Shifting Into Leadership

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Today's realization: every single time since April 25* that I have tried to get an existing organization to lead - or tried to do something the fast or "easy" way - it hasn't worked.


Freaking hindsight. Had I known that, I'd have gone after things differently. Perhaps a more positive attitude would call it the flow of things.

OR, a sign that I need to lead. And to create a *new* organization. Both of which I have *actively* resisted... which is especially humorous considering that I'm the one with the big idea for this national movement in the first place.

I don't know how things are meant to unfold or whatever but obviously it's a hell of a lot of work to create a new national initiative. Which I did NOT want to do.

<< insert much Yosemite Sam type grumbling here >>

So okay. The work needs to get done though.

So what's been created is a super shiny brand-new, proper, formal, fully incorporated, non-profit, officially filed, Super PAC in place to build out this vision I've been persistently going after since the fall election. Or since the 2016 election probably.

It's got no money.... but it IS standing by for big action. That's no small feat.

The good news is... I've had some fabulous reinforcements so far. A team coalesced, too, to grow this. I've learned WAY more things than I had planned to. Which is fine. I'm going to need to learn a whole lot more.

There's a life lesson here, probably..... if I'm willing to look at it.

I have tended to lead from the sidelines.

For my whole career, I have been right behind someone else leading something. Making sure all the ducks were in a row. Whispering advice in meetings. Setting up & executing plans. Making sure all the pieces & parts line up. Creating big vision, & helping others lead it. Getting frustrated when they don't. Watching quite a bit of stuff flail & fail, although I've seen success too. I've learned from leaders who manage, support, and coordinate response to the country's largest catastrophes. It's a good foundation. Especially for the time we're in.

When I first moved to Washington DC, one of my fire friends told me that there would be a time when you'd look around and find that you are the adult in the room. And you'd have a decision: will you be the one to lead?

Now that we are in the Trump era (insert appalled reaction), the adult-in-the-room phrase has been extremely overused.

But I have been looking around.

Who is leading the charge to win in rural America?

I don't see any out in front, making waves.

The Shift the Country PAC is not there yet either.

But we can be. The pieces are in place.

I've been reluctant to lead. I know that. It's fair.

I'm in good company too. I'm not the only one who hesitates. Yet in this work, a whole lot of us are going to need to lead. I'm not the only one who's going to have to plow through my discomfort. Might as well get going on it (plus, I got to use a farm metaphor there).


I spent the winter doing the research, & building a vision. There are tools to implement it, but we need more resources to get those out. The research is published.

The structure is in place to execute - at scale.

I mean we can really go big.

I'm pretty excited about where it's all at.

And I'm (finally) (I'm pretty sure) (definitely) (absolutely) ready to lead. We have a good team in place so we are grounded and anchored.

We're sort of at a point like in the big bang where we are literally at the point before the actual bang. We're reliant on social media algorithms for outreach, a bit constrained by various rules, & out of available resources to do more deep work in the current moment.

What we are not out of is faith. Belief.

One of my favorite movie lines ever is, "I don't care what you believe... just believe it!" (Firefly).

There's a lot of disempowerment going around. Disenchantment. Hand-wringing. Resignation.

I don't have a lot of patience for that.

Yeah we're up against some big challenges. But we've got options. Tools. Mechanisms. We've got science. We've got faith, in each other. Heck, people are dumping millions in these presidential campaigns, so we know there's money. Perhaps we can get some of that action over here, to help the left win the Electoral College & the White House itself. As the wise one says, "we'll see."

For now, I believe.

I believe we can #ShiftTheCountry.

I'm all in.

This post is a fundraising solicitation for the Shift the Country PAC, a federal Super PAC working on the 2020 election. Not authorized by any party, candidate, or candidate's committee.
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This post was originally posted on Facebook.
* POST SCRIPT:  The date referenced in the post, April 25, 2019, is the date the full original Shift the Country Proposal was received by the Democratic National Committtee - prior to any consideration about creating a Super PAC to do the work outlined in the proposal.  The original hope was for the DNC to champion and lead the work to Shift the Country across America.  Similar pitches were made to other major political & activist organizations, although most did not receive the entire proposal.

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