Looking At Things DIfferently

My IT professional (aka my husband) is replacing my hard drive.  For weeks the computer was acting up, and he ran all kinds of software, checking all sorts of things that I don’t even want to think about.  Then, crash.  It died.  Sad and a bit scary. Fortunately, I keep my files on all my current clients and projects in dropbox, (I love dropbox), but there is still a lot of important (well, important to me—the world will not be more dangerous if I lose it all) stuff on the hard drive and while I do back up, there is always a chance that I won’t get it all restored.

On the other hand, there is some joy in having to recreate some things.  All of us get into habits—some good, some bad, many just habits that are neither good nor bad.  I often repurpose things I did for one client or training for another.  Mostly I think this is a good thing—I’ve put a lot of thought and effort in what I created; as I repurpose I review.  But then again, I continue to look at these things from a particular angle.

When—if—I have to recreate them from scratch, I may start from a different vantage point.  By looking at things in a different way, I may create something better.  Or not.  It’s a chance that one should occasionally take.

Looking at things differently is something I try to get my clients and the people at my workshops to do.  Shiv Khera, an Indian motivational speaker, says, “Winners  don’t do different things; they do things differently. “   I think that is mostly true.

Most of the workshops I do are about fundraising. And while much of the information is pretty similar from workshop to workshop, the framework is different and so the same information looks, feels, and acts differently.  The way that we are looking at things makes a huge difference.

Oftentimes when you are writing something, by moving sentences or whole paragraphs around you can strengthen what you have written.  A client recently asked me to help her “do something” with a cover letter that, she said, “has no life.”  That was a pretty accurate description and yet, everything she wrote was good.  I played around, put the third paragraph first, added a lines to the now second paragraph and reshuffled what she had written in the third paragraph and what had been just there was now a very good letter.

A lot of my coaching clients are in the market for a new job, so I get to work with them on their resumes.  I always ask them to describe their job experiences from a different angle—instead of describing what they did, I ask them to write what they accomplished.  That helps a potential new employer to see what this candidate can bring to the table.

Likewise, when you want to ask a prospect to support your organization, don’t talk about the activities you do; talk about the outcomes that change lives, make things better, solve real problems.

Looking at things in different ways helps you see things that you may have lost sight of.  It will also push you out of your comfort zone—something I find that almost always makes me work better.


Janet Levine is a consultant working with nonprofit and educational organizations, helping them to increase their fundraising capacity and build stronger boards.  This often means getting them out of their comfort level and looking at things differently.  Learn more at http://janetlevineconsulting.com.  While there, sign up for the free monthly newsletter