I’ve had a hectic personal schedule of late and with the professional piece of my life also going full steam, it can be challenging to remember where I’m supposed to be and continue to stay organized! I heavily rely on outlook and google calendar to check and re-check my schedule so that I don’t double book. My to do list is on Trello and articles that I want to read later for the blog or for my own education are dropped into Pocket. What useful tools do you use to keep organized?
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
In my intro, I talked about how life is getting a bit chaotic. People comment on my ability to go to the gym and the honest truth to it is that I will become an angry person if I don’t sweat out my anxieties and push my physical limits. It’s good for me and it’s good for others around me to not have so much negative energy emanate from my being. That being said, I schedule my work activities and then schedule my gym work outs around them. I know that my evenings are generally tied up with fundraisers/work obligations and it’s nice to have some spontaneity in the evenings to catch up with friends should an opportunity occur. Who wants to spontaneously ask me to meet them for breakfast at 8am – really no one! I’m also a morning person so I get antsy when I wake up in the morning and there’s no exercise waiting for me. As of late, I’ve had a bit of trouble waking up for my 7am sessions. I usually wake up before my alarm and lately, I’ve been slightly startled when the alarm plays the lovely sounding Hawaiian music I chose to begin my day. All of this being said, I was reminded of my priorities when Randi Zuckerberg talked about choosing between work, sleep, family, fitness, or friends. I made a strategic decision to reduce my workload (it may not appear that way to others!) in that I would only work on projects that I was totally committed. If I had any doubts that I was doing the project for different reasons, then it was rejected. I was making room to do other things, such as my French lessons and even though I haven’t done as much as I would like, I know that it’s more a mental shift than the excuse of not having time that tells me that I should focus on work more than my other interests. I recently spoke with a friend who is starting her own consulting firm and we discussed it’s the feeling of guilt of not being accessible when others are working traditional 9am-5pm work hours. Those of us who have the flexibility should use it and those of you who don’t, I hope that creative scheduling lets you choose how you want to prioritize without the guilt.
Last week I shared the story about how the U.S. Senate was run entirely by women during one of the days of the snow storm that hit DC and it reminded me about how women have always had to fight so incredibly hard to get to our positions. It can be a double standard for us and even more so when you’re talking about women who are from underrepresented communities. We are often judged by our appearance and it’s society’s definitions that tell us what is deemed appropriate for our gender. There are days when I sigh in frustration and days when I want to tear it all down, but fortunately I get my act together and help where I can. This opinion piece by Catherine Rampell describes the daily lifetime(!!!) challenges that exist in a woman’s life and you start to wonder, when will it end?
I’ve been working with a few women who are at different points in their lives: a recent college graduate, a woman who has taken time off to raise a family and is now looking to return to a professional career, and an experienced political operative who is transitioning to another geographical area and wants to create a new network for herself. All very fascinating people who have one very similar goal: to work in a career field that allows them to enjoy their work and get paid for it! I didn’t have a career path other than find a job in politics after I graduated from Tulane. There was no grand scheme to be the next “fill in the blank” or the where are you going to be in 5-10 years plan. As a person who has had a career for 20 years now, it worked itself out – YAY – so it’s possible to not have a plan and still make a living! It doesn’t sound very together but if you want to get it together, you may want to read this handy guide. As I was reading it, I realized that I was really in the area of “accept that I’ll keep changing” mentality. I’m certainly not the young whippersnapper I was in my 20s and I’m OK with it.
I’ve said multiple times that I started my own firm because I didn’t want a boss. After spending years working for someone else, I realized that I had the ability to do things on my own. I didn’t want the structure of someone else’s creation. I worked in the hospitality industry for a James Beard winning chef as a front of the house manager and I learned so much, including the fact that I didn’t want to experience life at someone’s else discretion. It takes a lot of risk to dive off the deep end and swim – lots of people do it and find that it’s not for them. That’s completely a personal preference. To really understand your motivation about your career choices, you really need to ask yourself 2 very important questions. Keep coming back to the answers and you may find yourself in a career that was always meant for you.
Deep breaths – this one is a doozy. I break things down into incremental steps. I do it everyday when I fundraise because if I didn’t, I would be overwhelmed in the enormity of my goal. I’m sharing this article about mastering the art of setting goals in 4 steps. Each step is HUGE! I’m not ready to take this tact for fundraising but I may be ready to do it for a different project in my own life. Let’s be audacious together!
There are a lot of readers of this blog who are fighting the good fight in the land of nonprofits. It is a place that pulls at your heartstrings and during the good times, leaves you fulfilled and at the worst of times, makes you wonder if you’re clinically insane (#amiright?!??). It is a place where efforts to do good can sometimes but thwarted with the challenges of just running the place – can I get an “Amen” on the fact that I’m sure that a lot of you are working 3 different job descriptions under one job title and getting paid for the job description a step below you. This infographic gets it all right with the myriad ways that nonprofits lose their talent. Perhaps it’s best to check in on your own organization’s grade for each section and see how you’re doing great and how you can improve.
Alright folks, that’s it for this week – thanks for reading/sharing and let me know of your triumphant tales!
How many of you were up last night watching the Iowa Caucus returns? I had returned from a trip and was already tired from the travel, however it was addictive to watch the hours and hours of commentary. I usually don’t watch scripted television (i.e. reality tv) but this is the ultimate reality tv for me because it really is completely unknown to all of us the eventual outcome in November. It’s going to be quite an election!
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
I often get asked why I started my own consulting firm and my 2 second answer is that I wanted to be my own boss. I’ve always been an independent worker so when I first began, I actually had to tone down the amount of hours I worked because I placed myself in an environment that kept me working ALL.THE.TIME. I never had a problem where I was distracted by working from home. So if you think working as your own boss in a non-traditional environment is for you then take a look at these suggestions about being your own boss.
If you didn’t know, DC had a pretty big snow storm last week where the federal government had to shut down due to travel concerns. The U.S. Senate decided to convene and lo and behold, it was a historic moment because the entire chamber was staffed entirely by women (the Senators, the parliamentarian staff, the pages, the floor managers – EVERYBODY!).
I think I’m a procrastinator, but my closest friends think I’m such a weirdo for saying such a thing because they have a different definition for that term. It does help to think about procrastinating in a positive way. For me to fully concentrate, I need a sense of calm & a bit of silence. I can usually tune out the tv or radio but if someone is talking to me, I need to step away for me to focus. I’ll take a break when I write to read articles and let’s face it, look up my favorite Hollywood columnist and then I can re-focus my energy to finish another paragraph. Accept it and don’t beat yourself up!
When you’re unhappy, the thought of leaving your job can be empowering! There was a point in my career when I would wake up and start crying because I knew that I was headed into work. That’s a bit extreme but the emotional toll was too taxing for my mental health. If you haven’t reached that point but realize that going to work isn’t your cup of tea, here are reasons why you should stay and focus less on the reasons why you dislike your current position.
If you’re interested in reading about the “New American Majority” then check out Brown is the New White, a book from national political leader Steve Phillips. It’s a powerful discussion about race and politics.
I’m a glass half full person with a touch of pragmatic reality thrown in for good measure. I tend to stay on the positive side of things, although I do recognize when things are going downhill. It’s fair to wallow in the negative, but I can’t exist in that place for too long. Here are steps you can take so that you can transform a bad day.
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If you live in the mid Atlantic region, I hope you’ve dug out from #snowzilla2016! I spent the weekend enjoying the snowfall and utilizing the workout exercises I’ve learned to shovel 18″+ of snow. If I didn’t exercise on a regular basis, I’m not sure if I would have survived the herculean effort it took to get the snow outta of the way. Be safe out there! Let’s get to Tuesday Truths!
I sometimes get asked about my fashion attire choices and my clients will sometimes tell their staff to use my aesthetic as inspiration for their professional wardrobe. As women move further into senior leadership, it’s important to address your “look”. Depending on your industry, you want to have the right balance of what conforms to your profession while being true to your personality. Most people don’t even talk about what men wear to work or anywhere else. As long as it’s appropriate, people really have nothing to say but women have always had to live a double edge sword – feminine but not girly; power suit without looking too masculine etc..Female leaders command presence in their clothes and we don’t want our clothes to be a distraction to the ideas that we want to convey. Here’s a great article on how to dress as a woman in the spotlight.
We all have dreams that we would like to have realized. Having gargantuan goals means that you need to be able to handle all of the moments where you’re not moving forward. Setbacks happen and it’s what you do when you’re down that will determine if you’re going to reach each milestone to the top. We’re not perfect and there will be times when you want to curl up into a fetal position, BUT we all know that you have it in you to keep striving. You’ve got all the essentials to reach your biggest dreams – you just need to be reminded
Here’s a great infographic of how leadership has changed from the traditional style vs the collaborative style. In my line of work, I find that it’s good to have a mix. Utopia is not quite attainable. Infographic credit via
I am far from being a #Superboss but I do find that I’m a Nurturer with my staff. I continue to keep in touch with the majority of them, even though they may have ventured off into different fields from politics. They have access to one another through my firm’s alumni group and they continue to support one another. For a lot of them, I was their first “real” boss – the 1st job they had after graduating from college and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them mature and become “bosses” in their own right. They know how important it is to help those who have come behind them. If you’re on the road to becoming management, learn how to be a Superboss.
If you don’t already know, I’m a Democrat and I thought it was really thought provoking to read this article about what makes Republicans and Democrats different. I have a few very close friends who are Republicans and although we have different perspectives on some issues, I know that they’re all good people. A return to civility could do everyone a little bit of good.
In need of refresher tips for searching for a job? Here are some ideas to make sure that you’re using the right tactics to get your resume into the right hands and how to get strategic about your search!
On the flip side, here’s what employers and hiring managers are thinking about when they look at your resume and references. Hire for what you need because trust me, it’s much less of a headache. I’ve made bad hiring choices so I’ve been down this road. It’s one that I would rather not travel on again. Heed these warnings and you may get more clarity on your hiring decisions.
Thanks for reading/sharing! Let me know about the best boss you’ve ever had and share what qualities you liked most at your job!
We’re experiencing an arctic freeze here on the east coast and all I can think about is warming up! If you got any spare sunshine and balmy temperatures, please send them my way
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
In the course of several informational interviews and mentoring sessions, I often get asked about how to reach out to a contact that has been out of touch. Of course, it’s challenging to keep up with everyone. Generally, it’s a good idea to have a kitchen cabinet of sorts to let people know of your career updates (it takes a village to get anything done!) so if possible, all the key people in your professional life should be a part of this list and it’s not so awkward to reach out to them when you have an ASK. If you haven’t had a chance to incorporate this as part of your professional updates, then here are tips to make it less awkward.
I tend to think in teams; whether it’s a small team of me +1 or if it’s a team of 100 and we’re all in service to an agreed upon goal. Getting feedback from past team members shows me why they liked working in this kind of atmosphere. They felt that we were all in it together. I may have been the leader but everyone felt that they were leaders with their own purpose to meeting the goals. When things don’t go the way you want (metrics are not met etc), you need to learn how to course correct and that means having tough conversations with people of the team to see how we can all learn from these kinds of situations. You don’t have to be a hard@ss to get your point across and when I’ve had these kinds of conversations, I take responsibility in how I may have played a role in the current situation. Here’s how nice women can get ahead when asking the right questions.
With the start of the new year, there’s always a sense of optimism and sometimes that can carry us through the 1st week, the 1st month, the 1st quarter but oftentimes, it can wane and when you need a moment to get yourself back into focus, you realize that you can overcome low points of your life. Using these tips can help you move forward and feel like it’s the start of something new again.
A video to remind you about how you should define success! A common theme for success is its definition and by that it means however YOU define it and not allowing anyone else to tell you otherwise. #truthbomb
I’m a big believer in the WHY – Why is it important to do mundane tasks to achieve a bigger picture! This helps me to better understand and become more invested in my goals. Become enthralled with the WHY and you’ll recognize what’s really important to you.
The art oflistening and speaking, otherwise sometimes known as having a conversation. It can be casual or it can be in a professional setting but no matter what, it’s important to actively listen and be in command when you speak.
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The weather has shifted in DC and we’re experiencing a bit of a chill, but we’re prepared to get out to our respective State of the Union watch parties this evening. It’s the end of an era as President Obama will be delivering his last State of the Union of his presidency. I’m sure that it will be a bittersweet moment for everyone who has worked in his administration and who helped to get him elected. In the meantime, let’s get to Tuesday Truths!
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a reader who was in a dilemma about having a colleague take credit for her work so I offered a few articles to help in resolving the situation. Do you have any additional suggestions?
As I begin my 14th year as an independent political consultant, the dynamics of the political consulting world continues to change with a rapid pace as corporate entities and campaigns begin to intertwine. For those who are interested in reading about how those relationships work, let’s pull back the curtain!
I’ve gone down the rabbit hole reading the weekly newsletter for “NonProfit with Balls” – hilarious, poignant, irreverent honest to goodness truth. If you work in non-profit land, seriously consider signing up for the newsletter because Vu (the author/creator extraordinaire) TOTALLY gets us. His most recent post deals with self care and as an advocate for it, I really understand the need for it but also have told my staff that part of this business involves going to events that aren’t necessarily considered our scope of work but it helps to get the rest of our professional lives moving. I go through it myself, “Do I really need to be at this event?” and I get a flash forward of the outcome and start to question if it means more to stay out another hour+ or go home and start watching my favorite shows on demand. I usually go out, not of FOMO because I can see that it will help to build better relationships when I need to make a call to ask for something down the line.
On the flip side of using self care judiciously, it’s important that we’re in this for the long haul and when you’re feeling less than 100%, it’s good to assess if you’re doing these necessary steps for your self care.
Recently I had a conversation with a female colleague about her career and her recognition that she needed to tout her own accomplishments more. If you’re feeling stuck and you’ve determined that you need to get unstuck then these 10 tips to get unstuck and move your career forward need to be front and center of your daily life. Above all else, know your value!
I know that my readers are confident individuals, but there will be times when self doubt creeps in and you’ll just want to snuggle up with your comfortable blanket and call it a day. When that happens, get your self confidence on track with these 8 tricks.
Happy 1st Tuesday of 2016! I’m such an optimist and even more so when it comes to “fresh starts”. If you’ve read the blog long enough, you’ll know that I’m an advocate for constantly evolving and not waiting for a particular time to get started but when you add the blank canvass of a new year, everything aligns to moving forward! I hope you’re having a great “fresh” start!
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
Last year, one of my closest friends decided to quit her job as the Chair of her department at an elite university to move to Africa and join the Peace Corps. Was this the right move? Only she can answer that question. She went through a lot of soul searching and preparation to reach this decision. I applaud her for leaving the comforts of the US (the ability to easily communicate your wants/needs, knowing the difference between luxuries and necessities, and going to a place where there isn’t a visible safety net of friends/colleagues willing to help in time of distress, but I’m sure that she will build that over time) and for putting her desire of living a life that she values first. I think I’ve talked about I’m not a fan of the word “disrupting” but there are times when it is quite applicable and in this situation, it completely applies. What do you need to disrupt your own existence? How does this change your course of action? Questions that can really motivate how you value your life!
When I talk with my friends/colleagues and they ask me how I’m doing, there are times they wonder if I’m the same person from the FB version of me. I always try to stay positive but you know, I like to keep it real when I’m with people IRL. Whether work is being a total drag or life is throwing me a curveball, I always try to find ways where I can keep a positive attitude (thank goodness for my multiple gym memberships!). Lucky for YOU, I’m sharing an article on how to improve your mental health! What do you find helps to give you peace of mind?
As a believer in “there’s no better time than now” to do something, I’m constantly calendering things so that I can take the time to assess. Why not do that when you’re putting your more mundane items into your calendar? Checking on your sleep, exercise and whatever else that will help in making yourself more productive? Here are 6 ways you can get to a better version of you and don’t forget, we’re not perfect so whatever incremental changes you make is considered a win – one foot in front of the other!!
Can you tell that there’s a bit of a theme going on in this post? Personal development through growing/disrupting/or whatever you wish to call it is all about living a life that you designed. There are circumstances that you can’t control but eventually, you create your life. There will be sacrifices and tough decisions but there will also be triumphant celebrations and milestones. Here’s one way that you can design your personal growth. Do you have others that you want to share? What do you want to learn so that we can provide that as a resource? I got an email over the holiday break from a reader about a colleague taking credit for the reader’s work. That’s a douche-y thing to do but alas, we gotta deal with those kinds of situations so I’ll be sharing those articles next week. Email me or leave a comment on what you think you need! I’m happy to share and let me know what you would like to share about your experiences with this community!
The DNC AAPI Engagment Desk along with the Asian American Action Fund and America’s Opportunity Fund announced a networking event to connect political campaign operatives/professionals to review job seekers’ resumes and talk about political opportunities in 2016 on January 26th. Get more information here and if you haven’t already, submit your resume for review for America’s Opportunity Fund’s AAPI Pipeline Project.
Thanks for kicking off 2016 with me and for reading/sharing and subscribing!
WOW! 52 posts for each week of the year! I decided last year that I would make a commitment to do a weekly blog for work and there were days when I thought that I had nothing to share and that it was repetitive, but your comments and emails really encouraged me to keep posting. Thank you for helping me reach my goal and I’m looking forward to another 52 posts for 2016.
Here’s the 2015 final edition of Tuesday Truths!
I decided to take a review of the Top 5 most popular articles so here’s the round-up:
The Tyler Harber story which outlined the first time a political consultant was charged with coordination between a SuperPAC and a political campaign;
There are a few things that I would like to incorporate into my weekly routine (where it becomes more of a daily practice) and one of those things is to meditate. I find that since I started taking my pilates classes, my breathing has changed to help with something strenuous and that includes when I’m working through a challenging conversation or calming my nerves after a negative interaction. I also know that when I have intentional breathing at night, I fall asleep faster so prioritizing the time to meditate will be part of my own self care in a very busy election year. If you’re a staffer on Capitol Hill, it can be a fast paced environment that doesn’t allow for a lot of solitary moments but there’s a group that meets at least once a week to help find a more reflective time during those busy moments.
We’re headed into the home stretch of the holidays and that can sometimes mean that we’re dealing with a lot of stress related to work, family and other sources. There are 3 things you can do to help manage your stress so that you can handle any day like a champ!
I am horrible when it comes to scheduling my “networking” time – the time where I have to spend doing drinks/coffee/meetings for the sole purpose of getting more shiz done for my goals. I’m down with meeting others to help them but when it comes to me, I would much rather hunker down and enjoy my French reading assignment, hell – I’ll even do the grammar assignment (I take private French language lessons so homework > hanging out at a social activity). I schedule according to my triage method (which I’ve talked about multiple times on this blog – search triage). I’m an introvert so social activities drain me and being over scheduled doesn’t allow for me to take a breather to recharge. I’m continuing my commitment to under schedule into 2016 so if you only see me online, don’t take it personally!
The last post is about readying your mind. I’m a glass half full (of champagne) type of gal so whenever I’m in a Debbie Downer mood, everyone gets a little worried about me. There may be a handful of people who ever hear me talk negatively (I hate being annoyed and I get annoyed with myself about being annoyed – it’s an ugly pattern) so when I need to “shake it off”, I remind myself of these tips to think positively. Most of life is about attitude and I’m my own favorite cheerleader.
Enjoy the last few days of 2015 and I’ll see you next Tuesday for the 1st edition of Tuesday Truths 2016! Thank you for reading/sharing and if you haven’t already, subscribe and tell a friend!
We’re rounding up the end of the year and I’m officially starting my stay-cation I’ve got a bit of travel coming up in January so I’m relishing the time of staying put. I hope that you’re spending the holiday season doing more than your fair share of self care as well as taking care of your loved ones. Sometimes, we forget to take a breather for ourselves to make ourselves happy. So if that means, saying no to social requests or giving yourself a break to exercise or get a massage, you do you!
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
As I reflect on this past year, there are certainly things that I would like to forward into next year as part of my to-do list. I’m one blog post shy of completely posting for a full 52 weeks (a year!) and there are times when I’m not fully prepared or planned out the blog but as the saying goes, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good”. This article is a long read but it’s worth the effort as it helps to better understand the real reason why people don’t change. It’s not as simple as “Just do it” because as individuals we carry our own baggage with social expectations, how we represent our culture/background and the fear of the consequences of our actions. It reads for those people who need to help others change but it also pits those same questions to ourselves.
When your fear paralyzes your ability to take action, you will need self-reflection to help you move forward. Setbacks are a way of life and it can bring you a plethora of information to make better decisions.
I’ve been working with a few graduates in mentoring them for their post graduate lives. I think it’s safe to say that as a society, we’re focused on job title/position, compensation and the name brand of the organization in determining our dream jobs. One of the things that I’ve learned about working in the consulting business is that every client has a different level of quirkiness to them, which can be seen both positively and negatively. A lot of organizations talk about how unique their corporate culture is to other organizations but is that really true? The NYT touches upon the one question you should ask about every new job and how it can affect your professional life more than the factors who thought were important.
Are you thinking about joining a non-profit board? Here are a few things you should think about as you take on a leadership role. I work with non-profits in fundraising and having clear expectations makes for a more mutually beneficial relationship for everyone. It’s important to also recognize that the more society compares non-profits to corporations, the more frustrating life can be because these two entities are comparing apples to oranges. I couldn’t agree more with this articleand it would help all of us to be reminded of these important differences and how we can change perceptions.
This may be the last week that Congress is in session so there are last minute and well planned events on the books. I hope that you’re enjoying the holiday season and the promise of the soon to be new year.
Here’s this week’s Tuesday Truths!
Who doesn’t look for more efficient time management strategies? I’ve been using 1/2 hour increments to get projects done or to “think” on the creative aspects of my work. Here’s an excellent version of how you can create a similar scenario from a Google email request.
There’s always a risk in sharing ideas and presenting a project in its raw state to get feedback. You’re exposing yourself to criticism and commentary however the results of that feedback provide meaning to your creations. Using that information can better define the relationships between what is it that we do and the audience to which that work is created. Learn more on what to do with feedback from your work.
I like to promote diversity. As a woman of color, I like to see diversity throughout the leadership in organizations I support. Having worked in government and now working to help elect people who represent the U.S., I’d like to see that representation reflected in the halls of Congress. Unfortunately, the reality is that Capitol Hill is a very white place. Statistics show that communities of color comprise of 36 percent of the country and yet, African Americans hold less than 1% in the senior staff positions of the U.S. Senate. Organizations such as APAICS, CBC Foundation and the CHCI are working to get more diversity into staffing positions which leads to more opportunities and exposure.
I have to give a shout out to one of my former staffers, Chris Chan on his role at the Democratic National Convention Committee as Deputy Chief of Staff. After he served his time in my office (I actually kicked him out as part of my Empty Nest program), he went onto the Denver Convention in 2008 so this will be his 3rd convention since he also went onto working at the Charlotte Convention. Kudos to your progress! Of course, I can’t forget my good friend and fellow WINner Cynthia Jasso-Rotunno, who was hired to be Senior Advisor and Director of Government Relations – looking forward to all of the great work you’ll be doing! Read more about the new hires for the Philadelphia convention team.
Happy Tuesday! I’m writing this while sitting in Puerto Rico on a work trip. My fellow fundraisers (or really anyone for that matter) never feel sorry for me when I do this annual weekend leadership event because the location is just spectacular (to say least).
So no violins or crying a river for me that I’m working over a weekend – I get it
I’ve worked with enough clients and campaigns to know when it’s time to hit the road. When you’re working on a campaign, it’s especially important to remember not to burn bridges (although you may be tempted to light the match and watch it all go to hell!!) so if you’re looking to make an early departure, check out these tips.
One of the most important aspects of working on campaigns is the behind the scenes work of the research department. In fact, it’s so important I mention it as one of 3 pillars for making strategic decisions. Learning how to do the work as well as how to disseminate the information is a matter of skill and finesse. The New York Times had an op-ed on how important it can be on a campaign.
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