that I noted down some strategies on making my every meeting with global leaders count!
Preparation was key in order for us to get the most out of the ideas, solutions, critics and suggestions shared by these prominent figures.
Doing a background check on their accomplishments would provide you with questions you would want to ask and get answers from.
Most of the time, we would desire to learn, replicate and produce the same favourable results or better by meeting these figures.
Definitely, my act of penning down my questions in a structured way to explore ideas and support from UK luminaries like the Duke of Westminster, served me well.
I wasn’t nervous as we were driven into his estate, enjoying the view of the countryside, filled with medieval castle ruins and old complexes which paint the old family heritage represented by the Duke’s lineage.
I was prepared with my questions and that gave me a clear direction to structure my questions and to get the answers I was looking for from him. That was certainly valuable to boost my confidence in interacting with world leaders as well.
Having arrived and now seated in an office meant for ‘Royalties’, well decorated with the flags of the Union Jack, I was then welcomed by the host himself, the Duke of Westminster.
Despite his towering profile, he was humble and shared a lot about his charity involvement and how good business and great people are important to move our world forward.
I was not surprised that the newly-engaged couple then, Prince William and Princess Kate, were also heavily involved with charity work. Citizens could relate to their efforts to better our world with their influences.
I was convinced that people would support leaders who are seen to have greater contributions to the wellbeing of society and be able to stay rooted with causes on the ground.
Despite meeting successful figures like the Duke and to be in the compounds of UK's royalty, I can see that well-intent efforts and the good use of influence to promote a collective cause are in the hearts of most truly successful people.
It is exciting to imagine that I will be meeting more world leaders in my trip to 22 countries to further strengthen my beliefs on such noble acts.
As they say, the more you give, the more you get. As I left the Duke’s estate after an inspiring one hour meeting, I heard from the local radio about Prince William and Princess Kate’s social work for the people in the UK.
That famous Spiderman phrase echoed through my mind and I am further convinced, that with great power, comes great responsibility — and that would constantly remind me of my role as the 2011 Global Youth Ambassador.