This year on the Disrupt Yourself Podcast we have had musicians, writers, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and even a mountain climber as guests on the show, but I must admit that today’s guest feels more disruptive than usual—Margaret Busse is a politician.

Spoiler alert, we don’t talk national politics at all. Margaret is an MBA graduate from Harvard as well as a devoted mother of 5 young children, and back in 2012 I included an essay that Margaret wrote in my book Dare, Dream, Do. In the essay, Margaret talked about her early love of democracy and her desire to someday run for public office, as well as the fear that held her back from fulfilling that dream.

“When the time is right,” she said, “I will dare to do it.”

The time is right. And she really is daring to do it.

Conquering her fear, Margaret is running for a seat in the Massachusetts state senate. Surprisingly, a lot of our discussion focuses on the “how-to’s” of setting up a political campaign, a process that at times surprises and challenges Margaret. Thankfully, she still finds the challenge worth the reward.

“It’s been a great experience. I have to say overall I approached it, I think, with more trepidation than maybe was called for…[b]ut I think the other part was just this sense of unknown, which I think we all face when you’re taking on something, something completely new, and different and you don’t know how it’s going to play out at all. It’s been a lot less scary than I thought it would be.”

Join us as we discuss **gasp** politics (of the local variety), embracing constraints, and the importance of building relationships to get things done. Listen on iTunes or in the player above, and if you like what you hear, leave a comment. You may be featured on a future podcast!

One last word from Margaret:

“I think the biggest thing is that you just have to step up and do something…it’s hard. It takes courage. It takes a lot of time, it takes passion, all of those things. And I’ve had to continue to look inward to make sure that I have all of those things to continue to carry me forward throughout this race.”

Takeaways from this episode:

  • A political campaign is very similar to a start-up—a “pop-up startup,” if you will. When we try something new we often find that there is a crossover with other skills and experiences from our life that can apply to that new learning curve.
  • When you have a staff made up of volunteers versus paid employees, you will find that you need to focus on how to motivate them and keep them on track. Systems can be very helpful here.
  • Spend time cultivating relationships. They are vital if you want to get something done in your community or business.
  • Practical Tip: We need people in public service who are compassionate, smart, and willing to work with opposing points of view. Even if you aren’t ready to run for office, think of how you can perhaps volunteer and help out in your community.
  • V-O-T-E!

Links Mentioned in this Episode:


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