I was chatting with the organizer of an upcoming conference, talking through all the details of my talk, when she said, “I saw you in this morning’s ‘On the Dot’ and it was a reminder to call you.” Excuse me? What? The same publication that featured US Senator Kamala Harris?
Well, it was true, and it’s one of the most beautiful articles anyone has written about me. I’m totally humbled. Yet, as I read this fabulous article about my accomplishments and this incredible moment in my career and life, I thought about all I’ve been through to get there because the journey has been paved with struggles.
For a long time, I never shared the story about how I got to the Louisiana Capitol with anyone in Texas. You see, the Texas Capitol is a place where pedigree is prime. Many lobbyists started as an intern then served as chief of staff for a legislator then became a lobbyist…you get the point.
Well, my story really wasn’t as neat nor pretty. I kind of fell into lobbying. I wasn’t sure what to do after I served as a press secretary for a candidate that lost a campaign. Then a mentor suggested I become a lobbyist. I was instantly reminded of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde 2. You know the movie where she saves the dogs? When I stepped into the capitol on my first day, I hadn’t been there since my 5th grade field trip, which I almost didn’t attend because I had gotten in trouble and my mom was thinking about keeping me home (what, did you think I was an angel?)
The article also made me think about when I interviewed for a lobbying job at the American Heart Association. I didn’t even know the job was open and got a phone call the day of interviews asking why I wasn’t there. I raced two hours from Lafayette to New Orleans to interview and thought I nailed it. Days later while at a Mardi Gras parade, the hiring manager called to say I didn’t get the job. Dude, who calls on Fat Tuesday to give bad news? Well, he called me back several weeks later to say the person he hired didn’t work out and would I consider joining the team? Long story short six months later, I won the Rome Betts Award- Honorable Mention. Rome Betts is the highest staff award given at the AHA. #TrueStory
And the article doesn’t talk about the times I walked up and down the levee in a suit dripping in sweat because I didn’t have a parking spot at the Capitol. Or that I could only afford to eat Taco Bell because I only made $30,000 my first session. Or that I can’t hear out of my left ear or see out of my left eye and that I upset a lawmaker that I didn’t see or hear because I didn’t say hello back. He oh-so-politely voted “no” for my bill the next day.
I’m grateful for every struggle because each one made me a tough cookie. These moments, along with my faith and the lessons I’ve learned from my parents, keep me grounded.
What is it about your life that has made you a rockstar? What are the struggles that no one knows, #Firestarter. The next time you high five a sister for her accomplishments, take a moment to ask her how she got there. The next time you toast your favorite guy, ask him what was his biggest fear on his way to the top?
Let’s be real with each other. Life isn’t perfect and it’s the struggles we encounter each day that we should celebrate more often.
PS. If we ever talk about this article, ask me about the male lobbyist that placed his gum in my purse. Oh, the places we will go and the wins we’ll know!
With Faith and Fortitude,
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