Nonprofit Radio for August 7, 2023: Leadership Lessons


Steve JohnsLeadership Lessons

Steve Johns’ book is “Fearless.” He shares his philosophy of fearless leadership including building a service mindset and embracing a culture of curiosity; investing in yourself; talking without telling; understanding how “No mud, no lotus” can help you persevere; and a lot more. He’s CEO of OneCause.


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[00:00:33.70] spk_0:
And welcome to tony-martignetti Nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host of your favorite He Abdominal podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be stricken with mono blea if I saw that you missed this week’s show. Here’s our associate producer, Kate with highlights.

[00:00:56.43] spk_1:
Thank you, tony. This week we have leadership lessons. Steve John’s book is Fearless. He shares his philosophy of fearless leadership, including building a service mindset and embracing a culture of curiosity investing in yourself, talking without telling, understanding how no mud, no lotus can help you persevere and a lot more. He’s CEO of one cause on Tony’s take too

[00:01:11.38] spk_0:
summer stewardship.

[00:01:27.09] spk_1:
We’re sponsored by Donor Boxx with intuitive fundraising software from donor box. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others. Donor box dot org. Here is leadership lessons.

[00:01:54.67] spk_0:
What a pleasure to welcome Steve Johns to nonprofit radio. He is CEO of One Cause fundraising software company and he’s author of the book, Fearless Leadership Lessons at the Crossroads. He has over 30 years of experience in technology, corporate development, venture capital, event production and entrepreneurship. You’ll find the company at one cause dot com and Steve is on linkedin Steve Johns. Welcome to nonprofit radio.

[00:02:03.24] spk_2:
Thanks tony. Thanks for having me. Appreciate

[00:02:05.19] spk_0:
it. Uh Absolutely, my pleasure. And uh the, the book is leadership lessons. So we’re gonna talk a good bit about a bunch of your lessons. And I love every, every chapter has a collection of lessons from that chapter. Uh But just, you know, give us the, the high level overview why this book, you know, why

[00:04:27.82] spk_2:
now ha ha happy to do that. So, so first of all, I didn’t set out to write a book. And so what I call myself is the accidental author. And so this all started tony at the beginning of the pandemic, we’re making a bunch of changes to the business and I made a commitment to the company to keep them informed of how the business was doing. And II, I hesitated a little bit and then I said, I’m gonna make that commitment to, to be weekly and so on April 2nd, around 2020 I wrote my first weekly update and I wrote my second weekly update and my third and I kept writing these weekly updates. A year and a half later, my marketing team presented to me that, that following summer, the compilation of these weekly updates. And we looked at it and we shared some labs and actually, we probably shared some tears as well. And we said, wow, this feels like it might be the beginning of a book. And that’s really how it came about. And so, and so we, we set about then taking and I had, and then I wrote for another year because this was the summer of 21 and we weren’t out of it yet. And so I continued to write and we continue to look at the opportunity to kind of bring some of these lessons together thematically. So we didn’t just do it all chronologically. So we grouped them together in themes. And in the summer of 22 we wrote introductory pages to, to talk about how I was feeling what the company was going through, what the tone of the country was at that moment in time. And then to your point, and I said, what we have, if we’re gonna call this leadership lessons at the crossroads, we have to have some pretty specific leadership lessons. So I was really insistent and we got it at the end of every chapter. There’s three or four leadership lessons that here’s the, here’s the thing that, that I want that I hope people take away from this. Yes, we wrote these chapters during the course of a global pandemic that changed our lives. But these leadership lessons I believe are lessons that people can use every day. We, we, we run across crossroads every day, we have decision points every day. And what I would say is these are lessons that can be applied every day, whether it’s at, at the office as a, as a CEO or any type of leader in your company, as a spouse, as a parent. These are just leadership lessons that I think are broad based and can be broadly applied.

[00:05:20.69] spk_0:
There are a lot of episodes of nonprofit radio folks will say, you know, this isn’t only for nonprofits and this is clearly as I expected. And you’re suggesting this is clearly one of those episodes, not only for nonprofit, less lessons for life, really, a lot of, a lot of them do. Um I love your humility in the book. You know, you’re open. Uh you share even that you had trepidation about committing to a weekly update. That was, that was gonna share how the company is doing. Uh you know, that just, you’re, you’re, you’re very, I, I think humble and, and transparent in the book. I, I admire

[00:06:11.17] spk_2:
it. II I appreciate that. And again, you know, part of, part of what I like to do is, um you know, just kind of rally around this notion of being authentic um in, in and also part of my authenticity. Tony is this vulnerability and, and the vulnerability that I had to show in, in the pandemic. Because if, if you stand up and say in, in the course of this, this, this great unknown, these great uncertainties, I’ve got all the answers. Well, then people are going to know that you’re not being transparent and that, and that you’re not being honest. And so I think the, the only, the only way to do that is to basically say open yourself up, be vulnerable, have the trust in your organization. Um when you expose yourself like that, that they’ll follow you. And so what I also say is that vulnerability has a little bit of a paradox because everyone thinks of it as a weakness, but it actually has to start from a, from, from a position of strength. You have to be strong enough to know that when you open yourself up and when you make yourself, as they say, vulnerable, that, that you have a plan that you have the strength to say, I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers, but I have a plan. Let’s go.

[00:06:41.46] spk_0:
Absolutely agree that vulnerability is a sign of confidence, I think and, and not at all weakness, uh vulnerability, humility, you know, these are, I think, I think very good uh very positive traits in, in all people leader, leaders, leaders are not um help us with uh fearless leadership. The book is fearless leadership lessons at the Crossroads. What, what do you conceive of as fearless leadership?

[00:09:23.37] spk_2:
So we were all so we have this raise conference that we sponsor every year and we’ve been doing so since 2017 and we started using the word fearless together with fundraisers and we hashtag fearless fundraisers and it became something of a mantra that we would continue to use with Ray. And then when it came time to, to name the book, we just really came back to this notion of being fearless. Ok. So what does fearless mean? Right. Fearless means the willingness or the ability to take action in the face of great unknowns and uncertainties. Well, if you think about when we started writing these chapters, it was in a time of the the of great unknown and great uncertainties. And again, you can call that courage. I, I really like the word fearless. And I, and I actually mentioned in the book, I, I wrote about wearing this No Fear hat that, you know, kind of uh I was a brand in the maybe in the early two thousands, maybe late nineties or something like that. And, and I, I really, you know, uh metaphorically and actually, you know, want to put that no fear hat ad on all the time. And so, so being fearless is being willing to move forward, um not getting stuck down with analysis paralysis that, you know, because we could have all just kind of just frozen in time, right? What do we do? We, we, we’re, we’re in the, we’re in the business of providing software to help nonprofits fundraise at primarily in person gatherings, auctions, galas dinners, runs and walks and rides that all came to a screeching halt in March of 2020. We had literally had 2100 in person events scheduled for the spring that went to zero overnight. And so you can just sit there in your fear or you can choose to be fearless, create a plan and move forward and, and that’s what we did. And in fact, you know, I say sometimes procrastination is really just another form of fear. It’s either, I don’t know, fear of being found out, it’s fear of failure, it’s fear of uh not being good enough or smart enough. And we basically said we just, I need to, I need to set the tone. I need to take action, I need to put a plan together. Let’s be fearless together. And in the face of this great uncertainty that we’ve never experienced before, let’s move forward. And again, that’s what being fearless is all about. And like, like we said, this isn’t just for nonprofits, this isn’t just for one cause or Steve Johns, this is about every day. We face these fears when we get up in the morning, when, when we, when we get to the office in the morning, when, when we’re just taking our kids to school, there is this, you know, uncertainty and doubt and it’s just the willingness and ability to take action

[00:09:45.49] spk_0:
that that actually gets to one of the lessons that uh I, I’m, I’m sure we’ll have to talk uh a chance to talk about which is uh that you can’t control events, but you can control how you react to them. But we’ll, we’ll get to, we’ll come to that. We’ll come to that. One of, one of many, 11 of many, um, something else that runs kind of runs through the book and, and I think is important to, to, to get at the outset is the uh, no mud, no lotus metaphor. Uh, share that with us.

[00:10:17.54] spk_2:
So I, I appreciate the ability to do that. And, and that really, I, what I would say is that I’m gonna call it maybe a parable really set the tone for the rest of the book.

[00:10:22.72] spk_0:
That’s, that’s higher level. Now, I only called it a metaphor. You’re going parable. I’m all right. Go ahead,

[00:13:01.98] spk_2:
go ahead. Really set the tone for the rest of the book in terms of finding inspiration outside of our world to bring to the one cause one cause team every week that we could kind of rally around. So it was probably my, my third or fourth update. I have a, I have a routine tony every morning iii I get down on the mat and I listen to my, my Calm app. I listen to the daily Calm. I listen to meditative music. I try and get a sense of mindfulness going in the morning so that I can kind of use that to propel me through the day and take me through the day. And that morning, I was listening to the Daily Calm App and there was a retelling of the story from Buddhism that starts with the lotus bud in the mud. And the lotus bud makes its journey through the mud and the muck and the mere of the pond and, and it represents potential and as it works its way up through the pond and finally comes to the surface of the pond and begins to open up, pedal by pedal into this beautiful lotus flower that’s rebirth. That is, that is the the ultimate of what that bud can become. And so when I was on the map that morning, I heard that story in, in, you know, the the shorthand is, you know where there’s no mud, there’s no lotus, it’s without the test, without the mud, without all of that stuff that the lotus bud has to get through, then that journey and to become that beautiful lotus flower um is something less than and so I said to myself, this is who we are. This is who one cause is right now. This is our customers, our nonprofit customers, we are in the mud. We’re not even in the pond, we can’t see the surface. And so I have to be able to tell the story and I have to be able to tell the story of where we are today, but also provide a vision for where I think what that we can go or where, where we can finally become. And that’s that beautiful white lotus flower that sits at the top of the pond. And so that became uh very inspirational to us in terms of the artwork for the book. Um and again, uh it is, it is so beautiful. It’s such a beautiful story. It’s such a beautiful illustration and it, it’s such for, for me, it’s such a uh an illustration of where one cause was where our customers were. And I will say that 2022 was a great year, 2023. You know, we’re, we’re getting hit by all kinds of different issues. Now, now we have fears of inflation or fears of recession, we have inflation, we have high interest rates, we have all that other stuff. But from the, from the aspect of the pandemic, I would believe that we have finally emerged as that beautiful white lotus flower on the top of the pond

[00:13:23.91] spk_0:
pushing through that the, the uh the muck of, of adversity. Yes, to uh to

[00:13:30.21] spk_2:
emerge. I really like that. You use that word too because I use that word a lot. So the fearless is a story of great resilience in the face of great adversity. That is really the story of fearless.

[00:14:15.25] spk_0:
Let’s talk about some of these lessons like we’ve said, every, every chapter uh wraps up with, with several uh lessons and related to what we’re talking about. Uh So I’m gonna take a bunch off and I’m gonna ask for you to ask you to elaborate on them if that’s ok. And we’ll, we’ll come to a point where I’ll ask you what your favorites are too, but we’re not quite there. We’re not quite there yet. That gets, that gets a little anarchic. I, I gotta, I gotta maintain, I gotta maintain my control. So, um, focus on what’s in your power that we can’t control the events. But we can, this is, you know how we respond. This is the one that I was just alluding

[00:15:21.37] spk_2:
to before. So, so again, II, I appreciate that because you just helped me jump to one of my favorites. So, so that is, that is definitely one of my favorites. And, and so this the, the, it, it, it comes in a, in a few ways, it really kind of weaves its way through the book, right? And it’s this notion and, and, and I actually refer to it as like the secret to happiness and the secret to success. And I wish somebody would have explained this to me 30 years ago, tony. It, it, you know, that, that, that, that what you need to focus in on is the things that are in your control and not focus on those that aren’t in your control. And there are various forms of this, that, that, that, that we, we see um every day. But my, inspire, my inspiration from this came from the Stoics and, and there was a couple of Stokes, particularly Seneca and Marcus Aurelius um is one said something like it’s not what happens to you but how you react to it, that matters. So, so again, take for example, the pandemic or even somebody cuts you off on the road or somebody’s at the grocery store taking too long in front of you, right? Oh my God. The examples

[00:15:32.35] spk_0:
are, are rampant. I mean from right, from somebody cuts you off at the grocery store to climate change

[00:15:37.52] spk_2:
and climate change, right? The the

[00:15:39.02] spk_0:
exist existential

[00:16:34.56] spk_2:
questions like that we’re not in control of those external factors. And so what we have to do is we have to say, ok, I’m not in control of that. But what I’m gonna focus on right now and that I’m 100% in control of is how I react to that I can react with anger. I can react with frustration. I can, I can react with compassion and, and grace. And so man, it’s such a it’s such a great lesson to, to learn. And and so, you know, again, as I said, I wish somebody would have taught me this 30 years ago. I hope somebody listening today hears this and says, aha, that is going to change. My life is not to dwell on those things that I can’t control but to focus instead on what I’m 100% control in control of. And that’s how I react and respond to that. And I know that my wife is happy that I’m trying to embody this lesson as well.

[00:17:20.33] spk_0:
I, I have AAA, personal example that I, I’ve seen several times, uh, calendar mistakes, you know, somebody, we, we’re all, we’re all scheduling events, right? And the, the savvy of us, uh, use calendar and then there’s the rest of us like me who just still do the back and forth emails and, um, you know, people make mistakes, you know, they, they, they forget the time zone change. Oh, you’re eastern. I thought, yeah, I’m central. I thought, you know, I was an hour so I was an hour late, you know, et cetera and the way you react, you know, people. Uh Well, II, I always say, you know, I’ve done it, I’ve, you know, with no problem, we’ll reschedule. I, I can’t do it right now. We’ll reschedule. No problem. I’ve done it myself. I’ve, and people are, people just come back with such effusive gratitude that I’m just saying, you know, I make the same mistakes, you know, instead of all right. You know, uh I, I guess I understand uh we can, we can reschedule some time. We’ll see if it works out for the future

[00:17:36.41] spk_2:
in that passive aggressive kind of way. Right. But

[00:17:43.12] spk_0:
people are just so gracious, grateful for a, a decent gracious, you know, I, I screw up too. Let’s, let’s reschedule.

[00:17:46.32] spk_2:
Yeah, I think Grace is one of those words that we really started to use a, a lot during the pandemic. It’s just like grant people some grace, man. It’s, it’s OK like stuff happens. Let’s just, yeah, let’s just figure it out.

[00:18:04.16] spk_0:
Um start a conversation. Uh a a around difficult subjects.

[00:19:29.25] spk_2:
Yeah. Again, um what, what, what, what we were trying to do there again, was to say what we have to do is engage and, and again, from, from my perspective, this is, this is really about more human connection. And so, and so, one of the things that we lost dearly is our ability to communicate, I think effectively. And we all went to Zoom. Uh and we lost this, this ability to just have a conversation in a hallway. Just have just, just to talk with these serendipitous um uh collisions as I think that they’ve been called from time to time and just have a conversation and have an openness about something and be willing to talk about it. And I think sometimes we lose that with Zoom. Sometimes we lose that with everyone working from home. I think we lost that during the pandemic. And so part of what I uh you know, big strong message. Again, for me, it’s actually the second thing that I like. Uh one of my favorite chapters actually is about connection and it’s, it’s chapter 15 and it’s called Connect. And it’s about friendships and it’s about family and it’s about making sure that you live your life now and celebrate your life now. So, um those are a, again, those are lessons that we learned during the pandemic, but also lessons that can be applied um, every single day um of our lives. It’s also important

[00:19:54.28] spk_0:
to be conscious of this because it’s so easy to default to the zoom meeting and, and sometimes they are necessary, you know, if we’re in, if we’re, if we’re across multiple states, you know, we don’t have a choice. It used to be phone, you know, now it’s, now it’s zoom or, or some equivalent. But when you do have the chance for a face to face, you know, when it can work, opt, I think opt for that opt for the opt for the in person when, when it can work and just don’t automatically default to the, to the virtual.

[00:22:00.32] spk_2:
And I think, I think what you’re touching on is a, is another one of the lessons I think it’s called what I call like the silver silver lining mindset is, is that we are always looking for silver linings in the crisis in the everything that the pandemic was throwing at us. And I think, I think the ability to, to reach, for instance, from a, from a, let’s take it from a nonprofit standpoint. Our events went from essentially being all in person to being 100% virtual and online. And so that, that is, you know, at first you think, wow, that’s a real negative because you lose that face to face. You you lose the ability to have that dinner and have that open bar happy hour and experience that gala feeling that drives auction, silent auction, live auction donation moments that drives the generosity of, uh, uh you know, associated with that. But what going virtual did was expanded the reach. And so if you’re in person and inclusivity as well, if you’re in person, maybe you have three or 400 people who can afford the $400 ticket to go downtown. Dress up, get the babysitter, you really kind of spend, you, you make an investment of a day and a lot of, of dollars to do that. And there are some people who don’t want to. So, so what our nonprofit customers found was that the reach of that event expanded from three or 400 people who were of course, very generous to the thousands of people who are in their mailing database who would simply get a link and click on the link and could tune in to the live stream, participate in the silent auction, using our software, participate in the donation moment. And we saw again while the attendance at, at events shrank dramatically to, to kitchens and living rooms and in small studios, generosity continued to flow and people continue to, to, to step up and answer the call of the, of the nonprofits who needed them now more than ever. So we saw that as part of the silver lining mindset is that they found reach in this, in the, in the void of in person. They found the opportunity with online and virtual.

[00:22:31.55] spk_0:
Let’s talk something too about uh having these difficult conversations, you know, making uh making time to talk about weighty subjects rather than waiting for the time to appear, which, you know, time never taps us on the shoulder and says, uh you’ve got a half a day coming up, you know, tomorrow. So do something, do something important with it that, you know, to make the time for these, these weighty

[00:23:31.24] spk_2:
conversations. Yes. So, so time was, was, you could see time was a topic that I tackled a couple of times in the book. Number one, I tackled it in connection with the Eisenhower matrix, which is kind of, uh, some, some a different variation of the Stephen Covey urgent and important. We’re gonna get, we’re gonna get to that. Yep. Yep. Ok. And then, and then, uh, so I’ll move on from that. And so, and then I also talk about this Kronos time and Cairo’s time and Kronos time is time that goes so slowly and it ticks away. And if you’re watching the clock, you’re like, did the clock just move backwards? I swear the clock just moved backwards. But Cairo’s time is that time flies, feeling that feeling where you can be just involved in something. It’s a moment you’re experiencing this moment and all of a sudden three hours have gone by and you say, where did, where did the time go? My gosh. And so my, my, my rallying cry was, let’s, let’s live life in Cairo’s time and, and, and not in Kronos time. And I’ll uh I’ll, I’ll send it back to you and say, I will wait to talk about uh the Eisenhower Matrix until you, you’d like me to. Ok.

[00:23:56.47] spk_0:
But why don’t we do it now? We’re not gonna tease listeners right now. You, you gave a great instruction to it. It’s, it’s such, it’s so simple and Eisenhower and uh Stephen Covey.

[00:26:12.45] spk_2:
So what I was addressing with, with this, this topic was this notion that I just don’t have the time to do this. And so, you know, I get a little bit like, yes, of course, time is the one thing is the one thing that everyone on the planet has the same of Elon Musk doesn’t have more than 24 hours in a day. He doesn’t have any more than I do. He doesn’t have any more than you do. But somehow he’s able to create so much more in that, in that period of time. And so we’re all given this time and, and during the pandemic, we were, we were forced to really manage this time. How do I office from home? How do I school my Children from home? How do I be a good spouse and be a good partner at home? Be a good parent at home and also look after my friends and family. And so what I tried to do is I said, let’s put, let’s let’s learn some things from some, some, some people and the Eisenhower matrix in the, the Covey matrix kind of really focused on urgent and important. And what we, what we, what we don’t take the time to do. Tony is the things that are important but not urgent. And what are the things that fall into that category? Things that are kind of uh bettering us as human beings learning a new language, reading books and, and, and, and educating learning. It’s so important to our development as people. But yet we get caught up in the day to day and the urgency of paying the bills and making money and, and taking care of the kids and feeding the kids. Those are urgent things that have to get done. But what we have to eliminate is those things that are not important and not urgent. What were we doing? We were watching a lot of TV. We were, we were, we were getting caught up in scrolling through Facebook and Instagram and, and all the online social media. And so what I was trying to do is get people to think, listen, you do have the time. What we need to do is just, is just take inventory of how we’re using that time. Give yourself a little bit more of the things that are important and not urgent and eliminate some of those things that are not urgent and not important. Of course, the things that are both urgent and important, you gotta do it right. You can’t, you, you have to do those.

[00:26:22.51] spk_0:
And then there, there’s the fourth cell of urgent but not important and the advice there is to delegate.

[00:26:51.52] spk_2:
Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Delegate and, and again, it’s, it’s, it’s, you can sometimes delegate to technology too. It’s not just like, oh, I don’t have an assistant. Well, let technology handle that go into your email and set some rules, you know, just say, listen, I don’t want, you know, if, if, if they’re, if, if, if, if you’re spending all your time on, on managing your emails that are coming in, set a couple of rules that, that send them to, you know, later box and, and only work on the things that, you know, are important as they’re coming in.

[00:27:02.40] spk_0:
It’s a very simple matrix, uh simple. But, but valuable. If you learn, if you, if you, if you just pay a little attention to it, you can easily find uh your own work that belongs in all four cells and uh or your own, your own distractions in the case of the, they’re not urgent, they’re not important, you know, these kind of time suck type things. Um It, yeah, I, I love it. It’s simple, it’s elegant but it, it is

[00:27:51.05] spk_2:
valuable and then just think tony, what you can do. Let’s just say you find another half an hour of your day or another 45 minutes of your day. Just think of the things that you could do. I just talked to my call map only takes 10 minutes. And so you get, get on the map and get on the mat and listen to the call map for 10 minutes, 11 minutes and it’ll change your day completely. It’s time for a break.

[00:28:42.43] spk_1:
Donor box. What makes Donor box stand out? It’s a fundraising platform built with fundraisers for fundraisers. They have the Ultra Swift donation form that makes giving four times faster and it cuts down on drop off. They’re a comprehensive fundraising platform along with the Ultra Swift donation form. There’s event ticketing, peer to peer text to give and the new donor box live kiosk. So your folks can swipe tap or dip to pay at events. They’re committed to customer support and they understand nonprofits because they all have nonprofit backgrounds. Donor box helping you help others donor Boxx dot org. It’s time for Tony’s take two.

[00:30:21.83] spk_0:
Thank you, Kate. Summer, summer is the ideal time for stewardship. It’s a time that we typically are taking care of ourselves. Right? Thinking about our vacation with family, friends, maybe vacations, right? And that’s all important you because you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. I say that routinely you gotta take care of yourself first. So, after you do that though, I’m suggesting summer is a great time for stewardship, talking to your donors. Easy conversations. What’s going on with their summer? How are they handling the, the summer extra heat? If, if that applies where you are, if it’s temperatures are higher than normal, it seems like they are just about everywhere. But you know, what are their summer plans? Uh How are they taking care of themselves? Share your summer plans, you know, so it’s just, just light, light touches easy stewardship during summer. So I, I urge you to take care of yourself first and then think about your donors. Make these easy outreach calls. Um And yeah, and, and calls calls are perfect. Not, not, I’m not thinking email. I’m thinking pick up the phone and have some light conversation with, with donors. That’s it. Summer stewardship. That is Tony’s take two Kate. Well, my voice just broke like I’m 14, Kate. Kate. Kate. Hey, Kate.

[00:30:29.90] spk_1:
Do you want me to continue? We got, but loads more time now back to leadership lessons with Steve Johns.

[00:30:39.90] spk_0:
Another of the many lessons harness a service mindset.

[00:32:00.92] spk_2:
Yes. Yes. So I’m really big on this. And so, and so again, it goes back to the stoics a little bit but it’s, it’s, we live in, I live in service to, to my customers. I live in service to one cause and, and we together live in service to, to our customers And so I think that if you, if you, if you operate from a position of being a servant leader or understand that you’re here for the benefit of others, again, I think that it will, it will change the way that you, that you act. And so it’s also part of the, the, the ancient stoicism of doing the right thing. And I think that’s why, that’s why I think stoicism connects with me because I would just call, I just, before I learned about stoicism, I just called it common sense. I just called it doing the right thing. I just called it being smart. And then when I started to learn about the, the how the, the, the Stokes went about life, it really was about living a life of service and doing what’s right. Um And, and putting yourself um second to, to others. And again, I, I try to live that way. I try and serve that way. When I introduce myself. Most of the time time, I try to say I’m Steve Johns and I serve as a CEO of one cause because I feel that is how I serve one cause and that’s how I serve our nonprofit customers. Say a little about

[00:32:14.13] spk_0:
the, the Greek Stoics. Yes, uh educate us on

[00:34:01.13] spk_2:
that. So this is a 2000 year old philosophy really started by the Greeks picked up by the Romans. And it’s this notion of um of, of doing, of doing What’s right? And, and um Marcus Aurelius is one of the uh greatest I would say, maybe most well known um of the, of the school of Stoicism. And he has a book called Meditations. That is a book that I carry around in my briefcase. II, I bring it on flights because I can pick it up. I can literally open it to the middle of it and learn something. I don’t have to be reading it. Chrono chronologically, I don’t have to uh remember where I was. It’s just literally his musings or his journaling of his thoughts as the emperor of, of Rome. And it’s really this, this sense of ethics um right and wrong. Um You said humble before um humility, um and the notion of serving others. And so again, I have been asked from time to time. Hey, Steve, uh what book are you reading now? And I’m not really a big reader of current novels and, and current books, but again, $9 on Amazon, I don’t get any royalties from it whatsoever. But here’s the offer that I made to, to the company in one of my updates. I said, if you go on Amazon and you buy Marcus Aurelius Meditations for nine bucks, and you don’t think it was worth $9 I will personally refund your money. And so I’ll offer that to your listeners as well. I would say, go pick up, go pick up meditations on, on Amazon. And if you don’t learn anything, if it doesn’t improve your day through, through tony, I will pay you your nine bucks back.

[00:34:04.13] spk_0:
And, and you, you don’t have the, uh, residual stream from Marcus Aurelius.

[00:34:08.34] spk_2:
You, I do not.

[00:34:11.35] spk_0:
This is all related to one that, uh II, I remembering now this was II, I wasn’t thinking about this one for discussion, but it’s so related that helpfulness is not zero sum.

[00:36:21.48] spk_2:
Yes. Yeah. So when I, when I say I say that I said what we do is not altruism because um it al altruism is, is helping at the potential um a loss of opportunity or benefit for yourself. And so what, what, and, and, and, and I think I, I quoted, um I think I quoted Zig Ziggler in there if I, if I’m not mistaken um about, you know, we are, we are help, helpful is one of our core values and, and I, I don’t know if there’s many companies out there who have helpful as a, as a core value. And, and it is our, it is our um obligation to help our nonprofit customers raise more money and connect with more donors. We do that by providing software that provides that value, but we also have a company to run. And so, and so I expect also I have, I’m in, I’m, I am a commercial company and so I expect a fair price for that software and that’s so that I can continue to be the innovation engine for nonprofits for the next 5, 10 15, we think, you know, 30 years or more. I want to be here for the needs of the nonprofit organizations because of the way that they’re structured, they, they can’t in invest in long-term technology and innovation and that’s where I come in. And so we want to be helpful, we want to provide the best value and software possible. We want to be able to, to, to wrap, you know, to, to have consulting and people around that and help them be successful. But we also have to get paid for it because we need to be self sustaining and we need to be, to invest. I said, you know, we’ve invested literally millions of dollars over the last several years in making our software better so that nonprofits can benefit from that. And so that’s what I say, it, it, it has to, there has to be, you know, a, a, this is not altruism, but this is helpfulness and, and I think related

[00:36:35.62] spk_0:
to, you know, it’s, it’s interesting. Uh uh as we’re talking about them, I’m seeing more how they’re, they’re intertwined than I did, you know, reading, reading the books. Um But, you know, uh listen, you gotta start with the book. So, you know, and, and I didn’t, uh where, so where I said, where the company is not that we’re done, we’re not done, but I’m just Midway. I want folks to know where do they find the book? Is it at one cause dot com or, or it’s not?

[00:36:46.77] spk_2:
No. So you can go to Amazon and search for Fearless and my name as an author and you should be able to find it there.

[00:37:09.40] spk_0:
Ok. Amazon. All right. We’ve heard of that. All right, good. Um So that so related, you know, again, the, the interrelationships between these um a, a culture of curiosity that not, not fearing change. And that’s, this is all related to what you were just saying about software development, software investment, nonprofits can’t do it uh largely. Uh but, you know, all your investments have not been lucrative investments in technology, of course, right? Curiosity, the, the the value of curiosity,

[00:39:00.74] spk_2:
right? So, so again, it, and, and our values go, we are passionate, we are curious, we are helpful and we are committed and so the, the curious comes the from the passion. So we’re, we’re passionate about our customers and their causes and, and the issues and problems that they, that they face. And so we’re curious, we wanna learn more about the problems that they face so that we can convert that to solutions and be helpful. It’s really interesting, tony, we have these four values and we talk about them at, at the company, we talk about them as we’re bringing in new, new staff, almost invariably the the younger generation. When we ask the gen Z and, and the millennials, which one of these values speaks to you the most. And for me, it’s committed because that’s what I’ve really built. My entire career around is like, is, is building and, and being committed to, to customers and, and, and boards and investors and, and getting the job done and to young professionals. It’s curiosity, it’s learning, it’s exploring, it’s innovating and just, I just love that because that’s what we need, we need that as, as a company, we need that as a society for that continual process. And I’m not too old to be curious. I want to be curious but it, it’s, it’s not, it’s not a, it’s, it’s more commonly found in, in these, in the younger professionals. And, and in the story, I talk a little bit about our uh our relationship with curiosity kind of as we grow up. And, you know, we’re curious until we uh burn ourselves on the stove or, you know, we learn a lesson. Um And, and you know, I, I quote, you know, curious George always getting into trouble because he’s always curious about

[00:39:25.61] spk_0:
something curious George man in the yellow hat.

[00:39:26.64] spk_2:
Exactly. So, so again, I want, I want us to live in this balance of our values, but I love the notion of curiosity. I love how it drives our innovation and it loves how it, I love how it drives us continuing to find solutions to our customers issues. And and problems that they’re, that they’re trying to solve every day. And how for listeners,

[00:39:56.40] spk_0:
for listeners, you know, the curiosity goes to uh you know, problem solutions, uh you know, exploring avenues to overcome challenges that, that your organization is facing, that, that your beneficiaries, your, the, the the folks your service are facing, uh you know, look exploring, you know, openness to new ideas about how to, how to, how to achieve your, your mission,

[00:40:56.41] spk_2:
right? And, and we even talk about curiosity just in terms of your, your f your coworkers and your colleagues and, and you know, just showing a curiosity to learn more about what is driving them and what is, what is their background, what motivates them and really understanding more, what, what, how your, your team works so that you can work better. And so we actually do take uh tests, strength finders, tests and learn about uh what makes Steve Johns Tick so that, you know, how you can work together with me. And so that’s part of our curiosity too, is learning just more about people and, and, and being more open to that. And for our uh

[00:41:19.36] spk_0:
generation Z and perhaps millennial listeners, uh you could be curious about curious George. You can certainly uh Google, curious George Man in the Yellow Hat and you will see the uh see the books, I don’t think Curious George ever had a movie, but I think you’re right. You should have, I don’t know. Why didn’t curious George become a Disney. He would have been a good Disney character. They could have, they could have worked with that. Why didn’t Curious George ever get a movie?

[00:41:22.41] spk_2:
I am not sure, man.

[00:41:39.82] spk_0:
He got screwed and, and the, and the nice man in the yellow hat. Uh, they both got screwed together. All right. They, they should have had a movie anyway. They were good books. They were good. They were good children’s learning books. Um Yes. Uh investing in yourself making that this, this sort of goes to that, that cell where it’s important but not urgent uh in the, in the Eisenhower coffee matrix investing in yourself. The value of doing that.

[00:43:32.30] spk_2:
Exactly. And it became it beca again, it became so important during the pandemic, but it’s not any less important today. And so I feel very strongly about investing in myself. And so, but, but to your point, tony about everything interweaving it all gets back to time too because what do we do is we’re too busy for ourselves most of the time. We’re too busy working, we’re too busy taking care of our family. We’re too busy doing everything else but ourselves. So then what I say is, well, when are you in complete control of your day? And that’s probably at early in the morning. And so you have to start back solving. It’s like, well, ok, the dog wakes up at seven, ok, the kids wake up at 6 30. Ok. Well, then get up at six, get up at 5 30 you have to figure out. So, so then now that is your time between 5 36 or between 5 36 15. Now, what do you want to do be, you know, if you want to focus on mindfulness, get on the mat and listen, if you want to focus on physical fitness, get outside, put your shoes on and go run or put your shoes on and grab your gym bag and go and, and work out. Or if you want to learn a language, put your headphones on and, and start listening to Italian or start listening to Spanish if that’s your goal and I, I called myself out. I have been putting Learn Italian on my personal development list for probably 20 years. I have yet to do it. Um And, but I continue to, I just put leverage on myself by telling you and so people can hold me accountable. I think that’s another great, it’s another great tool about investing is tell your spouse or tell your partner or tell somebody, hey, you know what, I’m, I’m gonna, I’m gonna learn a new language or I’m, I’m gonna lose £5 or I’m gonna get more physically fit. They will hold you accountable if you don’t hold yourself accountable. So make those investments in yourself. But I think it gets back to time again. You have to find the time to do it because you’re always gonna find the time to not do it.

[00:43:53.65] spk_0:
And can I challenge on one word there? You have to make the time. Yes, you have to make the time you. No. And this is related to one that I did want to talk about. Don’t be passive with time. Listeners are probably tired of me saying this, but you have to make the time. You, you’re not gonna just find it. Time is not gonna tap you on the shoulder and say you’ve got 45 minutes free tomorrow. You, you’ve gotta be conscious. You, you say passive, don’t be passive with time.

[00:44:14.77] spk_2:
And that’s what I was trying to do with this notion of the Eisenhower matrix and urgent and important. And you know, say I feel the same, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s bunk, that’s, that’s whatever it is. You know, you, there’s, there’s 24 hours, you can

[00:44:28.71] spk_0:
call it bullshit. It’s OK.

[00:44:30.84] spk_2:
There’s 24 hours in the day. You can figure it out, grab it, take it, control it, it’s yours. And, and, but you also have to stop doing the things that are time wasters

[00:44:47.87] spk_0:
talk without telling, talking without telling that that uh you don’t, you don’t, you, it’s related to what you had said earlier. I it didn’t occur to me at that point uh that you don’t have to have all the answers. You know, you don’t always, you don’t have to be telling you can be talking

[00:46:05.91] spk_2:
without. So when I, when I sat down to write my weekly update every week, I was talking, not telling, I was sharing stories. I was, I was letting people know how I was feeling. I was thinking I was, I was picking up the vibe of, of how other people were, were thinking I was tracking what was happening in, in, in the nation. I was tracking what was happening in with our customer base and, and fundraising. And I was hearing stories of, of success and creativity and ingenuity in ways that our nonprofit customers were using our software in ways that we had never experienced before. And I was having a conversation, I was talking, I wasn’t telling, I wasn’t preaching. I wasn’t, I wasn’t admonishing or anything to that effect. I was just saying, hey, this is how I feel or this is how you might be feeling and right. You know, it’s hard to argue. You can’t, if you say this is the way it is, then people can argue with that. But if you say this is the way I’m feeling or this is the way I think about that. Well, you can’t argue, you cant disagree, you can have a different opinion, but you can’t take that away from me. And that’s, that’s what I believe. And so that, that’s my point is, is we need to talk, we need to engage in dialogue. We need to have conversation, but it’s not about telling people what they need to do or telling people what they’re doing wrong or telling people what they should do next.

[00:46:36.52] spk_0:
All right. So we’re, uh, we’re 40 some minutes into this. Now, I’m, now I’m, now I’m feeling uh gracious and generous. So let me read to you. What, what, what would you like? Which, which lessons would you like to talk about that? We haven’t, uh we haven’t talked about

[00:49:44.44] spk_2:
yet. So again, um, you know, again, picking some of these lessons is like picking your favorite child. I have two. I love them both. Um And so I, I did, I did choose, um, you know, when I think about what I, what my favorites are is human connection. So let me just kind of touch on that one again because III I kind of glossed over it. A little bit. Chapter 15 is called connect. And I’d say that if we look back at the pandemic and what it uniquely took away from us was human connection. In fact, what it did instead was it taught us to fear humans. We were walking on the sidewalk and there were people who were walking towards us, either we or they would move to the other side of the street to avoid passing, you know, and, and so, and, and we were taught and we were telling our kids like, oh, don’t touch that or, or don’t go uh approach that person or here comes a person, we need to walk to the other side. And so it was such a huge loss. And so a lesson is seek human connection. There’s actually a physiological connection. I’m not. Uh and I probably cited a study in the book, but there’s actually a proven physiological con connect connection of health and wellness and well-being um in long living longer that’s tied to human connection and friendships. And so I said, reach out to people that you haven’t talked to in a while, be the person who makes the call, not who waits for the call. Um Because there might be somebody who’s sitting at home who’s feeling super isolated, who needs to hear from someone. Um So be the person who, who does that reconnect with old friends. Um uh you know, again, whether if you can’t see them in person, get, get, get on the phone or, or, or get on the Zoom, reconnect with your family, spend more time with your family. So I relate a story of us getting in the car and driving out west is that my kids are adult kids, but it was a lot of fun to just reconnect on that level and just, just spend more time with your kids. And then finally, this whole idea, we had great loss during the pandemic as well and we continued to have loss and my dad um is, is nearing 90 he is um he, he has dementia and the isolation of COVID rapidly accelerated his decline because he needed that human connection. And we had people in the family pass away who we weren’t able to, to, to, to be with. And so my, my, my message and my lesson behind that was celebrate life. Now, don’t wait, don’t wait for anything because we don’t know, nothing is promised to us. And I, and I wanted to encourage everybody do it now celebrate life, live life. And so, um I really want to uh encourage and again, I think the, the, the mental health crisis that we’re continuing to face today, that really um was it, of course, it happened before the pandemic, but it was really exacerbated by the pandemic. It’s gonna continue for a while and we just need to be, we talked about grace earlier. We need to give grace. Um And we need to, to, to, to be with people. We need to connect with people uh phy physically as well as help with uh the mental health aspect of the pandemic that unfortunately, we’re gonna have to live with for many, many years to come.

[00:50:08.39] spk_0:
One of your lessons explicitly is celebrate. Don’t wait. And you were just talking about celebrating celebrating life, friendships, loved ones. But celebrating uh on the professional side, celebrating successes and they don’t have to be, they don’t have to be monumental. It could be a daily, you know, I did a good job on that call. I handled that meeting. Well, II I handled that question. Well, they don’t have to be monumental for us to, to celebrate and

[00:51:24.95] spk_2:
recognize tony. And, you know, interestingly enough now in the post pandemic world that, that we’re entering, I was communicating weekly. Now I’m communicating maybe quarterly. I’m on a regular cadence of, you know, commercial entity reporting quarterly revenue and earnings and you know what I’m hearing, we’re not hearing enough. We, we, we need more. And so, and so I need to go back to that to your point celebrating those little victories being in touch more because I was, I was communicating weekly uh with the team. So, so I don’t, I don’t have another, another favorite, but I did have a quote that I wanted to, to bring to your attention and bring to the reader’s attention, maybe have a conversation around it, just love it. It’s a CS Lewis quote and the quote goes something like you can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. And I, when I found that in the middle of the pandemic, I’m like that is gold. That is mic drop stuff, right? It’s like you can’t go back and change the beginning but start here right where you are and change the ending. And I think, you know, if there’s anything that we could learn, we can, we can apply that at any point in time in our lives, at any point in time in our career, in our marriages, wherever we are, it’s just like just start again, start today and change how it ends.

[00:52:11.82] spk_0:
That’s a beautiful place to end. I appreciate it. All right. All right. The book, uh Fearless Leadership Lessons At The Crossroads. It’s on Amazon. The company is one cause at one cause dot com and you can connect with Steve Johns on linkedin, Steve. Thank you very much. Wisdom Pearls. Thank you. Thank

[00:52:15.78] spk_2:
you, tony. Thank you. This

[00:52:17.87] spk_0:
was uh I it felt like Cairo’s time to me. I hope it did time for you.

[00:52:22.67] spk_2:
It was Cairo, I can’t believe an hour passed.

[00:52:26.25] spk_0:
All right, good. All right. Thank you. Thanks. Thanks so much, Steve.

[00:52:30.27] spk_2:
Absolutely. You bet. Thanks. Thank you, tony.

[00:52:39.90] spk_1:
Next week, Impact Metrics with John Mark Vanderpool. If you missed any part of this week’s show, I

[00:52:43.03] spk_0:
bet you find it at tony-martignetti dot com.

[00:53:01.33] spk_1:
We’re sponsored by Donor Box with intuitive fundraising software from Donor Boxx. Your donors give four times faster helping you help others donor Boxx dot org. Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate Barnett. The show’s social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein.

[00:53:28.07] spk_0:
Thank you for that affirmation. Scottie be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95% go out and be great.

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