A Little Bird Told Me…

I'm on vacation in the Berkshires, where my husband and I have rented a beautiful house overlooking the Housatonic River. Two days ago we filled a bird feeder with sunflower seeds, and I settled in and started waiting for the birds to come. Waiting... And waiting. Then, yesterday a little flapper (I'm really not a birder... apologies to those of you who are) made a quick stop at the feeder, grabbed a seed and flew away. Time passed and no more birds –- but, … [Read more...]

Time and Attention: The Greatest Gifts for the One You Love

Are you going on vacation this summer? I’m all for vacations. In fact, I so believe in them that I take one every week. No, I don't go away several days every week; I still need to make a living! But every Friday since the beginning of the year, my husband and I have taken off... together. We’ve rambled around the city (New York City, that is). We’ve gone to museums and movies and art exhibits. We’ve walked here and there. We’ve held hands. We’ve eaten good … [Read more...]

Is Kindness One of Your Core Strengths?

At the end of last week’s post about seeing what we look for, I asked you what you would choose to see. A number of people suggested traits like generosity, abundance, love, and kindness. Your suggestions brought me back many years to an “Ah-Ha!” moment in my life — a moment that lit a bulb in my mind and shifted what I look for. Recognizing the Importance of Kindness I was at a meeting of fellow fundraising professionals and, as an ice breaker, the facilitator asked … [Read more...]

Look for Something and You’re Likely to See It

Have you ever noticed that once you make up your mind about something, you start seeing lots of evidence that supports your decision? Your “sightings” aren't the result of Divine intervention. They happen because your brain, like mine and everyone else's, selects from among the gigabytes of available information and presents you with just the right things to match your conclusions. According to Chris Chabris and Dan Simons, co-authors of The Invisible Gorilla, our … [Read more...]

Surviving the Roller Coaster of Business, and Love

Most things in life cycle. Everything from business to our relationships feel as if they go “up,” but then they come back “down” again. Our lives feel great one day and feel lousy the next. Our opportunities expand, and then they contract — only to expand again. Even during the heyday of my fundraising consulting practice I would go from having more clients than I could comfortably manage to waiting anxiously for a potential client to call. You Haven't … [Read more...]

Light Up Your Life: Get on Board with Oprah

I was just getting ready to create my next post, “Stuck in a Rut and What to Do About It” when my friend and colleague Gail Perry of Fired Up Fundraising called to talk about what we would write an article about for Guidestar. Gail and I are working together on a project to make material about capital campaign fundraising available on line and Guidestar has agreed to run a piece for us. It's serious stuff, so I was surprised when Gail started reading me headlines from … [Read more...]

Recognizing the Symptoms of Impending Brilliance

Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos. — I Ching And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. — Anaïs Nin The Symptoms I recognize The Symptoms. They've been a recurring “feature” my whole adult life... Trouble breathing... Nothing frightening in itself, but noticeable Restlessness... I need to stand up, walk around, and fidget with my environment Racing heart... No, that's not … [Read more...]

Giving Advice: 5 Lessons from a Pro

Have you noticed that when you offer someone a bit of advice, particularly if it’s unsolicited advice, they tend to resist? Rather than saying, “Great idea! I’ll do that,” they’re more likely to tell you why your advice won’t work for them, even if they've explicitly asked for your input. Having been a consultant for a long time, I’m an advice-giving pro. When it comes to giving advice, I've learned the hard way that telling people what to do (and that's what advice … [Read more...]

The Johnny Appleseed Approach to Life

John Chapman (1774-1845), also known as Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer who planted over a hundred thousand square miles of apple orchards in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Quite a feat when you think of the state of transportation in those days – not to mention the fact that he walked it all barefoot! The apples that Johnny planted weren’t particularly sweet or tasty, but sour apple orchards caught on because the apples made great hard cider or … [Read more...]

Making Tough Decisions: A Coin Toss With a Twist

I love the sense of excitement that comes from being clear about things. I think quickly, and it's often easy for me to make decisions based on... well, I guess "intuition" is the best explanation. But still, like everyone else, sometimes I just can't decide which course to take. Fortunately, my friend Anne gave me a perfect decision-making method for those times when I simply can't commit one way or the other. A Foolproof Decision Making Technique for When You … [Read more...]