Here’s the truth…
I’m super frustrated by my propensity to leave things unfinished.
I even asked our readers how to be more organized and effective and ended up with 43 tips and lifehacks. But when compiling that list, I left out the one strategy that has now gotten under my skin — and solidly planted itself in my brain.
That’s the strategy of simply getting stuff out without worrying whether it’s done. You throw stuff against the wall to see if it’s done, and cook it some more if it’s not.
Spaghetti on the Wall — a Mess or a Masterpiece?
Years ago, when my husband and I were courting, he lived in an apartment in Philadelphia. In his kitchen, a wall to the right of the stove was full of dried strings of spaghetti that he and his roommates had thrown at it.
I learned to throw strands of spaghetti with great abandon. Some fell off and some stuck. When it stuck, the spaghetti was done. When it fell off, we just cooked it some more. (By the way, it is true that when it’s perfectly done, it sticks.)
The act of throwing food felt immediate, silly, and a bit illicit. It was gestural and energetic rather than careful. My mother would not have approved. And I loved it.
Perfection be damned!
It’s now decades later, and I’m ready to recapture that feeling of freedom combined with silliness and a bit of the outrageous.
Here’s what I want…
- I want to capture the energy of doing rather than the worrying about whether it’s perfect, or even good enough.
- I want to trust that people will forgive me for my errors and want to help me make things better.
- I want to act as though everything is still in progress. Because it really is!
- I want that perfect balance between courage and anxiety.
- I want to be proactive rather than reactive.
- I want to open my arms to what’s ahead.
- I want to act with abandon (at least some of the time).
- I want to inspire others with the energy of flinging things into the world even though they may not be quite done. Just like I flung those pieces of spaghetti against the wall years ago.
The results may not be perfect, but the process is often more satisfying.
Are You Willing to Fling Some Spaghetti to See What Sticks?
Have you ever thrown spaghetti at the wall? Either literally or figuratively?
- Do you have the courage to do something just a bit outrageous?
- Are you willing to send things out when they’re not quite done?
- Are you open to the idea of being more spontaneous? Does it sound like fun?
My challenge to you: Do something a bit brazen
This week, try doing something just a bit outrageous, just to remind yourself that you can, and to know what it feels like. Sing aloud while you walk down the street. Or say hello to complete strangers. Or run fast enough to feel the wind.
See if you can find ways in your professional life to get that special feeling of free-spirited energy. Because tapping into that might just inspire others and set your fundraising efforts on the path to success.
Toss some spaghetti, and see what sticks.
Avoiding the Capital Campaign Perfection Trap
While you should plan carefully for your capital campaign, you should also act with abandon.
Don’t wait to talk with your largest donors until everything is 100% perfect. Have the courage to share with them your greatest hopes and aspirations before they are fully formed. Involve and include them in the early thinking.
Don’t be afraid to test ideas that may feel overly ambitious. You’ll gradually hone them into something that’s big enough to inspire, but cooked enough to be doable.
If you’ve involved some of your most important stakeholders in flinging the ideas around, and if they’ve helped you test their done-ness, they’ll be quite likely to help you move the project ahead.
While you are in the spaghetti-flinging stage, don’t forget to invite everyone over for a meal or two with some crusty bread, fantastic spaghetti, and a great bottle of wine.
Try flinging some half-cooked ideas with your major donors. Fling with abandon and see which ones stick and which ones don’t. Let me know what happens in the comments below.