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 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 v38

It’s another district work period for the House so I’m playing catch up and getting ready for BSM. For those new to the blog, “Hi!” and BSM is my mood at the end of the QTR because I’m BUSY. GETTIN’. MONEY.

So let’s get straight to it with Tuesday Truths!

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  • I’m a fundraiser so I spend a lot of time networking for my clients so that I can have a varied group of people who are interested in supporting the work that my clients do in politics and in non-profits. Could I ever learn to love that aspect of my work? The key to networking is better understanding the flow of information and how you can be a resource. You never know who you may meet that will have shared interests with you. It’s an invaluable way to meet influential people who may thank you later on for being helpful to them.

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  • Don’t get sucked into other people’s instagrammable moments and forget to live your life. People are starting to get depressed looking at other people’s lives and thinking that they’re not successful enough. Please don’t measure yourself to others because you’ll set yourself up for failure. It’s totally normal to strive to attain a life that’s similar to someone you admire. Also recognize your accomplishments along the way. You control your level of success and most importantly, its meaning to you. Here are 5 signs when you can tell if you’re successful (even when you don’t think you are!).

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  • I have a lot of people who call me to talk about running for office. I always ask them if they’ve had a chance to talk with people who are not a part of our echo chamber and if they’ve discussed their public policy proposals, let alone listened to voters who identify with another set of beliefs. It’s a lot harder than you think to convince someone that your ideas are better when they already hold onto a set of beliefs. Data doesn’t necessary help your case because facts don’t change people’s minds. Learn how you can give people the scenario to give themselves an out so that they can change their way of thinking.

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  • I’m often asked to speak on panels about politics and being an entrepreneur so I basically figured out my schtick, however to keep things fresh, I always need to see who else is speaking so that I can be aware of their accomplishments and figure out the type of audience the panel is addressing. Although I’ve done public speaking for a long time, I still get butterflies talking in front of people. Instead of allowing those emotions to get the best of me, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I’m not an imposter. You’re more likely to be comfortable when you’re more yourself so think of your time as an opportunity to have a conversation and to connect with your audience. Want more tips? Check it out here!

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  • Did you hear that there’s going to be a new iPhone released in a few weeks/months? I saw some hoopla and what really caught my attention was the Twitter flack people gave to an article about how they covered Apple executive, Angela Ahrendts’ attire when she took to the stage to talk about the launch. Ms. Ahrendts is the former CEO of Burberry and currently heads up the retail division of Apple. She’s also the only woman executive in senior leadership for Apple and is the highest paid woman in tech. I’m all about making sure that women leaders are listened to when they speak about their product lines or their accomplishments. Above all else the subject material is the highlight. How they present themselves only amplifies the narrative. Women in positions of power have used their wardrobe choices for visual affect and although the author of the article may not have a direct line to why exactly Ms. Ahrendts decided to wear what she wore on the day of the launch, there is much speculation to her decision. I do think people who are in positions of authority project an image and adhere to that image to maintain the brand. Its only recently that people have seen a less than polished version of me on social media because if you were to ask people what they think of my fashion choices, most people would say “put together” or “dressed up”. It’s my attempt to be more accessible as I start evolving my brand.

Thanks for reading/sharing and I really appreciate your notes when you let me know that something really resonated. See you next week!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v37

We’re back to regular programming with a full work week! Hope that you’re finding your rhythm after the summer break. The weather is starting to get cooler and that puts me in a good mood. I’m finding joy in the little things in life because when life keeps coming at you, finding the happiness in the small joys can do a lot to lift your spirits.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • If you’ve been reading the blog, you would know that I’m a big believer in making your own luck. You might feel like you don’t know how to start making change and all it takes are small and consistent steps to get you where you want to go. There are times when I’m a hot mess and when I get to that stage, I re-assess where I’m heading. Do I feel out of sorts because I haven’t written things down? Am I acknowledging that there’s a plan and if not, what am I doing to put together one? This chart can help you get started, however you can choose to ignore some of the fashion related tips (or all of them!) although it may help you if you want to have more focus on your wardrobe along with the rest of your work life.

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  • As a self described ambivert, I know when the introvert and extrovert parts of my personality are out of whack. When I’m at conferences or bigger events, I usually am connecting with people who I already know and get introduced to people who are a part of other people’s networks. During these times, I try to stay engaged and not allow my brain to wander. Finding ways to connect can be challenging and if you treat it in a way that allows you to be authentic, you’ll be able to find people who are working towards similar goals. If you’re looking for ways to prepare yourself for those days when you need to be more “on” then you may find these tips helpful.

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  • Being self aware is critical to being a good manager/leader and it also works towards your brand. You can have internal reflection as well as external awareness to help you take notice of how you view yourself vs how others see you. Taking a temperature from your network can give you a better sense of that internal/external alignment. Doing this can open your eyes to more objectivity and you can do the work, if necessary, to correct any negative behavior.

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  • Studies show that getting enough sleep per night over time can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and you can reap daily benefits of better concentration, enhanced creativity, and good mood vibes (who doesn’t want more of that?!). As I’ve gotten older, I can feel the difference in my performance when I don’t get enough sleep. I feel sluggish and my brain seems to work in the slowest drive possible. Here are do’s and don’ts for a better night’s rest.

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  • I hope you’re taking steps to keep your mental health in tip top shape. I’ve mentioned in the blog that I’m just mentally exhausted which leads me to physical exhaustion because I lost my pick up and go. The energy that I once had no longer exists and I’m slowly digging myself out of the hole so that I can return to a more positive place. If you’re looking for an assist, here are 7 mental health apps that may give you a boost.

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  • The 10 essential ways to plan a successful day was once my life. I have fallen off the wagon HARD and it’s been such a process to get myself into a routine that I actually enjoy. There are obstacles and challenges that continue to mentally block me from getting to a better place and I’ve given myself the space to say that I will return to a routine when I’m up to it. When I was in a good rhythm these things were important for me to get organized and to feel a sense of accomplishment when I ended my day. What works for you?

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  • Everyone knows that I’m all for creating opportunities for diversity and women, especially from communities of color. It doesn’t matter the industry, women are lacking in senior level positions throughout and when you talk about winemakers in the Champagne region of France, you’re talking about a handful of women when there are close to 5,000 winemakers total. Lindsey Tramuta recently wrote an article for Food & Wine on The Women Working to Bring Diversity to Champagne and it’s an interesting read, not only for the history but also for what women winemakers are doing to improve the situation. So the next time you have some French bubbles, think about whose making it!

Thanks for reading/sharing – see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v36

It’s back to school and back to having Congress in session (at least for the next 2 weeks until they go back to a district work period!). I’ve got my call sheets and a new pack of sharpies and pens and highlighters and notebooks and and and….can you tell that I’m a little excited about the back to work part? In all honesty, I enjoyed the last few weeks of cooler temperatures and the change of scenery. I was always the kid that enjoyed the days leading up to back to school (all of the frenzy to get my new backpack and school supplies) and later when I was in college, I was an Orientation Leader who helped the Freshmen get acclimated to Tulane. It feels like a new day so whenever “back to school” starts, we can readjust any previous attitudes to a more positive one. Who needs January 1st to have resolutions when you have the ability to revamp your goals and ideas of what you want to do in life just as the seasons change. Evolution is constant so take advantage of the time to add or subtract your goals and most importantly, take stock of who you want to be.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Lately I’ve been reflecting on my career goals and where I want to go next. I decided that I wanted to go in a different direction and have taken steps to not take projects that would be incongruent with my goals. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less patient and have found that I’m unwilling to do things that I once did when I started out. It’s not that I deem the work less than me. It’s more of I’ve already done this in my life and want to do new things. So if you’re searching for who you’re meant to be and how to harness your passion(s), then look no further because who else but Ms. Oprah can give you an exercise to work it out! Find out what you’re great at and what you can do to keep you moving forward while being successful. So if that didn’t help you, you can also try this version in finding your purpose. Life is too short to be doing something you don’t enjoy. It may mean that you may have less financial resources or a less comfortable standard of living. It also means that you might be happier with your life where you know that your work is aligned with your values.

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  • Sometimes life can be overwhelming and for the most part, I don’t let it get to me. Most of the time, my friends/colleagues think that I always have my shiz together and yes, it’s mostly true however, life isn’t perfect and I will feel that things can be a little out of control. I’ve said in the past and continue to say it now, that I’m a procrastinator and I know it. Which means I have to take measures that will allow me to curb that bad habit. I try to schedule as much as possible knowing that I need to cushion time for me to get things done. People think that I’m a hardass when I decline invitations to hang out because I’m writing or whatever I do on any given day that I’ve set a schedule. Yes, I’m missing out on fun but I don’t have FOMO because I know the consequences of me pushing off a deadline. It’s not good for me and trust me, I’m more about creating less pain for myself in the long term then having more fun in the short term. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be spontaneous. It just means that I won’t let my procrastinating behavior take over the goody two shoes side of me. If you find yourself overwhelmed, take a breath and get focused. You’ll get it done once you create an action plan.

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  • If you’re returning from vacation, I hope you’ve had a stress free period of your life. No one ever really knows whats happening in people’s lives so if you’re outwardly exhibiting a kickass life but am inwardly waging war, please know that there are ways to make life less chaotic. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and the little things in life can make a big difference. Here are ways that you can practice self care in 15 minutes or less.

Thanks for reading/sharing – see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v32

I’m looking forward to Thursday as I’ll be at Netroots Nation – whose going? Much thanks to all of you Arum Group readers who voted for my panel, “Diversifying the Progressive Movement”. If you’re attending, drop by the 1pm session at Regency VI. If you aren’t attending, you can still stream the session at 1pm eastern on Thursday, 8/10 or you can go directly to Netroots Nation’s Facebook page. How’s your summer coming along?

In the meantime, Tuesday Truths!

  • Having cordial work relationships are important to creating a sense of partnership & collaboration when circumstances necessitate it. When I think about working in politics, I think about the people who I’ve had the privilege to work with throughout the years. Sometimes we worked closely and intensely while at other times, we may have been in different departments and would say, “hello” to one another during staff meetings. Your reputation is important as it will always precede you and when you have the opportunity to introduce someone, sharing how their work product is an asset to the team goes a long way in highlighting that person’s value. Saying nice things about your colleagues not only brings positive benefits to them, but to the person saying them as well.

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  • My work area is a pit of paper. It’s managed chaos at its very best because although it may look like I have no idea what’s going on, I really do know where everything is located. Some say that it’s genius while others would leave screaming from the sight of it all. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine did a snap of his desk where it was immaculate. Everything in its place without a single piece of paper in sight. I snapped him saying that my desk would look like that on my 1st and my last day of work. My productivity doesn’t necessarily decrease from my chaos so I’m not about to change what already works but if you need to re-organize your office area, here are tips to becoming more streamlined.

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  • In politics, people tend to confuse strategy with tactics. Along the same lines, people sometimes are too busy executing that they don’t have the bandwidth to really think about the long term trajectory of an organization. This requires strategic thinking and an allotment of time to actually think. The concept of thinking, where ideas can ruminate and grow to become 3 dimensional thoughts requires people to expand their capacity beyond tactics.

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  • Showing up is half the battle. People succeed in whatever kind of environment (whether it be professional or personal) because they consistently show up. If you seriously want to reach a goal, you have to write it down and you have to create a pattern so that it starts a habit. Want to lose weight? Then you need to create a plan that details what you’re doing (exercise & meal plans) so that you can execute towards a goal. To achieve those goals, you have to show up – exercise class, to the gym, walks/runs/bikes/fill in the blank exercise activity with exerted effort, healthy choices while grocery shopping, & portion control. If you don’t show up prepared for any of these things, it will take you longer to accomplish your goal(s), if you attain them at all. This is not to say that you can’t make mistakes or fall off the wagon. It does require that when those things happen, you get back to creating a habit. This also applies to your professional career because when you’re reliable with your deadlines and do what you say you’re going to do, this creates trust. People can see that you’re walking the walk and not just talk. So when you think about commitment, you’re also thinking about trust and how that affects your brand.

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  • It’s August so it should be a time when people are relaxing on summer vacation and enjoying some down time. Back to school and back to work will be here soon enough. When that happens, you may need to pull this gif out of your back pocket because when stress comes straight for you, deeply breathing is an ally that can get you through it. The act of inhaling and exhaling can create calmness and when everything is going a bajillion miles an hour, you can take a moment to step back and recalibrate.

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  • I get so many requests for coffee (which I don’t even drink!) meetings because people have heard that I care about AAPI candidates, helping women succeed as entrepreneurs or within the political industry, and because it actually does relate to my day job as a political consultant. I try my best to always help my junior staff in asking people in my network to meet with them for informational interviews etc..and sometimes the time I spend on career counseling can be excessive which leads me to when you should or shouldn’t work for free. I see it as power without accountability. People ask for my opinion because they think I have it together, although that is debatable on certain days so my brand makes you think that I have it together. Everyone has different definitions about what is successful and my friends think I’m well disciplined when it comes to how I spend my time. It’s a constant struggle and when people start taking time from me where I should be charging for that expertise, I need to push back and reclaim it (I know, Auntie Maxine said it first!). If you’re in a position where you can’t navigate between charging or doing something pro bono, you need to recognize what do you actually get out of it. Is it a monetary compensation or is it something that can deepen a relationship and/or bring more exposure to your work? Who you target for your audience will determine your price point and every activity has a price range for your cost of services.

Thanks for reading/sharing! See you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v24

Last week I had a win with the #CA34 special election and although I’m not directly working on any of the elections in Virginia, I’m keeping my fingers crossed! #GOFIGHTWIN

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I enjoyed this article because it reminded that no matter how much I am a hot mess, there are women out there who think I have it made, which means that there are women that I admire who probably are going through similar feelings. Books and guides are written to highlight the unique stories about people who have successfully navigated to dream jobs and careers, but more often than not, there are thousands of stories of people going through similar challenges to attain their definition of success. Life and career are never easy and as the article states, “success is a mess”. People often gloss over their journey and in hindsight, spend a lot of time in rose colored glasses reflecting on how they achieved their goals. I’m guilty of that because my memory has dimmed of when I had to hustle hustle to get clients during the beginning days of my consulting firm.

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  • Last week I shared how perfection can deter us from recognizing the good things we have in life. That doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to dream big. Being engaged in your goals means continually striving to be better. It doesn’t mean that you should have expectations that make you feel badly about your achievements, even if it’s an incremental step towards your larger goal.

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  • In campaigns, we talk about the scarcity of time and when you think about how as the principal of your life, how you spend time, you recognize that time is an extremely important aspect and driving force in your success. Out of the 3 things recommended that you do everyday, I am pretty good with 1-2 things. How are you doing with these recommendations?

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  • People often ask me about how to build relationships with organizations and people in general. It’s both networking as well as expanding your reach in a deeper way. To effectively do that you need to be interested in the people that you’re getting to know. As a result, you should ask them questions that will lead to deeper conversations. Here are questions that can make those conversations more interesting.

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  • With summer temperatures heating up, offices will have policies on appropriate dress code (appropriate sometimes seems to have a subjective definition). Here’s how you can have that conversation without it being uncomfortable. Along the lines of power dressing, Claire Underwood’s character has always been a fashion inspiration. It was fascinating to read how the costume designer conveyed attitudes through tailoring and adjustments in the clothes. I believe in good tailoring because when sometimes fits you perfectly, you’re more comfortable and less likely to fidget. Taking control of your wardrobe is a factor in stepping into your brand.

Thanks for reading/sharing and if you haven’t already, please subscribe!

— Madalene

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v22

Hope everyone had a good 3 day weekend! My father served in the armed forces and although he had already retired his military service by the time I was born, he reminded me of his dedication to the U.S. with his actions and through his relationships with those who served with him. I constantly grew up with stories and mementos of his military career. For example, there is a piece of jagged shrapnel that sits on the fireplace mantel of my childhood home that is a keepsake of what my father endured. He was wounded by that piece of shrapnel and kept it as a reminder. When my father passed away, my mother and I had his burial at Arlington National Cemetery and when I visit him now, I’m made more aware of how many more burials there have been in the nearly 30 years since his funeral. The markers are not of those who served in long ago battles/wars but within recent times. I see parents visiting their children, especially mothers/fathers and widows who sit on lawn chairs, sometimes with small children playing beside them while the adults keep their deceased loved ones company. Even after three decades, if I allow myself the moment, I can tear up thinking about my father so I can only imagine the grief that those left behind must feel. Military service is one of the highest honors to this country and I salute all of those who have served and continue to do so as well as give the utmost respect to the family members who support and continue on in service.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

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  • Managers, soon-to-be managers, supervisors & the like – we need you to create space for emerging talent and guess what, you’ll be rewarded with those people who step forward with them taking things off your plate! Ways that you can expand the leadership circle starts with you so let’s get cracking by changing the environment – it’s a WIN/WIN!

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  • The feedback that I’ve received from my team throughout the years is that people in my office feel valued and I take the time to invest in their progress (even after they leave Arum Group). When brands/companies/restaurants/retail establishments create a healthy work environment, teams form with the company philosophy in mind. Individuals are not just getting a paycheck, they believe in the work. When you have customer service where the employee cares about the customer because the employee knows that that’s part of the brand of the company as well as why, you have a brand that will weather more challenging times. Companies that care about their employees take the time to understand their employees’ well being. If I’m on deadline, I maybe a more irritable person and less cheery but my team knows my quirks and knows that I’m on their side to making them successful. Personality is an ever changing situation but the core of my team’s values remains the same. We fight for one another and when we make mistakes, it’s on me. I’m thankful for their work and I care about them individually. It’s important to understand that I value them and not see them as just another person who clocks in. This creates trust between us and that they can count on me as much as I can count on them.

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  • For those folks who are experiencing their 1st professional job interviews post college, you may want to review these tips to make sure you’re prepped. Some of them are very basic but better to be overly prepared then running late going to the wrong address. I had a young woman who was walking frantically in my neighborhood looking for the address for her interview (mind you, I live in a fairly residential area so not a lot of office buildings) so she knew that something was off. I asked her if she needed help and she showed me the address. Of course, living in DC is also about understanding the quadrant system and she was in NE and not NW (where she was scheduled to interview). I let her know and she was quite distraught that she was going to be late (not a good feeling when you’re trying to remain calm as you interview). It happens and you can prevent being frazzled if you advance your interview location or at the very least, check out where it is located on google maps. Happy Interviewing!

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  • Congratulations, you have the job offer! In this market, you may want to accept the 1st position offered to you but let’s take a moment to think about whether it’s the best fit. You spend so much time at work that aside from the paycheck, you might as well get something out of it for a future position.

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  • For those of us who work constantly, there is a major risk of burnout. My friends and colleagues who have moved out of DC have discovered that work life balance does exist and it’s a crazy atmosphere that drives DC professionals to becoming workaholics. Whether it’s the peer pressure of those around us who are consistently working themselves to the brink of exhaustion or the demands of our jobs, where there aren’t enough people to execute the tasks at hand, DC is a hotbed of crazy work schedules and no time to decompress. It makes us wonder if we’re really cut out for a sustained period of time of non-stop work. Does this lifestyle make us resilient because we are battling time and its effects? If anything, it makes me put boundaries on my time. I used to answer my emails every day of the week, including holidays. Instead, I have a no email Saturday. I don’t look at my emails which means I don’t answer anything and continue the cycle of work. It’s a small step in reclaiming my time and the space that is thoroughly occupied with work. I enjoy what I do so it’s not really a complaint of that type of work, but more of an assessment that I need to be more well rounded. Less work time and less guilt and more time set aside to do things outside of work. It’s nice to have coffee with someone and not discuss work! How you take the time to become resilient is less about enduring the tasks at hand and more about how you give yourself the time and space to recharge.

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  • If you haven’t seen these photos about race and power among women, then you need to check it out immediately. Representation is so important as well as breaking racial stereotypes. The images are a starting point for a deeper and more complex conversation. What do you think about them flipping the script?

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Thanks for reading/sharing! Do you have a topic that you want me to cover? If so, leave me a comment below or on Facebook or drop me a note!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v21

I survived last week’s crush of events to celebrate AAPI heritage month. It’s always a lovely time re-connecting and forging new relationships with those who are interested in uplifting the AAPI community. There are 21 million AAPIs and we represent 6% of the population so we’re encouraging talented individuals to look at public service as a career. Oftentimes, you’ll find people who aren’t interested in running for office because the sacrifice to run and be in the public eye can be daunting.  Compared to pop culture, the majority of elected officials are not “Frank Underwood” or “Fitzgerald Grant”. As a political consultant, I can attest to not ever stealing an election or playing dirty to win. To make policy and politics “sexy”, writers have schemed scenarios that are simply way past anything that any boring campaign/election could ever contrive, with the possible exception of the 2016 presidential election. When faced with squeaky clean candidates, policy discussions and the minutiae of facts and figures can be boring. That doesn’t really draw people’s attentions. If during opposition research, you find information that can be used against your opponent, do you?  Whose the messenger? How is that executed? As a political consultant, I’m still a human being. I may compartmentalize my own emotions to work with a candidate/public official but that doesn’t affect how I treat them as a client. I’m helping them to sell their views and ideas, not mine. I’m certainly not going to do anything to jeopardize my reputation and relationships and most definitely I’m not going to jail for them by doing an illegal activity just so we win. Understanding the limits of power is also essential to really understanding what it means to be an elected official. I go to bed at night with a clear conscience that I’m using my skills to help those who are interested in serving people. Working in politics is an honorable profession, regardless of what my counterparts on tv may do.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I get asked about what makes a good candidate and I always say that it’s important to be an active citizen. Regardless of your constituency, you have the ability to be a part of your community. I’m a DC resident and I travel across the country training and speaking about getting involved in your community so that you can think about being a public servant and get into elected office. That being said, I’m not particularly an active citizen in my own neighborhood. I trust the people who are my neighbors to help me make informed decisions about how I should vote about particular initiatives affecting where we live. I quietly volunteer for a local nonprofit and have gotten to know the people who serve our community in the everyday work that they do. If I were to run for ANC Commissioner, I would need to show up to the meetings and listen to the concerns of my fellow neighbors. I would need to understand what challenges we face and the history of the relationships that have gotten us to this point. Listening is a key factor to understanding what needs aren’t being addressed and learn how I might join the already existing infrastructure to help get those concerns remedied. If you didn’t already know, I read music and have performed for many years playing guitar and have taken many years of voice lessons, particularly in opera. My voice instructor suggested that I switch it up and take jazz instruction. Well, that was a novel idea because as a performer or instrumentalist, I’m supposed to play the music as it’s written and most people have an idea that jazz is an impromptu performance. Let me inform you that it is and it isn’t. In my jazz class, it was required that we learn the pieces as written and then and only then were we allowed to “blow it up”. In other words, learn it as it was intended and then bring your own spin. I can say the same thing about politics and activism. Being an elected official doesn’t mean you are a know-it-all. Most people like the humble aspect of public servants and when you see a problem, learn from the people who have spent years/decades/more time than you on trying to solve the situation before you decide to blow it all up. Although I don’t know the particulars of this election, it’s my understanding that a younger person challenged an older more established person who was the sitting mayor and won. People voted for the younger person in the primary because it appeared from the article that the young person had spent a lot of his youth tending to the needs to the community by revitalizing an amphitheater and voters paid attention to this individual’s enthusiasm for their shared hometown. That is the kind of candidate you want to be, regardless of age, ethnic background etc..

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  • For all those who are in leadership positions in non-profits please take heed of these myth busters. So important that we don’t perpetuate the ugly cycle that causes all of us to have burnout creep. For those who work in non-profits, share it with your leadership so that they can understand that it’s not meant to be normal. Campaigns with its limited life span has similar attitudes but we campaign hacks know that it will last for only so long because election day is looming. There is a way to have work life balance and work shouldn’t consume your life, unless you’re an entrepreneur and it’s just a way of life (totally different topic with a broad array of answers & attitudes).

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  • Going back to the basics when you need to de-stress. Make time for family/loved ones and your tribe who will help you re-charge and release negative energy. I try to not complain because life is bound to have peaks and valleys and so goes work. I enjoy politics and the energy that comes from it (#politicscanbefun) so when there comes a point to when I wonder why I’m doing something, I remind myself of why I got into this industry in the 1st place.

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  • I haven’t yet watch The Handmaid’s Tale (am I the only one?) but I read the book many years ago when I was a college freshman and it was required reading (considering that I went to an all women’s college, Newcomb College of Tulane University, it makes complete sense). Just like in feminism, solidarity to the sisterhood is defined by power and where you are in proximity to it. This article really reflects on how the women villains are so terrifying. This fictionalized novel will hopefully never become reality, however we have had very real situations in history where the women villains have played a significant role. Think back to the Holocaust, slavery, the civil rights movement and there are women who are complicit in the evils that were enacted.

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  • Going from women villains to SHEROS because these Latinas are investing in other women. This gives me so much energy and I love sharing the accomplishments of women, especially those from diverse backgrounds. These stories are about inclusiveness and bringing new stories to the table.

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  • My alma mater graduated over this past weekend – Go Tulane 2017 graduates from this 1994 graduate! Which means that there will soon be an influx of interns and new graduates commandeering the halls of Congress, the streets of DC and the metro tunnels. Every year I want to take a group of these young professional women and give them my 2 cents on what is deemed professional attire. Each industry has their standard and it’s totally up to you if you want to blend in or stand out. What’s important is that you have a work attitude that goes with your attire, one that screams, “I’m a go-getter and I have the brains to match this awesome outfit too”. People will take you seriously if you look the part with your own personality thrown in for good measure. Here are other professional women’s suggestions on what to wear if you’re an intern or if you’re starting your first career job. For the record, most people say that I always look “dressed up” (trust me, I’m not wearing a ball gown) but their definition of “dressed up” is just my regular way of putting on my armor (white hat not included, Scandal reference BTW). Occasionally I’ll get mistaken for a Member of Congress and that’s probably more a combination of someone confusing me for a real Member of Congress, the way I dress & my demeanor. That tells me that I’m wearing clothes that allows people to make that assumption because if I dressed like a “stereotypical intern” then people would mistake me for one.

Thanks for sharing/reading! If you enjoy the posts, please LIKE Arum Group on Facebook! Appreciate the support 🙂

— Madalene