Tag Archives: business

The Pamela Positive: Undertake Something So Great You Cannot Accomplish It Unaided

Phillips Brooks, an educator and spiritual leader, advised us to push ourselves into the unknown for a special reason: To become spiritual.

Well, you might ask, “Why is being spiritual so important? I simply want to create a great company, write a book, or scale Mount Kilimanjaro.”

The qualities it takes to do any of the above, and anything miraculous, cannot be seen. They are:

Perseverance: Don’t ever think of giving up…
Thoughtfulness: Care in building a team…
Inspirational: Being able to paint your vision in a way that excites others and compels them to take action…

You must have these qualities to build successful relationships and enduring companies.  Yet all of these are qualities which are not required in school, home or job.  And yet they are the invisible glue which will allow you “…to undertake something so great you cannot accomplish it unaided.”
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They are not material or physical. They are spiritual.

“We never become truly spiritual by sitting and wishing to become so. You must undertake something so great that you cannot accomplish it unaided.”  – Phillips Brooks

Phillips Brooks was an American clergyman in the Episcopal church during the 19th century.  He published several books of lectures and sermons, as well as authoring the popular Christmas carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  He was highly regarded as a preacher and a patriot.

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The Pamela Positive: Keep Your Balance

 

I think one key point in life is to maintain balance–balance between time for work, time for loved ones, time for oneself, time for interests outside of one’s business. It’s so important to keep that balance, or we’ll simply burn-out.

I remember once when I was young in my career, and meeting with a fairly older, single woman. She was a successful venture capitalist. But I don’t know that I would consider her life successful. She traveled the world incessantly and was on every important board. But she seemed tired and joy was scarce. She told me to “Pack it all in.”

I didn’t. I kept my balance. I started a nonprofit and I did creative improv. I took care of my very young nephews and nieces. I loved life and I loved the people in my life.

We need to be renewed. We need to feel honored as whole, functioning people with families, outside interests, balanced lives, as well as our commitment to achieving the goals and vision of the organizations we run. The beauty of this balance is that I come back energized to UniversalGiving. My mind has had “time off” and is thrilled to re-engage with our efforts to serve. I look at challenges in a new light. My energy is renewed. I bring new skills to the table; my thoughts are stronger and more helpful. It’s better for me–and for my organization.

The Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

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There are many images that come to mind when we think of Asia, from dragons to beautiful beaches, spanning varied cultures. One of my favorite views is that of the banyan tree, for it must be strongly grounded in the earth, which also allows its larger branches and leaves to provide overreaching shade.

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to a new level of enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is even used as a place for political meetings: recently in Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath the welcome atmosphere of the banyan tree.  So, for much of Asia, spirituality, entrepreneurship, politics are taking place in the outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity, rootedness, and strength.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power, balanced with peace.  It represents firmness, as well as welcome.

Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms.  Chairs are uniformly around the table.  The walls are usually plastered with notices about the company’s achievements.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. Gosh darn it, I can hear the executives say, in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’

Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree?  This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.

Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation? Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather moreso) solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.

Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.

******************

The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.” Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Leaders to Inspire Us: Frances Hesselbein

As a woman social entrepreneur myself, I find it exciting to see the strong women working in the nonprofit sector. There are so many inspiring stories. One of my favorites is Frances Hesselbein.

 

She was a mentee of Peter Drucker. This 90-something year old leader is still going strong, speaking internationally, and helping women leaders and entrepreneurs all over the world.

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She has written two very insightful books geared towards both non-profit/for-profit leaders: The Leader of the Future and On Mission and Leadership: A Leader to Leader Guide.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Miss Hesselbein in New York; she has already had a profound influence on me and my desire to become a leader. With leaders like Frances to inspire us, it’s exciting to think what can be accomplished in the future.

The Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

Benefits-of-Banyan-tree.jpg

There are many images that come to mind when we think of Asia, from dragons to beautiful beaches, spanning varied cultures. One of my favorite views is that of the banyan tree, for it must be strongly grounded in the earth, which also allows its larger branches and leaves to provide overreaching shade.

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to a new level of enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is even used as a place for political meetings: recently in Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath the welcome atmosphere of the banyan tree.  So, for much of Asia, spirituality, entrepreneurship, politics are taking place in the outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity, rootedness, and strength.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power, balanced with peace.  It represents firmness, as well as welcome.

Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms.  Chairs are uniformly around the table.  The walls are usually plastered with notices about the company’s achievements.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. Gosh darn it, I can hear the executives say, in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’

Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree?  This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.

Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation? Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather moreso) solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.

Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.

******************

The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.” Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

The Importance of Relationships

The Power of a Relationship. 

Today, I’d like to talk about the importance of a full relationship. Often, we think about someone being in our life for one, single reason.  But that’s not actually true.

In fact, every conversation, every relationship affects dozens, even thousands, of other people.  That’s right, thousands.  

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When we talk to someone, we affect them. We might ask them to do something.  That affects someone else, or even a group of people.   Even our tone can affect them: If you’re down, they might feel it. If you’re positive, you might lead them to a more peaceful state of mind.   How you affect them will affect how they treat the next person.  Every conversation is part of a chain for good, or stress, of joy or negativity.

You can make every relationship,  lead to something greater.  I want to give an example of that today.

I’ve known Chris Towle for more than 10 years. He is a significant funder of ours. But he didn’t start out as a funder.

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I like creating relationships that relate to the whole person.  This is because I want to have a long-term relationship with them, which is based on them and not just money. After years of watching us, Chris donated from his family foundation, and then in subsequent years, donated stock.  So I don’t usually start fundraising from people after two or three years; then they know I value them for who they are.  Sometimes, I don’t even have to ask; they just give.

The relationship now extends into positive marketing for UniversalGiving. Chris and his wife are involved in Principia, where they invited us to speak at a conference. So you can see we’re building a long-term relationship, attaining funding, getting his company involved to give funding, and also helping with marketing. This isn’t just about a funding request.

I encourage you to think about this. How can your build positive relationships that go further than one person?

Let’s take a look at companies.  If you’re trying to attain a new client, is it just about closing a new deal?  Absolutely not.

First, it’s great to have a positive client.  That’s wonderful.  You can add to that.  We have such a positive relationship with Cisco, that former Cisco employees join UniversalGiving as a Returnee . How wonderful to get team members from Cisco!

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In addition, we can sell in our gift certificates to them: For the holidays or performance reviews, they provide gift certificates to their employees. Then, we both promote each other on social media; that’s marketing. So if you look at that, there’s a corporate contract, returnees, gift certificates, and increasing donations on our site.  Pretty spectacular!  That’s certainly beyond one conversation, one relationship.

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So as you move forward today, know that one conversation can lead to another.  This kind of mindset can build so much good for the future.   Are you stressed? It won’t draw more people to your cause.  Are you positive?  Then you can be grateful for the great partnership you have, and expand it.

Sincerely,

Pamela

 

The Classic Pamela Positive: Winning Over Obstacles

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“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”  – Bertie C. Forbes

Bertie C. Forbes (1880-1954) was the founder of Forbes magazine.  He was born in Scotland, spent time in South Africa, and emigrated to New York in 1904.  He worked at several journals and founded Forbes in 1917.  He was the Editor-in-Chief for almost 40 years, up until his death.