So this picture of George W. Bush and Bono may be one of the greatest pictures I’ve seen. Like me, I bet when most see it they are taken aback, do a double take and ask, “Is this photoshoped?” Your fingers want to type out “caption this…” and see what craziness follows. But then, when your brain re-orients itself and you pick your jaw up off the ground, you take a moment to read the post underneath written by “W” himself (it’s from his Instagram).
“Bono is the real deal. He has a huge heart and a selfless soul, not to mention a decent voice. @laurawbush and I are grateful he came to the ranch to talk about the work of @thebushcenter, @onecampaign, @PEPFAR, and our shared commitment to saving lives in Africa”
So how did an American, conservative (actually moderate in today’s political environment), ex-president and an Irish Rock Icon/Political Activist become partners, advocates and dare-I-say friends? And get this, for the better part of 10 years? Common purpose.
I attended the U2 concert last week in Houston and was amazed Bono made a very gracious, inspired, and heartfelt thank you to #43 in front of the 72,000 person crowd. Bono thanked him for his unyielding commitment to AIDS awareness and anti-poverty work over the last 10+ years. Even the most politically jaded concert-goers on both sides of the isle cheered. Some of the loudest cheering of the night. It seemed everyone was relieved to see positive common ground and a sense of collaboration from two unlikely partners. It was like drinking a cold glass of lemonade after mowing an overgrown field of weeds. Refreshing and rewarding.
In our work (and personal) lives common ground can be very difficult to find. Time constraints, politics, and work overload put finding common purpose on the back-burner. Why? It takes time. It takes conversation. And it takes prioritization. Perhaps top prioritization needs to go to connecting with the people you assume you have the least in common with.
You may be very surprised. And in looking for common ground underneath those “un-turned stones”, you may even change the world.