My Favorite Mistake — 215: Rep. Adam Smith’s Favorite Mistake from His First Campaign; Recovering from Being “Lost and Broken”

Episode page with video, transcript, and more

My guest for Episode #215 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA). I'm very honored to have him here.

Rep. Smith represents the 9th District of the State of Washington. He was reelected to his 14th term in 2022 and has been the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee since 2011. He served as chair of the committee from 2018–2022 when the Democrats controlled the majority in the US House. 

The Congressman is also the author of a new book, available now, Lost and Broken: My Journey Back from Chronic Pain and Crippling Anxiety.

In this episode, Rep. Smith shares his favorite mistake story about his first-ever campaign and election, for Washington State Senate. What assumption did he make about what would make a successful campaign strategy? Did he adjust and recover in time?

Mark's New Book – “The Mistakes That Make Us

We also discuss the journey described in his book, a journey back to physical and mental health. What mistakes did he make and what mistakes does Rep. Smith say are common in healthcare? How did he learn not to beat himself up for mistakes and why is sharing mistakes so important to him? How can the rest of us avoid similar mistakes related to health and healthcare?

Mark's New Book – “The Mistakes That Make Us”

Questions and Topics:

  • Asked on June 1st: Is the U.S. avoiding the national mistake of a debt default?
  • In the book, you share some mistakes… why is it helpful to do so?
  • For readers to realize our elected leaders (like all people) make mistakes?
  • How have you learned to not beat yourself up over mistakes?
  • Is it a mistake to not want to see a psychotherapist?
  • How do people know when they should seek help for mental health concerns??
  • Tell us about the perceived need for a politician to keep mental health problems quiet… going back to VP nominee Thomas Eagleton… a year before I was born, getting replaced as the nominee after past bouts of depression were revealed…
  • Is the public getting more accepting of admissions of mental health issues?
  • Doctors failed to get to the root cause of your problems by just pushing pills?
  • You CAN get better — it was a long journey to find the right caregivers?
  • Tell us about your book Lost and Broken — how did it come to be?
  • Did it help you process that stress?
  • From the book: “My own reelection campaign in 1994 presented challenges, as I have described, but I learned from them. I made mistakes.” — what were those?
  • Did it get easier to run as the incumbent over time?

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