Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happily Slogging On!

Here are some thoughts from Non-Profit Consultant and Expert Grant Writer, Derek Link, on focus and perseverance:

Doing something difficult is always a trial of wills. You must enforce your will over the task, and over all other competing tasks. You must make a commitment that the task at hand is the one that matters most, and devote your focus on it entirely through the inevitably arduous march toward completion.

I’ve experienced this happy slog over and over in my life. Fortunately I got good advice about the slog along the way, and actually before I even began my first one (the university). I had a wonderful teacher in high school named Norm Barker. He was an architecture teacher and a terrifically talented person. He could do anything with his hands. I admired him because of those skills, and he was actually in my neighborhood so I got to see some of his handiwork first hand. He rebuilt a 1961 Porsche from paint to engine to upholstery, he built his own stereo speakers, he took an old wood-burning pot-bellied stove that he’d found in a field and welded up all the bullet holes and recast the missing parts and it was a thing of beauty when he finished.

What Mr. Barker taught me, in addition to some drafting skills, was that dedication to an endeavor produced good results. I recall that he was inspiring me to become an architect at one point as a student and he showed me a list of the courses at Cal Poly I’d need to take to become an architect. I remarked to him that I wasn’t good at math (truth be told, in high school I didn’t do my homework which mostly accounted for my poor math scores). He told me a valuable thing that sustained me throughout my Bachelor’s and my Master’s degrees: Mr. Barker said, “Derek, there’s nothing you can’t get through for one semester”. BRILLIANT ADVICE, Mr. Barker.

So, this is a long bird-walk to get to my topic of the Happy Slog. When you are in the midst of writing a grant and you’re feeling like you’ll never slog through it, just keep Mr. Barker’s advice in mind (with a little twist) “There’s nothing you can’t get through in three (fill in your deadline) weeks.” The deadline will come and go, so keep your mind focused and ignore all the competing distractions that are bound to come your way.

Slog on grant writers, slog on!


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Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.