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One Shovel-Full at a Time

snow shovel

My whole body aches. Those of you living in the Northeast know exactly why I am in this state. After coming indoors after my forth effort to dig out my car after the Blizzard of 2013, I found that a hard earned advancement metaphor had crept into my frigid gray matter.

I stopped counting the number of shovel-loads of snow I heaved over my head in the hopes that they wouldn’t blow back on me. But I did realize that with each scoop and throw… I could see I was making progress toward my goal. Not every throw represented the same amount of progress, but I was clearing the path nonetheless. After a (short) while I learned to work from the light snow on top to the wetter, heavier snow below on my way to the sidewalk. I got more done with less effort. (It’s the little things in life.)

The metaphor, of course, has to do with our work. I think it is safe to say that we all shovel our share of obstruction and debris – as well as opportunity and insight – during the course of our day, on our way to getting to the bottom of our to-do list. And hopefully, that to-do list represents our daily strategy for implementing a grand plan and satisfying our work objectives.

Everything we do in our work should be moving us in our desired direction. Even when the unexpected happens… how can you turn that irate donor into a new friend? How can you make sure your time is well spent in pursuit of your objectives? Do you take time out to consider, or reconsider, if you can do it better, smarter, with less effort, and with an even better outcome?

There is no question that fund raising is a long, hard slog. It takes hard work, persistence, step by step activities, and the need to react to the unexpected (blowback). But it also is so rewarding with its occasional giant and unexpected gains. And just like shoveling, if you don’t see clear progress being made, then you should step back and rethink your strategy.

Your takes:

  1. Live in a condominium.
  2. Build in positive reinforcements into your day to help you remember why you come to work everyday.
  3. Always be rethinking how you do things so you can do them better.

    For more information about Copley Raff and its spectrum of not for profit consulting services, please see www.copleyraff.com.

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