Dare to Lose in Order To Win

When I read the recent Politico article about 18-year old Talia Maselli, the young woman who invited Vice President Joe Biden to be her prom date, I was stunned and inspired. What if everyone had the moxie she does? What if we were more willing to take risks like this? And what did she have to lose?

Though the veep didn’t accept the date, Talia did get a corsage and a personal invitation to Washington. And, she gets the story of a lifetime.

I am proud of young Talia, and of her parents who raised her to be unafraid to take a chance. Eric and I instilled that same confidence in our daughters, and we now see it in our grandsons.

Moreover, reading Talia’s story reminded me of my decision almost 8 years ago to run for County Commissioner. I had never imagined myself running for public office, but when I was encouraged to consider it, I started looking at what the job entailed. I attended the Commissioners’ general session meetings and weekly briefings. I talked to leaders in business and non-profit. I talked to my colleagues at MORPC where I was then happily working as the Director of Public Relations.

The more I learned, the more I knew this was a position in which I could make a difference, and one that I would find fulfilling and satisfying.

However, in order to run, I had to make some big decisions. I would have to leave my job at MORPC, and our income would fall by half for the year I’d be out campaigning. I’d have to put in long hours and build a network. I’d have to *gasp* ask people for money. And even if I did all of those things, I’d still be facing a 12-year incumbent with strong ties to both business and labor. I could end up unemployed and defeated.

It was a huge risk.

With huge rewards.

I knew that I could put in the work, and that if I ran, I was running to win. With the unconditional support of Eric and my family, I entered the race. I left my job. I built a network (though many in the community thought I had little chance of winning). I worked HARD. I campaigned vigorously. I raised funds, though, not nearly what I needed, and yet…..

……I won.

I now have the best job I could ever want. I love the work I do, my team, and the residents we serve. I know that my office is making a difference in people’s lives every day.

I encourage you to be more like Talia. Redefine your comfort zone to contain what you really want, not just what you comfortably have. Make a plan, calculate the risks, and then commit. Go all in. You must dare to dream, and dare to lose in order to win.

Great things await Talia and those like her who aren’t afraid to follow their passion. Great things await, and I look forward to being your partner, and your Commissioner, as together we make those great things happen for all of Franklin County.

Published May 21, 2014

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