Mitt Romney, former presidential candidate and BYU alum, shares lessons gleaned from his professional and personal life.
Read and download his full address at the BYU Speeches website: https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/mitt-r...
Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for the office of President of the United States (2008, 2012) and former governor of Massachusetts, gave this BYU forum address on 18 November 2014.
© Mitt Romney. All rights reserved.
"A campaign can be a heady thing as well. At my first 2012 presidential debate, in Denver, the miles of interstate expressway from my hotel to the auditorium were closed to all traffic—for me. My motorcade was led by thirty or so police motorcycles and vehicles flashing their red and blue lights. I was accompanied by the Secret Service, which included not only the detail of agents that surrounded Ann and me in our bulletproof SUV but also the tactical unit that followed, armed with machine guns and sitting with an open tailgate, facing any vehicle that might come from behind us.
The Secret Service was only the icing on the adulation cake. Day after day, thousands of people were shouting my name, investing in me their hopes for victory. The day before the election, Kid Rock electrified a packed arena in New Hampshire for me, and when we were introduced, the crowd cheered for Ann and me for three solid minutes before we could speak.
The day after the election was different. The Secret Service was gone. They had asked to stay on another week, but we felt that was an unnecessary imposition on them and the taxpayers. The cheers were gone as well, replaced by the agonizing reappraisal by others of what had gone wrong. I was back to driving my own car, filling my own gas tank, and buying groceries at Costco, just like I had been doing for several decades before.
Truthfully, Ann and I had never become caught up in all the flurry. I know that may be hard to believe, but throughout the journey we saw ourselves in exactly the same way we have throughout our marriage. We knew that win or lose, any acclaim would eventually be forgotten. As Jimmy Durante once sang, “Fame, if you win it, comes and goes in a minute.”2
What we treasure from the campaign was not the pomp and the popularity, it was the friends we made. We became very close with a number of the Secret Service agents we spent time with. In fact, as we prepared to go onto the stage to concede the victory to President Barack Obama, more than one of those agents fought back tears. We miss them as friends—not as power candy.
Living life can be self-consuming: who you are can be overshadowed by what you do or by what you have done. If you allow that to happen, the inevitable twists and turns of secular life can warp your self-confidence, limit your ambition, test your faith, and depress your happiness. You are not defined by secular measures. You are a child of a Heavenly Father who loves you. You are His work and His glory. And that statement confirms your incomparable worth. It also informs your life’s most important work: to lift others, to lift your family and your spouse if you’re married, and to remain true and faithful to the Almighty."