Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

It’s New Year’s Even, so naturally I’m thinking about what I should be resolving to do better this coming year.

This past year has been (professionally) a fantastic journey. It was my first full year of full-time consulting. As I worked with an array of truly terrific clients and projects, I found myself experiencing a number of what I’ve called in the past “Oh yeah” moments.

These are not those epiphanies when it all makes sense. These are, rather those things—often small things—that you know, but for some inexplicable reason have ceased to follow through with. Follow through, taking all the steps from point to point until you reach an end, is too often one of those forgotten things I’ve had to re-find. Oh, yeah.

Sometimes it’s been a specific technique. You know, like look through the donors to last year’s annual appeal who didn’t respond this year. Call the ones above a certain giving level. Write a very personal letter to those below.

More often it’s been a way of thinking. I’ve met too many people who want to tell me why they can’t do something and sometimes during the conversation I find myself caught up in that negativity. Then I step away and, oh yeah. Let’s look at this from the other side: why can we do something? It’s amazing how the ideas begin to flow.

Yesterday, a friend gave me David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. In it he talks about how lack of time is not the reason you don’t get things done. Lack of clarity and a definition about what a project really is and who the next-action steps are, are the real culprits. Which starts me thinking about what I haven’t accomplished this year.

When I enumerate and think why, I’m reminded of a former staff member who frequently commented that she always felt “stuck on start.” She knew broadly where she wanted to end up, but she couldn’t figure out what that first action step should be. I thought about my big unattained goal, and realized that I, too, have been stuck on start and not very clear about how to get to where I want to go. Resolution number one, therefore, will be to clarify that, and figure out that first step.

I have to smile. One of the things I cherish about consulting is that I have that luxury of stepping back, viewing the big picture and then figuring out how my client needs to address the problem. That is, I clarify for them what the steps should be. But when it comes to myself, I’m too often either overwhelmed by the magnitude of what I think I want to accomplish overall, or I’m too deep in the trenches to think about where I’m going.

Resolution two, therefore, is to apply resolution one to all the things I want to get done.

Janet Levine is a fundraising consultant. She can be reached at Her online grantwriting class is available at


avagdro said...

Thanks for sharing.I Wish to stop Complaining,Comparing,Contending,Cynicism,
Criticism besides not to find faults in others and look into faults of my own and work over them to improve in all aspects.In addition to this not to be swayed by praise,blame,Censure,pleasure besides being humble to the whole world.
My heartfelt thanks to all n Wish a great joyful New Year.

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Janet Levine said...

I love your resolutions, avagdro. If we could all stop complaining, comparing, contending, cynicism and criticism, it owuld be a far different world!