Monday, March 17, 2014

Tales from the Campaign Trail: Leap of Faith

In the week leading up to every campaign event, about 50% of all thoughts are about failure.  What if we don't have enough food?  What if I mess up my speech?  What if we can't get set up before people start arriving?  What if we don't raise enough money to cover our costs?

And the worst...

What if nobody comes?

Doubt is a healthy symptom of humility, but it will drive you crazy.  Last week, my campaign thoughts, coupled with a work trip to Rhode Island, wore me down. 

But there's another side of campaign events.  With every attendee comes a surge of energy.  This person took the time to be here.  They like what we're doing.  They support our campaign.  Many will say idealism or optimism runs a good campaign, but I can tell you personally that for me it is appreciation.  Appreciation runs my campaign.  For every person that supports me, I want them to be proud of having done so.  I want to work harder to have earned their support.  On Friday, I was so energized by the time we kicked off remarks that it felt like I had a vacation between my exhausting week and the campaign event.

I'm saying all of this not only to thank you, but to remind you of how important you are to democracy, even outside of the voting booth.  We can (rightfully) lament the role of big money in politics, but not without acknowledging our own power to ignite, enthuse, and motivate grassroots candidates.

On Friday, I described campaigning as one large "trust fall".  I leap and hope there will be people to catch me.  In small ways throughout the campaign, we've hit the dirt.  Maybe the message wasn't right.  Maybe we misread our audience.  Maybe we misread ourselves.  But those mistakes have been small and we've learned from them.  On every big jump, every campaign event, every online donation drive, our supporters have been there and more often than not they exceed our expectations.  Thank you.

In a campaign, just as in public office, both your successes and failures go to the same place - behind you.  I look forward to future weeks of doubt and worry overcome by friends and supporters.  If that doesn't sum up what it means to run for public office, I don't know what would.

Oh...and I had the best pumpkin, apple, and key lime pies of my life on Friday.

Have a great Monday doing what you love!  Stay safe!