Moving Past 5 Big Fears That Block You From Your Zone of Genius

Uncategorized Jan 12, 2022

One of the most insidious ways that systems of inequity perpetuate themselves is by getting inside our heads in the form of fears and limiting beliefs that hold us back as change agents. 

But here's the good news--no matter how entrenched those larger systems are, you still have agency to shift your own thoughts and beliefs towards something better. Unlocking the fullest measure of your own joy and impact is one of the most positive forces that you have to counter all that is going wrong in the world.  

This post is all about how you break into your "zone of genius" as a change agent, and overcome 5 specific fears that get in the way of so many of us who are committed to doing the best we can to make a better world.

Joyful Impact = Operating in Your "Zone of Genius"

In his book The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks challenges us to find our zone of genius, where work doesn't feel like work, and where you generate dramatically outsize impact in relatively little time. ...

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Following Your Joy in the New Year

Uncategorized Jan 05, 2022

For many, the start of a New Year is a time to make resolutions about what you want to do differently in the coming year.  

If those New Year's resolutions are working for you, go for it!  But for many people who feel a strong calling to contribute to a better world, it's actually much more powerful to reflect on what truly brings you joy, and to move towards that joy as you answer your calling in the coming year.  

This post walks through the self assessment that we use with all the social entrepreneurs and philanthropic leaders in our Joyful Impact accelerator programs.  Check out the video, download the survey and give yourself the gift of joy AND impact in the year to come!

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Design Principles for Donors #2: Wealth Stance

Uncategorized Dec 29, 2021

One of the most fundamental questions to consider as you make plans to gear up your giving is your stance on wealth. 

What is the portion of your wealth that exceeds your needs? What are you prepared to give away, and on what basis do you determine that?

This post is part of our series the 10W's for Donors:  Design Principles for Your Giving. 

This series is inspired by the idea that every donor comes to their giving with a unique combination of factors to incorporate and accommodate.   Whatever your level of giving, why not become more aware and deliberate about the key considerations shaping the design of your giving?  The greater your awareness of what’s driving your design choices , the greater your opportunity to land on giving that truly makes sense for the world and for you.    

 Mapping Your Wealth and Your Giving Goals

A great way to start getting insight on your wealth stance is by charting out a lifeline for your net...

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Committing to the Commons: 2 Tools for Taking Your Collaborative Work to the Next Level

Uncategorized Dec 22, 2021

The world has never been more in need of a new greatest generation of change agents.  This is not about heroes  going it alone against the challenges threatening our shared future.  What we need are people who have found new ways of growing themselves and collaborating with others within a community grounded in shared values.

 The video for this post is about committing to the commons--to our shared interests--in new ways.  It explores two tools for stepping up your collaborative skills.

Tool #1: Partnership Brokering

The first is from the field of international partnership brokering.   This technique has been developed over past 25 years to promote sustainable economic development internationally.  It has had ll kinds of successes in economic development from Nepal to Nigeria and is increasingly being successfully applied in other fields.  The secret sauce is about naming and taming individual interests in the process of...

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Making the Most of Your Time: A Weekly Meeting with Your Future Self

Uncategorized Dec 15, 2021

One of the biggest challenges that we all struggle with is how to make the most of our time.  One of the best ways to meet this challenge is to create a set of practices for regularly connecting with your future self. 

In a previous post we looked at how to create a set of daily practices for connecting with your future self.  This post shares a set of tools for meeting with yourself every week to map out the week to come and reflect on the past week. 


A weekly meeting with your future self touches on all 7 pillars of personal development for change agents

Format for a 30 Minute Weekly Meeting with Your Future Self

There's lot's more in the video about how to use these pages,  And you can download a customizable template for these pages here.


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You Are More Than You Think: Tools for Challenging The Thoughts that Don't Serve You

Uncategorized Dec 08, 2021

Challenging the thoughts that don't serve you is one of the most powerful pathways to having more joy and more impact across all the areas of your life. 

Upgrading your own internal dialogue is particularly important for all of us with a calling to make the world a better place.  In the coaching work I do with social entrepreneurs and with donors,  self doubt and harsh judgment of how well we are serving others and living out our calling shows up as a big source of suffering.

This post shares a set of tools for and engaging positively with the thoughts that aren't serving you and your mission as a change agent.

A powerfully simple psychological model: the CBT triangle

YOU are bigger than you think, feel or do

Your highest self is a larger encompassing consciousness that can hear and engage with all the dimensions of yourself: your physical sensations and actions, your thoughts, your feelings, even what is not immediately conscious.  Shifting your thoughts is a...

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Rules of the Road For Social Entrepreneurs: Avoiding the Trap of Selling Certainty to Your Donors

Uncategorized Nov 30, 2021

One of the biggest risks that social entrepreneurs face is selling certainty to their donors, board members and other key stakeholders. 

This is a bigger challenge than ever as the world gets more and more uncertain.  Everyone involved in a social enterprise tends to look to the leader to be a steady hand in the face of chaos.  It's an understandable impulse, and it's very tempting for social entrepreneurs to respond by trying to create a sense of certainty and security for their funders, their board members, their team and all fo their stakeholders. 

But overselling certainty creates a lot of challenges for you as a social entrepreneur.  The most complex social challenges need a strategy that is emergent, not predetermined.  The more you sell certainty, the harder you make it to shift course as circumstances change.  Protecting the space  to operate in an adaptive way is vital for success if you are going after complex social...

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Design Principles for Donors #6: Which Way?

Uncategorized Nov 24, 2021

Which way do you want to jump in when it comes to gearing up your giving?  This is one of the design fundamentals for donors.  

Answering this question starts with stepping back from the common labels of “funder” and “grantee.” Instead, let’s look at four functionally defined roles for advancing social change.  Whatever issue or challenge you are focused on, this post and the worksheet that goes with it will help you understand which of these practical roles you are best positioned to play within the change agent ecosystem. 

Four Functional Roles In the Work of Social Change


Stakeholders—this is  the broadest category, including any and all people with an interest in the issue in question.  For example, everyone living in the Colorado River watershed is a stakeholder when it comes to water conservation and allocation policies. 

Entrepreneurs—these are people with an idea AND an operational...

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Getting Into the Practice of a Daily Meeting with Your Future Self

Uncategorized Nov 17, 2021

How friendly are you with your future self?

One of the best things you can do to build your joy and your impact as you go after your vision for a better world is to become better friends with your future self.  This post shares some ideas for how to get started on this path  through the practice of a daily meeting with your future self.

Taking even a  few minutes a day to pause and connect your present self and your future self in a dialog is one of the most powerful ways to boost your joy and impact across all the areas of your life!


A Daily Meeting with Your Future Self Touches All 7 Pillars of Personal Development 


Format for a 5 Minute Daily Meeting with Your Future Self

The "daily priming questions" on the left hand side of this sheet are what I use for my daily meeting with my future self.  Download a copy for yourself, and check out the video for more on how to use this sheet.  Even if you don't sit down and write out the answers...

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Getting into Creative Flow

Uncategorized Nov 09, 2021

Chances are you know what it’s like to experience “flow”  

...but you might not know how to get into a flow state when it most serves you and your calling to make the world a better place...

Flow is the psychological state when we are at our most creative and productive--made famous by psychological researcher Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi.  In flow we get so caught up in the passion of what we are producing that we can lose track of time and what’s going on around us. An hour of creative writing goes by and we hardly notice it.  Or we’re on the playing field with our team and time seems to slow down and we know just where the ball is going before it even gets there.

The work we produce in this state is often our best, and also our fastest. But for many of us, flow happens more by accident than on purpose. The good news is that the research points in some very helpful directions to help you get into creative, productive flow...

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These are the same materials we use with the social entrepreneurs in our accelerator program and the funders we coach one on one.  The world has never been more in need of a new, greatest generation of change agents and that's why we're opening up free access to these materials to anyone who's ready to make use of them!