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You Can’t Do It Alone

Planned Giving Success

I’m always on a self-improvement kick. So are most of my clients. They have their own coaches, and they have me. I also have them — I learn from clients all the time. Learning is a habit of mine, and that’s why I read every day.

It Starts in the Head

Learning and self-improvement do not happen by chance. It all starts in the head with a conscious decision. I consciously decided to lose weight 4 years ago. It was actually easy. First, I realized that exercising begins in the kitchen; second, I got a fitness coach.

“How” Was it Easy?

Why was it easy, I should ask. I practiced what I preach: It’s not the “How” that comes first, it’s the “Why.” So I got a book on the “Why” titled: The Fat Loser. What a brilliant title. It gave me short bursts of 100-some reasons on why being slim is better for one’s health, career, social status, public speaking, longevity, earning power, thought patterns, and more. Especially needed when you have a young Yorkie (Chloe Mikaelian) that you have to chase around the house (I can outrun her, by the way, but I always make her think she’s winning).

The Difference Between How and Why

The “How” tells you “what to do.” The “Why”brainwashes you to make it happen.

Some 40 years ago there was a study in Texas to see what made someone successful. Most people tie success to money — but this studied success in any area (parenting, sports, income, the best chef, tattoo body artist, a major gifts officer …). The research showed how little that people who were successful had in common. Some had been A+ students, and some had barely gotten through high school. Some came from wealth, and most did not. But they had one thing in common: they spent a lot of time with someone who had been successful. In other words, they learned how to be successful. They had friends, mentors, influencers and coaches.

Speaking of money, when you are successful in one area, the money usually follows. That’s why I have always preached that planned giving is not about money. It’s about legitimacy, future insight, and credibility. You succeed in it, not put it off, and the money follows. Not only for your organization, but in raises you’ll get, and new doors that open.

You can do anything. If you can’t, your reasons for doing are not strong enough.

(N.B. I have a friend who’s an MIT grad worth around $3 M. His brother is a 2nd grade dropout from a third-world nation – speaks half-broken English — worth around $24 M. Education helps, but it all starts in the head. When was the last time you did a P&L on your finances? You’d be surprised how much more you’re worth if you take all your assets into account. Get a financial coach!)

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