How To Win At Losing

If you’ve been following my Twitter or Instagram with any regularity, you already know that I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for the past six weeks to put all of my energy into the gubernatorial race here in Massachusetts.

"Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman."
“Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman.”

Keep reading to find out what happened when we lost, what I learned & how I gained a new role model.

Getting by on just a little sleep & coffee cups (& hugs).
Getting by on just a little sleep & coffee cups (& hugs).

About six weeks ago, I took a phone call that changed my life. Now I know that sounds cheesy but its 110% true. The thing I’ve learned about working on other campaigns is nothing introduces you to more people, yourself, and new parts of your city and/ or state than a political campaign. They’re not for the faint of heart or the caffeine-immune or anyone who needs 8 hours of sleep every single night.

You need to be tough. You need to be strong. You need to be wise. In short, you need to be Martha Coakley.

I will never forget her unique ability to make friends, people she would remember and who would remember her, everywhere she went.
I will never forget her ability to make friends, people she would remember and who would remember her, everywhere she went.

If you paid attention to this race, you can say what you want about the politics, the relentless commercials, and phone calls to turn out the vote. When it comes down to it, the state of Massachusetts had two very qualified candidates for one job. And we were lucky. Now, after about 14 months, the ballots have counted and the results are in and while we didn’t win, there’s a lot to be said for trying. And there’s a lot to be said for losing too.

There was an energy in this race that will always motivate me to be better, work harder and always lean in.
There was an energy in this race that will always motivate me to be better, work harder and always lean in.

I’m not coping out when I say that. Anybody who wins looks good. It takes real class to put on a cheerfully colored blazer, call your opponent, concede, meet with your staff to deliver a heartfelt thank you and then do it again with the press present all before lunchtime. It takes real commitment to public service to even have the desire to run for public office, lose and then run again. And again. And again.

Criss-crossing the state is all in a day's work on the campaign trail.
Criss-crossing the state is all in a day’s work on the campaign trail.

A little known (and favorite) story is that Martha has a favorite animal. The first time I learned what it was I was a little taken aback because it happens to be mine as well. I remember noticing a nearly life-sized plush giraffe in our headquarters office and said to a colleague, “What’s with this thing?”. The response was, “It’s Martha’s favorite animal.” I took this opportunity to connect with my new job and colleague and admitted the coincidence. I then asked what her reasoning was and he answered, “Because they stick their neck out.”

That was it. That’s how I knew I was in the right place.

What it's all about.
What it’s all about.

For six weeks I worked alongside some of best and brightest in Massachusetts politics for a woman with a killer shoe collection and an inspiring mission to always do what is right, even if it isn’t easy or popular. And for me, just the experience, was the greatest victory of all.

An excerpt from the press conference she held with supporters on the morning of November 5th: 

“Although Charlie is going to be the next governor, I felt that we both won,” Coakley said. “I feel we both were challenged and we learned a lot about ourselves and Massachusetts, and that is why we both won.”

Coakley fought back tears as she encouraged women to get involved in politics.

“It is important that you lean in, and if you want a good example of that she is right at my left shoulder, look at Maura Healey,” Coakley said. “For every woman who didn’t get the promotion, or didn’t win the race, I say, ‘Go right back at it.’ Throw your hat back in the ring.” (WCVB)

It's pretty special when you can walk away from a job with a role model.
It’s pretty special when you can walk away from a job with a role model.

For more of my adventures on the trail, where I’m shopping & what I did pre-campaign, check me out on Pinterest, Polyvore & Tumblr.

xo, Vanessa

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Vanessa M. Gatlin

-Blogger, dancer, fashionista -Self proclaimed "political junkie" with a strong interest in international affairs -2011 graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston

3 thoughts on “How To Win At Losing”

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