My inspired, career ambitions didn’t really kick in until my 30s. Sure, I had some cool jobs before then — working on Capitol Hill, for example — but I didn’t get really passionate about what I was doing until a bit later.
Currently, I work at a well-respected, nationally known political magazine. Many TSL readers may not be up on National Review but in the political space, it’s significant. And I get the opportunity to do a weekly show on Facebook Live. I can interview anyone I can get to say yes, essentially. It’s a bit like having my own podcast but different, which I like, since it seems like everyone is starting a podcast these days. It’s pretty cool to have the National Review platform and speak with people I admire and respect. I really enjoy interviewing over being the interviewee when it comes to politics and policy!
It can be intimidating working where I do, sometimes. My colleagues are some of the smartest political writers in the country. They write eloquently, speak boldly on television and our editorials represent what much of conservatism stands for all together. Starting the FB live show was scary — it still is. I have trouble with the audio sometimes and it can be hard to multi task setting up the broadcast and doing the hosting, etc. I
And I have a long list of people I want to have on the show. It’s a dreaming big list. Last month, I tried the best I could to get President George W. Bush on. I didn’t think it would work but I wouldn’t know unless I asked. I had interviewed a wounded veteran whom Bush had painted in his recent portrait book. So I contacted someone I know that works at the Bush Center. I didn’t hear back. Then I was connected directly with someone else in comms at the Bush Center — and I asked her. The Bush Center featured my interview with U.S. Marine Justin Constantine and I thought maybe there was a shot the President would agree! Got a “no” again. Then, I noticed they were advertising for Bush’s book on National Review — so I tried going through the marketing people. Ahh yes, another “no.”
Part of me felt stupid for asking. Like — who do you think you are that you are going to get an interview with a former President? But I keep hearing all these people in my head that inspire me. I hear them telling their stories before they were anybodies — about how they did things they were scared of, asked to do things they weren’t qualified to do and jumped first, planned later.
I would be terrified if President Bush said “yes” to my Facebook Live show. But it would also be a dream come true to speak with him. I would interview any former President, of course, but I’ve always loved this one, especially because of his humble work with veterans.
Right now, I’m trying to get an op/ed published in the Washington Post. I tried the New York Times as well. So far, not hearing anything back. I felt stupid for trying, but I’m trying anyway. I felt stupid for trying to get an interview with Carly Fiorina and Charles Krauthammer recently — but they said yes and I got to do it (even though I wasn’t totally happy with the results, I’m still learning.) I often feel unqualified or unworthy but I also get this unmistakable sense of ambition about certain things and I’m more afraid to say “no” than to say “yes.” Regret isn’t something I look back on fondly.
I write this today, just processing some frustration I’ve had in trying to nail down a few interviews on my list. I’ve gotten “nos” from people recently and feel silly when I get them — I start to put myself down irrationally. But I won’t let it keep me down. I will keep asking — and doing so cheerfully. I won’t believe the lie that I’m not smart enough or worthy. I struggle with it on a daily basis.
And I would encourage anyone reading this today to make sure you ask or do or go or try whatever it is your big thing is. Let’s do it together. Someone will say yes and we’ll be so glad we asked. I’m not giving up on the President Bush dream interview yet.