Summer has arrived. It’s the time of year when I remind myself that there is a balance between effort and ease, grit and grace, strength and struggle. In a world where constantly pushing forward is expected and rewarded, it can be challenging to step to the side, take a breath, and pause. Taking time to rest and restore can be just what is needed in order to be your best, and ultimately, your most productive self. Easier said than done, but it’s a message that I repeat to myself often. I’m thrilled that I have the opportunity this summer to step aside a few days at a time and share experiences with those who remind me that taking time to be together is what I find to be the one of the most rewarding aspects of my life.
The other polarity that resonates most for me is the head and heart. I have spent a lot of time in my head recently as I studied for (and passed!) an exam primarily centered around tax law for charitable giving vehicles. For me, it takes focus and renewed energy to get out of my head and live in the space of my heart so that I can best serve the people in my family, and most authentically connect with my friends and my clients. It also takes the integration of both the head and the heart to be a satisfied and effective philanthropist. As a philanthropy coach, it is a useful skill to be able to work with others as they recognize and strengthen that integration. Read more here.
What I’m Sharing: Speaking from the Heart, Seth Godin says that speaking from the heart is what it means to know something by heart. When you give a talk, memorizing the words is half of it. When you have the opportunity to speak in public, don’t memorize your talk. Memorize your stories. Tell us your stories. Be you. Bring your heart. When I show up as a pubic speaking instructor at Wharton (WH201) this fall, I am hopeful to convey to the students the importance of knowing the material (the head) and telling your stories (the heart) in order to be an effective public speaker.
What I’m Thinking About: It’s Not About What you Give, it’s How When Mackenzie Bezos announced that she signed the Giving Pledge, she made a commitment to give $17 billion to philanthropic causes. She pledged to give away half of her vast fortune to charity during her lifetime or in her will. Such bold promises leave us wondering if what we have to give will even make a difference. Who among us wonders, “Am I a philanthropist?”A philanthropist is anyone who gives anything from their portfolio of resources, be it financial capital (treasure), human capital (time), intellectual capital (talent), network capital (ties) — whatever form those resources take. The best philanthropy happens when your individual beliefs, values, and passions are matched with core public needs. It’s not about what you give; it’s about how you give. It’s about giving with the head and the heart. Whatever you give, there is still a fear that you won’t get it right. While so many people came out of the woodwork to either criticize or praise Mackenzie for her giving, here is some good advice for mitigating mistakes in philanthropy, particularly at such a high level of giving.
Integrating Your Head and Heart I work with people to connect with their head and their heart on a journey from the “why” to the “what” and the “how” of their giving. I coach individuals and multigenerational families on their philanthropic and community engagement strategy. Together, we explore their values and develop a plan to leverage their time, talent, treasure and ties. Click here to connect with me and start our conversation.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet