Back in my dark days, when I practiced law and had to account for my time in 6-minute increments,* I regretted that there wasn’t a billing code for “thinking about your case.” To me, thinking was the most valuable contribution an attorney could make to a client’s case. There were billing codes aplenty for writing client correspondence; drafting motion to dismiss; making telephone calls; and appearing in court. The implication was that none of these required thought.
Since then, my days have been clearer and brighter, and I spend a lot of time thinking. I think a lot about relationships: with family and friends, clients, their prospects and donors, the dozen pros who help me do my varied work and the invigorating people I touch as I’m doing it. How to fortify ties. When to undo them. How to finesse a sticky situation. Who can help each other and should be introduced? Who might not work so well together and are better left at risk of meeting by chance?
I think about my time, my business, my stand-up comedy and my future. Much of my thinking time is over vacations and on the subway. Do you have a getaway place where you can devote time to thinking?
If you’re a fundraiser, you’ve got plenty of relationships to think about. You can think if you’re new to a job; lead others; have goals for your life and in your work; don’t have goals in your life and in your work; if you come from a family; if you believe in God; if you don’t; if you want to make the world a better place; if you have compassion; if you don’t. I urge you to devote time to thinking about what moves you.
I come across many bios that claim “passion” for something. I hope the people behind them are thinking strategically about how to turn their passion into fruitful action.
Think actively and consciously! My hope for you is that you’ll find it as wonderfully gratifying as I do.
* A maddening exercise that is detrimental to your health if undertaken for more than 18 minutes.