Local Gov Needs to Keep Moving: Maggie Smith Can Help

Posted on August 28, 2023

Graphic of a bicycle with front basket full of flowers.

Today’s Morning Buzz is brought to you by Maggie Jones – connect on LinkedIn!

What I’m Listening to: Kelly Clarkson’s Chemistry

What I’m Reading: Keep Moving by Maggie Smith

What I’m Doing to Take Care of Myself: MixxedFit, driving with the windows down, snuggling on the couch with my kids, and hugging my dog



Like many wonderful things, I found Maggie Smith by accident. A Twitter (X) friend would like a post of hers and it would pop up on my feed. I heard her interviewed on Glennon Doyle’s podcast, We Can Do Hard Things: How to Make Betrayal Beautiful. Her poems, especially those in Keep Moving, always struck a chord with my soul. It didn’t take long for me to realize that they relate to life in local government, too.

Graphic of white bicycle with text underneath, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."

Stop thinking of change as interruption to a story; the story was always going to change, many times. In fact, only change is guaranteed. Expect it today, and from now on. Keep moving.

How many times has your agenda item changed? How about the project you’ve been working on for two years? Department merger? Yep. Department breakup? That, too. Budget items, HR, job descriptions, presentations, version-I-lost-count-before-I-saved-it-again. Change is inevitable – as those of us in local government know all too well. Think of mastering change as a life skill.


Stop rewinding and replaying the past in your mind. Live here, now. Give the present the gift of your full attention. Keep moving.

As my dear life coach says, “Stop should-ing all over yourself and others.” Some days it can be so easy to think about what you should have said during the council meeting or written in the email. Maybe you should have spoken up or stood up for something important to you. It does you zero good to dwell on the past. Learn from it and move on.


It is not your job to make other people comfortable with who you are. Be wary of those who don’t want you to change or grow. Grow anyway – there is no alternative. Keep moving.

Find your courage. Have the hard conversation. Our teams are better for it. Our departments are better for it. Our communities are better for it. Our cities are better for it. Change. Evolve. Grow.


Be brave enough to ask for help when you need it. There is no merit badge for Doing All The Hard Things Alone. Reach out. Keep moving.

Silos? Break ‘em. Big project? Reach out. Hard day? Phone a friend. This lesson can be a hard one to learn, and in many ways it is one of the most important ones. You know the amazing joy you feel when you help someone? Let others experience that magic, too.


Accept the fact that some days burn, and you have to live them to get beyond them. There’s no way to the other side but through. Go through. Walk the hot coals, but don’t look down at your feet. Look ahead. Keep moving.

The work will still be there tomorrow. Go take a walk and start again.

Keep moving, #LocalGov. We’re all counting on it.

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