Stand Out: How to find your breakthrough idea [book review]

Dorie Clark

Dorie Clark is an inspiration. Insightful. No-nonsense. Encouraging. Prolific. (Does she sleep?!)

Her work is extremely relevant to those of us in the non-profit sector. The opening to her most recent book, “Stand Out: how to find your breakthrough idea” says it all:

“You have something to say to the world. You have a contribution to make.”

Indeed you do! You’re on a mission to make the world better, brighter, safer, kinder. More sustainable and equitable. Heck yeah you’ve got a contribution to make. You’re making one every day.

Dorie goes on to say:

“Yet too many of us shrink back when it comes to finding and sharing our ideas with the world.”

She kind of nailed it on the head there, didn’t she?

As non-profit and philanthropic leaders, we have been trained to not “toot our own horns”. To not draw attention to our work. To put away our soapboxes and megaphones. And, to some extent, that makes sense. It’s not about us. It’s about our mission, our work, the people we serve.

But here’s the thing: if you don’t share your ideas for how to make the world a better place, no one will know about them.

Now, I’m not a betting gal, but I’d lay money on the table that you have some good ideas about how we might do things better. Those ideas would mean fewer kids on the streets, more people fed, more acres of land protected, healthier communities, happier people, etc., etc., etc.

So I’d like to encourage you to 1) read Dorie’s book because it’s great and inspiring, and 2) to reframe how you think about “tooting your own horn”. There’s a big difference between tooting your horn and putting a breakthrough idea out into the world, especially if that idea will make the world a better place. Then you’re kind of obligated to put it out to the world. Keeping it to yourself would be downright selfish. (How’s that for a reframe?)

What’s your breakthrough idea for making the world a better place?

 

Personal Branding & Cute Little Cows

Moooooooooooooooo.

That’s what I hear in my mind when I hear the word “branding”. Cows. Wandering around the pasture. Chewing their cud. Staring off into middle distance.

They’re cute, aren’t they?

But branding isn’t about cows at all. (Yes, cows are branded, poor little things. But we’re not talking about that. Ouch!)

Personal branding is about putting your unique stamp on the world. It’s about figuring out who you are at your core. What your values are. What your personality is. What you stand for. And then infusing that throughout your personal and professional lives.

Personal branding isn’t particularly complicated. But if you’re someone driven by mission–someone like you–it’s a liiiiiiiiitle more complicated because of the whole aligning your personal values with those of the organizations for which you work.

Just like an organization or a company, you already have a brand. But are you managing it well? That’s the question. And that’s what we’re going to tackle in this month’s free webinar.

Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • Why you should actively care about your personal brand (Hint: It has to do with being happier and more successful.)
  • A super practical way to define your personal brand.
  • What your words say about your personal brand.
  • How the narrative, visual, and experiential aspects of your brand work together… and what bad things happen when they don’t.
  • How to be true to your personal brand in different contexts, including at work.

Here are the details. Hope you’ll join me! (If you can’t join live but are interested in the topic, register anyway and you’ll auto-magically get the recording.)

January 25, 2017
1-2pm Pacific


376 Ways to Give Good Gratitude

Heart shape handsDid you feel a slight shift in the atmosphere last Wednesday at 1pm Pacific? A wave of well-being that you couldn’t place? A yearning to thank your barista just a little bit more vociferously than usual?

That’s because right about then me, Shanon Doolittle, and about 250 of our closest friends were dishing about good gratitude. Good grief did we have fun!

Shanon always wows with her practical, yet totally inspired tips for donor love.  The Goddess of Gratitude did not disappoint. (I wasn’t actually counting but I think 376 is a pretty good guestimate of how many ideas Shanon gave out during the webinar. All very doable, by the way.)

Want to hear a surprising thing Shanon said about writing a thank you note?

Don’t start with: “Thank you for…”

Nope, start with something zippier. You expect a thank you note to start with the words “Thank you.” The expected rarely dazzles a donor. (The Wordifier has your back when it comes to finding better words, don’t you worry.)

Kiss boring thank you notes to curb and get your gratitude train going full steam ahead as you head into 2017.  Listen to the recording of this free, fun-filled webinar.

(Plus you’ll learn how Shanon and I met, which is a fun little story.)

Listen right here, right now. >>

 

#GivingTuesday Gratitude (& a free webinar)

gratitude, fundraising, free webinarPhew. You made it through another #GivingTuesday. Awesome!

Now what?

Have you thought about how to thank the fab donors who donated to you on #GivingTuesday?

Have you pondered how you’re going to handle the thank-then-turn-around-and-ask tango that happens between #GivingTuesday and year-end?

Do you have ideas for how to infuse gratitude into your donor loooooooove strategy so you have an explosive, joy-filled fundraising year in 2017?

Maybe a tidge? Maybe not at all? Maybe you have but want new ideas for changing things up?

Well have I got good news for you: I’m doing a free webinar next week with the Goddess of Gratitude, Shanon Doolittle!!!!

Gratitude-a-palooza: A gazillion ways to make your donors feel like rock stars
Wednesday, December (yikes, December!) 7, 2016

 

1-2Pm Pacific

Can’t join us live? No big. It’ll be recorded. But you have to sign up to get the recording. So sign up, sit back, and soak up all the ideas me and Shanon have to share with you.

Oh, yeah, we’ll also have lots of time to answer your questions so bring ’em on!

Don’t get fancy on me

Word“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”
― C.S. Lewis

Love. This. Quote. It reminds of my favorite quote from Antoine de St-Exupery:

Perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

But–confession–I also love fancy words. I really, truly do. The way they sound. The way you feel when you discover them. The way the letters organize themselves into an unexpected result.

Pernicious for harmful.

Leitmotif for theme.

Gihugic for big. (Okay, you caught me. “Gihugic” isn’t really a word. I made it up. Or someone else did and I heard it and loved it. But isn’t it fun?!)

Fancy words delight me. But I don’t use them much when I write. That’s because fancy words aren’t a super good choice if you’re looking to connect with someone. They’re often a barrier. Rather than being dazzled by your intellect, the person on the receiving end risks being confused or dumb-founded. Neither of which moves your relationship along.

Bonus factoid: Did you know there is actually a Plain Language Law? That’s a real thing. Enacted in 2010, the law requires that federal agencies use “clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.”

Pretty sure fancy words aren’t encouraged by the Plain Language Law.

So loverize yourself silly using fancy words when you’re writing for yourself, or for other people who love fancy words, or when you’re looking to impress your boss with your vast linguistic repertoire (aka big vocabulary). Or when you want a word to pop out and surprise a reader. (Wordifier, anyone?) But make sure that fancy word is surrounded by plain language that is a snap to understand.

*****
Post Readability Stats: Reading Ease: 72, Grade Level: 5.3

**Want to learn more about finding the very best words to advance your mission? Sign up for Winter Quarter at Claxon University!**