A Farewell to Mayor Mike Rawlings
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced on your campaign trail?
The amount of hours in a day and my physical health. Because I had a lot of friends and folks in Dallas but voters had no clue who I was, I had to go to every event. That's the way I do things I just go overkill it. It was the hardest thing I physically did because I only had three months from when it decided to winning the run-off.
What has been your biggest inspiration to pursue a career in this field?
Not sure if it's a career, its only 8 years, but my story always goes back to my son. I’ve always told my son, who is a Jesuit graduate, that it wasn’t always about him. It's about other people and he needed to think less about himself and think about those he served.
Someone asked me to run for mayor and I said no to them but he was with me and I asked him the question I should ask myself when considering it. He had read a book I gave him on Marcus Aurelius, one of the great stoics in history, and he said to me what would the virtuous man do? From what I realized, the inspiration there was not the nature of the question, but that my son had asked it. You really can make a difference in setting the right tone and the right discussion
As your time as mayor comes to a close which initiative would you say you are most proud of?
I think being proud of things is problematic. Hubris comes before the fall. The biggest initiative I took on, and the one that we’ve made significant progress on, is southern Dallas. I hope that that continues because it's such a big initiative that I couldn't really accomplish. I didn't accomplish anything, it was the city that accomplished it in the first place and so southern Dallas needs to stay our focus for the next couple of decades.
What aspect of becoming mayor did you find most surprising and did you find the role met your initial expectations?
I purposely had no expectation. I decided that I wasn't going to assume anything or think it was anything because it was going to be different. That was good of me. I assumed that I was going to be learning fresh every day and the surprising thing is how intense people are about politics. It's just like everybody chill out. The world is not going to come to an end and especially elected people the most important thing is getting reelected.
What was your favorite project to work on as mayor?
The Mayor's Interns Fellows Program.
What was your biggest concern for Dallas youth going into your first term and do think any of your initial concerns have been resolved during your time in office?
I think the biggest thing to me is to have hope and a lot of people in Dallas, a lot of young people in Dallas, don’t have hope because they have no reason to have hope. They were brought up in an environment that is not very hopeful so they look at the future and say it's just going to be more of the past. That was my concern and that’s my fear.
How has being mayor impacted your life?
It created a whole new dimension. it made me a more spiritual person because the only way I got through this is through my spiritual centeredness and seeing this as missionary work and service to the community.
What do you plan to do next?
I’m a husband. That is going to be several holiday trips with my wife this summer and we're going to relax we're going to rest. I'm a partner of a small private equity shop and I will go back and help small businesses grown. That’s what I am good at. Dallas grew while I was mayor and we attracted a lot of businesses so I know how to do that and hopefully, I can help some other people in different ways now.
If you could give a piece of advice to a Dallas Youth who are interested in pursuing leadership positions what would it be?
I would say don’t look at to where you’re going to get your jollies. Stop worrying about meeting your dreams. Go find out where you are going to learn the most. Go to a place where you are scared and power through that. The Japanese samurai believed that the most important enemy they had to defeat was the dragon inside themselves.
Looking back what was the hardest adjustment you had to make becoming mayor?
Letting go of control, because you don’t have control in this leadership role. Everyone thinks you do, but you really don't. In the private sector, you can actually have control. So you don't want to use your sense of urgency, you don't want to lose your passion to get things done but you have to work with other people to do that.