Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v50

Today’s an election in Alabama (maybe you’ve heard of it?) and I’m thinking back to when I was sitting in an empowered room full of women from all spectrums of political ideology at Politico’s Women Rule Summit. Since we last communicated (hopefully you were reading Tuesday Truths last Tuesday, but no worries if you weren’t), we’ve had male Members of Congress announce their resignations, and more “exposed” for abusing their power for sexually harassing their women staff members. Time magazine announced their Person of the Year being the Silence Breakers, women and men who have both publicly and anonymously come forward to discuss their personal experiences of harassment. There has been a lot of discussion as well as heartbreak over the announcement of U.S. Senator Al Franken’s resignation. As a political operative, searching for political wins are usually on the forefront of my mind. How do we win? What do we sacrifice to get to winning? I know that Democrats are not in the majority in the U.S. Senate and it’s not lost on me that Alabama may send a man who is an accused child molester/pedophile to one of the most exclusive institutions in the world to craft public policy. I’m hardly a purist when it comes to holding an elected official accountable to Democratic/progressive values and that’s probably from years of working on campaigns seeing how we will always be disappointed by our elected officials. Governing is much more than adhering to values because we know that not everyone comes with the same ideological core and that means compromise. It’s not black and white. If women on the Hill (where legislation is created for the sake of the public good) can’t be respected as human beings and feel safe in their work environment, how can we expect that people will do the same for women and men in marginalized and vulnerable positions? No one is perfect and those who atone for their mistakes acknowledging their transgressions and working to become more enlightened people can certainly redeem themselves in society. There was a panel at the Women Rule summit that discussed what would it take to end sexual harassment in the workplace and first and foremost is ending the culture of silence. There needs to be zero tolerance of people abusing their power and people need to feel that there are consequences for such abhorrent behavior. It’s important for society to support those who have faced this injustice and to remember that respect should be given to all of us. I welcome your thoughts and hope that we can have a respectful conversation/exchange of ideas.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

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  • Last week’s post had a very popular article about how your sleep pattern can affect your work day. There are a lot of wolves and lions in my universe (go back to last week’s post for reference). As we continue to talk about schedules and productivity, there is also a conversation about Makers and Managers. I’m a bit of both so I need to segment my days to create as well as to manage projects. When I need to do fundraising calls, I usually want a block of time so that I can just hash it out. I try not to create on days when I need to be heavy on the phones because I don’t want to be distracted by call backs or email replies. Since there is a large segment of the readership is dependent on someone else’s schedule, once you become a manager and start to think about how your schedule affects others’ productivity, you’ll be able to see how to fix the gaps.

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  • We’re heading into holiday season where you’re likely to be a guest for holiday parties related to work or your industry. In these settings, you’re bound to have conversations with strangers (or if you’re like me, then you’re hanging out in the corner enjoying the food, don’t be like me). So here’s a short video (11 minutes) where you can learn 10 ways to have a better conversation.

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  • For my friends on the Hill who are looking at their calendars and realizing that the Congressional recess is a little fuzzy, here are 4 ways where you can reduce stress inside and outside of work. It seems really weird to my industry to have a 9am – 5pm job. We do a lot of networking and events before and after we’re in the office. Holiday parties are scheduled for networking and not really for merriment. It’s all part of the work day. So sometimes it’s unrealistic to keep a routine or to get the proper amount of sleep to recharge. Know your limits and know what you need to do so that your work activity doesn’t get you sick.

Alright, friends – thanks for reading/sharing and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v49

Photo credit: Alton Wang with photo editing by moi.

Are you gearing up for the holidays? After last week’s U.S. Senate vote for “tax reform”, I’ve turned into a bit of a grinch. I’m looking at all the things that are being eliminated and as a small business owner, it bothers me that the bill targets how I do my business expenses. Of course, we talk about not worrying about things that we can’t control so what I can control is making sure that the House members understand that this would be negligent on their part to pass the Senate version of this atrocity. Trust me when I say that when it comes time to pay my taxes, the response in my household is “Are you sure you’re not a Republican?” because I have a higher tax rate being self employed. My husband reminds me that it’s our fair share and although we don’t have children, we want future generations to have quality public education and hey, we all use that road & bridge so an infrastructure that isn’t crumbling would be nice. **le sigh** If you’re unhappy with where this legislation is headed then get your friends in the states where elected leaders are on the fence to voice their discontent. Getting off my soapbox and sharing Tuesday Truths!

  • Everyone talks about how getting enough sleep is a pillar to relieving stress. Lots of successful people talk about being early risers and maximizing their day. There are categories of people who do best according to how they get sleep. I fall into the “Lions” category where I usually get up before my alarm and when it’s still dark (although I like to exercise in the morning, which is more a “Wolf” behavior). Which animal sleep pattern do you associate with in your sleep activity? Now that you’ve identified which category you’re in, you can also design your day around how you wake up and power down to get rest.

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  • There’s a theory that my generation (45-54) is moving into what’s called Generation Grumpy. My husband is already thinking about retirement in 10 years. While I’m a little bit younger than him, I will probably “retire” soon thereafter, probably another 5-10 years. So why are we so grumpy? It looks like the generation ahead of us are staying in the jobs that we would elevate into but they’re staying in those jobs longer. They aren’t retiring and as a result, my generation won’t be progressing into a higher income bracket or more senior level positions. Something to think about as we get older and stick around longer!

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  • We could all use more positive thinking. I am pretty much a pragmatist. I have had and continue to have my share of disappointments so I always try to find the silver lining, although maintaining a level of optimism can be tiring when others aren’t as positive. I’m still working on meditating because my mind likes to wander so keeping calm is a behavior that I need to practice. Here’s a nifty chart where you can begin your journey of positive thinking.

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  • I shared Tracee Ellis Ross’ remarks in a previous post about her owning her life. Here’s another version of her creating space and giving herself permission to give zero DUCKS. People always comment about how I turn down invitations because I generally schedule my life to fit all the things that I need to get accomplished (I really am a procrastinator at heart). I’m living on the edge here because I had a pretty full weekend so I didn’t write this post during my usual allotted writing time (see! I don’t always follow my schedule!). It’s my life and I’ll live it the way I want. No one else has to face the consequences for my choices. So don’t give others your power. When it comes to your career, those Benjamins belong in your wallet so how you choose to direct your career path is a combination of your financial situation, your obligations to yourself to increase/decrease your portfolio and how you want to live your life. You work hard for your money so when I hear about a young woman choosing to get out of politics because she can’t find the right fit, I want to hug her to let her know that I’m on her side. We lose another woman rising in the ranks yet at the same time, sometimes it makes perfect sense for a person to step out of their once chosen profession to pursue other interests and dreams. We’re not one dimensional and if you want something, fight for it and find people who will champion you. Leave everyone else behind.

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  • It may be annual review time and I gotta give a shout out to negotiation extraordinaire, Tanya Tarr. She’s got techniques and a template on how you can prepare for this discussion. It’s an opportune time to pull together your greatest hits and talk about your major accomplishments. It breathes life into your narrative of why your work qualifies for more compensation, either in the form of a higher salary or more benefits. It’s a self confidence boost that will carry good will in the next year.

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  • When we talk about why someone wants to run for office, it’s such a personal message. You may hear the sound bytes of “We want to build a better place for future generations” or ‘Our children deserve to breathe clean air etc.”. Honestly, I’m not a cynic. What most candidates don’t realize is that campaigns are about values. To get to the generic tag lines, you need to actually dig deep within yourself to recognize the pivotal moment that called you to action. Most people don’t think that they will grow up to be an elected official. It is a job after all and it’s part popularity contest along with some policy awareness. It’s also hard AF to run for any kind of elected office. Those who are truly motivated also recognize that they need to connect with voters and find the moment that ignited the spark to run for office. In my opinion, finding meaningful career goals is a microcosm of what it means to run for office. The tagline may be generic, the moment when you realized that you could affect change by running is not. It’s so deeply personal and is based on what you think are the values you want to explore and share with others. When looking at your career, you should also be aligning your goals to your values. Here’s an exercise that you can do to see what you can do to create meaningful goals.

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  • I’m going to the Politico Women Summit and there will be a plethora of fierce women in attendance. Instead of the “where do you work?” line of questioning, I’m going to use my standard, “Any plans for the upcoming holidays?” which can also lead to “Do you have any fun holiday party/festivities planned?” aka “What are your hobbies?” which can also lead to “Are you planning to see the new star wars movie?”. I’m such a big believer in learning about people’s lives outside of their work titles. Since I’m the rare bird that grew up in this town, I usually ask, “What brought you to DC?” and if I do find another DMV native, we usually end up talking about all our favorite places for (“______” fill in the blank). So the next time you’re in networking land, here are 55 questions you can use to break the ice and get to know someone.

That’s it for this week, folks – thanks for reading/sharing and I’ll see you in 7 days 🙂

— Madalene

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v48

I hope that you’re taking active measures to stay healthy during this holiday season. Several of my family members have been hit with a cough that has lasted for a few weeks & I’m doing my best to not catch any of their germs! Take those sick days so that you don’t contaminate and spread any potential viruses. I think it’s better to focus your energy into getting better then you can return to your regular activities fully committed. I do try to work out when I feel a little under the weather so that I can give myself energy, but that’s not always a good idea for everyone. To get ready for the long nights of events and celebrations, we’re sharing tips to beat stress and techniques to bring calm to your life.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

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  • Did you know that I sometimes have dance parties at the office with Just Dance on my Wii? My office and I would sometimes take a break and do the sports games so that we could reset and exert some energy. It was fun to take a moment to not think about work and then feel rejuvenated to get back at it. Here are other ways that you can de-stress for under 10 minutes!

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  • I know that I’m a procrastinator. I’ve written several times about what pushes my buttons to get me motivated. I hold myself accountable to my colleagues and friends. They depend on me to get sh*t done & I hate to keep people waiting (so much guilt!). Knowing that my actions affects someone else pushes me to deliver. If you’re in need of an infographic to help you along, I hope this gets your motor running! I’ve come around to the “done is better than perfect” mantra although I still have pretty high standards so getting it right the 1st time is part of my mentality too.

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  • Negative people are a part of life. The ability to deal with them is also a matter of how you control your emotions and behavior. You can always avoid them. I like to try to incorporate it into my life – why? It helps me to better communicate and to learn how to navigate relationships with people. I wholeheartedly admit that I have less patience than in my younger days. Which only reminds me that I can’t always be with people that I enjoy spending time with all the time. I did the avoidance thing for a while and although it did create less stress for me, I also know that another outcome of that avoidance is lack of patience. How do you deal with negative people?

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  • Life is about a series of decisions and what choices you make. Even when you make a bad decision, you’re learning from the experience and you discard the regret. Owning it makes it a lot easier to learn from the experience. I always say that I make my own luck and that fate doesn’t control my journey. Making decisions when you’re not in the right mindset can also cost you. Don’t be afraid to allow a small amount of time to pass so that you’re making decisions with clear judgement. I usually don’t need help in making decisions. I will sometimes ask people for their opinions already knowing where I’m headed because I want to make sure that I’ve thought through the angles. It’s good to get other people’s perspectives and it helps me to see through someone else’s lens. Do you know what overwhelms me? Menu selections for events, mainly because I have to go through so many pages of menus to get to the items that I know that I will likely order. It really is my least favorite thing to do when I fundraise. When I redecorated my house, I knew what I wanted and filtered out all of the other noise. Stay focused on the priorities and you’ll see how your decision making process changes.

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  • Raise your hand if you’ve had difficult conversations with a team member/colleague/manager/staff? Those moments can be challenging for a number of reasons and trying to overcome the awkwardness is imperative so that everyone can move beyond the conversation. By doing so, you can be seen as someone who has the ability to collaborate under the most trying of circumstances. It’s never easy and the more you practice, the more comfortable you will become in finding common ground.

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  • I’m a big fan of reading to escape from my current perspective. I finished all of the Kevin Kwan books Crazy Rich Asian series (definitely a fun read!) and when I was crazy busy with work, I enjoyed re-reading Harry Potter. If you’re in need of book suggestions, here are the 100 notable books for 2017 according to the New York Times. Terrific for gifts for others and for yourself!

Thanks for reading/sharing and let me know what’s working for you! See you next week!

— Madalene

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v47 – GIVING THANKS EDITION

We’re a few days out from Thanksgiving and I wanted to give a shout out to all of the readers of this little old blog. I take your comments and feedback seriously and have enjoyed sharing the information that’s been curated so that you can find a path to your own success, whether it’s in your personal life or professional one. Thank you for reading/sharing and giving me feedback. I look forward to the rest of the year and creating a stronger community. I hope you enjoy the holiday with loved ones and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

In the meantime, let’s get to reading this week’s Tuesday Truths.

  • In earlier posts, I’ve talked about scheduling your priorities (no more wish list!) into your life. When I worked as an executive assistant, I had to work with that person’s calendar and I recognized early on that she had her priorities (a good thing!) and it taught me to recognize that she was putting herself first. It was a good lesson amongst many others that I learned. Working in a business where event planning is a heavy component and juggling multiple schedules is a regular activity, I know that I have to budget time for not just the event but also the travel time, the prep, the wind down and so many other details. The event may take 2 hours because that’s the call time; it’s all the other parts that have to be factored into the schedule. I started using a new software for scheduling appointments with people and it’s terrific because when I have events, I can cushion that so that people aren’t making appointments with me when I need to be on the road to my next event. It also allows me to block off time for me to be unavailable because let’s be honest, I actually have to produce work and that takes concentrated amounts of time not spent on the phone or that may mean that I have to schedule my own call time. I want that to be uninterrupted. Time management is so important in making things happen. That also includes making time for yourself to NOT DO ANYTHING. Just about everyone knows that I’m an introvert so when I have back to back days with lots of people in my life for work or even for my own personal time, I need time squirreled away with just me, myself & I. That way I can recharge and just enjoy being alone. Once I get that time, I can come back ready to talk with people again. You can’t be afraid to be still. That also goes for extroverts who need to be with people. If you don’t like having that alone time, then make sure you’re at as many events as you can possibly handle. Just be present and not over schedule yourself so that you’re running around just trying to make the events. For more tips, take a read from this article that talks about managing the schedule of high powered women executives.

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  • I have talked incessantly about women competition. I LOVE IT. I think it allows me to see where I can improve and what I can be doing better to help my fellow sisters. Everyone has different styles and I love learning from others. At the same time, I have gone through a lot of experiences where I can share those moments with those who may benefit from my triumphs and mistakes. Shalane Flanagan is the perfect example of how I like to operate. If you haven’t heard of her, she recently won the New York City Marathon and she’s the first American woman to do so in 40 years! Imagine running 26.2 miles in 2 hours and 26 minutes – AMAZEBALLS! As a former long distance runner who competed in high school in cross country and the mile and 2 mile in indoor and outdoor track, I know a tiny fraction about what it means to dedicate yourself to your sport. I am not a professional athlete by any stretch, yet my work ethic and belief in bringing my best all the time transfers to my professional life. When I read this article, I welled up with tears because 1) it shows that women can be supportive while also working towards their own goals and 2) I want this so badly in the areas where people think that women can’t do the work. This kind of sisterhood I can support. It is not horrible to say that you want to win and to be the best. It’s also feasible to achieve that while helping others.

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  • I’m going from one tear jerker to another and this time, Tracee Ellis Ross has got my number. I have never been one to imagine myself married. Yes, I know that I’m married now and even then it was traumatic to think that I was getting married when The Mister and I applied for our marriage license. I may be all “Pride and Prejudice” and for the most part, I want to see contentment as having a partner yet, I’m so far from a romantic. I didn’t think about my wedding growing up and certainly didn’t think about babies. My women friends who are single, without romantic love on the horizon (they do have love because that comes in all forms from friends and family) and/or without progeny are fierce and individually they may have come to a degree of happiness in their lives, they are amazing. They recognize the choices that they have made and are content. It may have taken them more time to acknowledge it and for public sake, they may not outwardly be hurting. Embracing the gender roles that make us women are defined by society. My own mother didn’t really recognize that I was “grown” until it was officially documented that I was married. For a long time, she would ask me about when I was getting married and because I’m stubborn (I’m my mother’s daughter after all),  I would defiantly tell her, “When I’m ready!”. I didn’t want to move forward on such a life changing event to please anyone, not even my mother. No one gets a say on your life. You may want opinions and you may want people to weigh in because that’s your prerogative. I don’t live your life and my thoughts have no bearing on how it implicates your daily existence. Put yourself FIRST.

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  • Along the same lines, Lidia Yuknavitch defies the stories of who she should be and stands up to create her own destiny. How we live our lives is up to us. Allowing someone else to take ownership of it, doesn’t give you your voice. Sometimes this seems like mumble jumble because when you’re in the middle of it all feeling stuck, you wonder how do I get out of it? When you’re thinking of how life has treated you unfairly without any choices that you made yourself, you can sometimes feel untethered. Feeling grounded to who you are regardless of what has happened to you creates your own story and voice. Yes, these things have occurred and you have prevailed to live another day. Don’t let others project their stories onto you.

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  • A lot of my clients compliment me on my diplomatic responses to somewhat crazy interactions. That doesn’t mean that I don’t release my rage in some other manner. I don’t channel it to my team or to others because I completely disassociate myself from who is being childish and those who have nothing to do with the situation. Sometimes, I feel the residual affects which could mean that I’m a little more cranky than usual or the smallest of actions may annoy me. I try to remember that everyone is going through something and hope that others will give me the same amount of grace. Bottling up anger is not healthy and when I find myself in situations where I’m at a disadvantage, I try to find the words that will allow the other parties and me to come to a win/win. It’s not about conquering anymore because I never feel good afterwards about it. It’s like the scene in You’ve Got Mail and Meg Ryan’s character talks about tearing into someone with all the negative things you could possibly say because it’s the heat of the moment and afterwards she’s really not happy with herself. That’s me because there are a lot of times where I feel that way and I start to lean into that space. It’s not my style so I pull back and find the words to express the situation in a way that isn’t just about me. Empathy is hard because you’re trying to place yourself in someone else’s position. That is definitely not as easy as it sounds. It doesn’t mean you justify other people’s actions. You acknowledge your own feelings and work towards not letting it control the rest of your interactions.

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  • I want to thank all of the wonderful women who stopped by a FriendsGiving I hosted last week! We donated toys, books & money in support of Children’s National Hospital and I’m filled with gratitude for their friendship and generosity. Thank you!

Just some of the toys and books that my fierce women friends donated to Children’s National Hospital

Thanks for reading/sharing and have an enjoyable week. See you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

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Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v46

I’ve been in a good mood since last Tuesday with the success of the elections. Voters were unafraid to repudiate bigotry and racism. Diversity and inclusion may seem to be buzz words for the current environment and the truth of the matter is that different perspectives weaving throughout society brings humanity closer together. We are here to respect one another as equals with compassion and a level of curiosity that should lead all of us to better understand those who have had different experiences from us. Civil discourse is about respectful and factual conversation. We can disagree and yet still work to find common ground so that we can finds ways to help society. This was never meant to be easy. It’s hard work to listen to one another and to not discard someone else’s values. I have a difficult time doing it without getting emotional and that is something that I know that I must work on so that I don’t widen the divide. I recently saw an exchange on FaceBook where my peers were discussing gun control and I took lessons from it because it was civil and the person who I sided with in the exchange was respectful and acknowledged the opposing view. Patience is in short supply and I’ll take notes wherever I can find the most useful actions. I hope that you will also join me on this journey together.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • My introduction for this week talked a bit about active listening. It’s having emotional awareness and the ability to acknowledge your own emotions, especially in the heat of the moment to bring it all together. I can usually read people’s reactions and try to work with that when in a challenging position. What I recognize is that when people who are close to me exhibit a type of behavior that I don’t agree with I resort to my more emotional side and get more stubborn. I’m a stubborn person by nature and having more emotional awareness tampers some of that willfulness. I’m going to have to keep this article bookmarked so that I can have it as a reminder for myself whenever I find myself in a situation where I need to improve. With the holidays fast approaching, you may want to use it when you find yourself in a heated discussion with your family.

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  • Priorities, people – you know that you’re going to start figuring out your new year’s resolutions for 2018, which is really your priority list. When we “gained” the hour with the return of standard time, I used my “extra” hour to sleep. Starting to think about that list really helped to set priorities. Your wish list on how you want to spend your time should be how you prioritize your time. Schedule it and stick to it so that it becomes a habit. Being able to prioritize yourself should never be a question. You need to take care of yourself first before anyone else so that you can be the best person you can possibly be so that you can be that version of yourself to help others.

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  • Taking the same attitude about priorities also means that at your work, you need to protect your time. Our immediate response to people when they ask, “How things are going?”, we say, “Busy!” because it’s a thing. If we’re not busy then we’re doing…what exactly? Take back your time and make it impactful. You may not have the ability to control your schedule because you’re a junior member of the staff and you have to roll with everyone else’s schedules first. That’s OK – you can still manage your time by taking the blocks of time that you can control and prioritize the projects and work that will help with your team or your manager’s time.

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  • With so many things that can pull for your attention, it’s bound that stress will occur. Believe it or not, stress makes you stronger. It tests your ability to take multiple pieces of your life and create systems to address them. Whether it’s direct action in addressing the many facets or the mechanisms that you create so that you are working at optimal performance, you are taking stressful circumstances and evolving your actions and attitude to come through the other side. If you didn’t have a lot of stress in your life, adversity may be more challenging for you. When you’ve experienced a lot, you’re able to work through these difficulties because you’ve created the support system you need to function. These skills will help you better manage your stress when those times occur.

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  • This Harvard Business Review article entitled, “Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?” certainly piqued my interest and not just because of the title. Charisma and confidence masking themselves as potential leadership qualities are propelling men into roles where transformational leaders are needed. Throw in bias and societies thinking that men are superior to women and we find ourselves in this current predicament.

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  • Does appearance really affect hiring decisions? I’m a believer in branding and that goes with the idea that I’m marketing myself and my work through a visual perspective as well as the work product. My sense of style is to be a little out of the box and the person who cuts my hair knows that I have a thing about not looking like everyone else. I want to stand out because I have a professional yet interesting haircut and an wardrobe aesthetic that says professional yet age appropriate with clean lines and far from cookie cutter as possible. When I pitch for clients, I want my work to stand out and my appearance to be the added benefit. A majority of my life has been spent making people aware that my outward appearance may appear to be one of a young professional who wears understated but finely appointed accessories with the experience of someone who actually has spent multiple decades in my profession. I may look younger, however my demeanor are going to point towards my actual numerical age. How do these factors increase already existing bias? It’s not only the people who go through the interviews, it’s also having diverse hiring managers who can look to diverse candidates for consideration.

That’s it for this week! Thanks for taking the time to read/share the post. See you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v45

It’s been an emotional few days with the recent “revelations” in the upcoming Donna Brazile book. I’ve had to give myself a time out on reading the news as well as comments on the various social media platforms for fear that I would be so enraged, my head would combust. There’s an election today and I’m most focused on those outcomes. GO! FIGHT! WIN!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Integrity is an essential aspect to garnering respect and credibility in any industry. I question people who talk about staff or consultants behind their backs in a derogatory manner. Personal attacks are unprofessional and when talking to members outside of your internal team about the work performance of others, it makes me wonder what you say about me when I’m not present. I’m a straight shooter. I will tell you what I think in the most diplomatic of terms because in all honesty, I believe motivating people by incentivizing them to see if they change their behavior, they will get positive results. Belittling people and engaging in office gossip as a member of senior leadership will only breed a toxic environment that deems that kind of behavior acceptable to the junior ranks. I don’t encourage engaging in it and when given the opportunity to change the subject so that comments aren’t based on personal differences, take the high road. Your integrity is valuable so don’t get caught up in the hype that can deplete you of it when others take a different tact.

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  • Taking the temperature of where you are in life requires occasional reflection. If you’re thinking about making a change in your professional life, have you started thinking about what inspires you, when people talk about spark, the things that excite you. My Instagram friend, Grace Chon, has talked about how she was a gigolo of hobbies because she had so many different interests until she found her passion in pet photography. It turned out OK because she started her side hustle and was able to quit her full time art director position to focus on her photography business. If you’re looking for how you can find the flames to ignite your personal spark, then take a read.

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  • I’m all about creating success by putting the ingredients together so that you can make your own luck. When looking at an unfavorable situation, I take the different parts that have created the environment and evaluate each ingredient so that I can see how I can improve the situation with the different variables. As a result, I’m giving encouragement to the parts that are doing well and tweaking the parts that need the most attention. On a personal level, it means tinkering with #livinahappylife because I’m responsible for my own happiness. I’ve toned down my purchases on material things and have thought more about what it means to experience a moment. Studies show that memories of positive experiences can trigger happiness. So if you looking for ways to find happiness, create the environment and you’ll have less work to do to get to a happy life.

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  • Are you feeling overwhelmed with your to do list and yet, your productivity has waned to abysmal levels? Sometimes it’s necessary to re-set and clear away the chaos so that you can reach deep into your reservoir of patience and get with it. I feel a lot of life is about having control and when I feel overwhelmed, I’m losing a sense of control. One of the things that I notice about my behavior is that I can sometimes feel overly scheduled so I have to remind myself that it’s OK to take a break. Thankfully, I have Aurnia to take on an afternoon stroll. A pup is always going to remind you that life isn’t always about you 🙂

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  • I’m glad to see that millennial women are heavily invested in their careers. I’ve never been afraid of the term, ambitious. It’s important to remember that individual success is measured by competing with yourself and not against the comparison of others. It’s also crucial that competition amongst women isn’t back stabbing as long as we keep a level playing field and respect one another’s abilities. It can spur innovation and creativity knowing that you have people who are bringing their A game and you can’t coast. Don’t forget that women who made their way into the workforce and into executive level positions did so under circumstances that weren’t in their favor. Much has improved although we need to recognize that equal pay doesn’t exist and is worse for women of color. More insights: millennial women are addressing their ambition and they want to see the opportunities that women have ahead in their respective companies before pursuing a career with that particular company/organization.. The recession played a factor in how millennials approach their job prospects and it shows when they are looking for job security.

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  • As we head into a new year (yes, we’re weeks away until 2018!) it’s a good time to evaluate your professional trajectory and see if you’re leading your career with purpose. If you decide that you would like to move in a different direction, how do you network yourself into a new career? One of the fundamentals of fundraising is follow up and networking itself is all about follow up. You have no idea the number of business cards that I give where people don’t follow up with me afterwards. It gives me a sense of how serious you are about talking about a particular project you may be interested in doing. Also, introverts make good networkers – we listen instead of talk and that can lead to big conversations from the people we want to connect with at an event.

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Thanks for reading/sharing. I’ll see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v44

Happy Halloween – time for tricks and treats! We’re moving into another month so let’s get going with Tuesday Truths so that you can end this year on a high note feeling accomplished and ready to tackle soon to be 2018.

  • There’s always going to be a time when I’m in need of a bit of inspiration. I’m a creature of habit so routines are my jam and I know that it can be a dangerous tipping point towards complacency. So I keep my eyes peeled for others who can drive my creativity and push me to become more innovative. Successful people have doubts and sometimes don’t know their next steps just as much as those who are starting out their careers. It can be daunting to stay inspired when you feel that work has become too much of a routine and others’ expectations of you drive your own calculations when determining decisions. There’s a difference between drinking your own kool-aid and recognizing your own accomplishments. Be confident in your worth and never stop practicing gratitude for the opportunities that you have earned.

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  • When you’re stressed out at work, there are things that you can control to help you relieve anxiety. My time spent in a Pilates studio has helped me better understand how to take advantage of my breath so if you hear me taking deep inhales and exhales then I’m taking my own advice. Along with other suggestions, you may find that you can get a handle of what you can control. Take the time to recognize if you’re putting yourself in situations where you may make bad choices. I recently was at an event where afterwards people were also taking time to casually network after the formal portion of the event ended. Most times I would have gone with them but I decided that it would be better if I went home instead. I have no regrets and FOMO doesn’t drive my decisions. The consequences are what I’m faced with after making a bad decision and I’ve learned from experience that it’s not worth it. As many of you know, I’m not an extrovert so I have to know myself well enough to overcome my gut personality when I know that it’s better for me to engage with people vs retreating. Building your self awareness will help you make calculated choices. Remember to live life once in a while and throw caution to the wind. You know you best.

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  • This is a long read and well worth the time. It saddened me to read about the experiences women went through with their women managers because for the most part, I haven’t gone through anything remotely close to the bullying that these women experienced. Fundraising is usually seen as a woman dominated field within politics and once you rise to senior leadership, you may be the only woman in a room full of men. If women are feeling the need to be the top woman in the room and they’re transferring those feelings to their teams (usually comprised of younger women) then the cycle is going to repeat itself. I’ve had women associates in my firm that I’ve tried to help elevate and mentor so that they can be role models to their future staff. Breaking the cycle of negative and abusive behavior needs to begin with all of us because we can all do better.

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Thanks for reading/sharing & if you haven’t subscribed, I hope you’ll do so today!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v43

Last week I had a terrific time training on the basics of fundraising and connecting with a group of AAPIs interested in running for public office. It’s an incredible feeling to share my experiences and knowledge with those who want to serve and to spend time with one another creating relationships to help our communities. I enjoy hearing the stories of people who have overcome challenges in their lives to fashion a life that provides more economic & educational opportunity and understanding that their children may straddle multiple cultures to forge ahead. AAPIs are not perpetual foreigners in the U.S. and we shouldn’t be afraid to embrace our culture because others will question whether we’re really American or not. We all have gifts to share and I truly believe that representation is important so that everyone can better understand the stories of its citizens. Chris Lu eloquently wrote a piece in Time about how the lack of AAPI representation in media, government, & corporate entities isn’t reflective of our society and how this leads to a lack of visible role models for others.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • A key element to achieving success in fundraising or really almost anything is consistency. That means creating good habits and that’s an important aspect I emphasize. There’s no one way to create habits so search for a system that works best for you. I like familiarity although after awhile I like to mix it up. As a result, I’m always looking for ways to motivate me. I’m always down for trying out different techniques to see if something sticks and to keep it fresh.

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  • I believe that we’re constantly evolving and growing. Who I am now as a mid 40s professional woman is not who I was when I was in my 30s, let alone in my 20s. Experience as well as added wisdom has helped to create who I am today. If it weren’t for failures and accomplishments, I wouldn’t know how I would handle difficult challenges and recognize my strengths and weaknesses. Personality can guide so many aspects of how we behave that by taking note of traits that need shoring up, we can overcome or transform to be a different version of ourselves. Your personality doesn’t have to dictate your behavior. It can actually help to motivate you to exhibit authentic traits that you can further develop over time, only if you take it on as a “personal project”. Don’t let personality limit you to think of yourself in a defined way. You have the ability to take control of your behavior even if you think that you’re predestined to behave a certain way.

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  • Building self awareness is an important aspect to understanding yourself and how you can fit into your environment. It allows you to take notice of how others see you as well as how you respond. Recognizing your self awareness can be daunting because studies show that you’re basically lying to yourself. You need external and internal feedback to get an actual sense of your own self awareness. If you’re looking for ways to start, we’re sharing a beginner’s guide.

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  • I started this week’s post talking about consistency and I’m closing on it because people who are respected when they’re consistent. A cure to my procrastination is that I know that I’m expected to produce on a regular basis. Once I say that I’m going to do something, I have to figure out how to do it because by verbalizing my intent, I have made an informal promise. This means that my words can’t be empty and as a result, it creates goodwill. Respect is earned through your actions and through consistent behavior, you’ll be able to reap the benefits.

Thanks for reading/sharing! If you haven’t signed up for the weekly posts, I hope that you’ll consider signing up today. See you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v42

It’s a district work period for the House and I’ve got work travel up to Philadelphia for a training. I’m looking forward to talking with folks who want to learn how to run for office and most importantly, share techniques on how to raise money. It’s not rocket science so those of us who can do it comfortably will always have the advantage of doing. The odds are in your favor when you actually make the asks vs those who never do. So take whatever fear you may have and turn it into positive results.

Let’s get on with Tuesday Truths!

  • I’m generally a good sleeper because I tend to keep a schedule for my body clock and that means I have a bedtime 🙂 I do use an alarm, however I also tend to wake up before my alarm usually turns on. On the weekdays that means 6am. There was a time when I used to get up at 6:45am and slowly that changed to earlier and earlier. I used to go to the gym for a 7am class on weekends until I started taking long walks in the morning so I didn’t really change my sleep schedule, but now if I “sleep in” then it’s 7:30am. I really don’t like to linger in bed so I’m usually on the go thereafter which translates me to going for a walk or going to the gym. I don’t like to exercise any other time of day so if I’m not exercising in the morning, it’s not going to happen. I’m also the weirdo who hates blackout curtains. When I’m in a hotel, I like to wake up with the sun so having sunlight stream in is important to adjusting my body clock, especially if I’m traveling to a different time zone. Articles tend to talk about how entrepreneurs are successful when they are morning people. I don’t prescribe to that idea because there are people who more productive when working at night (I’m not one of them). I do prescribe that people are at their highest level of thinking when they get sleep. Prioritizing this essential habit can help get you to your best work.

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  • I try to stay on the positive side of things whenever I’m feeling challenged. Of course, I have my moments and I try to process them so that I extinguish whatever negativity that may exist. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m especially cheery and goodness knows that I can be grumpy if I don’t have enough sleep (see earlier post). In our current times, it seems that everyday life has been impacted by the news and the overall mood fluctuates from surly to sadness. Living in this constant state of anxiety is unhealthy and can lead our brains to atrophy. We need positivity in our lives to also stimulate our brain to generate creativity and alleviate stress. You can get positive results when you also give to others so give an unexpected compliment to someone you know and recognize the small joys that uplift your spirit. Happiness can be shared and it should be valued.

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  • Is there something that you want to change in your habits? Tim Ferriss has a suggestion for you to help you start thinking differently. I try to find people who I admire who can help me improve my own actions. Have you ever experienced a time when you thought, “Geez, I could have handled that better?”. Watch the video and see if Tim’s suggestion helps you create changes.

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  • I was setting up my Instagram posts for this week and one of the pictures that I chose was that of a statue of Duke Kahanamoku at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. The caption that I put with the photo was basically that I visit this statue when I go surfing in Hawaii because it reminds me that although I have no natural talent with surfing, I continue to try to surf because I know that it helps me become a better person in doing something that I enjoy no matter how difficult. Just like with fundraising, people become more comfortable doing it with practice. You may never be as good as you would like because human nature can be ambitious. Kurt Vonnegut calls this “practice becoming” and this mantra encourages me to be unafraid to do things that I’m not very good at unabashedly. This form of self expression can make you happy even if you’re not that good (see me and my surfing attitude). So sing in the shower (I do on the regular) and live your life becoming.

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  • Last week I shared an article about GenX women feeling a new kind of mid life crisis and there were a lot of comments throughout the interwebs that focused  that there weren’t any solutions in the piece. TBH I don’t think anyone has the answers and the ability to commiserate that there are others in the same conundrum is helpful in itself. Finding solutions in a broad sense seems a little manufactured because everyone’s circumstances are slightly different although we may share the same kinds of feelings. With that context, I’m sharing what millennial women are feeling with their professional careers. Slightly different in attitude, it’s still a conversation about how feminism has evolved throughout the years and how women should consider the many facets of life instead of having the only goal of being successful in your career. Especially now, when women are still making less than our male counterparts and are still facing a multitude of challenges that exist from the time women started in the workforce, placing all your value on your career can lead to a lower evaluation of self. Finding happiness is having the perspective to find joy outside of one’s career and also placing less emphasis of its importance in one’s self-worth. Ambition isn’t a dirty word and it should also include having interests outside of one’s career.

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  • There was an article about how a group of friends purchased a plot of land in a dilapidated area of Texas and created their own version of senior living. That sounds like a terrific way to retire. I may switch out Texas for another state or another part of the world and therefore my golden years will be spent with people who are already friends who I can count on to be a support system for each another. What about if you’re single without children? Building a society of singletons is just as grand and I would want them in my senior living center too! I’m married without children and my closest girlfriends are either single or married without kids. Just having friends who are already your support system living close by in a neighboring area will alleviate loneliness and continue to strengthen the bonds that brought these friendships forth. We wouldn’t be living alone and would have one another to fortify our health and happiness. Family can also be those who you choose to bring into the fold. I like it.

That’s it for this week – see you next Tuesday, same bat channel 🙂 Thanks for reading/sharing and if you haven’t yet subscribed, I hope you’ll do so today!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v41

Happy Tuesday! We’ve had a bit of a heat wave the last few days in DC with a return of humidity & as a result, the AC has been turned back on. Being this warm doesn’t get me in the mood to switch out my closet so I’m keeping the knee high boots and sweaters wrapped up until the temperatures take a dip. I’m ready for the onset of Autumn!

In the meantime, we can get to Tuesday Truths!

  • I started using a hashtag for moments when I am #livinahappylife and I try to remind myself that life isn’t perfect while making the most of what I’m trying to accomplish for that day. Growing up as an only child, I had the company of adults and my imagination and since my dad passed away when I was a teenager, I quickly learned how to be resilient.  My mom raised me as a single parent and she provided life examples in how to succeed. It was with experience and a deeper understanding of myself that I recognized what elements I need in life to be happy. It took me a while but I think I have a combination that can take me for the long haul. If you’re looking for ways to bring happiness to your life, then take a gander at these tips so you can create positive habits for yourself.

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  • If you’re a Gen X woman like me, this article may resonate with you. I’m still really processing it myself and although I don’t have the same circumstances as the women who are featured in the article, I understand the rage and concern. I sometimes marvel that I’ve gotten this far in life because I really didn’t have a plan for myself. I knew where I wanted to work and in what field and I certainly didn’t have a plan when it came to having children. Being a mother was never a priority so I sometimes wonder if I will ever regret that decision later in life. I don’t currently so I doubt that I will but you never know. I have joked about having a quarter life crisis when I was in my early-mid 20s and as I really move into the middle age phase of my life, I want my evolution to be centered on how I can continue to challenge myself professionally and maintain a sense of contentment in how life has turned out.

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  • So much of life is showing up. I have a friend who was a national deputy finance director of a major committee and recognizes that they got the job because not only were they talented, they also showed up and was consistent. It matters even more in your personal life. Taking stock of friendships who are there to check in on you even when they’re busy and keeping those connections alive are the friendships where I have the most investment. As I’ve gotten older, my social network has stretched to include a lot of people from different facets of my life. I’m not necessarily open to making new friends for the sake of making friends and it’s important to me to use time wisely by being with people and doing things that make a difference. Enjoying the company of a loved one, learning new things and sharing in experiences that make a significant impact on the people that matter are priorities in my life.

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  • I have always felt that regardless if you live in a small town or a big city, you can always feel lonely. It’s the connection to people that can bring your social network to fruition. If you aren’t engaging with others, it doesn’t matter if you live in a tiny studio in Manhattan or live on Main Street. Being a part of clubs or activities that allows you to socialize and have interaction creates bonds and relationships. It’s equally important to have a similar kind of setting at your work place. Individuals are so much more than their professional narratives. Those individuals who may have a more challenging time sharing may need an extra nudge to open up about themselves. You can combat loneliness in your work place by making an effort to get your teams more involved in knowing more about one another. A shared mission and shared bond creates a professional environment where people truly feel like a team. If you’re looking for ways to build a more collaborative work environment, check out this article where they also encourage socializing outside of work.

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  • I read an article about an AAPI woman who immigrated to the United States 22 years ago and decided to run for the city council. She got push back from voters who were appalled that a “foreign born” citizen was running for public office. If you’re feeling steam coming out of your ears then I feel you and if you’re not enraged, then you should stop reading my blog. The AAPI woman candidate has put an emphasis on diversity on her campaign and some voters are freaked out. #blesstheirhearts This is CRAY! Corporations have come to the table recognizing that diversity and inclusion are important to their success. They will not succeed if they don’t embrace the idea that people from different backgrounds will bring perspectives and experiences that can not be brought forth when you have a homogeneous workforce. Regardless of whether the impetus is the bottom line or actual progress, I hope that it brings everlasting change to the way people think about those who come from under-represented segments of society. So don’t be afraid to be intersectional and multi-dimensional at your work. I didn’t engage my AAPI roots until much later in life and people should be allowed to make choices in how they choose to engage. Those of us who recognize that society is changing will continue to move the needle so that inclusion and diversity are addressed and people are respected.

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  • My podcast choices are based on professional development, Paris/French related, cooking topics and a myriad of other eclectic subjects. So seeing this list of 16 black voiced podcasts  widens my perspective and takes me out of my bubble. If you’re looking for options beyond Serial and This American Life, check it out!

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  • This year has challenged every fiber of my being to remember the idealism that once resided in my soul. People have turned politics and that of public service into a stereotype of corruption and an episode of “House of Cards” & “Veep”. Twenty years ago I returned home to DC to start a political careerand since it was pre West Wing, I hardly had a clue of what I was doing or where I was going when it came to having a professional career in politics. When I started getting burnt out from the stress, I took time away from the industry and I found my idealism once again. I have since learned a few things to keep myself sane and this year is another lesson in resilience. As with all things in life, there are nefarious characters who will test your integrity and that’s when you have to remember that you can’t allow cynicism to win the day. Even when friends who were in the industry return for a visit, our conversations are concentrated in the world that we live in and how we can make it better. The federal government isn’t leaving anytime soon and your energy will remind us why we wanted to get into this business in the 1st place.

Thanks for reading/sharing and please sign up to subscribe!

— Madalene