As a recently repatriated Canadian who spent the past generation in the US, I’m blown away by the woe-is-us pessimism that pervades discussions in boardrooms, bar rooms and the news media around everything from the health of the economy to the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs. If we’re to believe anyone on the campaign trails, everything is broken and our only hope is a change in colour in Ottawa. Respectfully, I disagree with all of it. Moving from Tory Blue to Liberal Red or NDP Orange isn’t the answer to what ails us. We are.
Yes we’re a nice, generally humble and kind people. But our national sport isn’t hockey or lacrosse; it’s beating ourselves up with such repeated ferocity that the outcome becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Enough already.
- It’s okay to dream, and to chase those dreams not knowing the outcome.
- It’s okay to consider our lack of scale as an enviable advantage. 10% as big can also mean 10 times faster, 10 times more agile and 10 times easier to implement change.
- It’s okay to think of our market and competitive set as global, not one confined within our borders.
- It’s okay to want to win, and win big.
- It’s okay to believe we can, and to talk about it with confidence.
- It’s okay to do all of this without compromising the essence of our Canadian-ness.
That’s why I came back to Canada: because I saw opportunity to do something here that isn’t being done anywhere else. Because I want to shape what’s next, not have it dictated to me.
None of us are immune to the threat of a faster, nimbler and more tech savvy competitor. Neither are our competitors; we are all vulnerable. Yes, change is uncomfortable and messy, but it’s a lot easier to deal with when you’re the one driving it.
That’s why I choose to believe in the power and potential of what can be. I believe that Canadians can compete and win on any stage. And I believe we can do it on our terms as Canadians, with a sense of humility and compassion and absent the winner-take-all arrogance that defines so many of those driving and funding disruption south of the border.
Imagine the headlines if all of us did the same.
——— Written by Rick Murray, former Managing Partner and Chief Digital Strategist at NATIONAL Public Relations, and now Managing Partner at SHIFT Communications, sister company of NATIONAL