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 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

 

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v39

We’re in the final stretch of the QTR so get your money in for all of the political causes you believe in so that we can have the highest tally on September 30th. As much as I appreciate support on October 1st, it’s a little painful that it can’t count for the 3rd QTR. The flip side is that that contribution starts off the 4th QTR count. Fundraising never ends!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Much thanks to Tanya Tarr for featuring me in her negotiation article about resilience. If you’re getting started in fundraising, you can read more about Tanya’s experience about staying in the saddle even after getting several no’s and how as she continued forward, her asks got bigger and the results got better! I’ve always felt that creating your own luck is essential to getting to your goals and as a result, you learn how to be resilient.

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  • Building teams to execute a project can be challenging and when you’re working in a small organization, there aren’t that many opportunities to mix up the staff to spur creativity. You do have the ability to change up the environment and to motivate your team through incentives to reward them for a job well done. Here are ways that can help you build a better team or at the very least, encourage your team members to feel that the work really is a team effort. I’ve talked about how I’ve taken my team to a weekly staff lunch of their choice. It’s also important to acknowledge each team member for their accomplishments in a public way and I also show my gratitude by purchasing gift cards or something from the road when I’m traveling to thank them. As much as I like being in the office to get work done, it’s important to not always have a static setting when you’re trying to innovate. So step away from a familiar setting to get new ideas flowing.

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  • I mentor quite a few women who are in the beginning stages of their careers and provide career advice for women who maybe hitting their stride in their chosen profession and are likely maybe a decade younger then me. Having these conversations are fulfilling because I hope that by sharing my experiences, I’m helping them navigate their own career path. The benefit for me is that their questions also highlights for me the current trends affecting professionals of their experience and age. When you think about establishing a relationship with a mentor, there will be expectations from both sides so setting boundaries is important and recognizing what you want out of the relationship.

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  • I’m all about sharing a platform for women and women of color. My sisters in the tech industry (where I have some experience being that I have fundraised in that industry since the mid 1990s from venture capitalists for political campaigns and organizations) are fighting against the stereotypes of AAPI women who work in this field. Big props to Tina Lee, a dear friend who heads up a nonprofit to train moms how to code and to re-engage in the work force. AAPI women continue to make strides to be valued for our intelligence and technical ability and I’m looking forward to hearing more success stories of their progress.

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  • When I started in politics, I moved from field to fundraising and at the time, I didn’t know that many people of color who did fundraising. I also was working in a very specific area within the Democratic Party: moderate Democrats so an area that leaned more heavily into the business community and more Southern. Which meant that I spent a lot of time with Caucasian people, both elected officials and donors. I didn’t spend a lot of time with the AAPI community and it wasn’t until I started working with AAPI candidates and elected officials did I start to learn about the AAPI narrative. By then I was an established fundraiser and had already spent time training people with the philosophy that regardless of your ethnic background, your abilities transcends your race. You’re a good communications director, fundraiser, campaign manager and you also happen to be “fill in the blank”. Provide the training so that people from all backgrounds can have the technical skills to advance in their careers. Marry that with opportunity and hopefully you will have a pipeline that creates a diverse work force within the progressive movement. In that context, it irks me to no end when organizations talk about having people of color working in their organizations and they aren’t in leadership positions or they are relegated to only engaging with their constituency. I’m a good fundraiser and I have the cultural competency to talk with my natural constituency and that shouldn’t limit me to only talking to my constituency. I ain’t got time for tokenism and neither should you. Take a good hard look within and around you. We’re not perfect and making changes so that we don’t fall into that trap for show will make for a better relationship for all of us.

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  • I’ve been watching MSNBC for a while and although it’s not Wednesday, I’ve got #WCW vibes for Joy Reid. Most of the time when I’m perusing my twitter feed, I’m screaming “YAASSS!” when reading her comments. She was recently profiled in Vogue.com and it was cool to see that the article pointed out that with tv as her medium, she uses the opportunity to create a full package of herself.

Thanks for reading/sharing and hope to see you next week! Drop me a line if you want to have a particular subject matter shared.

— 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 v33 SPECIAL EDITION: Charlottesville

I hope you’ve had a chance to process what happened over the weekend and have given yourself space to be with people who love you and care about your well being. Life should not be lived in a continual place of fighting for self preservation. Everyday people of color, immigrants from all backgrounds, those who aren’t male/straight/abled bodied are fighting for equity and to be VALUED. You would think that in 2017 this kind of racism, sexism & straight forward hatred wouldn’t exist.

Yet it does and we must continue to stand with one another. Even from within the progressive movement, we remind one another to give space to those who don’t look like us. I’m reminded as an AAPI woman to look to those who aren’t like me to also be in the story and to highlight their work/accomplishments. We are not perfect and we strive to be better. It requires all of us to call out our friends and to be conscious of correcting mistakes. We can’t avoid our history and we must take action to protect one another.

A friend shared her story of being spit on & verbally abused while traveling in a full subway car in a large metropolitan city. This is unacceptable. We can’t be afraid to stand with one another and myself being half white, I look to my white allies/partners/accomplices to be brave. I understand that that it takes courage to stand up when the circumstances can be dangerous or putting yourself in bodily harm. You can be a part of the solution by having those difficult and awkward AF conversations with the people in your lives who don’t consider themselves racist but yet demonstrate that they are racists. Senator Boxer recalls a time in her youth when her mother made her confront a friend who she knew did something wrong. Its our fear of confrontation and what it can bring that causes us to let things slide. In our head and in our heart, we know it’s wrong and standing up for what’s right can make a difference. How do you go about having these conversations if you’re white? By meeting people halfway and not attacking them. This level of racism didn’t happen overnight so having one conversation isn’t going to eradicate this mentality. The responsibility can’t be on only communities of color to have these conversations.

I applaud the parents who are teaching their children about the weekend events and how society can rear its ugly head. Those conversations are helping to create adults more aware of the injustices in the world who are ready to face it as well as combat it. Raising resilient children who are self-confident and empathetic to others is already challenging. Add in this kind of environment and it makes me say an additional prayer. Fortunately, there are resources where you can find books/articles that can teach young people and adults how to have conversations about race, gender, class so much thanks to my colleague, Amber Goodwin for organizing it.

As little people get older, especially young girls who are maturing in adulthood, I’m glad to see that Teen Vogue is leading the way in using its platforms to have a discussion on racism. Earlier in the weekend, they devoted their twitter account to discuss Charlottesville and racism instead of live tweeting the Teen Choice awards. They used this time to also share where people could donate or show their support of the counter protestors and Black students returning to UVA. They also have an article on their website on how to help. Being a teenager is already hard so having media outlets talking about these tough issues to this demographic deserves all the props.

Please be kind to yourself. This year has been brutal and it continues to wear us down mentally, physically, & emotionally. Be with your tribe, talk with a professional about your feelings, process your emotions and gather your strength. There will be times when it will seem too much and that’s when you need the support of friends and loved ones to tell you that we will prevail. I recognize that there are challenges from within my community and any rage that I feel needs to be channeled into productive outlets. To alleviate the stress, use these relaxation techniques from the Mayo Clinic.

Thank you for reading/sharing and feel free to drop me a note in the comments section!

— 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

 

It’s Not Everyday When You Make NBC News

Yesterday was a big day! I was honored to be a part of a speaker line up for the launch of the National Association of Diverse Consultants. This mission of the organization is to increase awareness to progressive campaigns, organizations and allies of consultants who can bring cultural competency and experience.

If you care to read more about the organization, check out the website, Facebook (where you can search for the launch in videos) and twitter. If you’d like to be a part of the organization, you can also sign up to become a member.

It was terrific to see that we were trending on twitter and got some incredible news coverage. Much thanks to Chuck Rocha (if you don’t follow him on twitter, get on it!) and his team, Solidarity Strategies for being the driving force in making this organization a reality.

Since I’m a fundraiser and we do our darnedest to not be in the press, it’s not everyday that I get quoted in NBC News 🙂

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v29

I’m getting ready to get back on the road again! Leaving for the Bay area to do another training and hopefully experience cooler temperatures than the DC humidity. On a non work related topic, whose been watching GoT??? I’m loving the women characters from the premiere. Lady Mormont maybe small and she doesn’t need anyone’s permission! #FeminisimRules

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

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  • Work is work and sometimes we get caught in the notion that you have to love your work to be happy in life. Life isn’t meant to be perfect because you need the ebb and flow to understand gratitude. Recognizing when the benefits of your work outweigh the challenges is really the key to understanding if you’re doing what you love. It’s probably the reason why I continue to review the past 15 years as an entrepreneur with rose colored glasses. I can barely remember the times when I wanted to throw in the towel because all of the benefits outweigh the challenges. It’s good to know what drives your purpose because when your work becomes a career, it can also be an adventurous journey. Here are a few extraordinary women who share how they made their careers into an adventure.

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  • As a woman, I know all too well the pressures that society places on my gender in both a professional and personal context. For the longest time, my own mother (who has been an independent woman for all of her life) really didn’t understand why I didn’t want to get married and because she raised a stubborn daughter, I pointedly didn’t get married when she wanted me to just so that I could say that I did it out of my own choice and not by being harangued into it. Living in DC, where everything is not normal, I see women who chose to have children later in life and women who decided to get married in their 30s+ or not at all. I have also shared how the “outside/normal” world thinks about women candidates/elected officials who are single or who don’t have children. Society continues to place pressure on gender roles and finding a workplace that takes that into consideration is extremely forward thinking. This has led to new opportunities for businesses to fill in the gaps. There are now maternity concierge services that will help women with the issues that they normally deal with so that they can focus on returning to work. It’s helpful in getting the tasks done so that women aren’t trying to do it all however it doesn’t address the same societal pressure that it’s women who have to be the ones responsible in executing these tasks.

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  • I’m trying to be more present these days which means, I don’t look at my phone. I have an app that tells me each week how much time I spend on a particular app where I’m trying to curtail my engagement. I try to spend one day of the weekend where I don’t read my email and I don’t respond to work. I don’t want my life to be a series of hours that were meant to catch up. So if you’re learning how to unplug, here are a few suggestions so that you can properly decompress and come back refreshed.

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  • We live such crazy hectic lives that it seems a little out of place to slow down. I have to be honest and tell you that I have a lot of guilt if I’m not doing a million different things (which is a horrible habit). My brain is constantly firing away at different thoughts and projects that it physically hurts when I have to focus **all** of my attention to accomplish one action. You should have seen me last week responding to my French tutor in French in an email. It’s been more than 6 months since I used my brain to speak, let alone think, in another language. You could virtually see the steam coming out of my ears because my brain was working so hard. So it’s a nice reminder to everyone, including myself that it’s OK to slow down. I used to drive a lot more than I do now and I used to listen to NPR or the BBC on the radio and I can’t do that anymore because listening to the news is too depressing. So the alternative to listening to the news is silence, which is an act of kindness to myself. Silence is so rare and I do my best thinking when there is no noise but my thoughts. Hence, my best thinking comes from when I take a shower, but maybe TMI. Nonetheless, I like driving in silence and I can say that I’m meditating (sorta).

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