Lone wolf.History books and our current culture like to tell stories of success by the “self-made man.” At least in the USA, we all grow up thinking that if we just do something on our own, it is more noble than having someone help you.
I think that is a pile of garbage. Yet the pressure to “go it alone” or not to seek help is engrained in us as the ultimate way of working and living.
It’s ingrained in individuals, institutions and “The American Way of Life.”
Yet I don’t know one person or institution that made it on his own without the help of someone or something to provide counsel or perspective, leading to that success.
As a major gift officer, you are either pressured or you are wired personally not to seek counsel or help because “you just need to figure it out on your own.”
As for organizations, Richard and I often encounter the protests of the Executive Director or Development Director when we’re trying to convince them that they need Veritus’ help with their major gift program, when they say, “Hey we know what to do – we can do this on our own.”
Of course, our answer is always, “Well then, why aren’t you doing it?”
If you feel that you don’t need help with your work, that you don’t think you can learn anything new from someone, or that you don’t need someone to hold you accountable and keep you focused – think about what my colleague Stephen Butler in our UK office said to me the other day:
“Why does the #1 tennis player in the world have a personal coach? I mean, she knows exactly what to do. She has all the skills and knowledge about how to play the game. But she has a coach because she needs another perspective, someone to hold her accountable, to keep her focused and ultimately to make her a better player… even when she is already the best in the world.”
So, I want to ask you: do you feel that you have to do your job as a major gift officer without any help, because for some reason that makes you weak? We have actually heard this from MGOs all over the country.
The great MGOs that our team at Veritus encounter all have someone that they seek help from. Whether that is asking their manager to meet with them consistently, or to seek out a mentor, or to have colleagues who provide accountability and advice… they have deemed it vitally important to their success.
No one succeeds on their own. Open yourself up to the guidance of others. Get a different perspective on your work. (Tweet it!) Seek counsel on a difficult donor or situation that you are unsure of. Ask someone to hold you accountable and to keep you focused.
Remember, even the “best” in the world seek help from others. You should too.