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Lessons We Can Learn
from Sarah Palin
By Debbie Christofferson, CISSP, CISM

Sarah Palin's run for Presidency on the McCain ticket created a firestorm, and she single-handedly was blamed -according to some- for losing the Republican White House. Her book Going Rogue: An American Life (HarperCollins 2009) has generated a similar frenzy.

What are the lessons learned for our own careers and lives, that parallel Sarah's, and how can we apply them starting today?

It's okay to fail

When life takes you down one hole, you find another path, and pull yourself out. Sarah resigned her Governorship, and penned a book, with a 2nd printing underway. A healthy book advance makes up for lost income, and positions her for a next endeavor. Sarah's not afraid to stand up and move forward. Failure opens new doors.

Success comes with what you make of it

Parlay what you know and what you're good at, into something new and different. Intersect them to a new career and opportunity. Sarah penned a "memoir", that actually is a counter-point to the media's negative portrayal of her as the McCain running mate.

Success is what you make of it. Anyone can succeed if they want to, and it may come from unexpected places.

Communication Counts

With her poise, confidence, credibility and professional demeanor, Sarah seemed a natural with the media, and audiences liked her. In her book, Sarah reinforces that perception and recites twenty years of public speaking.

Oratory ability and how you connect with an audience matters. It can swing a tide in your favor, as we saw in Obama's platform, and historically, in John F. Kennedy's taking of the White House.

None of this was apparent when Sarah blundered the infamous Katie Couric interview. Sarah admits to being put on the defensive and allowing herself to react accordingly in her tone, body language and response.

She's clear about her dislike for the TV reporter. But what did this all buy her? Sarah describes it as a downward turning point in the campaign, and possibly the reason Republicans lost the ticket.

It matters none if you're right or wrong, you must keep your wits when you're speaking on a public platform. The world was watching Sarah. Although we sometimes believe that only our opinions matter, keeping a healthy respect is more beneficial, when we disagree.

Be aware of your trigger points, neutralize them, and think before speaking and reacting. Get professional help if you need it, with speaker or media coaching.

You are not a victim

Mistakes made by others -or our perception of them - may contribute to our failings or shortcomings. But it never does any good to pass the buck. Don't blame others. It always demeans you, and it never contributes to a better outcome.

Make a choice to learn from the experience and move on. Sarah used her book as a cathartic tool, to get over her mad. But it's a very public platform and you can never take back printed words.

Hard work matters

Sarah worked hard and achieved a lot. So can you. She believed in herself, never thought she was less than she is, and always moved forward.

Sarah participated in school sports and outdoors activities, completed college, and operated successfully in a male-dominated state and profession. She worked full time while providing the backbone to her household of five children that include a Down Syndrome child, and an often absent working husband.

She comes across as a Super Mom persona, but that's not what this column or Sarah's book is about.

Closing

Sarah has a lot to be proud of and so do you. You can make your own memoir - you're living it now.

Decide where you want to go, and start building a path to reach your destination. Stand up for who you are and what you believe in. You don't have to go rogue. Do it your way, not at someone else's expense.

Life's your own reality show, and today's a new day for new beginnings. Set goals, and build the road to wherever you want to go.


Coming in February: Guide to advancing your career through board membership. In March: Excerpt from Debbie's pocket guide on green technology jobs and career choices.

Free 60-minute Lunch-N-Learns available for business-ask today at DebbieChristofferson@earthlink.net.

Best Regards, Debbie Christofferson. CISSP,CISM


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