December 3, 2013 | Tom Suddes

STORYLINES. STORYBOARDS. STORYTELLING. The Power of Story transcends just about everything.

I thought this would be a good follow-up to Seth Godin’s thoughts on STORY.

Everything you do should be built around a STORY!

STORYLINES. STORYBOARDS. STORYTELLING. The Power of Story transcends just about everything.

The POWER of STORYTELLING is a given. It goes back, literally, to the beginning of humankind! STORIES are, without question, the most meaningful way to communicate any (and I mean ANY) MESSAGE!

Here’s a simple test: Ask any of your Volunteer Leaders or Board Members (or even key staff) if they would rather:




STORY helps with the Open, Dialogue, Conversation, and much more. Building, telling, sharing your STORY is ALL you need to do. And I mean that pretty literally.

In our For Impact world, ‘SHARE THE STORY’ is about:

  3. STORIES … Your Story. Their Story. Org Story.

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December 3, 2013 | Tom Suddes

What Do We Get When We Give To A Good Cause?

I get Seth Godin’s blog every day. Most of them cause me to think. Some of them give me good ideas.

Here’s one of his lastest posts that I’m simply going to pass on to you to read … because it’s that applicable to our world.


Seth’s answer: A STORY!!!

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December 2, 2013 | Tom Suddes


I was re-reading for the umpteenth time DO THE WORK by one of my favorite authors Steven Pressfield. Heading down to Wake Forest University to be with their outstanding Advancement Team for some coaching/training.

There is a huge amount both wisdom and motivation in this DTW nugget:



“Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account.”

“The enemy is resistance.”

“The enemy is our chattering brain, which if we give it so much as a nanosecond will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.”

That quote is one of the reasons that Steven Pressfield is one of the most impactful writers/thinkers in the world. He puts a name on the nugget. He captures in very few words the essence of the problem. Then, gives simple solution. START BEFORE YOU’RE READY.





Pressfield quotes W. H. Murray who quotes Goethe with one of my favorite inspirational quotes:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

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November 27, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Happy Thanksgiving

Every year I try to share a Thanksgiving Message with our For Impact | The Suddes Group community.

As I re-read my last four or five years of Thanksgiving messages, I was thinking about the timeless nature of these thoughts.

Three things to think about this Thanksgiving and into the holiday season.

    For the first half of my life (30+ years), my understanding of wealth was the same as all my friends, business associates and the general public. ‘WEALTH’ meant you had a lot of money.
    Then I found this definition… and it allowed me to become one of the ‘WEALTHIEST’ people in the world.
    Here’s a simple test of your ‘WEALTH’. Write down a list of all the things that you truly VALUE. Then, put a ‘COST’ (an actual dollar figure) next to everything on the list.
    Most of you will look at the list and realize that the things that we truly VALUE… end up COSTING NOTHING!
    Bob and Melinda Blanchard, in their wonderful entrepreneurial book LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE, have a great line: “It only matters if it BREATHES.”
    My own VALUE LIST is filled with simple things that are alive … family time, adventures with the grandkids, health, friends, business partners, etc. … and, some that are not … a great book, a good cup of coffee, nature, the sun, the ocean, the mountains, a boxing workout, yoga and a ride on the Harley.
    Here’s the pretty obvious point: ‘WEALTH’, no matter how you define it, is not about ‘money’. Money is just ‘worthless wampum’ in the grand scheme of life.
    Clearly, we need to provide ourselves and family with food, shelter, clothing, etc. But if the accumulation of money, a higher salary or how much you can put in your bank or your portfolio is your measurement for success or happiness … I’m guessing you’ll be doing that ‘camel through the eye of the needle’ thing at the end of your life.
    Robert Allen has a great quote, “If a man with many riches suddenly loses all of his money and then jumps out of a window… then, that man was never truly wealthy.”
    In an old ODE magazine (which has now been renamed the OPTIMIST), there was an entire issue around this idea of ‘money’. One of the best lines was a simple statement: “It’s not about MONEY. It’s what you DO with your money.”
    Special Note: I’m an entrepreneur. I’m all about financial freedom. I want to be able to take care of my family, travel, live on the farm and much more. I just don’t believe that money is the scorecard or measurement of wealth or success.
    The Thanksgiving and holiday season is a great opportunity to think of WEALTH as an ABUNDANCE OF THINGS THAT YOU VALUE… and enjoy your ‘WEALTH’.
    2.“ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.” Almost every book I’ve ever read on personal development has reinforced that ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.
    My good friend Tim Kight calls this the ‘R’ FACTOR. His brilliant equation is
    E + R = O.
    Event + Response = Outcome.
    Event does not equal the outcome. It’s our RESPONSE (which is almost always a function of our ATITTUDE) that creates the outcome. We are surrounded by relative comfort and certain freedom. Few of us have to worry about struggling each day to meet our basic needs (which is a daily struggle for most of the people in the world). Many people focus on what they see as a lengthy list of negatives, complaints, faults, cynicism. We need to respond with our antidote of GRATITUDE.
    ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE alters the way we see others and ourselves. It inspires us. It builds and supports lasting relationships.
    Take a moment every day to write or think about the many, many things for which we are most grateful. (Julia Cameron calls them ‘morning pages’.) Family. Friends. Freedom. Maslov’s Food, Shelter, Clothing. Greatest country in the world. (And, when you’re my age, the fact that you’re alive and breathing vs. the alternative.)
    “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
    I’ve had the privilege of watching thousands of people experience serious ‘giving‘. I’ve also watched many of these people literally move from success to significance. While I don’t exactly understand how it works, I know that giving brings much more happiness thanreceiving.
    There’s a great line from a country song:
    “It’s not what you take with you … when you leave the world behind.”
    “It’s what you leave behind you … when you leave this world behind you.”

I believe all of three of these thoughts help us make a life, not a living.

There’s no better time of the year than now to share with others.


Katniss, our miniature Highland cow wants you to eat more turkey. From the rest of us at For Impact and The Suddes Group and Eagle Creek, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and great holiday season.

Special Note: Every year I share these 3 stories that you may want to share with your children or grandchildren or family. THE HAPPY PRINCE is a great story/fable. THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD are seen through the eyes of a child. The third is a very powerful parable about giving called the SEA OF GALILEE.

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November 22, 2013 | Tom Suddes

We Don’t Need a Gettysburg Address

I did a great session with one of the finest small colleges in the world yesterday.

New President. Board (and everyone else) is looking for the ‘GRAND VISION’.

We are seeing this more and more … every day … with all of our clients/partners who are engaged in large transformational funding initiatives.

Our response to pretty much everyone right now is to stop over thinking the whole ‘VISION’ thing.

Yesterday, it was a simple statement: “You don’t need a Gettysburg Address.”

This university has a ridiculously strong and unique Mission and Message. We just laid that out in the ‘Blue’ at 30,000′ … and turned that into a $100 Million Vision.


I’m from Springfield, Illinois as was Lincoln.

I love the Gettysburg Address. I love the fact that Lincoln did it in 272 words … and they were really simple, powerful words.

However, not every leader nor every organization needs a ‘Gettysburg Address’ to talk with their best people about TRANSFORMATIONAL GIFTS.


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November 21, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Build Simple: Communication


This week marks the 150th Anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Lincoln wrote this himself, and it certainly features one of the great openings of all time: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

The final version was 272 words! (I’m sure it took Lincoln many iterations to rid the ‘speech’ of all the words that were not important.)

Washington’s First Inaugural Address was 134 words.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was written on 3 pages (longhand) … summarized with 3 words … and then SIMPLIFIED again into 3 letters!!!

It seems like ‘we’ can’t write a proposal, a case for support or a request that isn’t 20, 30, 40 pages … smallest type possible … pages of financials …

Lincoln. Washington. Einstein.

Thoreau: “Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. Always simplify.”

And finally, Sir William Ockham’s famous Razor: “What can be done with few assumptions is done in vain with more.”


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November 19, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Good Health Is Greatest Wealth

Here’s a thought from our Cross-Fit, Paleo Designer Wolfie:


For me, it’s not about Paleo or the Zone or Atkins or Gluten-Free …

It is about trying to EAT HEALTHY. It’s up to us to figure out what that means for each one of us.

Note: I love the line that MEDICINE IS SICK CARE.

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November 18, 2013 | Tom Suddes

Human BE-ings … Not Human DO-ings

Life and work are hectic. Here is a simple reminder to LIVE and BE.

We are human BE-ings, not human DO-ings.

Seems like we’re always encouraging you to Take Action, Just Ask, Just Visit, Just DO Something

But, it’s also important to just BE:

    BE present during your present-ations.
    BE in the moment, with family, friends, associates.
    BE yourself, authentic in every way.
    BE an entrepreneur, at least in spirit.


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November 12, 2013 | Tom Suddes

A Salute to Veterans


(A day late … but traveling all day yesterday.)

My dad was a Marine in World War II. My brother was a Marine Helicopter Pilot. I was the proverbial black sheep of the family when I went to Army Infantry out of Notre Dame.

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day … but we should honor, celebrate and salute our veterans, as well as the men and women who are currently serving our country around the world, EVERY DAY!

Just one of those really BIG THINGS that sets the United States apart from the rest of the world.

Special Note: I think we have an opportunity in the Third Sector/For Impact World to help reintegrate returning military men and women. There are a lot of great OPPORTUNITIES within our world to make great use of the discipline, training and attitude instilled by the military.

Something to think about.

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November 7, 2013 | Tom Suddes

The Joy of Living

Given real choices in matters of LIFE or DEATH, scientifically studied odds are 9 to 1 AGAINST CHANGE!

Alan Deutschman expanded a provocative Fast Company cover story (May 2005) into a full-length book called, CHANGE OR DIE.

Deutschman’s conclusion from his two-year project:

    90% of patients with severe heart disease fail to CHANGE their own lifestyles… even after their doctor tells them that they’re in a “CHANGE or DIE” situation!

600,000 people have bypasses every year and 1.3 million heart patients have angioplasties, all at a total cost of around $30 Billion. These procedures are temporary and rarely prevent future attacks or prolong life. However, the patient could avoid the return of pain and the need to repeat the surgery by switching to a healthier lifestyle. However, after two years, 90% of these patients have not changed their lifestyle!

The Health Care industry consumes over $3 Trillion a year in the U.S. alone. (20% of our gross domestic product.) 80% of our health care budget is consumed by five behavioral issues… too much smoking, drinking, eating and stress, and not enough exercise.

This is not about the debate, discourse, disagreement on a Health Care Plan or the roll out of website. The fact is that…

We know the cause of these health problems.
We know the solutions.
Yet, people won’t, don’t CHANGE.

This CHANGE is not always about ‘life or death’. Studies have found that six weeks into the New Year, 80% of people had already broken their New Year resolutions (or can’t even remember them anymore)!

A National Institute for Health study found that 97% of people who lose weight end up gaining it all back within five years!

There is an alternative: CHANGE TO LIVE.


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