Taking deep breaths! I hope you’re having a great week! I’m ready for Election Day and to head out for a break. Any suggestions on someplace warm I can visit? Remember to give yourself time to decompress and to give yourself self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you can’t take care of others!
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
Have you been listening to the Mentoring Moments podcast? It’s great and has excellent stories/interviews on how successful women from multiple generations reached their goals. The most recent interview was with the Editor of Chief of Seventeen magazine, Ann Shoket and she’s dropping knowledge on how she got to her current position (after her 3rd attempt!). It’s the journey, people!
I’m always looking for ways to help people network (myself included). You can get into a rut that may be comfortable but is it really effective? Here are a few tips for a better introduction. What do you think?
I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me that she appreciated my habit of learning new things or at the very least trying new hobbies. I’ve talked before that I’m a Jill of all trades and a master of nothing (basically because I have so many different interests). I think regardless of how long you spend on a hobby and how deeply you delve into it, that hobby is always going to make you more well, interesting. I love people who are passionate about learning something and go all in and become experts (I know who to call when it’s time to hire someone for calligraphy!). I also love the people who take an interest in learning how to play an instrument, only to find that a couple weeks/months later they’ve changed to a different hobby to pursue. It’s all good! As adults who aren’t required to attend school for educational purposes, we’re learning to enrich ourselves and isn’t that what life should be about anyway? If you don’t have time that’s fine too. Life is about spending it however way you want. If that includes changing interests every few days/weeks/months then more joy to you in your pursuit!
I was having lunch with a friend who is working a side hustle. There are a lot of things to think about when you start a business and even more work when you’re doing it on the side while maintaining your current work load. Here are some things to think about when you’re working your magic.
Since I kinda live in a bubble (majority of my friends are progressive and partisan), I tend to not meet people who are in support of Mr. Trump. With that context, it helps to realize that with any situation where you have disagreement, it helps to ease people onto an exit strategy so that they have room to move in that direction. When you box people into a corner, it’s more common that they will want to dig deeper into their beliefs and fight. This isn’t about providing more evidence or facts/data. It’s about giving people who are in disagreement the space to change course without punishment. It takes a lot of patience on the part of the individual to keep an open mind towards this discipline. The urge to fight back will be overwhelming. This going to be a long road ahead after this election and it’s all a part of the process of unifying this country.
This has been a roller coaster ride of an election! Having worked in politics as an operative for over 20 years, this made me re-consider my profession. People already think that I work in a “dirty” business and add to it, I deal with money so that in itself connotes “pay to play” or “quid pro quo”, ideas that I do not advocate within my work (I ain’t going to jail for anyone!). The tone for this election has been unbelievable. I am reminded that in earlier campaigns, prior to email, twitter and all the other social media platforms, days when it was in the halls, pubs and parlors where people gathered, ideas and reputations were defended and propagated, a lot of unkind things were said. Politics has always been a rough and tumble profession. It’s for those who are tough skinned and determined to push forth an agenda that may not be that popular. I think of the disadvantaged and of those who are under represented. I have the privilege of working in this industry and I will do all that I can so that there are others like me bringing awareness to our leaders so that they know that people should be respected for their worth everyday. There are no 2nd class citizens and your skin color, sexual preference, gender, or religious beliefs should never be discriminated. For those who believe in the agenda that the Republican presidential nominee brings forth, I will be there to make sure it doesn’t happen. I chose this profession because I thought that I could make a difference and if that means being at the front lines to remind people that we’re all Americans, even when we don’t look a certain way, then you will find me there.
In the meantime, Tuesday Truths!
I spend a lot of time reassuring people. Raising money does that to you when you’re looking at an awfully BIG number to make your goals. So there are times when I need to reassure myself that I’m not smoking crack to think that my team and I can achieve a goal or that we’re just badass (because obvi, we are!). Encouragement from within means so much so when you start to hear the obnoxious voice of doubt, learn to listen to the voice that tells you that you’re more than OK.
So ignoring my opening for this week’s post, I know that every cycle I reach peak burnout as we collide with the deadline of Election. Adrenaline fuels my get-up-and-go vs the passion that pushes me through to see results. I also go more inward and that results in less time with friends and loved ones. When you think burnout, you think that it will happen in the older years of your life. I felt it when I had my “quarter life crisis” and my entire work ethic was well below it’s usual height. Regardless of industry, watch for the signs and hopefully all of us will recognize how to best retain people in our respective fields so that they continue performing at a level that everyone deems excellent.
Looking for mentors and role models can be challenging for women and for communities of color. Here’s a great resource of what to do when you need to improve in a certain area of skill. Observation is key in making mental note of how you want to accomplish tasks and be perceived.
Congress has left the building! We’re out hustlin’ for the last few weeks until the Election. Silly Season is in full swing and we’re up for all it (just barely!). Register and Vote, people! Here’s Tuesday Truths!
When you get to be 83 years young, you get to share your thoughts on what’s up with life. Regardless of how you may feel about Notorious RBG, you need to respect that she reached the pinnacle of a law career that many strive to achieve during a time when women didn’t work outside of the home, let alone work in the legal profession. She’s dropping knowledge about being a mother while also attending law school & how collegiality plays a crucial role in bringing differing opinions to the table with respect.
I can be on the road a lot and when I travel, I feel the pressure to bring the same kind of work hours to wherever I travel (including trips to the west coast and Hawaii) where the time difference can be killer. I’ve had to wake up at the crack of dawn (beautiful sunrises, Hawaii!) to get onto weekly conference calls because who cares that you’re on the road for another client? It works to my advantage because when I am that far away, I can usually get a lot of work done and the rest of the day is mine because the east coast has already called it a day. I come well stocked with power strips and the usual battery packs to keep my electronic devices juiced up. If you need advice on how to get work done when you travel, especially internationally, visit my friend Tammy Gordon’s post on the 7 things she learned about working abroad.
We know that women have a pay disparity to our male colleagues. What happens when you’re a woman and overweight? There is definite discrimination concerning weight and it’s making it more challenging for women to equalize compensation.
Women have a tendency to feel imposter syndrome so when you need to find confidence in your work, reach for this article. Ranging from being not afraid to ask to trusting your own vision, each individual has meaningful tips to coax the confidence that we know exists inside each of us.
This is one of the BEST articles on networking that I could possibly share. I’m not a high profile person and I get a ton of requests to meet from within my network (my friends and colleagues asking me to meet with their contacts or people think I would have good advice to offer). I’m more than happy to help but there are moments when I can’t even with the people who have met with me and then don’t acknowledge the time that I’ve given to talk with them about professional development. When I’m doing my own networking and I’m asking someone to HELP me, then I’m going to express my gratitude and pay for their coffee/tea/cocktail/lunch for taking the time and educating me on a particular topic. It’s not cool to be a networking parasite so heed these tips!
Are you an introvert preparing for a job interview? Here are 4 ways you can harness your energy to have a successful interaction. You can never be overly prepared! People sometimes ask if I feel like “I’m always on” because I joke that I hate people (seriously I don’t) but I’m an ambivert who doesn’t have a problem making small talk (I do that everyday with fundraising) but I really enjoy the company of a small group of friends and just being alone. Imagine trying to be your best self with a group of strangers in an interview? Maybe that’s why I own my own firm LOL 🙂
It’s not Wednesday yet but I’m looking forward to my #WCW on Yuh-Line Niou and bonus, she’s in Vogue! #AOFPowerOfShe
Thanks for reading/sharing and if this has been useful, encourage your friends to subscribe!
I don’t know about you, but I am stressed out! My life is constantly about sorting out the details. Where is my client; where are they going; what’s the purpose of this call; breaking it down to tangible and easily consumed pieces of information. Even when I feel overwhelmed, I think that my clients have it worse. They have millions of pieces of information flowing towards them and all that they can do is absorb it and hope to filter out extraneous information to make clear decisions. We are closing in on weeks before the Election and all I can do is do the best that I can to make it to the end (in one piece). Hold on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
I work in short term gratification with my donors. This kind of psychology can only lead to disappointment if you’re looking for immediate results or success so learning to be more patient and to roll with something that doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome is something I need to work on. It’s also considered one of the most important qualities of someone who has achieved great success. Learn more about what else are common practices who are deemed “superachievers”.
If you’re looking for inspiration to recharge your career, learn how you can reinvent yourself without quitting your job. It sounds hard to do because let’s face it, there are times when the environment is toxic and it’s working against you. That doesn’t mean that you can’t change the rules. If you’ve been in an industry long enough, you know the players and people’s expectations but you can turn it on its head. I’ve been looking for ways how I can reinvent my own career and these ideas have given seed to a few creative outlets.
Along that mindset, I know that I have a few readers out there who are in the same boat with thinking about how to thrive as we approach midlife. You crazy youngins’ aren’t the only ones trying to navigate your way through personal and professional crises 🙂 Once you think that you have something mastered, something else becomes an obstacle. For the longest time, I was the youngest person in the room and now, I’m one of the more “seasoned” operatives :/ Along with mastering a skill, comes the potential of boredom and what I’m learning is that there are always new ways to do the same thing. I continue to carve time out for things for me to learn that have nothing to do with my professional life. So if you see me with my headphones on, I’m likely to be listening to a French lesson and I’m fortunate to be associated with WIN, where the young women who comprise this organization keep me in awe of their audaciousness and espirit de corp of their sisterhood. So to all of my millennial sisters, I welcome you to the next generation who will inspire you as much as you have encouraged me. You’ll probably have a similar situation when you reach your “seasoned” years so keep striving for your goals even after you achieve them.
When I’m this stressed out, I tend to go inward. I was on the phone earlier today with a colleague of mine who mentioned that we have inadequately kept in touch (we equally share responsibility). It can be challenging when there aren’t enough days/hours in the week to do all that needs to be done. I recognize that when we get into this crazy mode, we’re channeling as much energy to stay focused. Adrenaline kicks in and we’re wafting through the motions just to get through. I honestly have serious brain drain. As in I can barely think straight. I am so overextended that it takes every ounce of strength to manage my day, get enough rest and to do it again the next day and the next day, until finally we reach the end. So it’s a good reminder that there are 20 different things that I can do to improve my current situation. Do I do all of them – hell no but getting to a couple are making me a more sane person 🙂
Looking for inspiration on how entrepreneurs got their start? There’s a great podcast that addresses that particular topic – How I Built This. Learn about their stories and what they went through to get to where they are today.
This is an oldie but goodie article from 2007 and it still resonates today. Becoming the boss isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be because the “control” that you think you have is really an illusion. Managing up and down is exhausting and if anything, it makes me sometimes wonder if I can go back to the days when I didn’t have any responsibility and was a junior staffer. What is extremely fulfilling is knowing that I can engage in teamwork and my team acknowledges that the office is a team. I will stand by them when things don’t go as planned and I will applaud them and give them credit for outstanding work. It’s only together that we can provide the kind of attention to detail and work product that exemplifies the brand that we’ve created.
Alright – that’s it for this week – let me know what you think! Thanks for reading/sharing and see you next Tuesday!
It’s terrific knowing that there’s a woman whose in the corner of every woman who is an entrepreneur. Learn more about Frédérique “Fred” Irwin and what she’s doing to help women business owners thrive.
Being a woman of color raised by a Vietnamese mother and a German American father, I have a lot of memories of being surrounded by all kinds of people. To be perfectly honest, I have to look in the mirror to remind myself that I’m AAPI. My internal compass tells me that I’m AAPI but yet not completely. So the mirror reminds me and sometimes there are people who want to remind me that I don’t belong. My stories are different from those who are a different ethnic background and to read it from Solange Knowles makes me feel that we can only support one another whenever any of us are confronted with “not belonging”.
Also as a woman, we should be there for one another when it’s time to take credit for an idea or work that we’ve produced. The women of the White House had proximity to power but still had to work to be in the room, to have a seat at the table, or to be included in senior level meetings.
I loved this article so much because it really spoke to me to just do it. You can fail and you will learn so much from just the act of doing. 2009 was a great year for me in that I grew so much by doing – I took up surfing, learned to ride a motorcycle, took jazz singing lessons and sang in public – all things that didn’t necessarily directly help me professionally, but it helped me to stop talking about things and doing things instead. That also translated in me taking more risks in my work and reminded me to be invested in my work.
September is always an exciting month and as we count down to Election Day, it just keeps getting better! I’m on the road later this week so looking forward to making new friends and visiting longtime supporters. Hope you’re making the most of the week!
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
There are days when I absolutely love the work that I do. I’m excited to face the day and I’m fulfilling a goal, but honestly, who doesn’t have moments when you just can’t. even. My go-to on those days is to step back and think about the big picture. Oftentimes, you get into the weeds to get a job done and that means you loose sight of the goals of your work and the higher purpose. It’s my “Why” and it’s the reason I use to keep my team motivated. They need to know their “Why” as well. What do you do to stay motivated in your job?
So what happens when you resolve to step out of your current career to make a significant change? How do you know if you’re in a career funk? Before making the leap, there are ways to gauge your level of anxiety. Maybe it means that you need to do some new things to give yourself a different outlet from your professional life. Or maybe it’s a change in mental attitude. Breathing energy into a boring work scene can make a difference in your wellness.
I got a chance to catch up with my friend, Andrew Fullerton who heads up GAIN, the Government Affairs Industry Network and it’s a great organization where you can network within the government affairs/lobbing industry for free. There are educational webinars to learn about new tools as well as trends that affect the legislative process. They also have partnership events that allow for broader networking. Have a look see and meet people who work in advocacy!
Are you looking for conversation starters when you go to an interview? If you’re looking for starters for networking events, these would work too! For those of us who need to practice to be less rote, it’s good to have some ideas in advance to not get caught with the same dry questions. Now go out there and network!
I’m always trying to think of ways to give thanks to contributors and since some clients aren’t necessarily development driven, it can be hard to be creative but we find ways without spending a lot of money to express our appreciation. If you’re a non-profit who does do development, here are some ways that you can thank your donors and make them feel the love!
Alright folks, let me know how you’re doing – I feel a survey coming along so get ready to give me your feedback on what you want to read more of and how I can help you through this crazy life! Thanks for reading/sharing and I’ll catch you next week!!
Oh lawdy! We are IN IT! Are you wondering what I’m talking about?? It’s the day after Labor Day, which is the official start of GOTV and campaign crazy! Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but if you’ve been reading along with me then you know that this is what we’re all about in politics! I spent the last few days on a work trip that just reinforces the crazy that we go through in fundraising. I was in an area that was affected by Tropical Storm Hermine and I had donors coming to a retreat. There is definitely a moment when you wonder if you’re insane or even slightly out of your mind to recommend to your client that they move forward with flying through a tropical storm to make the event. It all worked out and that’s all that really matters!
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
When I think about what’s ahead of me for the next 60 some days, I think about treading water and making sure that I’m doing what I need to do so that I can maintain a certain level of intensity. I know that I can’t sustain it beyond that because I’ve mentally prepared myself for this kind of insanity. Once the deadline is reached, I’m all about giving myself a reboot. Read Tanya Tarr‘s day in the life when she needs a hard restart (which I will be ready for post election!).
I’ve always believed that community makes you grow as an individual. You can find your place in it and you can also help to build the community into a stronger place for others. It allows you to diversify your thoughts and as much effort you put into it, people will welcome you into a support system. I think of it as building an ecosystem where everyone plays a part. Be unafraid to embrace the parts of you that people may not always necessarily understand. You are being authentic to yourself and to others for that matter. There will be times when you’ll need to conform to get along and in small doses it doesn’t have to contradict who you really are as a person. These are just a couple of tips that can provide you with the ability to empower yourself to do more.
I’m such a big proponent to knowing your why. In a big sense of the question, “Why am I here?”, it flows to why each task is moving towards progress of an even bigger accomplishment. I often explain to my team why I’m asking them to do something because it helps to show them that even though going through a call list is a big pain in the arse, it means we’re calling through to make sure people have received an invite and have an event on their radar screen. Small tasks = bigger results. Since the premise for all of us is to achieve bigger results, it helps to focus everyone with the task at hand. If you need ways to focus yourself, here are ideas that you can use to reach your goals and vanquish “monkey mind”.
Hey introverts! Looking for a guide to help you grow into your leadership roles? Extroverts aren’t better than introverts and vice versa. We need a mix to make a dynamic organization successful. Being the loudest doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the best idea, just like not allowing yourself the time to gather your energy as an introvert is not the wisest technique when you prepare to network. A little bit of one another’s best traits can build solid leaders.
Do you ever have to write fundraising solicitation letters? I do it quite often and writing in the voice of the principal, whether it’s the candidate or elected official or senior leadership of an organization, requires that you know their voice and tone when writing these “stories”. One of the more technical things you need to know is that an active voice does much better in getting donors/prospects to move towards action. Here’s a great test you can take if you’re checking to see if you’re writing in an active voice. It’s also quite clever!
Along the same lines of communicating what your organization does, it’s important to also understand your audience. You’re creating a narrative of accomplishments and goals as well as outlining how donors can contribute towards a shared objective. For non-profits, there are words that really resonate with donors and have been helped to move them to contribute. What are the 2 words after “please” that mean a great deal? If you said, “thank you” then you’re on the right track to understanding a typical donor’s psychology. Thank you is great, but it’s even more important to make sure you spell that donor’s name correctly. You don’t want to ruin all of the good work you put into securing the contribution to leave a bad taste with a misspelled name!
THANK YOU for reading/sharing and let me know what tips have helped you!
This is it! the last week of recess and I start a bit early as I have a weekend work retreat. I’ll be in a new venue so I’m looking forward to working with the team there. As I’ve mentioned in the past, working as a political consultant can bring a variety of tasks. We do what needs to be done so that the events that we execute are as flawless as possible. It’s really not strange to think that my colleagues and I would get into a stranger’s car to ride with them 3 hours to a mutual destination because our flight was cancelled and we need to get to our event before our guests. Campaign people are generally left to their own devices and as long as our decisions are ethical and legal, we’re going to do what it takes to get the job done. This type of environment lets us really think on our feet with very little supervision. More often than not, it all works out!
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
Do you have dreams about having “inbox 0”? I’m pretty responsive with emails and I get a little antsy when I’m supposedly on vacation with my autoresponder saying that there will be a delay in response. I mainly respond quickly because I want it out of the way, but with anything that requires a more thoughtful response, I want the time to articulate my thoughts and that requires the most important resource, time. When you think your email is spiraling out of control, here’s how you can master your own email destiny.
Not every day is perfect. There are times when everything seems to be going in the wrong direction and negative thoughts start to overwhelm me. I remind myself that things can be worse and that I have it pretty good. There are always going to be obstacles in life and how we handle them teaches us how to be better people. So when you’re faced with a situation where you doubt your abilities or wonder how to get through a dark period, use these techniques to get to a more positive attitude.
When you’re facing challenges at work, especially in a campaign atmosphere, it can lead to a downward spiral. Managers can provide a bit of reassurance but when you’re feeling it as a supervisor, you need to pull yourself together so that you can provide a steady hand for your team. I always like to take a team effort approach to projects even though I’m ultimately responsible for the outcome. Seeing where you have obstacles and putting people who have the most skills to tackle the problem can create an environment where creativity can be fostered. Here are other ways that you can work through those challenging situations.
I do my best thinking in the shower. I also spend a lot of time singing so I’m probably the worst person when it comes to water conservation. Nonetheless, I think the idea of having the water wash away my doubts helps me to get to another place that allows me to walk out more confident and ready to take on what may be crowding my mind. The shower also lets me be my most vulnerable. Tears can flow and the private nature of the moment gives me the opportunity to face any negativity. I know that I don’t have a lot of time so it does limit me to wallow. It’s reasonable to question your actions and to give pause to a situation, but don’t allow those thoughts to determine your actions.
Communicating with people in any organization can be daunting. Group emails, reply all, should you call vs email…the list goes on and on. My philosophy is that I will communicate with you however to best get your attention. I work with donors who will only give if I fax them while I have other donors who I know will give if I text them the information. Not only do you have communication protocols outside of an organization, you have them for people who work with your organization. As technology changes, I find that younger people would rather snap then text but as with any hierarchy, communicating with your manager should be done in the way that is most comfortable for your manager. Learning to be flexible as well as establishing office protocols will allow you to know when it’s truly an emergency to respond. Travel also comes into play because team members may be in different time zones and knowing that before you communicate allows them to know that a response is OK during their business hours.
I always like to read how other fundraising professionals brand their organizations for donors. In political fundraising, Emily’s List taught us that there are only 4 reasons why political donors give and that kind of psychology really works in thinking about how you craft a message to donors to get them to contribute. When you’re dealing with development and working towards an individual donor program with a long term vision, you’re asking individuals to invest into a bigger picture than just an election. Here’s a great article of how you can keep your donors invested in your organization.
I do not pretend to know what my African American colleagues experience in their lives as women and if you didn’t realize how difficult it is for them, then you should read this article because if you’re not outraged by the time you’re finished, then there’s nothing anyone can do to help you. It’s a sisterhood that should be acknowledged and uplifted. We rise together!
Thanks for reading/sharing! Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!
I’ve started getting antsy for Fall. DC has been given a break from the heat and humidity and has returned to more “normal” temperatures. Less air conditioning and more windows flung widely for fresh air. So when the weather starts to turn, I start to think about back to school (my favorite time of year!) and of course, the elections. With 76 days left until E-Day, the excitement has already surpassed the usual buzz. All around me, people are organizing trips to swing states and are ready to fire up their personal cell phones to get to phone banking if they can’t travel. The frenzy has begun! It’s time to dive into the deep end 🙂 In the meantime, we’ve got Tuesday Truths!
I’m cutting some onions here! I couldn’t get through the entire article without welling up. Whether you’re for Hillary or not, you can’t deny that there are bonds that are forever forged through friendship. The people who surround her, whether they are people who met her when she was First Lady or those who know her from a shared childhood, these women are in this together. That kind of friendship is one that I’m fortunate to share with women who are part of a shared tribe. We may live thousands of miles apart but we have shared the highs and lows because this sisterhood makes us stronger. Yes, I hope this article sheds light on a different side of Hillary for you (if you didn’t already know), but what really struck me was it only confirms that women are the strongest advocates for one another.
Should Secretary Clinton win the White House, I truly believe that we’re going to see much more crazy comments about having a woman as President. I remember when I was elected as VP of the student body at Tulane, I was one of six women to lead the student government. It was the 1st time the entire elected executive council were all women and the 1st thing that people asked, “Are you going to paint the student government offices pink?” – is that crazy?! That was over 23 years ago. As a woman elected official, there is just so much more crazy that you put up with than when you’re a man. Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
I’m fortunate that I have friends who are well versed on expressing themselves in their wardrobe choices, from vintage finds to high end designer outfits. Your style is a statement of your personality and one woman who has always brought style to the DC aesthetic is Huma Abedin. She has been in Vogue on numerous occasions and with this election cycle, the spotlight has been especially intense. She’s had a full spectrum of experiences, from staffer to candidate’s spouse to Vice Chair of a presidential campaign. With such a high profile life, she has had to endure evolving from a young professional to the person she is today and she’s always held her head up high.
If you haven’t read this open letter to managers who have women on their staff, you need to do it now, especially if you’re a man. I know I have some male readers! Respect your talent by advocating for them and obviously, (but not so obviously as this kind of crazy has been going on forever) PAY HER for equal work.
I’m back in the office after taking a few days off to visit with family up and down New England. Lots of driving the past few weeks for me so I’m happy to relinquish the car for at least a few days and be still. While I was “off”, I was also notified that my information may have been hacked due to the security breach at the DCCC (fun times!) and lo and behold, I started getting random phone calls (like disgusting racist ones) and lots and lots of spam texts and emails. Needless to say, I spent the majority of one morning changing passwords and dealing with the crazy. This definitely is not when #politicscanbefun 🙁
This has been such a crazy year in politics. I can’t wait to see the results and how political scientists will assess the environment for the history books. As a political science major in college, we learned of the historic pendulums that led to the dominance of the Democratic and Republican parties and to live during a time with so much history being made, I enjoy reading about people’s experiences on the campaign trail. MSNBC/NBC Reporter Katy Tur discusses her adventure covering the Trump campaign and it is WILD! Major props to her and to all of those who live the road warrior life.
If ever there’s a time when I need inspiration to live a more authentic life, I see Baddie Winkle as my spirit animal. She’s a BADASS and I would want to live my life as freely as she lives hers. She has no problems being herself. At 88 years young, she has lived a lifetime where she can give zero F*cks so, why wait?