Institute for Charitable Giving

You Must Sacrifice

Our work is demanding. It may require severe compromises in your personal life.

Reaching your objectives is knowing what it is that others want.

I have worked with some who practice the concept of WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). But to be successful requires knowing what you want. And what you are willing to give up to obtain your lofty aspirations. What are you willing to give up?

There is always the sacrifice. The best work is most often done under duress and at great personal cost. They do everything with the throttle all the way down.

When I wrote my book, Born to Raise, my Editor said that writing about the necessary sacrifice is going to turn-off a lot of people. And perhaps it did.  He wanted it taken out.  I insisted it stay in.

I wanted it to be included because almost all of the people I spoke with, my great fundraisers, talked about that along the way, in their professional journey, they had to make sacrifices.  But for them, it wasn’t actually giving up anything or yielding.

For the great ones, it was being involved in a crusade of sorts. It was doing something they absolutely loved and knowing the impact their work was making was helping change lives and save lives.

David Ogilvy is considered one of the greatest advertising leaders of the 20th Century.  His company was the largest in the country. He told me: “If one of my men wasn’t willing to work long hours, I tell them they may have their priorities right. They should go home and tend the roses. But I tell them this is the wrong company for them.”

When I started reporting the results of my study, I had someone waiting in line after a Seminar to ask a question. It’s really something I hadn’t thought about.

“That’s just fine, Jerry, for you to talk about this sort of thing. But what kind of a home life does it make and are you talking about both men and women and this sort of sacrificial living?”

The question was so on target I decided to circle back to my men and women I had interviewed— all but Father Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame.

I went to forty-nine of my great fundraisers. There were two divorces. The rest seemed to be happily married.

Two out of forty-nine isn’t bad!

But then I decided to go back to a dozen or so spouses. I started asking some questions about the marriage, the long hours, the devotion and commitment to the job.

To the person, I hear how pleased they are that their spouse is head over heels happy in their work. Another says, “I feel like I’m a partner in all of the great things he is doing.” One said, “She loves her work so much, we willingly make necessary adjustments.”

The great ones talk about sacrifice. One told me the juice is worth the squeeze. They feel they have a blind date with destiny.


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