A Content Strategist’s Keys to Engagement with Shannon Fitzgerald

 

In this episode of The Widest Net Podcast, Pam is joined by Shannon Fitzgerald, co-founder of The Hooligans Agency where they navigate the unconventional world of content creation, striving to break through traditional methods and engage audiences with risky yet compelling storytelling.

Shannon commenced her career at the BBC in London at the age of 18, where she honed her skills in writing, producing, and show-running for scripted and reality television. Notably, she served as the senior vice president of series development at MTV, overseeing the creation and broadcast of shows in 163 countries and receiving an Emmy nomination for the “It Gets Better” documentary series. 

Transitioning to political content creation, Shannon has collaborated with a diverse array of elected officials and contributed to numerous election campaigns. Her extensive experience and contributions in the media and political spheres position her as an authority in content creation best practices, offering valuable insights and expertise to the audience.

 

Here’s what you can expect from this episode: 

  • Mastering content creation best practices for impact
  • Crafting compelling political content through powerful storytelling
  • Igniting engagement with shareable content on social media
  • Navigating ethics in storytelling and the art of persuasion
  • Finding the perfect blend for effective content creation

 

Here are the Show Notes.

 

 

Here’s the transcript:

00:04:34
            

Welcome to another episode of The Widest Net Podcast. I’m your host Pamela Slim, and I am joined today by my guest, Shannon Fitzgerald. Shannon started her career at the BBC in London, UK at just 18 years of age. She later moved to Los Angeles, where she built an extensive writing, producing, and show-running career, both in the scripted and reality television genres. In 2010, she joined MTV as senior vice president of series development.        

00:05:01
            

During her three year tenure, she created and oversaw shows that aired in 163 countries around the world. Jeez, it’s almost all of them. Fitzgerald also garnered an Emmy nomination for the “It Gets Better” documentary series inspired by Dan Savage’s groundbreaking nonprofit organization. Since leaving Hollywood in early 2017 to work full time as a democratic creative strategist, Shannon has created content for a wide range of elected officials, including Rep. Adam Schiff and Senator Patty Murray.        

00:05:32
            

During the 2018 election cycle, she worked on over 40 congressional and statewide races across the country. In 2019, she served as the national video director for Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign before forming The Hooligans with Tim Lim in the spring of 2020. Shannon, I am so happy to talk to you today. Oh, same as I just said to you off camera, your audiobook has been in my ear on my last two or three hikes, so I feel like I already know you. That’s one of the beautiful things about audio content.        

00:06:06
            

I don’t know if you feel that. I’m assuming that most of the content that you create is video. Is that true, or is it? Yeah, we do some audio, but yeah, mostly video. And I love video content.        

00:06:18
            

Being a visual person, there’s something that’s so intimate about the audio experience, like with a podcast or an audiobook, that I feel like it does make you feel like you’re sitting right by that person and having a conversation. Great. No, I think it’s a great medium. I did have a podcast for a few years, but I stopped doing it in 2016, and I kind of miss it. Maybe that could be.        

00:06:41
            

And I’ll try not to coach you. I will try not to not have your consent to be coached. But maybe by the end, we have a couple of action steps, because I am a business coach. No, Coach. Coach away.        

00:06:51
            

Coach away. I am the perpetual beginner. As I like to say, we are all in permanent beta man. So I will take it. I love it.        

00:06:58
            

Well, today, first of all, you just have such a cool background. I love the different kinds of projects that you’ve been involved in, in media, in politics. You really are an architect of liberatory change in the way that I describe it, where you really are building content, IP, helping your clients do so in order to create a better, more just world. And so today I want to dig into two tracks in the conversation. One just is best practices for content creation, getting your insight into the way we should be thinking about, in particular video content as business owners and change makers.        

00:07:32
            

And the second is really in ethics around storytelling and persuasion. Looking at the insight you have working on political campaigns, for all of us to just be using good discernment in terms of how it is that we should be looking at messaging so that we can be the best prepared for making decisions at election time. So with that, I want to start with the creative side for best practices. I’m curious, bring us into the way that you would think about working with a new client if they showed up. Let’s say this was the first time we’re sitting across from each other, and obviously we know that they are coming to you to create a piece of content.        

00:08:12
            

How do you begin that process and where do you go with them? Yeah, well, it’s interesting because The Hooligans, my agency, specializes in political, nonprofit and advocacy work. And those are three industries that are very risk averse, that have a very traditional kind of outdated way of producing content. And that was sort of the genesis of why my partner Tim and I started The Hooligans, was to inject a new way to think about how the people in these spaces do make content, how to reach audiences in new ways and to trust audiences. That just because you message test something in a poll and then put it in the mouths of a candidate, that isn’t necessarily the best way to get a message across.        

00:09:05
            

There’s all kinds of different ways that we can take the core strategy and the messaging objectives of a campaign or a cause, but find a new and interesting wrapper, right? I call it disguising the medicine. It’s sort of like audiences are trained to receive all kinds of stories from the time we’re little, right? And so let’s tap into that. Let’s grab their attention in this noisy, insanely cluttered space.        

00:09:33
            

And especially with political content, I think people see that traditional looking ad and they kind of turn off and they’re like, oh, God. Or a PSA. Right. So we have to get past that. And so to answer your question more directly, the first bit of business is figuring out what the tolerance for risk taking this particular client has.        

00:09:55
            

Right. And sometimes they can define that, and sometimes the way that they define it isn’t necessarily the truth. So they may say, we’re really looking to do something different. We really want to kind of break through all the noise. And so we’re really open.        

00:10:10
            

And then I’ll come back to them with some kind of definitely left of center pitches. But that will tell me very quickly where those goal posts actually are, because what they see is out of the box or risky may not necessarily be what I think is out of the box and risky. So the first step is to kind of get a verbal idea of where they are in that landscape and then circle back with top line pitches. And I’ll usually spend, like, 3456 different ways to skin the cat. And each they sort of start maybe a little more in the center, and then I start to move those kind of risk taking goalposts further and further out.        

00:10:48
            

So there’s a range. They pick one, and then that really gives me a clear sense of where they want to go. They pick it, we go off and make it. So that’s the first sort of big step with a new client. How do you define risk?        

00:11:02
            

So when you think about more risky content, what does that mean to you as a creative? Yeah, I mean, I think it’s just doing something that isn’t traditional. Maybe it’s using humor or parody to relay a serious message. We literally did a climate change, a 30-second paid spot that was an attack ad on a republican incumbent around his anti climate policies, and it was a puppet show, the weirdest, wackiest kids puppet show. And two puppets were sort of the stars of it, but it got the messaging through, and it was really noisy and got all sorts of earned media.        

00:11:44
            

I mean, we’ll do songs and jingles that are sort of speak directly to the audience that we’re wanting to engage. We’ve done everything from a country parody for the Tim Ryan in Ohio Senate campaign attacking J.D. Vance, his republican opponent, to something called the Bear doctor, which was a really silly jingle for an Alaskan Senate candidate that in a 30-second jingle, relayed the five tentpole things the campaign wanted voters to know about him. And it was such an earworm that it became a karaoke song in Alaska. It even entered into the urban dictionary. There’s all sorts of ways to grab people’s attention and I think the big thing is you can be entertaining and strategic at the same time.        

00:12:39
            

So I don’t always know where that’s going to fall, but in terms of the risk of it all. But I trust my instincts, and I try and ground it in something familiar so it’s not too out there. And that balance, that formula seems to work for people. Give them something slightly familiar, but give them the aha moment, the hook. So take something like Hamilton the musical.        

00:13:05
            

Right? It’s a story we all know. But the AHA, the surprise is that it’s rapped. And that formula is really where I try and kind of strike the balance. And I used to do it when I was creating tv shows, too.        

00:13:16
            

That’s so interesting, because in the way you describe it when you are meeting is, as you said, trying to get that tolerance, sort of, for how much risk they’re willing to take to get the message out in a unique way. And then when you go off, I imagine with your creative team to be working things up, what do you need to know? What are some of the baseline questions that you would ask so that you’re familiar enough with what they’re trying to do for you to be doing pieces? I think about my son. I call him my bonus son, my stepson Jeff, who’s an amazing artist.        

00:13:47
            

And so every time I write a book, I have him do a painting that kind of represents the book. But we’ll just have a conversation, like, here’s the vibe. Here’s the feeling. Here’s sort of the big idea. And then he comes back with something that I never in my wildest dreams ever could have visualized.        

00:14:02
            

So I sort of thought about that in a similar way for you. But he’s always like, he’ll ask me sometimes very specific questions to make sure he gets the vision of what I’m looking for. So what are some of those questions that you ask your clients? Well, there’s three biggies. Well, four biggies.        

00:14:17
            

First one is the audience. Who are we talking to, and how much do we know about them? The second is messaging. And the big challenge that we have, particularly in the political world, is that, going back to what I was saying, they poll test messaging, and there’s like, they want to put 40 things in a 30-second ad. It’s like, no, you get one.        

00:14:35
            

You get one kind of core message that if somebody goes to a cocktail party later that night, they can turn to someone and say, oh, I saw this ad, and it’s about x. What is that one thing? And then maybe you get one or two other supporting ideas around that. But it can’t be a mishmash of a bunch of different talking points. That’s not storytelling.        

00:14:54
            

People don’t absorb it and it just ends up feeling like you’re trying to serve too many masters. So getting them really focused on the core message and reminding them that  one 30-second spot, for instance, can’t do all the work of a campaign. Right. It’s one piece of it. So whittling down and getting it down to the essence from a messaging perspective is key, and tone is really important.        

00:15:20
            

Would you want this to be serious? Can we use humor? Where do we want to land? And then thinking about the platforms that the content is going to be distributed on. If it’s for tv, that’s one thing.        

00:15:37
            

If it’s Instagram, Facebook, looking at the psychological imperatives of those platforms and thinking about how people consume content on those individual platforms and why they’re going there in terms of what they’re looking to engage with and just being mindful of those things, I think those are the key things. Is there at a high level, just ways that you make a distinction, for example, of what people look on? Facebook versus Instagram versus LinkedIn, I’m curious? Yeah, I mean, you know, Instagram has sort of always been the place that people go to for aspirational things. They don’t want things that are super political and dark.        

00:16:21
            

Facebook, I always think of it as it’s the thing that people want to share with their families and friends. So what’s a piece of content that’s going to be shareable? That they’re going to kind of want to expand to their sort of loved ones and their most trusted networks. Yeah, they’re all kind of different in their own weird and wacky way. And I think TikTok is still one that people are trying to figure out how to use in this spectrum.        

00:16:46
            

I consume a lot of TikTok, so I like the organic nature of it. I like that it’s very authentic and that the algorithm feeds you more of what you’re looking at. And so people tend to trust that algorithm more because it’s not feeding you what the platform wants you to have, it’s feeding you what you want to look at. It feeds you more of the same, if that makes sense.        

00:17:09
            

I’m also a fan of TikTok. I’ve been forbidden by my daughter, my teen daughter, to actually create content so far, but maybe when she goes to college, I’ll start to do the dances or, I don’t know, share content over there. Yeah, listen, I watch a lot of Vanderpump Rules and cat content. I’m just going to say that’s where my head’s at these days. I need a break from        

00:17:28
            

Politics, like, just lighten the load, man. Exactly. I bet you need a bit of a break,  In knowing, absolutely in the last, I don’t know, decade, but the last number of election cycles, there’s been so much written about political content, about ways that it’s utilized and ways that it might be polarizing people, and all of these kind of dialogues that we’re having across the way.        

00:17:55
            

I’m just curious for specific political content we can think of, which we’ll talk about in just a second more. The business content for us as business owners or change makers, how we think about creating a compelling message. Is there anything different in elements like you were describing at first, telling a coherent story, weighing on emotion? Is there any way that is different when you’re thinking about political content versus how you would just think about, as you said, maybe some of these more aspirational, nonprofit or change maker content? No, the thing is, and this is the thing that we try and instill in these new worlds I find myself in, or have for the last six years.        

00:18:39
            

Storytelling is storytelling, and good storytelling is good storytelling. And the principles are the same. Show, don’t tell, enter the story as late as possible, don’t do big information dumps. Pick one emotion, pick one idea, pick one theme, and really drill down on that. Do something that captures their attention right away, and then, of course, keep them there.        

00:19:04
            

It’s all the same principles. It really is. There’s no difference between how I would write a television pilot in my old world versus how I would make a fundraising video for a democratic super PAC or a 30-second spot. It’s all the same principles. And I think, again, I’m going back to the same poll testing the message, and just like these info dumps, this sort of wonky facts, instead of focusing on how to emotionally engage an audience with good storytelling.        

00:19:45
            

And it’s getting folks in this world to trust those ideas and those principles. I mean, they’ve been around since the ancient greek, so I don’t know, maybe that’s worth paying attention to. Seven storytelling. Storytelling paradigms that have always existed still exist, and pretty much everything you watch falls under one of those. So let’s, again, trust our audiences that they can receive interesting stories and that just because they’re entertaining or engaging doesn’t make them any less substantive.        

00:20:19
            

Absolutely, yes. And I see it in the context of, I do a lot of work in training and development and building certifications. And for many years, the last three decades have been in that world. And it’s kind of similar when I think about designing learning experiences that can have multiple components to it. And I can think about this in the context of a piece that you might create that could be that 30-second spot that gets somebody super emotionally invested.        

00:20:46
            

Again, I’m the first one raising my hand, right? Whether it’s a TikTok or something on Instagram. First of all, I’m always texting my kids, sending them a million a day when it’s really good content and that where there is a connection with more information in a different format that they need. So I could think about that from a voting context of how you can bring somebody into a story where they’re like, oh my gosh, this is really a central issue that I should be paying attention to. And then from there directing them to a source where they can more carefully study in a different kind of format, right.        

00:21:18
            

Not have to listen through 8 hours of storytelling, right. About data, there could be a one page infographic and things like that. It’s very similar. In the training and development world of thinking is a conscious use and design of different learning modalities in order for people to, as you said, really emotionally connect with it, get the big concepts, but then know exactly where they want to go. In the work that you do in The Hooligans Agency, do you touch all of those pieces?        

00:21:46
            

Like, do you typically have something like that call to action? Are you building the kinds of things like after somebody watches a video, like directing where they go and what happens next? We used to, and then we decided to really focus in on video content. That’s what I love doing. And I really wanted to kind of niche down.        

00:22:05
            

I’m Canadian, so I say niche, niche down and specialize. And that’s where I find my greatest joy.        

00:22:14
            

But what I do remind clients of is, again, we don’t need to pack in every thought you’ve ever had around this issue, right? Let’s send them to a landing page. Let’s say there’s other places they can go, get them to the website, get them over to the ecosystem where they can donate, where they can find out more, where they can sign up. Whatever the call to action is, the clients usually have an idea of what they want the call to action to be. We want to build our list, so it’s an acquisition play.        

00:22:41
            

We want people to donate, we want to get them over to the website, we want them to vote, we want them to register to vote. Whatever it is, there’s always a call to action that we’re backing into, and it’s really important that we know what that is before we even start to kind of ideate and concept around the video. It’s like, what are we backing into ultimately? What do we want people to do? For sure and I love it.        

00:23:03
            

Just thinking about choices that you make as a business and as an agency, of being very clear about the pieces that you do want to do and you don’t want to do. Knowing you have had me in your ear with the widest net, you’ll know that part of the premise that I have is when you look at the overall change, your client needs to make that transformational journey. There are probably many pieces that need to get done and built, and I think it’s a wonderful choice to be very clear as to the zone that you want to work on, that you can just lean in and do really well. And then do you find that you are sometimes working with others inside the campaign professionals to be building the other pieces? Do you end up referring to what I call your peanut butter and jelly partners, like where a client comes and they say, we want the whole thing, but we know we just do the video?        

00:23:50
            

I’m curious if you run into that, if that’s kind of a practice in your world. I think more from the perspective of knowing what else exists, what other assets are there for people to consume, so that one hand is talking to the other, like our video. And whatever we’re saying in the video should be in coordination and in sync with whatever’s happening in other parts of the client’s ecosystem. Not that that always happens, but we like to make sure that what we’re saying isn’t different, that there’s a cohesion there, and so it’s more of an awareness of what else exists. How are you talking about what you’re doing there?        

00:24:28
            

Let’s make sure all that feels like part of the same thing and not like isolated siloed bits of content, which sounds really obvious, but I’m often surprised how that really often comes up, that issue. Somebody smart said, who? I don’t know, but common sense is rarely common practice. Yeah, it’s kind of amazing sometimes over the years, and doesn’t everybody know this, but sometimes not. And sometimes it’s just the pace in which people are moving.        

00:24:58
            

It can be awareness of how pieces need to fit together, a little bit of a technical piece about it that I think about for other service professionals. Right. Listening to this just thinking about the process overall when you’re doing a proposal, showing examples of results, knowing that you are doing a piece of a number of steps that are needed to ultimately get the client results right, as you said, like number of email sign ups or something, is that important for clients? Do you have your own set of metrics in which you’re just evaluating the video, for example, or do you ever have clients who might be pushing for a little bit more of the tangible proof, if you will, right, about how your piece works? Which in your case, where you’re just doing a piece of it can be a little bit complex when you don’t control the other ones.        

00:25:44
            

I’m just curious. A lot of my clients struggle with this. I’m curious if you have the same thing. I think the clients look at. I mean, sometimes there’s a direct application, right?        

00:25:55
            

So if it’s about email sign ups, how many conversions did you get? What are the click through rates? Are people watching the whole thing? The most value that I think clients give, and we work on political timelines too. So one thing I should mention is if you go to our website and you look at our content, all of that was made, except for one, took two weeks.        

00:26:16
            

Everything else from ideation, like the kickoff call with the client through delivery, is about three to five days. Wow. Not weeks, days. Which is in some ways great because you have to be decisive, right? It’s like necessity is the mother of invention.        

00:26:34
            

We have to be scrappy, resourceful. We don’t have time to go out and shoot things most of the time.        

00:26:40
            

So that’s one piece. And I think kind of directly answering your question, when clients have the ability to focus test things and they can look at things like, were we able to shift the sentiment of the audience? I always find those really interesting or focus groups, especially when we’re talking to younger voters, listening to sort of how they thought about this thing, whether it’s voting or voting down ballot, or do they know what a secretary of state does? Or will they be voting? Or do they know that their gas stove is leaking methane gas and it could be causing things like cancer and childhood asthma?        

00:27:29
            

And then how do they think about those issues before? And then once they watch the piece of content, how do they feel after? Did we persuade them? Did we shift the sentiment? And the more out of the box we’ve been, the more successful the sentiment shifts.        

00:27:45
            

Those tend to be the metrics by which our clients tend to go by, which is always really interesting. And hearing how people are talking about the content and did they or didn’t they engage with it? How did it make them feel? And yeah, most importantly, are they going to go do the thing we want them to do after they watched it? Yeah.        

00:28:05
            

That’s so cool. And I love that. It is a nice example of the way, going back to what you first said, when you’re checking for the risk tolerance where you can have some examples and data you’re collecting over time, right, to help them make an informed decision, because it is scary. And obviously any politician who’s running for whatever office from whatever party, wants to win. But it is neat to see the way that you’re tracking that, shifting a little bit to business owners.        

00:28:31
            

How do you think that we should be thinking about video content? I know for me, I sometimes get overwhelmed where it feels complicated, even things like doing Instagram reels. And then I just chide myself because I like to always be open to new things. But either where it’s somebody like me who doesn’t necessarily grow up like the younger generations do using video, how should we be thinking about that? I mean, video is still the most prevalent way and the most ubiquitous way that people consume content.        

00:29:08
            

It is important, but I think what TikTok has shown is that the more authentic you are, it doesn’t have to be polished, it doesn’t have to be edited in a really professional way. I think one of the great things about AI is there are a lot of tools coming out and I check them all out to see if they’re helpful. Do they offer us shorthands and short? They don’t, because they really are more designed for people who don’t make content. It just kind of gets them out of the gate and makes that process much easier for us.        

00:29:41
            

It doesn’t really elevate what we’re doing, unfortunately. I hope that changes because we’ll use all the help we can get, especially on the super fast timelines we tend to work under. But I think even checking out some of the AI tools, just to kind of give you a framework, use templates, but get content out there. Studies do show that if you’re consistent and authentic and that at worst it’ll do nothing, at best it’ll do something for your business, but it is a muscle like everything else. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes.        

00:30:20
            

And I think the more you know who you are, what your morals and your values are, what your mission is for the company. And you certainly talked, but get real clear about that stuff because it quiets down a lot of the noise personally. And professionally. What’s your north star talk about that.and things that can help people lighten the load, make their life a little bit easier.        

00:30:44
            

Hopeful. Yeah. I really appreciate that. And I do think of it in the overall mix of often and creating the annual plan when you’re thinking about whatever is that body of work that you’re really bringing forth for that particular year of having a mix. The only reason I hesitate sometimes, I think being a coach for so long is I have met certain people who say I just get full body hives. Like, I hyperventilate for five days before and after, in which case I can say, you know what?        

00:31:17
            

If you hate videos so much and you love to write, and you find that you’re reaching your folks effectively for your business through writing, then focus on newsletter content. It’s never forcing somebody saying, everybody must do this. But for folks I think, like me, who are a bit on the fence, because I actually love it. I love to have it, but I think that part of what I’m taking away is just make it easier, maybe making a little bit less intense. So, for example, as I’m writing my newsletter that I just sent out this week, I could do a little snippet on video that I could share that’s talking about that.        

00:31:50
            

That would be a way where I’m not having to be creating it from scratch, but utilizing some of these tools to just make it look a little better. Yeah, exactly. You don’t have to be on camera either. There’s all sorts of ways to get a message across using what I call, what’s called kinetic text, which is, and again, there’s some tools there that make this much more easily and readily available. But just having the text, it could even just be your voice, but it’s text on screen and kind of big, loud, and colorful.        

00:32:25
            

There are a bunch of different ways to do it. I think it’s just, what do you have the bandwidth for? And if it’s important to you, it’s like anything, it’s just carving out a little bit of time. It goes on your schedule. Like everything else, it’s a work block, and you just practice and it will get easier and better and you’ll get better at it.        

00:32:44
            

I don’t really do it for us because I’m making content all day. The last thing I want to do is stuff for our social platforms, and I probably should, but we’re a teeny tiny agency and we’re really busy. But it is important. Yeah, it’s like a chef who doesn’t necessarily want to cook when they get home. Right?        

00:33:04
            

Kind of a similar thing. Exactly. And as the owner, even though I’m a co owner, I’m very hands on. So it’s not like I’m the figurehead, and I’m actively writing, directing, producing, making stuff every day, and I’m writing a book right now, so I’m just like, exciting. What’s the book?        

00:33:27
            

Well, the book is sort of around this central premise by which I have lived and now operate The Hooligans, under which is this philosophy of say yes and figure it out later. And I think, especially as women, we wait until we’re given permission to do something. There’s the fear of the unknown. There’s a million reasons why we say no to opportunities that come our way. And I, without knowing it for a very long time and learned this from a very young age, to trust the things I’m drawn to, quickly figure out whether the opportunity is something I want to pursue.        

00:34:05
            

Is it just a fleeting whim, or is this something that I should really go and do? Because it’s exciting and it’s interesting, but how do I check that out without overthinking it? Determine the yes. And then what do you do once you say yes? Because a whole bunch of different skills and fears kick in once you say yes to an opportunity.        

00:34:23
            

And so the book is around this. Say yes and figure it out later and what that looks like and how I do that and trusting this thing that I’ve come to call the itch, which you may think of as your intuition or a pull or a draw or a nag, but it’s this thing that draws my attention to something, and I’m like, ooh, what’s that? Is that a door I should open? And when I have. Man, big, exciting, interesting things happen, and they’re not always easy.        

00:34:54
            

My move from Hollywood to politics in early 2017, those first three years were hell. Making that trend. It was hard as hell. I was homeless. I was broke.        

00:35:04
            

I was devalued, disrespected, people like, “I don’t understand what it is you do”, but I kept grinding it out and eventually was able to start The Hooligans and turn that into a highly successful business, doing mission based work on my terms with people I enjoy and who value what I do. But it was the getting to the yes and then navigating the changes and the discomfort that come with saying yes, even when it’s something you love. So that’s what the book is about, I hope will be much more pithy than that long winded explanation was. But it gives you an idea of.        

00:35:42
            

I put you on the spot any author knows, especially when you’re in the middle of writing it. Pithy is not what you’re going for. You’re going for getting the ideas out. But I would love to have you back once the book comes out because I love the idea. The topic for this week’s newsletter was about moving from wait for it to activate.        

00:36:00
            

It’s just, it is this kind of position often that all of us can find ourselves in, where you’re sort of sitting back like, I wish John Legend would show up at my door and want to work with me, as opposed to what are you doing to really activate it? Where you can do specific things to be more likely to be noticed. And as you said, and that could be for, in small ways, in activating things you want in your life and business. But it also sounds like it’s a leadership position, a personal leadership position of how it is that you make decisions about the bigger course of your life. Yeah, it’s true.        

00:36:33
            

And it’s really a love letter to that part of me that has enabled me to make some really big swings in my life. I mean, it was the thing that got me out of a violent, turbulent home at 15, and I was a teen runaway, but I said yes to escaping and I figured it out. I moved to London on my own at 16. I quit high school in 10th grade and moved from Toronto to London on my own. I said yes.        

00:36:55
            

And I’m like, I will figure it out. And you don’t always have the roadmap, but sometimes you just need that first step. And then it’s the quote from Goethe, the “be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid”. And I have seen that happen. I think I saw the payoff and the benefit of that from an early age and have continued kind of living by that right up until Hollywood to politics and starting The Hooligans in 2020 in the middle of COVID and menopause.        

00:37:29
            

Hello. Right. Not the easiest time. And it’s so funny. I’m so excited to read the book, and I totally see it immediately popped to mind of like a video story from.        

00:37:40
            

It could even be a series or a movie. It’s just maybe because we’re talking about this, but I also see it’s so powerful the more that you’re talking about the threads of your own experience of understanding that drive that you have in what’s informing that particular perspective. So I’m so excited. Okay, thanks. To be continued in that area.        

00:38:01
            

I’m really excited for you. I’m excited whenever anybody writes a book, because it’s hell on wheels and you will never regret writing a book. That’s what I will say. It is so great when it is done. Joan Didion said, “I don’t know what I think until I write it”.        

00:38:14
            

And I felt my entire life, I certainly feel that for sure. So. Okay, well, to bring us home, that was so helpful. I am curious, coming back maybe to some of your political roots, knowing that we’re entering in a very strong political season, what’s advice that you have for us as consumers of media, to have some discernment about messages that we’re seeing? How do we know if maybe we’re just being played emotionally?        

00:38:41
            

Are there any best practices that you have so we really can appreciate messaging and get pulled into stories. And as folks who want to make good decisions in elections, what are ways that we can discern political content? It’s really the unsexiest answer you could imagine, which is you’ve got to check everything out for yourself. You got to do your due diligence. Right.        

00:39:04
            

I mean, I will say, I think it’s also as basic as if you’re in a particular silo and consuming media that is very focused on one particular ideology, or if you are seeking out things that are only going to reinforce what you already believe, I think that’s problematic. And I think just having some intellectual curiosity and doing a little bit of due diligence, whether it’s about a super PAC that’s asking for who’s behind the pack, where’s the money going? How are they spending it? What is the reputation? What’s the mission?        

00:39:40
            

The candidate, what’s their track record? Look at their voting record. If they’re not an incumbent or an elected, look at their background. Do as much digging as you can, and then trust your gut. I just think there are certain things that, again, it goes back to if you know who you are and what you value, you start to have a sense of what’s aligning with those things, but also staying open to new ideas and new perspectives.        

00:40:09
            

And I learn all the time, I mean, my God, it never stops. There’s no finish line, as they say. So I think just digging in and checking things out for yourself, you know, before you tweet an article, read know some of those basic practices. My friend Bob Sutton, who’s the professor at Stanford, calls it “strong opinions, weakly held” so you can have a very strong, informed decision. And then to be open to alternative perspectives that once you check it out you could say, wow, I really thought this know my position.        

00:40:44
            

But now that I know more, I can shift it. And I like that because to not just be open to anything at any time or as we’ve seen sometimes with egregious things, sometimes, right, that are said that are just violating folks human rights. It’s like I’m not necessarily just going to sit back and listen to every side when people are literally attacking my family and my beloved colleagues and friends. But that’s really helpful perspective. I appreciate that.        

00:41:10
            

So for you, what’s the preferred way for people to find and connect with you? You can certainly go to the website thehooligansagency.com. That’s probably the best way. I love it. Love the name.        

00:41:26
            

I love the name. And already with that branding you can just tell. And when you go, which I encourage everybody to do by clicking the show notes that are right on pamelaslim.com. You can just see with the branding, it’s so fun. I think the little MTV flavor in there, right?        

00:41:41
            

Very bright, engaging, fun, edgy. And that just fits with everything you’ve talked about today. Yeah. Goes back to the old punk rock roots in all my time in England. I think just that ethos of just following your gut and your own inner kind of compass and trusting that you have something to share with the world and finding like minded folks.        

00:42:06
            

I love that. Well, thank you so much for sharing time with us today. As I said, we can find all the notes and ways to connect with you at pamelaslim.com. Podcast I want to thank my 31 Marketplace production team, La’Vista Jones, Tanika Lothery, Jose Arboleda, and our award winning narrator, Andia Winslow. Until next time, be sure to subscribe to the show and enjoy building partnerships, organizations and communities that grow our ecosystem.

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