#GovireeLife: Be Courageous & Ask

Posted on August 29, 2018


This guest blog is by Francie Palmer. It’s part of a recurring series about her transition from local government, to retiree/community member superstardom.


Life Takes You To Unexpected PlacesHere I am…. Shifting into the #GovireeLife!  What is “that” you say?

After 14 years in the private and workforce development sectors, I spent an amazing 15 year career journey at a local government agency in Southern California.

As we see in all ELGL members, I was a proud public servant dedicated to innovation, challenging the status quo, effective leadership and next generation mentoring.

We eat, breathe and sleep our #Govie life. We have a passion of finding new ways in which to serve our communities, deliver services, develop infrastructure, build economic drivers and encourage more resident participation and engagement.

But, life takes you unexpected places, it’s how you roll with that rollercoaster that matters the most.

Nearly a year ago we had a significant health scare in our family.  Thankfully, the long term effects were minor, but the impact was major.  We knew, it could have been much, much worse. Very quickly, priorities come into focus, a reality check on quality of life was done and our prior retirement plans didn’t make as much sense anymore. And we got off the hamster wheel; life took the wheel.  

In a very short time, we sold our house, moved out of the state (the area I’d lived-in for most of my life) and now I find myself a “retiree.”  A #Goviree.

Once the unpacking was done and the dust settled, the reality was, you can take the girl out of City Hall, but you can’t take the #GovLove out of the girl.    

So to save this recovering #workaholic from watching City Council meetings via web stream, digesting the Agendas, and Staff Reports and fixating on social media pages and community comments to get that #goviefix; ELGL has provided me an opportunity to divert my time to more productive and enjoyable adventures, sharing musings on the #ShouldHave #WouldHave and #GladIDid items in my career and the #WhatsNext adventures this #GovireeLife is taking.

Let’s start with a #GladIDid – Be Courageous & Ask

Early into my #GovireeLife, I had the serendipitous honor of meeting Linda McLean, international best-selling Author of “Next Level Living,” International Speaker and business coach in a social setting and I felt a great connection with this amazing woman and I Asked.  

Over the years, I have been blessed to have developed incredible conversations and relationships with professionals I admired from afar or who I read an engaging story about and wanted to learn more.  People who I felt were far beyond my circle or level, but who I was truly interested in knowing more about, or hearing their leadership advice. I got Courageous and it started with a simple Introduction and an “Ask.”  

Something like: “Would you have 30 mins of time to talk on the phone and share with me your story, your career path, and tips you’d share with next generation professionals?”   What’s the worst thing that could happen?  A polite “no thank you,” an ignored inquiry or… they could say YES! And several did.  

If you get a Yes:

  • Be prepared
    • Research their bio and background so you don’t waste their time with questions you can find the answers to on Google.
    • Have questions ready in advance; ask thoughtful questions to learn from.
  • Take notes – you may not get this opportunity of their time again; write down their thoughts and perspectives; and capture what resonates with you.
  • Be authentic and gracious
    • Do not have an ulterior agenda or motive.
    • Do not talk more about yourself than hearing from them.
    • Do not expect more than this 30 mins of time they have gifted to you.
    • DO send a follow-up thank you note.
    • DO learn from the guidance, advice or stories shared.

Over the years I’ve been blessed with amazing conversations with world class professionals regarding leadership, government, technology, innovation and so much more.  

So I Asked:  After that social setting, I asked Linda if we might be able to have a quick call or meeting some time, and she said YES.  Over coffee, we talked about my challenge of using the word “retired” it was so foreign to say, and definitely NOT how I felt.  

Her advice: Don’t Use It.  This next step is a change in lifestyle.

A special Thank You to those of you in my life who said “Yes” – I continue to be inspired by you all and am grateful for the time and insights you shared with me, contributing to a life of #Joy (we’ll talk more about #findingjoy in a future post.)  

Be Courageous – Ask.  

ELGL Socks

Whether for a quick conversation with someone you admire, mentoring advice, authentic feedback from a co-worker or someone on an interview panel, be courageous and ask.

Another #GladIDid was to Invest in Myself.  In addition to budgeting for family needs, I budgeted time and finances to add tools to my toolbox of experience and education.  When the recession hit and Training / Memberships / Conferences were eliminated from city budgets, I invested my own funds to join professional organizations and attend trainings and conferences.  I showed my commitment to developing my skills and network base to my leadership, regardless of it being available in the city budget.

Eventually, some of those memberships and conferences did land in the budget.  I had proven myself: I didn’t just attend; I participated, I spoke at conferences or was part of the planning committee, providing meaningful contributions to my profession.

(Tip: Being a Speaker or part of Planning Committees often decreases your Conference expenses – why not be a thought leader, tout your agencies approaches, successes or challenges AND save $?)

Invest in Yourself we’ll dive into deeper in a future #GovireeLife – there’s so much to share with this one! I’m a firm believer Invest in Yourself – You Won’t Regret The ROI!  

So…here I am, a public servant heart, focused on building #commUNITY, mentoring the #NextGen and figuring out #WhatsNext in this #GovireeLife.

What about you ELGL Members? “Would you have a few minutes of time to share in the comments your own experience or advice for when YOU were Courageous and Asked?  

Thank you for being a part of this #GovireeLife.

I’m the co-founder and executive director of ELGL. I love my job. Other things I love: local government, my family, my dog Michael Jordan, sandwiches, naps, books, and skee-ball.

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