New Way to Find Your Philanthropic Passion

I have written about “finding your passion” in philanthropy over the years and thought it was an effective way to help people identify the cause that resonated with them. “Begin With the End in Mind,” Dr. Stephen Covey said and he was right. But there is more than one way to approach that question of passion for change and this week I learned a new one that I will share with you!

I was at a YWA Connect Kickoff event for the Young Women’s Alliance this week and my friend and fellow YWA Connect Mentor Gayle Reaume was the keynote speaker. Gayle is the founder of Moolah U and her passion is sharing financial information with young people. She has been very successful in her business and always hands credit back to her personal mentors as she brings that success forward into the lives of the people she mentors.

She said, “I don’t ask people what their passion or interest in community service is…I ask them what situation or condition they can’t bear to live with in the world.”

Paradigm shift.

I thought that was a great way to get people thinking about more than what they love. It makes them think about what they dislike and want to change. It was a call to action that I will be incorporating into the way I talk with potential volunteers, donors, and mentors.

What can’t I bear to live with in the world?

Ignorance and inequality were what came to mind first and young people are the most obvious target to me. Education, Diversity, Inclusion…all those words are just words until someone undertakes actions to make them a reality for the generations who are coming up fast.

What’s yours?

I can’t wait to hear about it.

 

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Drama and Your Marriage

©CanStock Photo / AndreyPopov

I watched a popular series the other night, streaming it as we do these days when I was stunned by a particular episode. To be fair, we watch these things for the drama, the ups and downs, last-minute saves and resolutions, and pretty people in awkward, funny or even painful situations. It is their stock in trade and is utterly predictable at times.

However, the drama is the smallest thing you want in your relationship or marriage. It can break apart the strongest love, ruin lives, finances, and futures and most of it is avoidable. You don’t have to have drama in your relationship to have romance. They should be two very different things.

In this episode, a couple has dated and known each other for years. They decide to have a child together, go through fertility counseling and make this huge commitment of bringing another human being into the world. Then, he discovers that she is not planning to raise the child in his faith, she discovers that her career is much more important to her than she expected, and the inevitable pendulum swings between these two who ultimately decide to marry and proceed, trusting that their love will see them through.

Yeah, let’s unpack that a bit, shall we? There is so much wrong with that picture. Continue reading

Outrage Exhaustion

Are you feeling a bit powerless right now?

I am.

Every day I read and see things that make me angry, afraid, and anxious and it seems like there are no calm voices of reason speaking in the cacophony that has become our public discourse.

I am not a person who enjoys conflict and arguing for argument’s sake. I am usually extroverted, but when faced with issues that have more than one perspective (Know of any that don’t?), I have taught myself to think and research about it before making my views known. I can often see both sides of disagreements and want desperately for people to think before they speak, react, and worst of all, attack.

I feel weary of the posturing and uncivil behavior and language we are subjected to on a daily basis.

Are you feeling the same?

What do you do when your adrenaline has faded away and there are just too many outrageous things happening at once to react to all of them? Really, I want to know.

The only strategy I can think of right now is to focus in on a limited number of things that I can actually affect. Here are a few that have come to mind.

  • Support people running for office that you think will do a good job and who are able to have a reasonable conversation. I am not here to tell you who to support, of course, but they all need donors, volunteers, and assorted other services – check their websites and see if there are needs that interest you!
  • Inform yourself from sources besides social media. ProPublica, Politifact, NPR, and other investigative news outlets are good places to start, but be alert to bias wherever you go.
  • Consider volunteering with a cause you support and believe in. You will feel better and so will the people you are helping.
  • Try to move out of your comfort zone and have a conversation with someone who may see things quite differently than you do. Listen more than you talk and your eyes may be opened to perspectives you have not considered because they aren’t part of your life.
  • Educate yourself about the issues in your area at least and most importantly…

VOTE.

See you at the polls.

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When Storytelling Fails

I am a storyteller and bear all of the hallmarks of that ancient profession.

I have a good speaking voice with emotive ability, an animated face and manner, and high energy, I am an avid reader with a huge vocabulary, and most importantly, I think chronologically.

I was born like this and it never occurred to me that other people thought differently until my husband and I started comparing our childhoods and he admitted he didn’t really have any memories that were structured that way. If he saw a picture or heard someone else tell a mutual childhood story, it sparked his memory but it was more like opening the drawer of a file cabinet and accessing the exact thing you wanted. The advantage for him in this memory system was that his mind is never cluttered. He has razor sharp focus on any topic or task and is never distracted down a rabbit hole of memory. The disadvantage is that when you ask him things about his past, sometimes he just doesn’t remember.

Life itself is a story in my mind. It is linear, chronological, in color, and most of the time it is in great detail. I have learned to use this to my advantage and often become an institutional memory resource for organizations I have worked with for a long time.

But for all its advantages, my storytelling nature can have its dark side. Continue reading

Genealogy – Collecting and Connecting

I mentioned to my husband that in light of our multiple downsizings, we were fortunate that neither of us is a collector.

My husband smiled and said, “I think you do have a collection. You have collected the people and ancestry in your family!”

“And yours,” I responded with a grin.

People ask, “How did you get into genealogy? Did your family talk about its history?”

“Not really.” My maternal grandmother (Nana) talked a bit about hers and claimed that we were descendants of Myles Standish of the Mayflower through her father William Herbert Standish. He died young in a carriage accident and was evidently the great love of her three-times married mother, Nellie Holley Standish Kidder Smalley. When Nellie died, her wish was to be buried with William.

But that was it. No big lore and to be frank, we all just smiled and humored her when Nana claimed the Standish connection. No one really took it seriously. Continue reading