New Year, New Me, New You

Posted by on Feb 8, 2015 | 0 comments

Stop_the_World-300x270It’s almost Valentine’s Day and this post is about the new year. Someone is late (imagine me pointing my finger at myself).

Life certainly can be entertaining, can’t it? 2014 ended and 2015 started and I am just catching up. I am too old for the hamster wheel I’ve been on for the past 90 days! I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase, STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GET OFF! Well, it’s been my personal motto since mid-October 2014.

But I’m over that, and it’s a new year, a new me, a new you, and a new chance to evaluate, improve and succeed. Now that’s a course I want to stay on!

It dawned on me recently that I’ve been speaking professionally for nearly 40 years. That’s a long time. And the kicker is – I’ve been getting paid for it! But as good as I’m told I am, I knew I had not honed my skills to the level I want to achieve. And I wanted to be better, to really earn the money I was being paid to train and inspire and motivate others.

So I did some exploring, talked to a few friends, including the amazing Devin Thorpe, and discovered the National Speakers Association. After researching their reputation, their services, and their requirements…I discovered that I qualified for membership, and I signed up!

Today I attended my first NSA conference, and WOW! I have a lot to learn, a lot to do, and a lot of new friends. This is a picture of me with an old/new friend, Karen Petersen.IMG_0128

We’ve known each other for a long time, we even talk every day, but we had not met until lunch this afternoon. You might know Karen too…she is the female Australian voice of Siri and most GPS systems. Who knew!? (I’ll never be able to get mad at her again!)

I guess the message I want to share today is simple. There are ups and downs in life, but they don’t matter unless you let the down times knock you off course. I’ve been otherwise engaged for a few months, but I’m back, and I’m better than ever before. I’m honing my skills, I’m broadening my network, I’m seeing a successful 2015 ahead.

Sure. You’re right. It’s the 38th day of the new year…but who cares? I’m celebrating like it’s the first day!

Happy New Year…and let’s make it our best year ever! (Siri’s response? “That may be beyond my abilities at the moment.”)

I guess Siri has down days too.

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Time Management By Quadrant

Posted by on May 31, 2014 | 0 comments

Managing time is never easy. Life moves fast and we all have responsibilities that often overlap, or even collide. Maybe this simple illustration of how I am managing my time will be helpful to you….that’s my hope!


Remember, there are only 24 hours in every day, no matter what we do. Make them count.

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Do Be Do Be Do

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 | 0 comments

I am underwhelmed by a lot of things, including my own organizational abilities at times. But today I am overwhelmed with the to-do list that greeted me so cheerfully this morning with multiple beeps and toots from my MacBook and iPhone. I wanted to holler – “I surrender, you win!! May the sound cloud in the great internet void beep forever, but please PLEASE leave me alone!”

To do lists save me. They are also my worst enemy. I love them and hate them. I follow them and ignore them. I create them and then redo them.

My name is Jean and I am a listmaker. “To do or not to do” that is my question. Daily. Hourly.

And there you have it. I can make lists like no one else. Getting them done is another thing altogether.

What IS it about a list that makes me, a) feel organized, and b) feel overwhelmed, and on occasion, c) feel satisfied? A list, to me, is everything and nothing. It gives me direction (which I often don’t follow). It outlines a plan (which I typically rearrange). It provides structure (which I reject). And there is the crux of the problem…I reject structure.

Lists are structure in outline form. They guide us to a goal (which is probably identified on yet another list). Lists help us prioritize the multitude of lists we have in our minds and on paper and online.

Lists and more lists. They may be the death of me, and that’s simply not an option….soooooo…..

I have come up with the following solution: I have a single list that I work from. It happens to sync between my iPhone and my computer, and I can print it out if I choose. It allows me to check off what’s accomplished, push a task back on the calendar that I can’t get to as hoped, and beeps me everyday (once) to remind me that I have a list.

This list has helped me tremendously. I used to sub-list my lists…you know, school, church, home, business…but now I simply use one list for everything. If I have a dental appointment and need to take information with me, it’s on my list for that day, which might very well be the same day I have a grant proposal due, and a lunch date with an old friend, along with a manicure, and a conference call with a client. EVERYTHING is on the same list.

There are a lot of apps online that do all these wonderful things, and I have used several, I think you have to try them out until you find the one you like best. My favorite was using TASKS on Google Calendar before I bought the Mac…it was simple, showed on my calendar and I liked it.

HOWEVER, since I’ve had my Mac, I’ve realized that there are better, more inclusive apps available…and so I made a list of them. And I searched for a list as well, and found several. If you want to check them out see the list of lists below.

List # 1. 

List # 2.

List # 3. 

List #4.

My go-to list maker for a long time was the simple REMINDERS app. It worked for me. Not too complicated, not too simple. I can schedule by date and time, add recurring dates, edit, alter, move, delete and check off as I so desire. That’s my kind of list.

And then I found AWESOME NOTE (aNote) and my life changed forever. It syncs with Evergreen, my calendar, my Reminders list, my Notes, my – well, you name it, it probably syncs. I don’t know what I would do without it. I can add travel notes (which I used to keep in Notes), journal entries (which I would scribble onto a calendar near my desk), and anything and everything. If you really want to organize your life, I highly recommend aNote. Claim your life back. Dominate the beeps and toots. Take control, and do it with  a good to-do list management system

Now that should give you something to add to your to do list!

As for me…well, Do be do be do!

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Silence is Golden

Posted by on Oct 11, 2011 | 0 comments

Fundraisers are typically warm outgoing people, and they are trained to be social, to converse, to network, to engage…but there is a moment (or more) when silence is not only appropriate for a fundraiser, but literally “golden”.

Think back to your last personal ask. Right after your polished presentation, made while sitting across a table or desk from your potential donor, or in a phone conversation, did you take a moment to be still and SILENT? Chances are you didn’t.

All too often we ramble on with unnecessary information, additional data, even quasi-apologies,  as if chatter will dull or ease the reality of what we just did – which was ask for support. But isn’t that our job? And doesn’t the person you’re meeting with know that? Yes, and yes.

Silence after a personal in-person request for support is critical. It allows the donor to think. This is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. After all, you’re sitting there because you have a relationship with the person sitting across from you, and he or she has an interest (maybe a passion, maybe even an investment) in your organization’s work. It’s important to respect their right to ponder what you’ve just asked for.

I’ve had donors look up after a minute and restate my original idea (ask) in a way that more greatly benefits the organization I’m representing than I had hoped for. Or they restructure it to meet their financial and philosophical position. Donors may have additional questions, or an alternate method of offering their support – today matching grants are a popular suggestion with philanthropists. Give your donors a chance to think through what you’ve just asked them to do before moving the conversation past your greatest opportunity to gain their support, or worse yet, before closing your portfolio, shaking hands and leaving with a “I’ll give you call about what we talked about.”

Stop. Take a breath. Give them time to think. Take time to listen.

Today’s post from Katya shares great information on this topic from Andy Robinson’s new book, How to Raise $500 to $5000 From Almost Anyone, and then offers her own commentary.

“Novice solicitors tend to stammer out of the number and then immediately backpedal before the prospect has a chance to consider the request.  If you’re not careful, your mouth will open against your will, and all sorts of inappropriate comments will come out, like ‘I know that’s a lot, you really don’t have to give that much.’  Or ‘You don’t have to decide right now.’ … The prospect has a lot to think about.  Give him or her the gift of silence to figure it out.  Ask for the gift and wait with your mouth shut.”

Be sure to check out Katya’s blog, she’s an amazing resource for nonprofit professionals! And rethink your donor presentations and resist the urge to talk through the entire meeting; add some moments of silence. I think it will pay off for your organization!

And just for fun, check out this You Tube video: Silence is Golden, Tremeloes.

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