Four years ago, this week, I ran in a five-way primary for the Virginia House of Delegates. I did well but I didn’t win.
Of course, I would have preferred to win. But even though I lost the race, it was still one of the very best things I’ve ever done. By being willing to take the risk, I met amazing people, built new and stronger relationships, learned a bunch of skills and a ton about myself. It was a wild 70-day campaign that also taught me things that are critical in living and working in a time of fast, constant change.
Here are three of the lessons I took with me.
Tip 1. Focused Decisive Action. When there is no time, you have to focus. You have to focus only on what must be done to get to the goal. When you are working, be focused. Then take a break and do the other things later. When things are moving fast, you need to triage what moves you forward to the goal and what doesn’t. You also need to make decisions quickly. If you make a mistake, you can always make another decision. But if you don’t decide, the world will decide for you.
Tip 2. Radical self-care. When things are moving fast, so are you and so you also need to take care of yourself. While trips to meditate in Nepal might be nice, I really mean small actions all day long. Taking a deep breath and remembering you are safe. Taking a walk around the block to change perspective and move. Finding the funny in the painful and irritating. Laughing. Remembering that you are no good to anyone else if you aren’t ok yourself.
Tip 3. Worry is a Waste of Energy. Managing anxiety is critical. It’s fine as a quick alarm to pay attention, but then you need to take action, even if it is to do nothing. Staying in the anxiety gets in the way of Tip 1 and Tip 2, doesn’t help anything and wastes energy.
Have a great weekend and have fun!