Sidney Mathias Baxter Coulling III, the retired S. Blount Mason Jr. Professor of English at Washington and Lee University died in February of 2016 at the age of 92. I had the distinct privilege of being taught Old English Literature and Poetry by Professor Coulling in 1981 as a freshman at W&L. It was the toughest “C” I ever earned (one of only two as an undergraduate). How I made my way into a sophomore level course (also taken by many juniors) is a testament to my naiveté–an error that only a greenhorn first-year student can make. [Read more…]
For many non-profit professionals, the end of the year can feel like a whirlwind. There is often a big push to secure those year-end gifts, which then creates a demand to process all of those gifts before December 31st. Frequently there are year-end board meetings, which create significant amounts of extra work for staff. Fundraising staff is busy organizing with volunteers to call donors or write personal, hand-written notes to thank them for their support. And then there is the endless parade of holiday parties and lunches. Who’s got time to even think!
Since it is often a busy time of year – both professionally and personally – you might suddenly find yourself facing the New Year and wondering where the time has gone. And, you may be asking yourself: “how did I get here?” [Read more…]
About two years ago I established a morning routine that includes 20 minutes of meditation. Although I had meditated on and off for about five years, it has now become an important and joyful part of my life.
I sense that many of you already meditate or have tried it (or thought about trying it). After all, meditation and mindfulness have been well researched and much has been reported about the benefits.
As Jon Kabat Zinn, founder of the renowned Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, explains mindfulness is “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” [Read more…]
This past year, I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving as president for Apra, the professional association to which I belong. It was an extraordinary experience. It was also hard! It involved diplomacy, a lot of listening, understanding different perspectives, having difficult conversations, getting people to consensus and the occasional “herding of cats.”
But here’s the thing: If being president of Apra were easy, I wouldn’t have learned or grown as much as I did. Brene Brown sums it up well: “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of skills and practices that are 100 percent teachable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No. Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always.” [Read more…]
This week I celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary.
My wife and I have a wonderful relationship, and we live full lives as partners, parents, and professionals. We align on most things and rarely disagree.
There is, however, one realm where we do not align, and it’s been a source of friction for us over the years. It has to do with how we keep track of everything in our busy lives so that we honor our promises and commitments (a.k.a., keeping your word) to each other, as well as to our family, friends, and colleagues.
How many of you wake up to a freshly filled Inbox and a daily agenda filled with a range of difficult conversations and challenging work? Tempting to dive right in, right? But, if you’re like me, that trap can ruin a morning and, honestly, not give the work the attention and venue it deserves.
Well, my coach gave me some great advice about a year ago about a better way to start the day and it has made all the difference. But here’s the trick: it takes some serious discipline until a habit is formed. After that? It’s no more difficult than your 5 am sleepwalk to the coffee machine. [Read more…]
This week my family and I are moving. It’s a significant downsize in anticipation of my oldest daughter going off to college in a year. As a family of four, we’re transitioning from a 3BR+Den+Garage house to a 2BR+Den and no garage condo by the beach in Naples, FL. In preparation for the move, we’ve been “subtracting” a significant amount of stuff from our lives over the past few weeks–giving most of it away to Goodwill, or families whom we know can put it to good use.
At Fundraising Leadership we are passionate about supporting nonprofit leaders in their growth. We are equally passionate about continuing to grow ourselves. The Fundraising Leadership team came together as a result of our love of learning. David and I met during a 10-month leadership program in North Carolina. And Silvia connected with us after she completed the program in Spain. [Read more…]
If you’re the kind of person who feels overwhelmed when you start a big project, the “divide and prioritize” technique will serve you well. Dividing and prioritizing will enable you to determine the most important tasks to completing your big challenge. Each step you take will be reason for celebration and continuing to pursue your main objective. [Read more…]
Next week, I meet with the Conscious Leadership Tribe to discuss Commitment #3 from the 15 Commitments of Conscious Leaders: “I commit to feeling my feelings all the way through to completion. They come, and I locate them in my body then move, breathe and vocalize them, so they release all the way.” It’s a topic that this group of leaders comes back to from time-to-time because we assert that conscious leaders are emotionally intelligent.