Constant Learning, Constant Improvement

In not too many days it will be my birthday.  Not one ending in 0—that happens NEXT year—but still, to me, a big one.  One that is a lot older than I feel.

There are things that I really like about this age.  I’m a lot calmer than I used to be, a lot less quick to anger.  Professionally, I’ve been working in my field forever and really do feel that I bring experience, knowledge, and yes—wisdom—to my clients.  I also know that my clients and the people who take my workshops have given me as much knowledge and wisdom as I hope they feel I’ve given to them.  And it is this constant learning that keeps me going.

When I was young, my father used to tell my sister and me how, when we grew up, we would realize that everything we read, we read before; everything we would do, we had done before.  Nothing would be new or exciting, and not much would even be fun.

As a young girl, I would think how stupid my father was.

But recently, I’ve realized how easy it would be to become my dad.  It has been a sobering thought.  The other day, commenting on a training, one of my clients noted that, while it was good, there really wasn’t anything new in what was presented.

She was right, of course.  Once you’ve been a fundraising training, most of every other training could feel like old hat.  Or it could provide you with another window.

Experience and knowledge bring, among other things, a confidence that yes, you can do this.  And yes, there is little that will surprise you.  More than that, however, I find that it allows me to look at things is a slightly different way.  It’s like rereading a book.  I see different things each time I approach something I’ve done/read/seen before.  The knowingness allows me to focus on the particulars.

So fundraising.  My husband says I am obsessed.  He claims I talk about it more than he talks about the Cleveland Indians, Cav’s, or Browns. He’s right.

Sometimes I do become dad-like and think, “NOOOO, not this again.” And then I think—ummm, how could I make this different?  Better!  What can I see that I’ve never seen before?

It takes intention to feel this way.  It’s easy to go on automatic.  And better to do that than to not do anything at all.  But better still is to look at what you are doing with fresh eyes.  That doesn’t mean you change much, just that you make it all a little more effective.  A little more exciting. And that you use what you have learned over the months and years to make things constantly better.



Janet Levine works to move nonprofits from mired to inspired.  Learn more at  While there, sign up for the newsletter and contact Janet for a free, 30-minute consultantion




About janetlevineconsulting

For over 20 years, Janet Levine has worked for and with nonprofit and educational organizations, helping to grow their advancement programs. Her consulting company, Janet Levine Consulting, serves a wide range of organizations from small, all-volunteer agencies to major national organizations. She regularly teaches courses in non-profit management, fundraising and grant development, both face-to-face and online at In addition to her nonprofit work, Janet brings years of experience as a business and sales manager in the for-profit sector. She has an MBA from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University.
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