Over the years, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve moved, whether it be moving to a new city for school, or to a new neighbourhood. Moving (at least to me) is exciting. While some people may dread the idea of packing all of their belongings in boxes, and lugging it down to a moving van, there’s something exciting about the start of a new chapter. So when my friend texted me the other day saying he was moving and was wondering if I would help him paint his new condo, I jumped at the opportunity. 

Equipped with excitement and old ratty clothes (While I enjoy painting, I’m not by any means good at it, and fully anticipate that a good portion of the paint will end up on me), we embarked into Home Depot to pick the perfect shade for the living room accent wall. Through previous conversations, I knew my friend was looking to paint the wall blue, pictures of light, airy, shades filled my mind as my feet carried me into the aisle with paint swatches. However, I noticed when I stopped walking to admire the sky blue palettes, my friend’s footsteps continued until he was holding deep, rich, dark blue swatches. I realized at that moment while we both understood the wall would be blue, we had different interpretations of what that meant, and pictured the end result differently

Now, you might be wondering, how is painting an accent wall related to philanthropy, or the work being done at the Foundation? What this example showcases is that it’s easy to think you’re on the same page as someone if you’re saying the same thing. But, our interpretation of words can differ. This relates to philanthropy work. For example, my colleague and I could both be drafting project proposals involving the community, however the frequency, timing and level of involvement could differ depending on our interpretation on what community involvement means to us.  

Occurrences like the two above, are examples as to why it’s important to engage in a concept introduced by Brené Brown called “Painting Done”. So what is painting done? Brené explains it as an exercise where people involved in a task/goal come together to reflect and explain their expectations of a project. During this process, ask yourself and team members: 

  • What does the end product/result look like to you? 
  • How do you think we’ll get there? 
  • What is your role in the situation? 
  • What are the consequences if this isn’t successful? 
  • How much time do you think this will take you? 

I believe this exercise can be incredibly important to ensure everyone is on the same page with the work being done. It also gives everyone the chance to shine light on how they see their role in the work being completed. 

Learn more about Brené here!

Until next time!


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