My 36 Questions that Lead to Lov(ing the Idea of Running for Office)

| She Should Run

By Ellen Mimi Schlecht

Everyone has a reason, what’s yours?

**inspired by Daniel Jones’ “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love


During my time at She Should Run, I have had the incredible opportunity to learn about the myriad of reasons women decide to run for office. While combing through stories upon stories, I have found that there is no reason too big or too small. For some, it is an issue close to their heart (shoutout to our issues webinar series), while for others it is simply because they were asked by a friend or family member a few too many times! (and ultimately realized their friends + family were correct… *hint-hint, wink-wink*) 

Regardless of the reason, it is clear to me and the rest of the She Should Run team that inspiration is important, and that inspiration can come from anywhere! As a senior in college, I am in the stressful process of figuring out what I want to do post-graduation. I see many paths in front of me, and a few of these include leadership positions! However, no matter what I end up doing, I know it’s important to ask myself questions–specifically, questions around why each path would be right or wrong for me. 

So, with all of this in mind, I’ve been thinking… what would I need to ask myself if I were looking at running for office? One of my favorite New York Times articles of all time is Daniel Jones’ The 36 Questions That Lead to LoveIt is a silly resource to use when getting to know someone. With the help of all the women we’ve spoken with, as well as the women who have accessed our resources and shared their thoughts, I’m happy to share with you My 36 Questions that Lead to Lov(ing the Idea of Running for Office). Give them a shot, and who knows? Maybe you’ll be one step closer to running yourself. 


SET 1 – Inspiration 

  1. What is a song that gets you fired up? 
  2. Who is somebody you look up to? 
  3. What are some defining traits of the person you chose above? Do you have any of those same traits? 
  4. Is there an issue in your life that you are looking to solve? 
  5. Is there a fictional character that you could see being a successful leader in your community?
  6. What is an issue in your local community that you are passionate about? 
  7. Who is a woman in your life or popular culture who has made a positive impact in the world? 
  8. What is an injustice you have experienced or witnessed in your community? 
  9. If you could be elected to any position today without campaigning, would you?
  10. Who is a woman that you have voted for? Why did you choose this candidate? 
  11. Has anyone in your life ever told you that you should run? If yes, what was their reasoning?
  12. Is there a book or movie you have watched lately that reminded you of a civic issue you are passionate about? 


SET 2 – You!

  1. What are your favorite qualities about yourself? 
  2. What intrigues you about a position you have thought about running for? 
  3. Who are people in your life that you want to help? 
  4. Who makes up your support system? 
  5. What experience do you have advocating for a group of people? 
  6. What is something good you have done for your community? How can you expand upon that?
  7. What qualities do you see in yourself that could make you an efficient leader? 
  8. Have you ever held any leadership positions? If so, what inspired you to take up the role(s)? 
  9. Name a time in your life when you overcame a challenge. 
  10. What obstacles are keeping you from running for office? 
  11. Name a time in your life when you held your ground. 
  12. What are ways you can hold yourself accountable to running for office? 


SET 3 – Us! 

  1. What do you love about your community? 
  2. Are there local groups you can join that will assist you in running for office?
  3. What is the political landscape of your community? 
  4. What are ways you have positively impacted your community in the past?
  5. How does your community feel about your current leadership? 
  6. How many women currently hold leadership positions in your community? 
  7. Is your elected leadership representative of your community? Are they representative of you?  
  8. Where do you see yourself holding a leadership position? Is it on a local, state, or national level? 
  9. Name a group in your community you could help by running! 
  10. How can you go out and meet folks in your community?
  11. Who could benefit from your leadership? 
  12. How can running for office improve your local, state, or national community? 


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