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
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, 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.
And now, decades later, 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 worry 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 to enjoy the zing of sending things out rather than the discipline of perfecting every word.
- I want that perfect balance of Lizard Brain (fear) and Lion Heart (engagement), which leans a bit more toward Lion Heart.
- I want to be responsive rather than reactive.
- I want to open my arms rather than folding them in front of my chest.
- I want to find a breeze and let it carry me forward.
- I want to fling things into the world and watch what happens. Just like I flung those pieces of spaghetti against the wall years ago.
The results may not be perfect, but the process could be much more satisfying — and less stressful.
Are You Willing to Fling Strands of Spaghetti?
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
Have you ever thrown spaghetti at the wall? Either literally or figuratively?
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 very fast until you feel the wind.
Pay close attention to how it feels and see if you can find ways in your professional life to get that special feeling of free-spiritedness. Because tapping into this feeling might just be how to set your fundraising efforts on the path to success.
You don’t need to do the same old thing. Toss as much spaghetti as you can, and see what sticks.
How Does This Apply to Your Capital Campaign?
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 and freedom to share with them your greatest hopes and aspirations. Involve and include them in the early thinking.
Ask them to throw spaghetti on the wall with you to see what sticks. Don’t be afraid to test ideas that may feel outrageous. 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.
This post was adapted from an article written for NonProfit PRO.