CHAPTER 22Work as though what you do matters; it does

A few years ago my friend Caren Merrick decided to stop lamenting the lack of businesswomen like herself in the state legislature and to run for the Virginia state senate. Over the 12 months prior to election day, Caren worked hard raising funds, knocking on doors (10 000 of them!) and learning about the concerns of those she hoped to represent. Week after week, she gave up weeknights and weekends with her family to earn the votes she needed to win. Midway through her campaign, her electoral district was redrawn and she found herself running in a new district that had voted for the opposing party for more than 30 years. While Caren knew the odds of winning were stacked against her, she decided the work she was doing was too important not to continue. So she pressed on, giving her all with even greater resolve.

Countless times Caren had to step outside her comfort zone, confront people who disagreed with her views and make herself vulnerable to the uglier side of politics, the name calling and smearing. On election day I offered to open our home to her supporters. As the vote count started to come in, our hopes began to grow thin. By early evening they were petering out altogether and I worried how Caren would handle the disappointment. I shouldn't have. The moment she walked out to the crowd assembled in my living room I just knew she'd be okay. Not because she hadn't wanted to win (she hadn't worked her tail off to lose!), ...

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