Friday, March 16, 2012

Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?

I've talked a lot about how much better my life became once I started surrounding myself with good people.

But I learned something new recently. Being a good person in practice doesn't always add up to being a good friend.

I think my favorite line from Chocolat applies perfectly:

I think that we can't go around measuring our goodness by what we don't do. By what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.

You can't measure your goodness by what you don't do.

I've never been one to stand on the sidelines. I have this ineffable energy to get in the weeds and fix problems. I can't help it—and believe me, I've tried. There are a lot of times in my life when I have a choice to stand, shoulders back, and drink a glass of wine with friends, or get behind the scenes and make sure the show goes on. It would be so much easier to be that girl with the wine. That girl never falls on her face or makes huge blunders. That girl never exposes herself to scrutiny. That girl also never feels the satisfaction of knowing something went right because she took the reins and made things happen.

Friendships are the same. You can get together with a friend and talk about nothing, or you can get in the weeds. It's part of caring about the people in your life. When you love your friends, jump in—head first—and damn the consequences. Sometimes that means driving overnight across four states. Sometimes that just means being there to listen. When they fall down, you pick them up. When you fall down, they pick you up. You become stronger, better people just for knowing each other. There is a lot of trying and a lot of failing, but most importantly, there is a great deal of doing and not very much not-doing.

The fact is that I try every day to work harder and be better. That means I fall on my face. A lot.

But when I reflect back on this year and how much I've grown since coming to CRAFT, it's overwhelming. Every day I'm blessed to work with and learn from the smartest, most innovative people in this political space. I can say confidently that everyone I work with here, now, is on a trajectory for greatness... and by some stupid, magical luck, I get to be a part of it.

And I feel the same way about my friends. By some stupid, magical luck.