TIme

The 12th Step

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Addiction programs of note have 12 steps to recovery.   Individuals who complete 11 of 12 steps have a higher likelihood to lapse back into their addictive behavior than those who complete all the steps.  Said differently, individuals who make it 90% of the way stumble far more than those who go one level further.  What makes the 12th step so powerful?  The 12th step is a commitment to mentor another person who has suffered from the addiction.  The act of giving ourselves in the service of others has a profound and lasting impact.

If a friend tells you they donated $1,000 to a charity it may be impressive but it might not be a transformational act.  If your friend told you they gave their Saturday to refurbish a charity’s program center, we are inspired.  The commitment of our time and expertise has more of a far-reaching impact than the investment of capital.  The act of donating our time is valued more than our treasure.  If we offer our time in the service of others it inspires and builds a committed tribe.

* Another post from a day with Simon Sinek in New York City.

The Present

This is my favorite clock.  The hand transverses a color spectrum background correlated to the seasons.  It takes one year for the annual hand to complete its journey.  The daily movements are so fine as to be imperceptible   Over the course of a week one can observe the subtle passage of time.

My enthusiasm for the Present is not only the remarkable way in which it represents time but also in the manner it calibrates my perception of time.  Far more meaningful are the actions and experiences that take place within the annual transition of seasons than the list of appointments that fill my days on an electronic calendar.  It are those remarkable moments that map back the annual clock.

I use the Present as a metaphor for planning.  Which journeys are worth taking during the next five rotations of the Present that will be meaningful?  Strategy demands a more distant horizon than the actions and objectives that fill the hours of our day.  A new representation of time can be liberating to our thinking.

Secure Funding

The topic of fundraising receives proportionally less time than is actually committed by organizations on the typical nonprofit board meeting agenda.  Most causes certainly report on their development/fundraising efforts but what does not get discussed is the amount of time the enterprise attributes to the effort of securing funding on a daily basis.  What if our enterprises ran like a Kickstart campaigns?  You complete a form, uploaded an introductory video, outlined your purpose and business plan and let the market place determine your viability?  If you campaign reaches its goal, you are funded and proceed; if not you work on obtaining other sources of financial backing.  The freedom that the Kickstarter model offers is tantalizing.  You make a heavy investment in fundraising upfront but then have the financial security to move forward with your project, instead of making little steps in-between runs to solicit contributions.  Nonprofits, politicians, artists, researchers, educators, and doctors should all be able to focus the majority of their time on their craft.  Of course connecting with those who invested in your dream (and their dream) is vital but it should not keep one from practicing your talent.  


How would your cause operate if you knew your revenue stream was secure for a year?  What would it bring into focus that is currently blurry?