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...]

“NO” – The First Step Toward a Win-Win

I've asked you for a favor and you have said “no.” Sounds like the end of the conversation, right? Wrong! -- it’s just the beginning! My job is to find out what exactly you said "No” to.  What aspect of my request triggered your response? Four Reasons for a "No" In most circumstances there are only four reasons that someone says "No" to a request: 1. Timing We might be able and willing -- just not right now. 2. Amount We might be happy to help but not at that … [Read more...]

Make a Big Difference With a Little Word

I love it when people say "Yes and…" Not so much when they say "Yes but…" "Yes and…" expands possibilities.  The word and shapes a conversation in which one person expands on what the other says.  "Yes but…" limits it. A Simple Strategy for Saying "No" But when you use the word but with "No," it's a different story. "No but..." opens possibilities rather than shutting them down. Think about these sentences: No, I don't want to do that, but is there another … [Read more...]

The Open Door That is “No”

Are you afraid to ask people for things because you dread the possibility of hearing “no?” If so, why? Does hearing “no” feel like a personal rejection — as though the other person is saying that you aren't important or worthy? And if you feel that way, do you also have trouble saying “No” out of concern that you'll hurt someone's feelings? If you’ve answered “Yes” to either of these questions, think again! You’re short-changing yourself and unnecessarily limiting your … [Read more...]

Lizard Brain and the Courage to Ask for What You Want

Yesterday I asked a former colleague, who is also a friend of mine, for a favor... I was hoping he would feature my recent post on intentional conversations in his newsletter, a very popular publication with more than 10,000 subscribers. But before I could ask the favor, first I had to deal with a huge amount of inner resistance. In fact, I almost didn't ask at all. Why not? I was afraid he'd feel I was being pushy or inappropriately infringing on our … [Read more...]

Getting to “Yes” with Intentional Conversation

Imagine this... You've come home after a long, wearying day at work. You know there’s not much in the fridge, you don’t have the time or energy to stop at the store, and you really don’t much feel like cooking. Your partner’s not home yet, but you know she’s expecting a meal because it’s your night to cook. What’s the best way to get your partner to agree to go out to dinner with you instead of eating at home? Here are two approaches you might use when you speak with … [Read more...]