Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets by Judy Smith

If you are gloriously obsessed with the TV show Scandal (like myself), then you will know exactly who Olivia Pope is. goodselfbadself

What you might not know is her kick-arse character (a fixer for politicians) is based on a REAL person: Judy Smith.

I do believe I squealed with excitement when I found out

  • Scandal was based on a real person (ie one I could google stalk)
  • Said person had written a book that I could devour, thereby bringing me one step closer of embodying Olivia ‘Popeness’.

The book is based around Judy’s experience of handling many a high-powered crisis and delves into how character traits can be both our biggest success and our undoing.

I quote:

“While you may have already known that deep down, what you might not realize is that our best qualities and our worst traits are actually one and the same.”

She covers off different traits (envy, ego etc) and details how we can keep them in-check. My fav part of the book is the real life examples that she uses in each section. E.g. the CEO client with the out-of-control-ego – you get the idea!

Here’s my two favourite themes from the book:

1. Perfection

My words: Don’t attempt to be perfect, you ninny – or you’ll end up on TV and in a large disaster where you’ll have to phone the Pope team.

Her words: And here’s the crux of it: None of us is perfect. Expecting perfection—in life, work, interpersonal relationships, health habits, driving, studying, you name it—is a surefire ticket to failure.

2. Evaluate 

My words: check yourself and get an honest friend/family/partner who will tell you when the devil horns are sprouting

Her words: Of all the lessons and strategies you’ll learn in this book, perhaps the biggest one of all is simply this: A little good old-fashioned self-evaluation can keep you from ending up in the unfortunate position of some of the crisis-ridden folks you read about or see on TV.

And lastly to finish off – this perfect 13 step guide to handling a crisis Olivia Pope style (I mean Judy Smith style!)

Judy Smith Crisis checklist

(directly from the book)

  1. Trust your gut.
  2. Know the facts—not what you want them to be, but what they are.
  3. Never assume you know everything.
  4. The truth always comes out—it’s only a question of when.
  5. Read the climate—know the landscape.
  6. Know where you want to end up.
  7. Know when to hold and when to fold.
  8. Admit you are in trouble.
  9. Don’t overreact.
  10. You will know when to walk away.
  11. Things usually get worse before they get better.
  12. Expect the unexpected.
  13. Crises occur irrespective of one’s fame, power, or prestige … so deal with it.

I particularly love that last one – just deal with it! Want more explanation of the checklist? You’ll need to read the book, or at least watch Scandal for some inspiration!

Happy reading,

C x

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