How to Find True Leadership When It's Blatantly Missing

The Power Squad Project


"We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone." - Ronald Reagan


Thank you for allowing me to step into the social media darkness while I visited my family and closest friends on the East Coast.   We had a wonderful time.


The girls connected with their cousins in Pennsylvania and swam in the dam. 

They enjoyed boat rides and teasings from their uncle.

They asked 101 questions about the side of the family they never get to see and they got to grow and connect with them.  IRL.

The girls then learned to DIVE!  RUN!  and JUMP! in the ocean waves of Delaware. 

Very quickly they learned that “dive!” also means hold your breath!

My oldest got pummeled by 2 giant waves as she tried to body surf in.  But she was strong and kept going.  

We then had lunch by the river in Annapolis.  

My nephew sweated like a beast in that hot and humid weather.  

But they noticed the taste of the blue crab.  How delicious it was. 

And when we finally made our way into my home town, Washington, DC, they saw the magnificent city it is. 

We eat (yes, again) with their Aunt.


And for the first time ever we toured The Capitol. 

It was magnificent. 

I choked back tears as we walked in, 

when we watched a 10-minute movie about our crazy journey as this great nation and 

as we walked the halls of history. 

There I was with cousin who lives on the opposite side of the aisle, next to me.  

We both listened.  

We both absorbed.  

We were both honored and humbled to be there.   


The leaders of our history. 

The ones that formed our upbringing. 


George Washington.

Then the first wonder woman.

Ronald Reagan with the Berlin Wall built in. 

There we next to women like Susan B Anthony.  

And of course,

Rosa Parks.  

Seated for significance.


Words can’t quite express what it meant in that moment.  In this moment.  

Maybe it was calm strength.


As I was with my girls this week and determined to be on a nice vacay, the horror from the weekend prior in Charlottesville ran in the back of my mind. 

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It’s probably good I wasn’t around a computer and able to jump in.  

Instead I processed. 


I don’t want to be angry.  I learned the hard lesson that “anger only hurts you”.   

My mother taught me that.  “Anger only hurts you.”

I firmly believe that today.  I experienced my share of anger. 

My mom was right.  

I was the only one hurt out of it.


These “men” are terrorists. 

I wish they had better mothers.  

And better leaders before them. 

Better leaders with them today.


This week I thought about what I was feeling.  What I could add.  What I “should” add.  If anything. 

Everyone is so charged these days.  

I don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

Not like our president.  Not like so many others.  

We don't need more fuel. 


I think about what I want in my leaders.  What I want to be as a leader. 


I can’t help but have missed in this moment President Bush.  Say what you will about him but in that moment he lead me through the pain and horror of 911.  I lived with a view of the towers in those days.  We were in shock and horror and what we needed was calm strength.  That Tuesday evening you could hear the President’s voice echo throughout town as the world awaited his statement.  Listen to his statement. 

Was calmed and pulled together in that tragic moment.

We needed calm strength in that moment. 


And Rudy Giuliani.  Him too.  I know many are upset with him too these days but I remember him as helping us through those early days.  He told us to take the next day off.  That the day was awful and we didn’t need to return to normal life just yet.  I needed someone to hold my adult hand that day.  Tell me.  What do I do now.  

He was right.   And no one, no one where I lived could even imagine going back to work that next day. 


Later, I remember when President Bush met the workers at the sight of the World Trade Center and they started chanting “USA! USA! USA!”.   

We needed the moment to come together.  

We are strong.  We will persevere.  

“USA! USA! USA!”  

It brought tears to my eyes. 

It brings tears to my eyes. 


My mother would talk about the heroic act of then Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld who ran back into the Pentagon to help others out.   

He RAN back into the fire to help the others out. 


This is the leadership I am missing today.  

The calm strength.  


As I think about the leader I am creating within, I don’t want to be angry.  

Anger only hurts you. 


There’s strength in calm.  

There’s strength in everyday heroism. 


In the Charlottesville video of the car plowing into the crowd, was it just me, or did it look like one person was running towards the crowd.  

Towards the fire?


Did I hear correctly that a mother called the police station in Charlottesville 2 times to warn them of her son?

These acts were selfless and at a potential cost to them.

Calm.  Strength.


Peggy Noonan pointed out in this past week’s column how many more everyday heroes should be celebrated.  Statues lifted in their honor.  

Like the mother in Charleston who said in her moment of deepest sorrow at losing her son said “I forgive you.”


This week’s during Meet the Press civil rights leader and former Mayor Andrew Young gave a wonderful interview with Chuck Todd.  He talked with calm strength Andrew Young - “don’t get mad, get smart.”  It’s a wonderful interview, worth the 16 minutes. 


"There’s more of us that don’t engage in hate than there is that do.  That’s our (nation’s) moral authority.” - Former Representative Donna Edwards

40,000 people wonderfully gathered in Boston to counter protest the terrorists. 


Leaders are among us. 

Calm strength is among us. 

I see the women around me growing in their leadership.  

Quiet, calm and courageous. 

Businesses are evolving. Families are evolving. 

Her insides are involving. 


The Power Squad Project is about coming together.  Helping one another grow together.  

There’s no intention to ever talk about politics.  (Except of course my gossipy talk about Mark Z running.  ;) )  

And today’s note remains true to that intention.  This is not about politics but rather addressing the horror around us.  
And celebrating the leaders among us.


What type of leader do you want to be?

I see the calm strength within you. 

Everyday you are leading.  

Everyday you taking courageous steps doing YOU.

Courageous steps evolving from where you are. 

I see and honor the everyday hero within you.   


I see anger and hope you heal your way away from it quickly.  

I fight not to be angry.  

Wednesday we’ll be back to normal programming.  Thank you for allowing me to express a week’s worth of emotions as I process at-home terrorism. 


Quick side note from Ashleigh.  Here are my most favorite tools ever.

  • For audio motivation - Relentless by Tim Grover. I listen to him as I was in the mornings.  My walk always becomes a power walk after listening. 
  • To focus during the day I love to focus@will.  They say music helps you focus and for me it surely does.  I blare the classical music.  I am not sure how many people my age choose that over techno but either way I love it.
  • Rosemarie Groner (from the Busy Budgeter) is a friend and I just LOVE how much she gives everything away.  She tells you and anyone she can her detailed way to making money!  Start with her Pinterest Strategy Guide that is worth every penny.  Not. going. to. lie.

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