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 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 v40

We’re in a new QTR and getting ready for the end of the year. It’s also a good time to reassess goals and strategize any kind of course correction. Over the weekend, I got a chance to talk with a group about basic fundraising and with the women who are participants of the WeLead program through American University’s Women in Politics Institute and with both groups, I reiterated that going through the process helps you to set your goals and move the needle. You can always modify your plans because nothing is written in stone so if you really want to track your progress, write it down! It’s not necessary for you to share your plans or you can choose to shout it from the rooftops. Putting these goals on paper allows you to see what steps you need to take to move forward and you get to celebrate every time you make progress, regardless of how big or small the step.

Let’s get to Tuesday Truths!

  • One of the questions I received while speaking at the WeLead program dealt with my self-care. Instead of really addressing what I do for myself, I talked more about what happens with my staff so that they recognize that they need to do it for themselves and for people who work on their team. I would rather teach by example so when people leave for their next opportunity, they will demonstrate the same kinds of habits that they experienced as a staffer in their new role as a manager. These habits shouldn’t limit itself to work. We’ve talked about expressing thanks and living with more gratitude/kindness. These steps can help you in establishing that kind of culture at least in your professional life and hopefully, it can be felt personally as well.

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  • Along with publicly thanking my team, I also work with them individually and privately on their professional development. We try to meet quarterly so that we can assess where they are on their goals as well as what I may catch as a potential bad habit (which we want to nip sooner rather than later). We initially talk about strengths and weaknesses and develop ways that they can neutralize whatever weaknesses were identified. As we continue to work together, I can provide feedback on what’s working. These can be tough conversations because who wants to point out other people’s flaws? What helps is that you’re both working together towards action items that can show improvement. Here are ideas when you need to give feedback to your staff.

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  • My office is a training ground for emerging leaders (I am like a proud mother hen!) because I have a slew of former staffers and interns who are making their way in their specific fields and ROCKING it. I like to think that their time with me helped to form them as professionals, not only in their work performance but also with how they work with their teams. Becoming a manager in politics does not come with a manual. When I recently worked with the DNC on a training, there was a session basically discussing how to be a good manager. This included performance reviews, working with people who may be much more older and more seasoned than you, and building relationships that are far flung when you have offices stretching miles across a state. All of these issues are important when you lead a team. Building cohesiveness while providing structure and discipline. All of these points aren’t necessarily taught in a campaign atmosphere because we’re focused on meeting deadlines and goals. What people don’t realize is that if you don’t set the tone immediately as a manager, all of your goals and deadlines won’t matter if your team is back stabbing and lacks the motivation to get through more challenging situations. So guess what? New managers need support and the ability to learn how to be good managers – that means take the time to train them and connect them to others who have the experience to help them navigate a tough situation. If you need help, read this article to figure out what to ask for so that you can get the skills you need.

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  • When you’re thinking about where you are in your career, you should also spend the time with where you are in life. Are you aligned with your purpose in life? Pretty deep question to ponder and it’s one that can provide you with fulfillment. The Japanese concept of ikigai doesn’t need to be grand. It needs to be specific to you and believe it or not, it doesn’t have to do with work or with income.

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  • One of the questions from the WeLead participants dealt with advice to our younger selves and one of the panelists talked about not being enamored with someone else’s job title. I can wholeheartedly agree with this concept. Placing value on your worth is about your ability and skill. Job titles are free and kicking ass everyday in whatever position you hold is about valuing yourself. Competition is healthy when it motivates you to say that you are working towards a goal or reaching an achievement. Compete with yourself to gain more skills and to be more qualified than you were last year. The jobs that you take in life don’t define who you are so don’t let others use that as a way to create doubt about your abilities.

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Thanks for reading/sharing! See you next Tuesday!

— 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 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 v31

Congress has recessed and once again, ObamaCare continues on even though the Republican controlled Senate continues to insist that it needs to be repealed. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted! I’m ready for a time-out from DC and looking forward to a change of scenery. I hope you’ve got plans for the August exodus!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • This year has been extremely demoralizing on the professional front. Yet, I know that there are bright spots to my life that I’m fortunate to experience. I get teary eyed thinking about my friendships and how they have individually grown as people. They have experienced professional triumphs and are easing into personal transitions (motherhood, finding partners etc..). Life is about having the ability to build resilience and as I hit my stride into mid life, I know that I have the skills to face the challenges that come with change. Here’s how you can prepare for what life is certainly going to bring your way.

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  • Do you want to be more productive? Have you tried time batching? I have Follow up Fridays in my office to do follow up calls for those donors who have yet to contribute their commitments. This particular technique keeps me and my team grounded in knowing that we can take care of these follow ups and we won’t lose track of these outstanding items.

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  • In political communication, we warn candidates/campaigns that they have to define themselves otherwise their opponents will create their narrative for them and you spend more time trying to refute someone else’s misconceptions vs setting the story straight from the get go. So when you think about self promotion, you need to think about how you talk about yourself and how your narrative can highlight your accomplishments. Share the credit and bring others with you.

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  • I try to create a work environment that shows my team that we’re in this together and that I value their work. Some of the things that I do include doing a weekly staff lunch (whether ordering in for the office or taking them out to a restaurant of their choice), awarding my team with gifts from when I have work travel and they’re holding down the fort, as well as creating projects where they have forced family fun. In the end, I’ve found that the camaraderie that is created goes across the generations of staff that I’ve had the good fortunate to mentor in the 15 years I’ve had my firm and I hope that these small gestures lets them know that they’re appreciated. As a result, I’ve been invited to weddings, baby showers and celebrations of personal milestones years after our professional relationship has ended. My biggest hope is that they treat their teams as they were treated so that the circle expands and people treat one another with respect and personally invest in their success.

Thanks for reading/sharing & look forward to visiting with you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v30

It’s been an eventful week since our last Tuesday Truths: I was part of a presser for the launch of the National Association of Diverse Consultants (which got covered in Campaigns & Elections as well as the NBC News website), introduced a new member of Congress to the drama of the call room (really, it’s quite boring), and traveled to the San Francisco Bay area to do another campaign management training. Plus, I got to be the proud spouse and see The Mister get quoted in the New York Times 🙂 Not bad for the middle of an “off-year” Summer!

Here’s Tuesday Truths…

  • We spend a lot of time delving into improving our professional and personal self development as well as talking about how we’re usually a work in progress. There’s always going to be something that we can improve. There’s also going to be time when we’re just exhausted and feel quite happy coasting along. Are you actually ever really done with self improvement is a question that Marie Forleo poses and I would enjoy hearing your comments/thoughts!

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  • I’m headed for a much needed break in August (although I will have wifi and be accessible), I’m going to ponder these four work-life questions as I start to think how I’m going to spend the remaining calendar year. You can use it if you’re thinking about your own career path and what you can be doing to make yourself a more well rounded person.

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  • Being happy takes a lot of work. For me, it means being a little less self absorbed and being more open. It means releasing negativity and not letting the little slights get at my positivity. It means finding solutions to my fears and worries and recognizing that I have a pretty happy life already. It means that I create the environment that will give me the most peace, the most sanctuary and try to provide that for someone else who is less fortunate. Don’t stand in the way of your own happiness. Take note of the things that you do to put obstacles in front of you and change your behavior so that you give to others.

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  • Being in politics requires a tough skin. You’re in the public eye and if you’re really in the game, you’re bound to be criticized. Even if you’re not an elected official, your personal ecosystem, whether it’s in your office or in your personal space as a volunteer leader, will involve having critics. How do you overcome the negativity? I acknowledge that there is a difference of opinion and that people have different priorities. In the scheme of things, most of the time, you’ll have more advocates than critics and only listening to the criticism isn’t worth the energy to address it.

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  • I know that I have my “go-to” words for conversations and writing. With the current political environment, I’ve made a conscious effort to remove the word, “great’ from my vocabulary. There are times when I break out Google and check synonyms because I know that there are better alternatives for the same tired words that are my first choice. I may not agree with this author’s point about “making an ask” because obviously, I do it quite often as a fundraiser, but he does provide interesting points for how you can make yourself sound smarter by cleaning up your word choices.

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Thanks for reading/sharing and drop me a note if you got a comment!

— Madalene