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It’s not easy to stay calm right now with so much upheaval going on in the world, but Fox News’ Dana Perino offers reassurance and wisdom as she shares life lessons for people of all ages and stages of their careers (and their lives). Above all, she’s clear, articulate and grounded.
As a new paperback version of her best-selling book, “Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman),” goes on sale March 15, Perino chatted with Fox News Digital about the times we’re living through — and how to stay focused and productive while also reaching for the stars.
Perino is co-host of “America’s Newsroom” on the Fox News Channel, as well as co-host of “The Five.”
Fox News Digital: In the new material in this edition of your book, you recount your grandfather’s wisdom, including this tip: “Begin each day with an open heart and a clear mind. Respect your commitments, speak gently and treat others with love.” That’s so wise, yet often hard for many people to achieve in a fast-paced world. How do you maintain this focus?
“A lot of the anxiety that people feel has to do with losing touch with their roots.”
Dana Perino: Grandfathers are the best. I miss mine every day. I’m often asked where my sense of calm comes from, and during the pandemic as “Everything Will Be Okay” was about to be released, I took some long, quiet walks to think about that. As I got my steps in, I realized I kept coming back to Grandpa Perino.
He was an incredible person — a World War II veteran, rancher, husband, father, grandfather, neighbor, county commissioner and friend. He’d had plans to leave the ranch, see the world and become a doctor.
Perino (cont’d): After the war, he’d decided he’d seen enough of the world. He met my grandmother on a blind date the first day he returned to America. Their love story inspires me to this day.
I’ve come to realize that a lot of the anxiety that people feel has to do with losing touch with their roots. And that if you can reach back and remember who you were as you were growing up — and take all the good from those years and expand upon them with the experiences and lessons you’ve learned as an adult — you can get back to a place of serenity.
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Which, to me, is the best feeling. Total goals (that’s for the younger people reading this!).
I have a new chapter in my book that connects my grandfather and my upbringing to where I am today. And I think that this book, while the subtitle is “Life Lessons for Young Women from a Former Young Woman,” is a really good read for the husbands, dads and grandads out there who are trying their best to help the women in their lives feel more confident and peaceful than they tend to be.
“Stress is energy that you can use to be more successful. Make it work for you instead of against you.”
Fox News Digital: Women tend to be hard on themselves, as you note in your book. Plus, those in demanding full-time careers are often juggling work, home and family life — and their own downtime. What’s your best advice for keeping one’s balance (especially with all that’s going in the world today)? And taking care of ourselves and our loved ones, too?
Dana Perino: The work-life balance question is one that everyone is wrestling with — and it’s not new. This is a conundrum people have long faced. It’s not easy to figure out.
But I do recommend some ways that you can stop obsessing with finding balance and accepting that you’re not alone in working on a solution for yourself.
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Perhaps the way to think about work-life balance is to know that there will be times in your life — likely right now, as you read this — when you need to put in more time at the office than you might want (or than your family might want). Remind yourself that it isn’t forever. There’s a reason you’re putting in this time now, because you want to get to a certain goal.
Perino (cont’d): These past couple of years during the pandemic, for many people, working from home became living at work. And now that many companies want employees to come back to the office, there’s some eagerness for that for some and some resistance to it from others.
The great employment experiment proved that many people can be productive working from home; however, for others, they feel lost and lonely at home by themselves. Managers have a lot of work to do to see how this plays out.
In the meantime, I recommend using your stress to channel energy into your work. Take that worry and turn it into action — that can include exercising, writing in a journal to clear your thoughts, or getting ahead in reading before you start work on Monday.
Perino (cont’d): Think of it this way: Stress is energy that you can use to be more successful. Make it work for you instead of against you.
Finally, schedule time to be off your computer or smartphone. It is amazing what a break can do for the brain. Let your boss, friends, or family members know that from x to y time, if they need you they should call; otherwise, you’ll get back to them as soon as you are back online. I find people respect this.
As long as it is reasonable in regard to your work responsibilities, a break is a good way to catch your breath and freshen up.
“Role models change throughout your life — keep looking for them. I know I have.”
Fox News Digital: Throughout your book, you discuss the importance of mentors. Why do so many hardworking women (and men) often lose sight of this key career factor?
Dana Perino: Role models change throughout your life — keep looking for them. I know I have. As a young girl, I admired my mother, aunts, godmother and grandmothers. They helped shape who I am today.
From a professional standpoint, I also looked to the careers of Diane Sawyer (from the Nixon White House to ABC News) and Mary Hart (Entertainment Tonight — and she’s from the Mount Rushmore State of South Dakota!).
Perino (cont’d): Fictional characters can also be role models: I think of Cybill Shepherd in “Moonlighting” as a spunky career woman who confidently wore white tennis shoes with her suits — that was fashion-forward in the 1980s (and like Hilary Duff in “Younger” in the here and now). At the White House — my goodness, there were so many women I respected: First Lady Laura Bush, Secretaries Condoleezza Rice and Margaret Spellings, and Fran Townsend, to name a few.
Then, finally, on to Fox News, where I have wonderful colleagues who keep teaching me the ropes. And I’ve witnessed Suzanne Scott rise to CEO of the company. With a steady hand, no drama and little fanfare, she’s guided the company to new records for ratings, programming and revenue. It is very impressive. So I’ve learned there are role models everywhere you look.
“With a steady hand, no drama and little fanfare, Suzanne Scott has guided the company to new records for ratings, programming and revenue. It is very impressive.”
I even found a mentor in someone younger than me — that was an interesting experience. Her name is Sadie Robinson, and we appeared on each other’s podcasts in the past year. I admire her very much — she is a bright light, and she wears her work responsibilities lightly, and with joy.
Then I realized that there are several young women I know who impress me. So I recommend looking to younger people to learn from as well as those who’ve already achieved their career heights.
“Living with gratitude and staving off negativity is an active choice we get to make every day.”
Fox News Digital: Dana, any other career advice you’d like to mention?
Dana Perino: It was interesting to look back at the year I wrote the book, during the first year of the pandemic. We all experienced so much in those months: working from home, trying to stay healthy, worrying about family and friends, wondering how it would all end.
In particular, it was a time to count my blessings. I thought back to our trips to Africa, and how fortunate we are to be in our situation here in America — living in freedom, educated, rewarded for hard work and granted opportunity to try new things.
Perino (cont’d): There are billions of people in the world who long for that liberty, and we should never get complacent or take it for granted. In writing some of the new material for the paperback edition of my book, I wanted to stress to readers that yes, everything will be OK — and that living with gratitude and staving off negativity is an active choice we get to make every day.
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One of my secret life hacks is this: I keep a relentless focus on perspective — remembering that everything will be OK — everyone is going through something, everyone is stressed and many people are dealing with life-and-death problems. Typically, whatever is in front of me is NOT as big a deal as I’m making it out to be.
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I call it Perspective (with a capital P). Give it a try.
I think it’ll help whatever you’re going through.
Special note from Dana Perino to Fox News Digital readers: “If you would like to order a signed and personalized paperback copy of ‘Everything Will Be Okay,’ I have good news! Exclusive offer from my friends at the Little Point Bookshop in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.: Click this link to get to their website. When you check out, it will prompt you to enter the name of the recipient the book should be signed for! Perfect for a college graduation present. Offer is valid through May 1, 2022.”