Community & Government

Navigating Compromise & Trade-Offs

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Lesson time 08:35 min

In this lesson, learn how Hillary factors her core values and mission statement into her decisions on which battles she chooses to fight, and which she looks to compromise on.

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Topics include: Navigating Compromise and Trade-Offs • The ’82 Surname Controversy • Factor Your Core Values Over Societal Pressures • Contribute to Battles That Are Not Your Own • Make the Most of Whatever Path You Choose •


[MUSIC PLAYING] - It's been my experience that whether you're talking about your personal life, your professional life, or your public life, you do have to choose your battles. I mean, you could be in a constant state of conflict about all kinds of stuff. But you can't fight every battle. I mean, I care deeply about so many different issues and concerns. But I can't be involved in everything. And I don't think you can either. So you have to choose what it is you're going to stake out as important to you and where you're going to put your energy. [MUSIC PLAYING] Look at it both from the ground level and from the top down. Like what are your goals? What is it you're trying to achieve? If you can't get 100%, what's good enough that you can then build on into the future? [MUSIC PLAYING] When I got married in 1975, I kept my name. I never thought about changing my name. I kept it because I was already practicing law. Bill had already entered politics. So I thought it made a lot of sense for me to have a separate professional identity. And that meant in my view keeping my name. But when our daughter was born in February of 1980, the front page of the Arkansas newspaper said Governor Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham announced the birth of their daughter Chelsea. And somehow that like, I don't know, just grabbed people's attention. Like what do you mean? Why isn't it Governor and Mrs. Clinton announced the birth of their daughter? And I was visited by delegations of people. I received mail about it. And, literally, it seemed like the only person that didn't ask me to change my name was my husband. And it became just a huge distraction. I know it seems like such a small thing now. But back then, it was very controversial. It wasn't something that politicians' wives were expected to push back on, particularly in conservative states. And in the end, it was arguably a contributing factor to my husband Bill losing his re-election bid in 1980. So, finally, in like 1982, I said, okay, fine. I will add Clinton to my name. Most decisions you make will have upsides and downsides. They'll have opportunity costs. Like what are you foregoing by making a certain decision one way or another? And when it came to the decision about would I or would I not add my husband's name to mine, I made a trade-off. I made what was not an easy decision but one that on balance I thought was the right decision and said, okay, from this point on, I will have added Clinton to my name. So I'll be Hillary Rodham Clinton and went on from there. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think everyone has to be aware of the societal and cultural influences and pressures that you live with. Because when you make a decision that runs against them, you need to understand there may be consequences to that decision. And then you have to decide what price you're willing to pay or not. In any situation where I'm trying to find compromise, I fin...

About the Instructor

With a lifetime of smashing barriers and achieving at the highest levels of public service, Hillary Rodham Clinton has learned to tap deep wells of resilience to reach her goals. Now the former U.S. senator and secretary of state is teaching the values, lessons, and practical tools that help her rise above, even sharing her never-before-heard 2016 presidential victory speech. Be inspired to own your ambition and make your mark.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton

Barrier-smashing leader Hillary Rodham Clinton teaches you how to overcome setbacks and build a life of principle and purpose.

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