Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Faith, Focus, Discipline and Kindness

Recently someone said to me:

"It seems like that's what you do. Your a last minute kind of girl."

That got me thinking because yes there are times when I do spend a lot more time in the IMPORTANT/URGENT box instead of the preferred IMPORTANT/NON URGENT box.

So I've been thinking why is that? Well sometimes it is just the reality of working in the trenches of a generalist fundraising shop. Spring is always busy. This year especially. In the past five weeks I have:

- presented annual results and new plans to the board
- launched a major fundraising campaign
- hosted a donor event for 80 people
- written and produced an annual report
- planning a brand new session (upon request not from my head) for AFP

Sometimes I have had to email my staff and tell them that I'm unavailable for everything - except my priority. Anything they need that has to do with the event, the campaign or the annual report, well...that's all I can think about. Focus. Delivery is about focus. But what about all that other stuff? It is still there. In my head, keeping me awake.

Most recently I've been worrying about my AFP session. There simply wasn't any room in my brain for it. When I was asked for my slides a few weeks ago I just laughed out loud and said - sorry not possible.

But this morning a miracle happened. I woke up with an outline, references and a vision for worksheets and tools. How did that happen? Well...I think it is because yesterday I also sent off the content of my Annual Report to the copy editor. The week before our major campaign launched, the week before 80 people were fed and a newsletter was written and the week before I had a major presentation to make to my board of directors.

Yes I might be a "Last minute" girl. But that is only because to do things well I need to focus on them. When there is space made in my brain the next important thing that was waiting takes over and falls into place. While it would be nice to have more time in between major tasks the reality is that fundraisers in the trenches have no control over how quickly things are going to come at us. Especially in a dynamic organization that is growing.

What is the learning here?

I think it is that in order to be remarkable - we need to be focussed, we need to have faith, discipline and finally we need to be kind - to ourselves.

Faith that we know what we are doing.

Focus on doing one thing really well at a time.

Discipline to not get distracted by things that won't help achieve our current objective.

Kindness to ourselves with understanding that sometimes are busier than others and we can only do what we can do.

I am very much looking forward to my session at AFP next week and after that - I think I'll do some gardening.

Thank you for spending time here,


  1. I think this is interesting -- I've often said that I work best under pressure, but I've never been able to figure out exactly why that is. You've given me food for thought -- thanks!

  2. Kimberley what a truly honest and moving post. Maybe it's because I'm 'in the trenches' right now at 22.18 that I feel so comforted to read it.

    I often wonder if being 'last minute' makes me bad at my job. Sure we can all use a little more forward planning, but if there is no space in your head, no amount of planning is going to matter, right?

    Thank you for making me feel like I am not alone, and a little less guilty about having been an invisible friend lately. We are all in these trenches together, and I think if we all understand and support each other, great things will happen for the causes we love!

    Congratulations on the campaign, the annual report, the event, the past presentation to the board.... and everything else you will achieve before the end of Spring.

    - Clare

  3. Well said Clare and well said Kimberley. I'm wondering if I even know what the IMPORTANT/NON URGENT box looks like.....

  4. Thank you kindly for your great post(s), Kimberly.

    I really appreciate your thoughtful, kind-hearted approach to your work. I'm increasingly seeing the world around us as a race to the bottom and you are living proof that that doesn't have to be the case...and indeed you have the antidote!

    Shifts in power can be made not only by controlling resources but by hearing the other, following our hearts, strategizing and acting (even if at the last moment!) People often imitate those around them so here's hoping more people bump into your blog, Kimberly! :)


  5. First, I must apologize. Somehow I missed these comments.

    Second, Thank you very much. I wrote this post in about 15 minutes at four thirty in the morning and was tempted to delete it by the time I got to work - but then didn't have time.

    So there you go. Glad it added value to your day. Thanks again for making time to ready my blog.