Fear, Courage and Change

People fear transition, yet it’s part of every big change. We avoid the feelings that accompany it, yet part of us genuinely wants that transformation. How do you handle this dichotomy of the desire to change and the fear of it?

We live in a society that expresses itself often in terms of “either-or.” What if your life could be “either-and?”

What if you could accept that there are no easy answers to what big things are possible? What if you could simply embrace All the possibilities that lie in wait for you, rather than fight the temptations? Perhaps there are possibilities that you cannot even fathom at the moment.

“Accept” sounds easy, and yet it requires a strong commitment to being awake to What Is. That is easier said than done for a lot of people.

If you really want that change in your heart of hearts, are you willing to sit with your desire to change and your fear of it at the same time? Are you willing to be uncomfortable with your fear, look it straight in the eye, and then embrace it? Are you willing to be with the feelings and emotions that arise, along with the habitual thinking that created your fear in the first place? Are you willing to tell the truth about it?

When you embrace the fright – whether it’s the fear of change, snakes, public speaking, heights, or any other fear – when you become one with it, it loses its power. You come to know the fear as a great teacher and your courage begins to replace it.

The Cowardly Lion in the “Wizard of Oz” is a great teacher. He didn’t realize he had both fear and courage at the same time. Perhaps that “either-and” concept may have helped him on his path down the yellow brick road.

Want a tip? Try carrying both dichotomous emotions along with you as friends and teachers today. See what you notice. You may end up being even closer to the change you desired in the first place.

A Statement That Gently Jolted Me

In the 1980’s I worked with people who were infected with or affected by AIDS. Back then, we didn’t use the term “HIV.”

I shared with Gwynne, my astrologer, some of the stress I was feeling. It energized me to be making a difference for so many people, yet it also contributed to my fatigue. Between the work itself and the governmental/societal attitudes at the time, my work seemed to be never-ending.

Gwynne simply looked at me and said, “Janet, the amount of energy you have to give to everyone else is directly proportionate to the amount of energy you give to yourself.”

She gave me permission to take some time for myself so that I would have more to give others. Gwynne continued that there would always be a need to raise more money, awareness and consciousness than the country was ready to face at the time. And she was right.

I appreciated having someone in my life who cared enough to tell it to me straight. To suggest that I had permission to place my own needs above others for a brief time, and that as I did that, my work would become even more effective.

I was grateful for her bold support, for the wisdom she brought to the table when I couldn’t even see it at the moment.

As I coach others, I try to bring a little wisdom to people as they deal with their own issues. I am blessed to have had such a good teacher in my life. Thanks, Gwynne!

What words of wisdom did someone share with you that helped you to wake up?

With both Thanksgiving and World AIDS Day right around the corner, for what are you grateful?

Are You Worth It?

I’m one of those people who has been uniquely blessed to know my purpose on the planet. Some people struggle with that concept and spend decades changing jobs, changing careers, relocating time and time again in search of their “right work.”

bored babyOther people may struggle with weight, relationships, health, money, time, or a host of other issues.  These perceived struggles impact our self esteem.  Some people like to work on these with a therapist, a life coach, or in a group.

You have probably noticed that while we all have self esteem, it seems to rise and fall as often as the winds change. Can you imagine learning a set of techniques that you can employ to raise your own esteem, at will, any time of the day or night?

Please join me for a FREE preview session on Tuesday, October 25, 6:00 p.m. in Galveston to learn more about the Power of Self Esteem and learn a technique that will help you raise your self esteem.   The evening session requires no payment and has no obligation.

And if you’re interested in more, you will learn about the upcoming Power of Self Esteem course.  If you are not available to attend the preview session and know you’d like to register for the course, please do so now. 

Are you worth one weekend, dedicated solely to you?  I hope so.

Show Me the Money!!!

 
 
 
 
 
 

Who Gives?

Every year, a comprehensive study of charitable giving is  published by the Giving USA Foundation in a book called Giving USA. This is a very useful tool for anyone raising funds or giving to nonprofit organizations, and I highly recommend it.   

The book and report provide analysis and trends in giving over time, and is often considered the annual report on philanthropy. 
 
You can download the Executive Summary of the report at www.givingusa.org, or consider investing in the book.  

In 2010, $290.89 billion dollars were donated; of that, only 19% came from corporate and foundation grants. That is still a lot of money, but what about the 81% that comes from individuals?   Healthy organizations draw income from several sources, and individual giving is critical to a well-rounded development plan.

Often my clients are directed by board members to “go get grants” before a true assessment of their financial development plan is addressed. A healthy organization has a blend of revenue streams. Grants may be part of that, but an organization should rarely be funded primarily by grants. 

For more information on strategic development planning and expanding individual giving programs, join my mailing list, subscribe to my news feed, or contact me directly.  

 

 

Nonprofit belt-tightening strategy

Everybody is doing more with less these days.  So am I.    

Stage
Theater Stage
Nonprofit organizations are tightening their belts and revising strategies that were previously successful. But in the case of the New  York Ballet, some of their most loyal donors are seeing red.  And I’m not simply referring to the lighting onstage.

Read the related story in the New York Times and share what you think of this strategy.

 

Becoming Unplugged…

I’ve been thinking about becoming unplugged since last Friday night, while we were at a Family Retreat at Greene Family Camp in Bruceville, Texas.

The camp director challenged us to turn off our cell phones and electronic devices as part of a 24-hour event called the National Day of Unplugging, sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Camp and One Happy Camper. At first, an expression of shock appeared on the sea of adult faces throughout the dining hall. As Loui held his phone high in the air and turned it off, I joined most of the adults who followed his lead. “It’s only 24 hours,” I convinced myself in order to participate.

The gifts that came from that simple act were amazing. I thought of many friends who observe their Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday and refuse to work that day.

I thought of how dependent we become on our electronics, and I vowed not to turn on my phone.

Joy Climbing Alpine Tower

During that retreat, I treated myself to the freedom of spending quality time with my family and with myself. I engaged in lively conversations with people from Texas and Oklahoma, and participated in workshops that challenged both my mind and my spirit. I didn’t miss my phone, my apps, or my email. On Sunday, I continued the tradition.

I watched my daughter with pride as she played daredevil on the zip line and climbed to the top of the Alpine Tower. She has enough courage for both of us, and I’m amazed at her enjoyment of those activities. Mostly, I was proud that she invited me to join her. I might not have noticed that if I was distracted by my business. And I’m proud of myself for prioritizing my family without interruption last weekend.

So what are your priorities? And what do you need to unplug? I want to hear from you. Please post a comment.

I’ve Been Wondering… about great teachers

In the 1980’s and early 1990’s I worked with people who were infected with and affected by AIDS and the virus that caused it. Back then, they didn’t use the term “HIV.”

I shared with Gwynne about the importance of my work. It energized me to be making a difference for so many people, yet it also contributed to my fatigue. Between the work itself and the governmental/societal attitudes at the time, my work seemed to be never-ending.   And then she gently jolted me with one sentence.  (Oxymoron intended.)

Gwynne simply looked at me and said, “Janet, the amount of energy you have to give to everyone else is directly proportionate to the amount of energy you give to yourself.”

Snoqualmie Falls 990
Snoqualmie Falls, WA

She gave me permission to take some time for myself so that I would have more to give others. Gwynne continued that there would always be a need to raise more money, awareness and consciousness than the country was ready to face at the time. And she was right. 

I learned that I appreciated having someone in my life who cared enough to tell it to me straight. To suggest that I had permission to place my own needs above others for a brief time, and that as I did that, my work would become even more effective.  I was grateful for her bold support, for the wisdom she brought to the table when I couldn’t even see it at the moment.

 

As I coach, I try to bring a little wisdom to people as they deal with their own issues. I am blessed to have had such a good teacher in my life. Thanks, Gwynne!

Who gently jolted you, and what did they say that made a difference in your life?

Back By Popular Demand: The Power of Writing Practice

The Power of Writing PracticeThe Power of Writing Practice is back by popular demand! Have you registered yet?

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.” ~Norbet Platt

Want to know what The Power of Writing Practice has in store for you? You have to enroll to find out!  Click here for details.

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Are We Old Enough Yet?

I never thought I’d be old enough to write a memoir, but that has recently changed. Now I realize that I have an important story to tell at any age, and I started writing it.

Three months ago I took a writing workshop with Natalie Goldberg, and I’ve been consistently working on my book ever since. Yesterday I recorded 25,835 words with NaNoWriMo and I’m still working on my book.

The Galveston County Daily News did a story that includes my participation in the writing contest. The newspaper also mentioned my upcoming writing group that begins on 1/1/11, and they included a link to my web site for more information. Hats off to GCDN.  See details on the Power of Writing Practice at www.janetcohenconsulting.com.

Ruined household contents on front lawn after storm

My memoir will be published in 2011. On the surface it looks like a book about Hurricane Ike, but it is more than that.  Though Ike is the throughline, it’s not just another timeline with stories about how awful the storm was.  My book is more about the generosity of the human spirit and the silver linings that arise when people are genuinely evoked to do something for others. It is a story about philanthropy, community building and hope. At times you’ll laugh and at times you may shed a tear or two, especially when you read how the storm impacted my daughter.

A second throughline in the book is the relationship between loss and prior losses.   This will be rich with information for people in helping professions who counsel people in grief.  More to come.

Years ago, I wanted to write a memoir about AIDS/HIV because I was so impacted by it in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  By the time I was 35 years old I had lost more friends than I had years in my lifetime, so I stopped counting deaths.  It’s been nearly 20 years since then.  I’m still impacted, but to a lesser degree.  And yet, I publish this post on World AIDS Day.

So I ask you.  How old do you have to be to write a memoir?  And if you are courageous enough to write one, what would it be about, besides your life?

More Gratitude

I’ve been enjoying reading responses posted about gratitude, and I wanted to share some comments that were sent straight to my inbox via email.

I’ve always been amazed at how the idea of gratitude is something so contagious, so large, that it continues to unfold and inspire even more. Read on…

Kathy wrote: Friendship, fellowship, bullies biting their tongues, and of course the Turkey Bowl!

Sue added: “the full moon.”

Marcia wrote, “Yes, we who are aware of the richness in our relationships and the depth of those seemingly mundane activities in our daily lives are indeed lucky.”

And if you’re reading this now, for what are you NOW grateful?

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