naomi_superheroReady for Action. Some of you who may have followed this blog may recall my use of the Bitstrips program to create Cartoon Naomi scenarios.  In one of those, I had a “Super Naomi” icon that I used for some promotions which gave a fun light-hearted view of the 1000 Cranes consulting practice.  It is my avatar with a red cape ready for action!  Needless to say, it’s amusing when life imitates art.

On January 30th, I was invited to Flat Rock, NC to hold one and 1/2 day strategic planning session for the Western Carolina Community Action (WCCA) nonprofit.  They have been a loyal customer for nearly 10 years, and it was exciting to be able to continue our work together.  The session went well in the morning, and we took a break for lunch before having a “lunch and learn” session regarding Fundraising Tips.  This session was being digitally recorded in order to provide another resource for some 1000 Cranes customers.  In addition, it was critical as it was a video that was intended to be attached for submission to Toastmasters International for its Accredited Speaker designation and program.

Prepared.  As you can imagine, it was a bit stressful as we were getting the room organized for the videorecording.  The event started with enough people (the video required at least 20 people in the room), and the energy level of the audience was very high because of our earlier session in the morning.  We started getting the room ready:  the projector and laptop were all fired up; the lectern was in place; the videocamera and microphones were ready to go, then all of a sudden, we hear a large crack, and boom, we are in darkness.  We had an entire campus power outage just before we were getting ready to record!

Naomi Leadership Development

Super Naomi and her impromptu cape.

So what should I do?  I realized at that point that “the show must go on!”  I didn’t want to have these people wait for the lights to come on in order to shoot, and we had more material to cover in the afternoon for the retreat.  The videographer had been hired for only a few hours, and we had to get something recorded in order to make the deadline of February 1st.  You may recall my “Hail Mary, Pass!” blog posting recently, well, now the recording was even more critical considering the deadline was only a few days away.  We went ahead and shot the footage.  Perhaps, it was a blessing in disguise.

We all relaxed a bit as we made fun of our situation.  It also shows that despite the circumstances, it’s the content that drives everything.  The bells and whistles are nice to have, but in the end, it’s content that is king!  For this presentation, we stepped through three major parts of fundraising:  1) Knowing your donors/funding sources, 2) Building your Fundraising Plan, 3) Perfecting your Pitch.

The overall presentation with Q&A and closing remarks came in at 25:51…perfect as the presentation needed to be 20-45 minutes in length to qualify for the Toastmasters review committee.

Afterward, once the videographer left, we decided to go ahead and plow through the strategic planning session.  As the day got cooler with no heat, several people started piling on more jackets.  They went to their cars to get blankets, and one of them was kind enough to give me his daughter’s blanket which I secured with a binder clip.  Low and behold…Super Naomi became real and was not just the cartoon!

Great Session! I must admit.  It was a great session, and regardless of whether I am able to receive the Accredited Speaker designation, what was most important about this was showing resiliency under pressure and delivering valuable content to the participants in the room.  I believe they have tools that will encourage them to consider their fundraising strategy, and they will all remember the time they had training in the dark.

1000 Cranes, LLC  Naomi TakeuchiCommunication Powerhouse Tip of the Week:  Make the Best of the Situation and Roll with the Punches.  Life is messy.  Sometimes things and events don’t turn out the way you might expect they will.  In the end, every experience is a learning opportunity to grow and to have fun!  Although, we were all shivering by the end of the afternoon, much of what we discussed will always be remembered as the “Strategic Planning Session in the Dark!”

Testing your resiliency in the face of challenges can be the most rewarding and fun experiences you can have.  The saying “Roll with the Punches” is a great term for this.  When something happens to “punch” you back or get in your way, roll away from it, and fight back!  Take a bad situation and make it stellar.  Soon, you’ll see that some of these situations can be a blessing in disguise.  Take your challenges and make them into opportunities!

What About Your “Rolling with the Punches Situations”?  Have you ever been prepared when a situation went completely different than you expected?  Were the results favorable?  I would love to read your comments below or contact Naomi here.