Can you believe that we’ve now hit the half way point of the year? This being the 26th post of a weekly blog?! WOWZERS!
Guess what? We’re also 2 days away from the end of the quarter and it’s got me all
So you can tell what’s on my mind: “I got my mind on my money, my money on my mind” – Youngbloodz
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
How happy am I that I get to share my good friend, Tanya Tarr‘s interview for Forbes@Women with none other than former Texas State Senator and all around ROCK STAR Wendy Davis with all of you??? Ms. Davis is dropping knowledge on the art of negotiation. What does she say that’s aligned with my own beliefs? Know your value! #getit (P.S. I can’t wait to see what other fascinating stories and interviews Tanya shares with us in the future – follow her!)
We’ve talked about the Power Pose and how your non-verbal actions can provide insight on your internal dialogue (confident, anxious, nervous etc) so here are a few suggestions of how you can engage your body and hand gestures to appear more bold and confident. I have video of myself when I’ve given speeches or lectures and I’m a full on hand gesturer. I can’t help it! I never realized that there are people who put in hand gestures as part of their presentations to create emphasis. I gesture when I speak ALL. THE. TIME. even when I’m on the phone and the only time when I stop myself is when I’m taking notes. I recognize it’s because I’m comfortable speaking on the subject matter and when I’m doing presentations, my hands are part of my speaking presence. Now that I’m doing more video, I try to keep my gestures to a minimum so that it’s not distracting to the viewers. Always a work in progress!
I’m working with a mentor on her cover letter and my advice is to find your strengths and translate that into how it can help the organization where you’re applying. Personality is essential, even in a cover letter that can be as dry as a burnt piece of toast. Do you know how many of these things get reviewed on a daily basis?? Formulas are good in the sense that it helps to articulate pieces that you should highlight. What are the key things that people expect you to say in your letter? It’s up to you to jazz hands the shiz out of it so that hiring managers will remember why they picked your resume out of all the others. We’ve talked about how you can control your narrative. At this point, you are a blank piece of paper and when you submit your resume for consideration, you are giving people the best version of yourself. Do you know the saying, “It looks good on paper?” well this is a prime example. It can be tedious and most of all, you are forced to be your most creative and most insightful. If you only spend time in going through the motions, you won’t get very far. Here’s a great list of ideas of how you can share some of your best moments.
Change, regardless if it’s chosen or forced upon you can be a transformational moment. How you take that challenge can bring great rewards if you build upon the idea of always creating community and goodwill. I always tell people that it’s more important to help others first because it’s a nice thing to do but in addition, should there ever be a time when you need assistance, people will come to your aid. It’s the same with donor relationships. Donors don’t want to feel that the only time you come to them is to ask for money. I really enjoyed reading the story of Sree Sreenivasan because he lives the principles that I like to share. You have the ability to control the narrative of your own story – whether it be good or bad. Whatever way you want to share your changes is up to you.
We all got fears. Fears of not meeting expectations; fears of public humiliation; fears that we are not worthy; many of them can be rationalized and many of them can’t – are our friends drinking the kool-aid and encouraging us even though they think we’re going to fail? Well let me tell you, we always need a reality check and those friends who can be supportive while also walking through all of the scenarios with you to make sure that you have thought of the pros and cons are who you need in your corner. Do you know who else you need in your corner?? YOU!!! You, my friend need to look in the mirror and trust in yourself. Let me go full circle back to the previous article about Sree. We are not perfect and we can’t be great at everything. Do not let fear be the barrier that keeps you stagnant. You will soon realize (like me!) that 20 years of being in the business that you always wanted to be in has happened (that’s a good thing) and it’s OK to transition into something else that you find meaningful. Don’t give anyone the ability to judge your decisions. That is a gift that you’re giving when you allow people’s opinions to matter. I give that gift to friends that I trust and to people who I admire because I know that they’re looking at for my interests. They will challenge me and will make me question my decisions not for the sake of being dickwads and I give them that opportunity because I know that they care and will support my decision. #YOLO
Women have to work twice as hard to get elected to Congress and to overcome gender bias. It’s incredibly important to have female leadership in elected office and it’s scientifically proven! With that in mind, if you’re looking for ways that you can be a part of a community that supports females running for office, here’s my list:
Identify as a progressive/Democratic woman of color, especially of Asian American or Pacific Islander descent then visit, America’s Opportunity Fund (AOF). There’s a network called The Power of She. (full disclaimer, I’m the Executive Director of AOF).
In the history of the Women’s Information Network (WIN), there have been quite a few women who were members who later became elected officials so the organization has a good track record of supporting from within. (full disclaimer, I’m the Advisory Council Chair of WIN).
The grand dame of pro-choice Democratic women is Emily’s List. Their investment in pro-choice female candidates is off the charts. They have trainings and their endorsement is quite a feather in your cap.
There’s also Ignite, Emerge, Running Start, WeLead, Women’s Campaign School at Yale University, and I know that I must be missing many others. If you have gone through a training or know of other resources, please share so that we can have a more comprehensive list. We never want any female to not know of places where she can go to get the training she needs to run for office.
That’s it for this Tuesday – we hope you enjoy the rest of the week! Thanks for reading/sharing & if you haven’t subscribed, then I hope you will do so today!
Hope you’re having a great start to the week! I’m getting ready for WIN’s annual Women Opening Doors for Women (WODW) and gearing up for MAY-JAAAHHH collection agent mode for the end of the quarter. We’ll soon be headed into 30 days before the Philadelphia Democratic convention and less than 130 days before the general election. If you’re a planner, then you know that we’re in overdrive!
Putting all of that aside, I want to express my gratitude for all of your support of the blog! I really enjoy hearing from you and getting your feedback on how articles have been helpful or have impacted your professional/personal lives. Thank you for reading and I hope that I can continue to be a resource! Feel free to let me know what types of articles you’re looking for and how I can be helpful.
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
There are a lot of young people who work in politics and oftentimes, you start where there’s the most demand and likely that was in field. As you start to become more involved with the industry, you will become more acquainted with the finer details of each particular specialty. I do fundraising because it was due to my organizational skills that my manager/supervisor saw that I might be good in that specific kind of role. If you’re in field and you want to move into communications, you need to know the scope of work involved for that position. It’s not just being a spokesperson. You need relationships with media outlets and reporters, as well as the skill to write a communications plan. The higher the role, the more responsibility. How does this translate into changing industries/fields? You need to know the trends that are happening and you need to get into the sphere of influence of those who can make hires. Although this article was written with the perspective of an entrepreneur, it gives you the guidelines to which you can make a transition into a different field. I try to live my life by “creating my own luck”. It can be more challenging but there are steps you can take to give yourself credentials into another type of work.
I have a lot of friends who are getting ready to transition from working in the Obama administration to the unknown world of life changes. People have started thinking about their futures and preparing for new challenges. Does that mean something in a future administration, returning from where they came, getting out of politics/public policy for greener pastures (yes, I’m also alluding to making more $$), or is it all a mystery? It’s a time for new chapters – whether they be written for you or by you. How do you start thinking about all of these questions? It doesn’t matter what age you’re at (for those who may remember, I had a quarter life crisis and left politics) because you can always start a new chapter at any age you choose. This is your life – you get to do with it how you choose!
Last week I shared a great deal about self doubt and I’ve realized that optimism plays a critical role in getting unstuck, releasing self doubt and a number of other positive habits. If there isn’t hope that the work you’re doing, the person that you’re becoming, and the world is going to be better then we’re seriously screwed! Of course you and I will have our down days and that’s why you have built a community that will allow you to bathe in the negative for just that moment and help you rise again. Being able to enjoy the small triumphs is worth every second of victory because that will carry you forward to the next threshold. You’ve got this and YOU are a role model to not only OTHERS but to YOURSELF. HELL YEAH – you wake up in the morning knowing that the day can bring its challenges and you’ve got the skills and the know how to make it through. #winning
I’m a mentor to a couple of undergraduates who are enthusiastic and eager to jump start their professional careers (I tell them that they need to savor this moment of their lives because I didn’t think that 20+ years of post graduate professional life would get me to now – that’s for another time!). We’re in the midst of discussing their life goals and the basics such as how to write a cover letter and how to get through interviews. I’ve talked with first time job applicants as well as to more seasoned professionals about how to approach a job interview. Foremost, know your strengths – know them in and out and how to articulate them in examples. Know your weaknesses and how you can improve them. Most importantly, know your VALUE. Your ability to express your value to a company/organization also translates to how having you as a team member helps them to reach their goals.
When you take a step back to see where you are in the world, you can sometimes feel small. If you’re an intern, if you’re an assistant, if you’re a director, if you’re a VP, there’s always going to be someone higher up the ladder and you need to have the skills to be able to engage those people into your orbit. Knowing how you can be helpful to them is always the beginning to the conversation. This goes back to your value and assessing your ability to help others with your skills.
As a fundraiser, I’m constantly thinking about how much money needs to be raised by the quarter, the month, the week and daily – intervals of time that set up benchmarks. How about if we did that with our time?? The saying goes, “Time is money” and how true is that when we also realize that we can never get more time.
It’s a running joke that I like to exercise at the crack of dawn (running joke, get it?!). Anyway, I’m in a time out with exercise. My body has decided that I needed a break and I’m absolutely OK with it and I will be OK with it until I start to feel sluggish and really really cranky. I know all about the positive benefits and I like the adrenaline after my workouts. I’m just not feeling it these days and I’m giving myself the space to be OK because I know that I will get back to it when I’m ready. For those who are looking for the motivation to exercise more, here’s a trick that you can use to get you to your favorite physical activity. I actually use the same thinking when it comes to exercise because I prioritize it over other things, however at this point in time, my quality of sleep is beating out exercise.
What are you doing to bring value to those around you? Share your stories!
As I look to my schedule, I can see that my summer is well planned with lots of work projects. Fall has always been my favorite season because of the change of temperature and we’re in the heady days of campaigning. I’ve always worked in places where we’re bundling up and finishing the night’s work with whatever baseball game is on for the World Series. My colleagues who work in the warmer states, I have no idea what it feels like to campaign in shorts and it always makes me feel a bit out of place in the same way when I’m celebrating Christmas and there are palm trees around me. This is my 11th campaign season as a political operative and although technology has changed tremendously (I remember when it was 1996 and I was using a thermal fax machine to transfer phone banking information!), I know that what really matters is that you understand how your district wants to be communicated and how to message them so that they want to listen to your message. This will always be about connecting with people and talking with them in the mediums that they want to communicate, whether that’s one on one in a face to face (door to door) or by text message. Understand that people want to be heard and will engage when they see that you want to understand them.
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
Did you get a chance to catch my FB hangout with Tammy Gordon when we talked about the Joys and Challenges of Being Your Own Boss? If not, you can hop over to the Arum Group FB and take a look see! If you thought it was helpful, please feel free to share it! Much thanks to Tammy and her team member, Christina Giordana for taking the time to hang with me and to Arum Group Team members, Hyunju Bin and Samantha Ng for designing the graphic and for setting up all the tech pieces! #BOSS
One of the topics that Tammy and I didn’t cover was the juggle of having a life partner in the equation. Occasionally I will get asked this question about balancing my work and the life that I’m creating with my spouse. One variable I don’t have is children, which in itself is a totally different dynamic. I, along with my spouse made a very conscious decision early in our lives that we would not have children and I strongly believe that this decision is unique to everyone. Only you know what is best for your life and I’ve had conversations with people who have vehemently disagreed with my choice. My response to them is “You don’t live my life, I do and your choices are yours so I will also choose to not judge your decisions because I will never really know the challenges and happiness that you enjoy but I will be supportive of whatever you choose.” End of conversation. There are going to be times when you won’t have the attention span to give to your partner and as in the case of the author of this article, she didn’t have an infrastructure for her business when she fell in love. Each relationship can be intoxicating – you’re in love with your work life and in love with your partner. What kind of infrastructure/support system can you create to make it work?
We live in a world of busy (which I personally hate) because everyone likes to think that it’s perfectly normal to be out of control with their schedules. Don’t get sucked into the world of busy! I completely understand that the to do list can be crazy! The ability to focus on a large project can be daunting when your to do list is 10 feet long. Here are ways to be more productive. Don’t multi-task and find when you’re likely to do your best work. I know the type of conditions I need to get big thinking, which leads to big doing done. I can’t have music playing, unless it’s classical; if the tv is on then it can be the news and sometimes I can put on a cooking show on mute; no emails and no other social media apps to distract me. Most importantly, I set a timer. I estimate how long it’s going to take me to get that project done and I take that time to focus. I reward myself by checking my social media apps to see what’s going on in the world while I was working. One of the things that I need to work on is meditation. Every article that I read talks about its effects and I need to get on that train! What tips are helpful to you in being more productive?
I work with non-profits to help them with their fundraising and we often talk about how donors are “investors” to these organizations. What’s frustrating is that even when we speak in “for-profit” terms, we’re still working with unrealistic expectations for non-profits. If you work directly in non-profits, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading Nonprofit with Balls. Every time I read this blog, I find myself nodding my head and laughing while simultaneously wanting a glass of wine because I think it will make it all better. In all seriousness, it provides a serious lens to the environment that many non-profits face. Changing how we view ourselves and what we want others to know about the work that we do will hopefully educate those who think that non-profits are less serious than for-profit entities.
I live in the bubble of the Beltway. It’s a very privileged life and I realize that if I want to know what’s going on in the world, I need to listen to those who are not in this enclave. When I started campaigning, I would work elsewhere to see what topics were important to people who don’t live and breathe politics everyday (you know, normal people). Everyone’s financial situation is unique and learning how others live makes me reflect on what money can buy. Here are the stories of 4 women with 4 different incomes and how they afford to live their lives.
How much does self doubt rear its nasty head in your life? There are days when it’s screaming in mine, but I take a deep breath and listen to MY voice, the only sound that matters. I think of myself as pragmatic. There are times when I’ve tried a few things that didn’t work out and I chalk that up to finding the right rhythm to get into a groove. Did that work? No, well then let’s try something different. I grew up getting straight A’s – all the time. It’s a horrible feeling! Yes, the joy of having excelled at subjects transitions to Oh shiz, I gotta do it again next quarter, next semester, next year. The 1st time I got a B, I freaked out that my parents would be disappointed in me (they were fine). The kinds of expectations that I put on myself were making me tough and giving me habits to apply to other things outside of school, but it also made me question whether I should do something if I thought it wouldn’t be PERFECT. GAWD – I love perfect – when nothing goes wrong and everything comes out just like you envisioned. Fear of not getting something done perfectly or even done as well as your peers can lead to paralysis. Throw in self doubt and you have created a lethal dose of destruction. Self doubt got nothing on you.
Every day that I work in politics, I come to the realization that my job is to be part of the story telling mechanism that promotes my clients. It’s the best productive thing you can do to create a brand and solidify a reputation. When I meet a candidate, one of the 1st things I ask is, “What’s your story?”. Why? It gives me a sense of how they’re pitching themselves to prospects, donors, influencers, the media, you name it! We talk about the elevator pitch and this is essentially it. What makes you unique and what makes you memorable and above else, what makes you relatable to people who you’re convincing to vote for you, give you money, and what other asks you have of them. This also applies to your own individual narrative. You need to learn these skills to be an effective leader. Leading a team involves so much more than commanding directives and project management. It means sharing your vulnerabilities and being authentic. You value people (and brands) when they’re honest and when they’re welcoming. That can lead to admiration and respect – qualities that any brand would want.
That’s it folks – let me know your comments and like/share the post! Thanks for reading!
It’s so super crazy! I went away for the weekend and today is Super Tuesday 5 (I remember the days when there was ONLY ONE Super Tuesday and in this election we have had FIVE of them!!). I think most people know that I’m supporting Hillary so here’s to breaking the glass ceiling!
Here’s Tuesday Truths!
We all know that there are different leadership styles, but did you know that there are differences in leadership according to culture? The Harvard Business Review breaks it down for you!
Life is going to throw you curveballs and they way in you which you handle yourself during these trying times is a testament to your strength of character. It’s an exercise in patience, self esteem, confidence and resilience (and so many other attributes!). It certainly is a Defining Moment and how you capitalize on it makes a difference on your outlook of yourself and how others perceive you. Here’s a great story on Jenna Wolfe and her defining moment. Was there a time in your life that you would call your defining moment?
Priorities are about choices. I’ve talked in the past about how I triage my life, constantly moving things around to meet deadlines and knowing how much I can push something so that I can move forward with other projects. In my opinion, being busy isn’t a great feeling. I like the sensation of being busy in that I’m not bored and time seems to fly by. Doing work in a transformational way takes real energy. It takes focus and sometimes time goes by much slower because you’re not forced to do “real work”. No one is ever too busy when you place a premium on priorities.
I’ve been fortunate to have a professional career where sexism has been rare. It definitely exists with my colleagues and you might say that there is a certain level of it in fundraising when you think about the donor/staff/candidate dynamic. That is changing with more female donors and more female candidates/elected officials. Here are ways that you can shut it down and be supportive of those who have experienced sexism as well as how we can help one another to not make this kind of atmosphere the norm.
I’m thrilled to announce that Tammy Gordon from Verified Strategy will be joining me on Thursday, June 9th at 3:15pm Eastern to discuss the Joys and Challenges of Being Your Own Boss on the Arum Group Facebook page! Tammy and I have known one another since we were young sprites doing political work. She’s been a pioneer in social media strategy for national organizations and she recently decided to take the plunge and be her own boss. Send in your questions and join us as we talk about life as an entrepreneur, all the crazy administrative stuff you need to do when you rather be working on your client projects, and how you can live a life that’s designed by you!
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