Dana Perino of Fox News: It's a 'gift to live in a free country with choices to make'

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In Part 2 of Fox News Digital’s recent interview with Dana Perino — co-host of “America’s Newsroom” and “The Five,” — the best-selling author and a former White House press secretary (for President George W. Bush) shares memorable doses of wisdom for all, including this point: “Having to make decisions isn’t a burden. Getting to make decisions is a blessing.”

DANA PERINO REVEALS HOW TO STAY CALM AMID THE STORMS OF LIFE

Clear, articulate and grounded — and a standout mentor for many young people over the years — Perino has just released a new paperback version of her popular book, “Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman).” 

The just-published paperback edition of Perino's bestseller, "Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman)," contains new material for 2022. Perino shared with Fox News Digital the importance of a positive attitude, of using time wisely — and much more. 

The just-published paperback edition of Perino’s bestseller, “Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman),” contains new material for 2022. Perino shared with Fox News Digital the importance of a positive attitude, of using time wisely — and much more. 
(Dana Perino)

The new book, out this week, contains several new sections written especially for the times we’re living through. Amid challenge and chaos, Perino shares tips for staying focused and productive while also reaching for the stars.

Read on, below, for highlights of her interview with Fox News Digital (Part 1 can be accessed here.)

Fox News Digital: In your new book, Dana, you address the importance of saying “no” in our lives — and of respecting those who say “no” when they can’t or won’t make something work (for good reason). This is a valuable skill in life and in the workplace, yet it’s not always easy to execute, especially for young people just starting out. Can you share more insights on this point?

Dana Perino: Why, oh why, is it so hard to say “no”? While it does get easier with age and experience — many people, including me, wrestle with this difficulty. 

Perino is shown during one of her segments on Fox News Channel. She shared with Fox News Digital about using time wisely, "Take control of the clock so that it doesn't take control of you." 

Perino is shown during one of her segments on Fox News Channel. She shared with Fox News Digital about using time wisely, “Take control of the clock so that it doesn’t take control of you.” 

Perino (cont’d): And it isn’t just women who find it hard to say “no.” Men do, too. 

We all want to make others happy, even if we say “yes” to things we know we don’t want to do. I’ve tried to reframe my thinking so that if I say “yes” to a request that isn’t something I’m excited about, I don’t allow myself to dread it. 

I said “yes,” so that’s on me. That means I better have a positive attitude about it. 

I greatly admire the people who say “no” with ease. I’ve become better at it, partly out of necessity with my schedule. 

Dana Perino with Bill Hemmer, her co-host on "America's Newsroom" on Fox News Channel. Perino was the first Republican woman to serve as White House press secretary (she worked in George W. Bush's administration).

Dana Perino with Bill Hemmer, her co-host on “America’s Newsroom” on Fox News Channel. Perino was the first Republican woman to serve as White House press secretary (she worked in George W. Bush’s administration).
(Fox News Channel)

Fox News Digital: You also say we all “get the same amount of hours in the day.” Why is that simple fact so worth remembering?

Perino: We all get to choose how best to use the time we have. Being disciplined to decline requests that take you off course is really important for your career success and for maintaining your own personal work-life balance. 

Take control of the clock so that the clock doesn’t take control of you. 

“Being disciplined to decline requests that take you off course is really important for your career success and for maintaining your own personal work-life balance.” 

Perino (con’td): Every day, we have to make thousands of decisions. 

Scratch that. We get to make thousands of decisions a day. Being a responsible adult means making decisions — on everything. 

Having to make decisions isn’t a burden. Getting to make decisions is a blessing. Try to reframe your thinking into what a gift it is to live in a free country where you have so many choices to make.

Dana Perino told Fox News Digital, "One of the best things that ever happened to me was realizing I was never going to be an Olympic gymnast." Perino turned that key understanding into a personal win.  

Dana Perino told Fox News Digital, “One of the best things that ever happened to me was realizing I was never going to be an Olympic gymnast.” Perino turned that key understanding into a personal win.  

Fox News Digital: You have a gift for speaking clearly and directly while also packing your comments with detail and evidence. Can you share how you developed these skills?

Perino: One of the best things that ever happened to me was realizing I was never going to be an Olympic gymnast. I had to find something else to do.

I chose the speech team, because I wanted to be a television anchor one day and knew that I needed to know how to speak well and clearly in front of audiences. 

“I highly recommend young people join the speech team. Truly, it was the most important thing I did to help ensure my future success.”

Perino (cont’d): What I found in the speech team, however, was much more than those skills: I gained personal confidence, learned from mistakes, benefited from winning and made friends from all walks of life.

I highly recommend young people join the speech team. Truly, it was the most important thing I did to help ensure my future success. 

The event I chose to focus on was “extemporaneous speaking.” That’s where you choose from three current-event topics and have 30 minutes to research, write and memorize a five-seven minute speech for a judge.

Dana Perino is shown here with her husband Peter (at left) and with former President George H.W. Bush. 

Dana Perino is shown here with her husband Peter (at left) and with former President George H.W. Bush. 
(Courtesy Dana Perino)

Perino (cont’d): Being prepared for this event meant staying well read on the news, both foreign and domestic, and being prepared to make a persuasive case about my conclusion. It was thrilling. I thrived on the pressure, and I loved reading the papers and magazines at the time. 

I can’t imagine what I’d have been like if I’d had the internet! We used to have to carry all of our paper files around with us to the tournaments. 

I learned during that time that to win, I needed to be the most well-read person in the room. I carried that with me to the White House and beyond. 

Former President George W. Bush and Dana Perino. She served in his administration for a number of years, including as White House press secretary from Sept. 14, 2007, to Jan. 20, 2009. As the new paperback edition of her book, "Everything Will Be Okay," went on sale, Perino shared an array of life lessons, including, "I always want to be proud of what I say out loud — or, at least, I don't ever want to regret something I say."

Former President George W. Bush and Dana Perino. She served in his administration for a number of years, including as White House press secretary from Sept. 14, 2007, to Jan. 20, 2009. As the new paperback edition of her book, “Everything Will Be Okay,” went on sale, Perino shared an array of life lessons, including, “I always want to be proud of what I say out loud — or, at least, I don’t ever want to regret something I say.”
(Courtesy Dana Perino)

Perino (cont’): To this day, I am constantly wanting to make sure I’ve read all I possibly can, from lots of different sources — not so that I can “win,” but so that I can do my job effectively. 

By reading widely, I am better able to break down complex issues into explanations that work for a television audience. 

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The other thing I keep in mind is that I always want to be proud of what I say out loud — or, at least, I don’t ever want to regret something I say. 

Perino told Fox News Digital, "I find it most effective for me to speak gently and with care. This is good advice for whatever profession you're in."

Perino told Fox News Digital, “I find it most effective for me to speak gently and with care. This is good advice for whatever profession you’re in.”
(Fox News/Amazon)

Perino (con’t): Sometimes that means I swallow a sarcastic or “mean” comment. 

Eating your own words can be a bitter experience. It’s better just not to say it in the first place. 

This takes discipline, but eventually it comes naturally. 

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I find it is most effective for me to speak gently and with care. 

This is good advice for whatever profession you’re in.

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Speaking with grace and dignity — it’s not just for television!

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.”

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