When "Comeback Careers" co-author Ginny Brzezinski launched the press tour for her new book, co-written with her sister-in-law Mika Brzezinski, there was no opportunity to dip a toe in the water before diving in. Their first interview was live on NBC's "TODAY."
“I knew what she was going through getting ready for TV appearances,” Mika recounted. “...This was going from zero to 150 miles an hour.”
Ginny spent days preparing, so when the moment came, she was ready and able to overcome any nerves. She tackled the interview with the same confidence and “can-do” attitude she’s preaching to readers. And she proved, live on-air, that a big part of launching a comeback career is stepping out of your comfort zone.
“Ginny’s not a limelight seeker,” Mika said. “This was the ultimate step outside her comfort zone with absolutely no safety net, zero, and it was beautiful to watch to watch her step up and it's going to reassure more women that basically you've got to take that chance and run with it.”
As a former Capitol Hill press secretary, Ginny spent a dozen years coordinating communications in the Senate. But after her boss lost his reelection bid — just as she was eight months pregnant with a 1-year-old at home — she decided to leave her job and stay home with her son and daughter-to-be. After seven years, when the kids were in school, she got her real estate license.
“It was quite a different experience from working on the Hill,” Ginny told Know Your Value in October 2017. “I didn’t love it, or at times even like it. But it was local, I worked with great people and it allowed me the flexibility to take my kids to school, pick them up, go to their games and have summers with them.”
Now that her kids are grown, Ginny is at the forefront of launching her own comeback career. From researching her book with Mika, to writing drafts, to collaborating with editors and publishers, she worked for two years to see their dream become a reality. But when Mika first proposed they write a book together, Ginny didn’t jump at the chance.
“Ginny is a talented researcher [and] writer with press experience and political experience, but her first reaction was to think of reasons why she may not be right for this,” Mika said. “That's the go-to ‘no’ that we need to turn into a ‘yes.’ Running through her head was excitement, but a lot of fear.”
In "Comeback Careers: Rethink, Refresh, Reinvent Your Success--At 40, 50, and Beyond," Ginny and Mika Brzezinski share a road map for job-seekers who have taken time off, including steps on how to fight the urge to say “no” to opportunities that feel outside your own comfort zone. Taking that step, Mika said, is the key to a comeback career.
“Feeling the burden of putting yourself out there is an intrinsic part of a successful comeback,” Mika said. “You're going to feel the burn, just like when you were starting out all over again, but maybe a little worse because you're carrying a lot of stress. You feel that ageism that might be out there in your head, judgment for your choices, and your own insecurities of not looking like you know what you're doing.” She said it’s necessary to let go of the negative voices in your head and the feeling that you’re being judged, and instead, take a hard look at what you can control and use that to your advantage.
“We all feel weird and scared trying something new,” Mika said. “Those feelings are often pretty destructive and useless because of course, you will fail at times and those bumps are part of your comeback. You need them. They teach you things that you need to know as you work your way back in. You learn to design that comeback in part through some of the mistakes that you make along the way. So you need them. But you won't find them in your comfort zone.”