Your Philanthropy: Part I
Tis the season! Doing charitable giving “right” can involve finding the right balance, for you, of several factors. Here are a few.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
Your Philanthropy: Part I
Cliffs & Climbing
Perfection in an asana (i.e. yoga poses) is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached.
-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sutras
The fear of falling is primal. To pursue an activity that involves this risk defies reason. I have skied on the edge of a steep slope not only because the best snow was there, but also to navigate that fine line between safety and danger. Calling it a thrill is a misnomer; it’s deeply satisfying. My tenure as a competitive springboard diver was similar; there was always the possibility for pain and injury, but also transcendence.Read More
From Akron to Duluth
The food isn’t the reason. I search the internet for “family restaurants” during my travels and see what comes up. There isn't a hard definition, but the 8-10 I’ve recently patronized had common traits: “vintage" decor; decent, but not stellar food; a local, generally older clientele; reasonable prices; and a cashier near the door. Contentedly ensconced in a booth, I try to temper my innate urban elitism.
The Influence of Cute
Everyone should have a puppy. The world would be a saner and more sustainable place. Watching over our new, 10-week old arrival invokes a powerful sense of vulnerability. The last time I felt this exposed, I was in college, studying music pre-professionally. My stage fright grew more intense each week I was there. Every moment I performed in public became a paralyzing battle against everything that could, and eventually did, go wrong.
In Memoriam: Henry Henderson (1952 - Nov. 5, 2018)
Nature wins. The other morning, in my vivid dreamscape, the waves had far exceeded the breakwater. I call to you, “come look,” not so much out of surprise or concern, but wonder. With the waves now lapping at it, will the foundation hold? Is it built for this?
The Art of Allowing
Learning music was essential. When I was playing and studying chamber music in college, I had no idea how valuable the experience would later be to my career. There are a plethora of courses that teach meeting facilitation techniques. I would put my years of chamber music experience up against every one.
Spooky Innovation Killers
Clients want better solutions. Or so they think. Like a wine tasting, innovation often gets sampled and spat out before it can be ingested. Here are some of the responses I’ve received as novel vintages met their doom, and the underlying reasoning.
Ability v. Inability
My job is simple. It is also difficult. Insight is the foundation upon which we strive to build the houses our clients commission. Unearthing and assimilating it requires the right research and people. This innovation work around issues of bettering the world in meaningful ways is difficult because we are feeling our way in the dark. Frustration is part of the mix.
Starbucks at Starbucks
Time is of the essence. I'm writing this on my phone while riding a bus. Time is always of the essence. Juggling multiple deadlines and evolving project demands this week has stressed my capacity for nimbleness. Sometimes we are more aware of the essence of time than others.
We avoid the word “solve.” Having reached the dead-end of a subterranean maze of creative, innovation-seeking inquiry, sometimes you just sit and stare. What do we do now? Root causes can’t always be addressed, as much as I know every other “solution” is woefully inadequate. I didn’t pursue this type of innovation work to add more incomplete conceits to what is often already a long list.
The Sustainable Embrace
Everyone knew Charlie. For many years, by the gentle force of his caring personality, my friend Charlie Hamlen was at the center of the classical music world, launching and managing the careers of some of the most gifted musicians on the planet. Through an introduction he made, I undertook a professional collaboration that resulted in one of the pinnacle achievements of my then young career. At the peak of his prominence, having lost a partner to AIDS, he didn’t so much as walk away from his vocation, as brazenly pivot, leveraging his extensive professional capital, and large circle of friends, into the potent fundraising organization Classical Action.
We hope. During occasional moments in my 10+ year yoga practice, I’ve contemplated quitting. The physical machinations don't seem worth the delayed, amorphous results. A client recently commented “I was hoping that the document you sent would have that one big, game changing idea. It didn’t.” The nature of innovation is misunderstood. I’m eager for substantial, meaningful breakthroughs, yet have learned how much hard, slogging work is required to create the conditions for them to occur.