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Fire in the Belly

 

Steve Sutton of the Leadership Institute in Alexandria VA has enunciated five attributes that a potential candidate should possess. Fire In The Belly is at the top of that list. What follows are my observations on that fire.

What Fire In The Belly Isn’t

My experience in coaching suggests that to many aspiring candidates this equates to simply wanting the position. That may be driven by general anger, some issue of interest, the associated notoriety (fame), or a genuine desire to be of service. Unfortunately, it does not seem to extend much beyond those and other shallow factors for a large percentage of wood-be candidates. Anger tends to be counter-productive. Being passionate about some issue is great but it will not carry you through an election much less holding office. Fame is a lousy reason for taking on the responsibly of governance. Desiring to be of service is certainly noble but will not substitute for the hard work of reasoned decision making.
What Fire In The Belly Is!
What should “Fire In The Belly” include then? It is a drive leading to thorough preparation and total commitment. Prior to the decision to run there should be an active engagement in preparation. That includes a diverse range of activities like: Understanding the legal underpinnings of the office you seek, compiling a list of topics and issues with the principles that actuate them, research of electorate demographics, honing of speech and debate skills, and building a base of support broader than just a few friends. This takes a commitment to the long term process which must start way before the filing deadline.
Risk & Reward
Why all the work ahead of time? Campaigning is hard. The stress of engagement along with fund raising will zap the strength right out of an unprepared candidate. The consequences of long term battering (even people of your own party can be mean) and a drubbing by your fellow citizens at the voter’s box will strain relationships and can tear at your emotional/physical well-being. The more confidence you possess from preparation the more likely you will win and the less likely a defeat will destroy you. That preparation will also make you a better citizen if you are open to the process of learning and understanding as opposed to just being a demagogue.
The right fire in the belly is essential. It can spark others to have a fire the belly in your campaign. So, ask yourself if your fire is a flash-in-the-pan or banked for the long term. Stir the coals and act accordingly.

 

General — Le Snelling @ 3:02 am

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