Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Somedays, life is actually falling into place. You're on top of emails, you have your materials prepared for upcoming meetings and you even left yourself enough time in the morning to stop at Starbucks without being late to work.
But other days, your life feels like trying to organize a bunch of kittens in a line for a photo. Don't know what that looks like? Let me show you.
Relatable? Yeah. I know!
More often than my opening statement, this is how life is.
I would say that I have a Type A personality.
This includes being 10 minutes early to everything. Having my planner organized in priority of things that need to get done. Notebook for company projects and a separate notebook for meetings with clients. You get what I'm saying.
However, even though my Type A personality likes to rear it's ugly head in stressful situations (hence, making it more stressful), I've learned that most days you just have to wing it.
Do I prepare as best as I can? Absolutely! But we've all been in those situations where a client or coworker asks us a question we may not have the answer to in front of everyone in the meeting. Or you plan a last minute meeting with a donor and it's the only time that works for them in the next two weeks and you don't want to miss your shot, so you go anyways even though you don't feel as prepared as you should.
Want to know what I've learned from these experiences?
That not actually having all the answers leaves to 1) another reason to reach back out (Patrick would be so proud that I made another ask after the meeting) 2) allows genuine and candid conversations to happen.
For example, I will never forget the first meeting I had to go to solo. I was about 3 or 4 weeks in and I was still learning the ways around nonprofits and fundraising. I was so nervous that I was going to look uneducated or make the company look bad because I might not have the answers to all their questions.
Nerves aside, I went into the meeting knowing that I was going to do my best and reminded myself that people are people and talking with them is nothing to be fearful of.
Did I have the answer to all their questions? NOPE.
But what I did do is listened to them. Really listened to them. I learned about their background, their passion for the organization, their needs, what help they want. I listened to their stories they were sharing and why they want to continue to move forward even during these trying times.
Then came in the "wingin' it." After hearing their stories, I helped them brainstorm social media ideas to get volunteers. How to utilize and leverage the stories they just told me to their advantage on social media and their website.
So, while I may have not been able to answer their fundraising questions, they still walked away with useful knowledge to expand their social media.
Overall, what I'm saying is that you don't always have to have it together before going into a meeting or even before bringing a new idea to the table.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is trust yourself and remember that you know more than you think!
- Abby Furchner