Take a big swing.

Take a big swing.

I gotta take some bigger swings in my life. A guy named Brian has inspired me to do just that.

In a couple of weeks, I’m going to Montreal to host a business conference, and one of my jobs will be to interview former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. I didn’t follow politics much when I was young and he was PM back in the ‘80s, so my recollections of Prime Minister Mulroney were his chin, his gravelly voice, and his duet with President Reagan. That was pretty much it.

But I’ve been researching, reading, talking to people who love him, people who don’t, and I have to say, the man had courage and conviction.

When I was talking with former President Barack Obama earlier this year, one of the things that struck me was when he said, “If a decision comes to the President’s desk, it’s because a lot of very smart people weren’t able to solve it. No matter what you decide, you will disappoint a lot of people”

Mulroney put it this way: “You become progressively unpopular when you try to fix real problems.”

The man saw some real problems, and he took some big swings to solve them. The list is long:

GST

NAFTA 

Privatizing 23 Crown corporations

Acid rain 

Apartheid

Two attempts at constitutional reform

Everything he did seemed to be larger than life. If he was going to make someone angry, he was going to make them absolutely crazy. 

And maybe most famously, if he was going to make someone his friend, it was a friend for life.

This is a guy who won two elections – two majorities, no less – and managed to get both Alberta and Quebec convinced that he was the right man for the job. What are the chances of anyone else doing that?

His approval ratings were either through the roof, or you needed a shovel.

A lot of Canadians know his story: his dad was an electrician and his mom raised the kids in a small town in Quebec. His Dad died when Brian was in university, after which Brian took over financially supporting his mom and two sisters. This is a guy who had to work for everything.

And he took some big swings.

It will be really interesting to sit with the man and get a sense of what drives him, what comforts him, and what swings he’s most proud of. I know some were home runs, but I also know some were big misses.

So let’s all take some big swings in life – and I’ll let you know how the conversation goes.