Candidates, you need to spend some time tuning into what viewers are looking and listening for vs. bickering with each other like divorcing parents fighting over what they each claim is in the best interest of the kids, while by continuing to fight each other, the kids fall through the cracks (and these days, too often into the grasp of opiates).

Viewers, we need to check at how well the candidates get where we are coming from and where we want and need to go and for them to lead us there.

Candidates, to achieve the above, this is what viewers will be listening for.

  1. Trust – Most of us viewers are cynical or at the very least, skeptical, about believing any of you candidates.  That’s because we are shellshock from over and over again trusting and believing what you have told and promised us compared to what you actually delivered. Therefore, we will be looking and listening for whether we can trust you and if so, how much we can trust you. To do that you need to say what you mean with regard to what we can realistically (what’s likely to happen) expect from you and mean what you say and be willing to be held accountable and pay the consequences when don’t deliver.
  2. Confidence – There is a saying that people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.   To modify that to where we’re truly coming from, we don’t care how much you know and we don’t care about you care, until we know how much you have already done that caused a demonstrable and positive measurable difference in the lives of people you were serving and where you needed to effectively do it in a climate of adversity from opposing points of view. No track record, no confidence.
  3. Admiration – We’ll also be looking for what you have already accomplished personally, professionally and civically that will cause us to be enthused about your leadership and so we can all say that we are proud to be American (not be confused with American hubris and exceptionalism) because of who we have as a President. Let he or she who is most like John Wooden or Michelle Obama step forward.
  4. Respect – We’re finally looking for someone who clearly stands for something that lifts us all up, stands up for it and will stand up against anyone that tries to tear it down. There is a formula that aggression + principle and mission = conviction; aggression – principle – mission = hostility. Conviction makes your strong, hostility make you wild. Be of conviction, don’t be wild.
  5. Enspiration – Motivation pumps us up, but is gone as soon as the motivator leaves. Inspiration lifts us up, but often lacks a practical way to be actualized. Enspiration lifts us up and provides the direction to make something transcendent a reality. Peter Pan was one of the great  enspirational figures in literature when he said to Wendy and her brothers, “Second star to the right and straight on til morning.”

Whoever the eventual candidate becomes, we’re looking to and listening for you to give us a second chance to trust and have confidence in government, straight on til we have a more hopeful future that creates a rising tide that lifts all hopes.

A final thought for you candidates…

May the person who will lead us into a hopeful and actualizable future win.


  • Mark Goulston, M.D.

    Author, speaker, podcast host, psychiatrist

    Dr. Mark Goulston is the inventor and developer of Surgical Empathy an approach that helps people to break their attachments to counterproductive modes of functioning and frees them to connect with more productive and healthier alternatives. He is the host of the “My Wakeup Call” podcast where he interviews people on the wakeup calls that changed who they are and made them better human beings and at being human and the host of the LinkedIn Live show, "No Strings Attached." He is a Founding Member of the Newsweek Expert Forum. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on deep listening, radical empathy and real influence with his book, “Just Listen,” becoming the top book on listening in the world, translated into twenty languages and a topic he speaks and teaches globally. He is an advisor, coach, mentor and confidante to CEO’s, founders and entrepreneurs helping them to unlock all their internal blocks to achieving success, fulfillment and happiness. Originally a UCLA professor of psychiatry and crisis psychiatrist for over 25 years, and former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer, Dr. Goulston's expertise has been forged and proven in the crucible of real-life, high stakes situations including being a boots on the ground suicide prevention specialist and serving as an advisor in the OJ Simpson criminal trial. Including, “Just Listen,” he is the author or co-author of nine books with multiple best sellers. He writes or contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Biz Journals, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Psychology Today and has appeared as an psychological expert in the media including: CNN, Headline News, msNBC, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Psychology Today and was the subject of a PBS special. He lives with his wife in Los Angeles, California.