When I have more time, I’ll make more money. When I make more money, I’ll have more time.
Do you see the madness?
Time and money scarcity are among the most pernicious beliefs that afflict leaders today. We tend to get caught up in the limiting belief that there is not enough time and money for everything in life.
First of all–Time. It’s completely made up. We say, “there are only 24 hours in a day.” Baloney! The 24hr “clock” was created by convention and agreement. Even so, we don’t all agree how to use it. In America, we divide the 24hr span into two, 12 hour periods (called am and pm). In Europe (and elsewhere), folks count from 1 to 24. So, what we call 3pm in America may be called 15:00 somewhere else (let’s not even start with “time-zones” or “daylight savings time”). What on earth did the Confucius, Moses, Mohammad, Jesus, and the Buddha do without a wrist watch? In reality, life unfolds moment to moment. There is only the present. This moment. You are reading this blog post–now.
As Eckhart Tolle put it (paraphrase): “We may use clock-time for practical purposes, but there is no future and no past.” While it is certainly helpful to use a planner or digital calendar to schedule commitments using clock time, that technique has its limitations and often leads to frustration and anxiety when we hold the schedule too tightly. What I find more workable is to use a digital calendar to schedule meetings, phone calls, and action items each day, while also being flexible as the inevitable vicissitudes of life show up. (Get that Landmark?)
Are you triggered yet? No? Ok, then let’s shift to money, and we’ll see if I can stir something up.
Money–what is it? The root of all evil? No. Images of a bunch of funny looking men and women printed on colorful paper? Closer. Something made up by convention and agreement among people so that they may exchange goods and services. A bit closer.
My radical assertion is that money is an expression of appreciation.
Over the past several years, I’ve engaged in conversations about money with a number of coaching clients. (After all, I do work with fundraising leaders.) I’m also currently engaged in a seminar with a group of folks that is intended to shift our views around money. It appears to be a topic of universal interest these days. In The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist examines our attitudes toward money—earning it, spending it, and giving it away. I recommend this book without reservation, especially for fundraisers.
My own heretical view expressed above is that money is an expression of appreciation. When we earn it, someone else is expressing appreciation for our product or service. When we spend it, we are expressing appreciation for the product or service we receive. When we save/invest it, we say that our money “appreciates”. That is, those who use it pay us interest or dividends.
In fundraising, I recognize that donors may have multiple motives for giving. I will assert here that the fundamental reason that donors give is because of the appreciation that they have for the organization they care about. Incidentally, they also give because they appreciate the relationship that they have with their fundraiser.
Now that I have totally activated all of your negative saboteurs around money (these are the voices that are saying: “he’s crazy”, “that’s not it”, “it’s way more complicated than that”, and so on, and so on…), I encourage you to play a little game. It’s called “MoneyMadness,” and was first outlined by Julia Cameron in her book The Artists Way. Quickly (don’t think), fill in the blanks below and then reflect on your beliefs around money:
I’d have more money if______________
My father thought money was________
My mother thought money was_______
If I had more money, I’d______________
If I could afford it, I’d ________________
Having money is not_________________
To have more money I need to ________
When I have money I usually__________
People think money is_______________
If I weren’t so cheap, I’d______________
Janice Cunning and I created a workshop for fundraising teams called Time and Money: Shifting from Scarcity to Abundance. Call me at 415-273-9890 if you and your team are ready for a breakthrough.
David Langiulli is a certified professional coach who helps nonprofit leaders flourish and thrive. He is also the author of The Essential Leadership Guide for Fundraising Professionals.