Mindset. If you don’t think you’re going to make any impact, you won’t. The nonprofit sector is a work of heart. It’s thankless and faceless a lot of the time. But someone has to do it, and anyone has the power and capability to give back, in their own way, where they see value and feel they can be of use. Ultimately, you have to believe in the project and the importance of the work.
For someone who wants to set aside money to establish a Philanthropic Foundation or Fund, what does it take to make sure your resources are being impactful and truly effective? In this interview series, called “How To Create Philanthropy That Leaves a Lasting Legacy” we are visiting with founders of Philanthropic Foundations, Charitable Organizations, and Non Profit Organizations, to talk about the steps they took to create sustainable success.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Patricia Love.
Patricia Love is the author of the #1 best-selling book “Seen and (Un) Heard.” A life coach, who builds confidence in women, who struggle with being seen and heard in their own lives. Turning her own life around at 57, she has made it her mission to turn her “mess into her message.”
Thank you for making time to visit with us about a ‘top of mind’ topic. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
Well what led me down this path in the first place was really hitting rock bottom: I was a successful realtor for many years, but found myself with no money in the bank, no income, and a terrifying amount of debt… about 140,000 dollars in debt actually. My Mom had passed away and my husband had left me for a younger woman.
I was 57-years-old, depressed, overweight, and utterly lost. Everything I’d worked so hard for and that I’d sacrificed so much for seemed to have had slipped away rather suddenly. It was at this point I knew I had to make a change and I did. I picked myself up off the floor — literally — and made carefully intentional decisions and steps from then on to better myself and my circumstances. In doing so, I gained a lot of hard earned experience and wisdom that I now use to help other women. I like to say I turned my mess into my message.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? We would love to hear a few stories or examples.
I would say the 3 main tenets I live by are transparency, integrity, and FUN! With regards to transparency, I always try to bring an openness and honesty with me through every part of my life, even when it comes to being honest with myself; integrity I think everyone should have and value… you have to know what you stand for, your core values… it helps you feel grounded and confident in who you are deep down. Plus, people will see through you if not. If you don’t believe yourself, how can you expect others to believe you? Finally, FUN. Because everyone needs to live life with a dose of fun injected in it… otherwise, what the heck are we doing here? I want to strive to thrive, and not JUST survive.
What’s the most interesting discovery you’ve made since you started leading your organization?
I think just learning about what it truly takes to be a leader. Mainly, realizing that it’s not ALL about me; it’s about the people that work with me. “People are not islands,” I like to say. We all need people. Humans are not solitary beings and I think in all the things I’ve done in my life, through all my careers, and even in coaching, I learn so much from the people around me. Even when I’m helping women gain the confidence that I found really traveling the long way around to get here, I learn from their situations and perspectives as well. My organization may have my name on it, but what it really boils down to is the people I work with.
Can you please tell our readers more about how you or your organization intends to make a significant social impact?
One of the things I’ve got in the works right now, which I really believe has the power to make important, impactful social change for women, is an app I am developing and launching soon-ish. I don’t have all the release details to unveil just yet. But it’s going to incorporate my coaching, a new program with monthly podcasts, and an in-app interactive community so that women anywhere, using the app, can lean on one another for support along their journey. A hugely key factor in the development of this app is that it is also meant to be one of the ways I’m working to give back and pay it forward… when I needed something like this, this type of coaching even, it wasn’t available; and what was available certainly wasn’t affordable or easily accessible. SO, my plan with this app is to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the app downloads into charity and outreach organizations that help women.
What makes you feel passionate about this cause more than any other?
I think this one just hits closer to home for me more than anything I’ve done in the past. We all know the saying, “walk a mile in their shoes,” well I LITERALLY have. It was hard. I can’t tell you how hard it is to find resources that will help you grow and make you better off that does cost you an arm and a leg, especially when you don’t have it. I was broke. When I need these types of services and outlets and support, I either couldn’t find what I needed, or I couldn’t afford it. I have been in the place of these women that now I’m looking to help, and I know what they’re going through; for some of them, I know exactly what they’ve been through. Because I was there. It feels a lot more personal when you’ve been there before.
Without naming names, could you share a story about an individual who benefitted from your initiatives?
Well my coaching has deeply impacted the women who have worked with me. I’ve been approached in the past at different speaking events where women have told me I changed their lives: gave them the courage to leave bad situations; or that me telling them that I believed in them was the spark that lit the match they needed to get moving and start believing in themselves again. I truly believe that the right words, at the right time, even if said by a stranger, has the power to profoundly impact people. I’ve been blessed to be a person in these peoples’ lives offering some of those right words at the right time. That’s not to say I always have the right words. But I do try to be mindful of what I say to each and every person I encounter. You never know. Sometimes you can’t see from the outside the pain or struggle someone is carrying and masking. I, myself, used to be REALLY good at that.
I think with this next initiative, in particular: with the app, and the charitable proceeds it generates, it will be a big difference and a page turned to open a new chapter compared to what I’m used to. I think it’s sort of beautiful that it has the power to benefit and change the lives of so many women who will potentially remain strangers, or faceless to me. I won’t necessarily get to meet them all face-to-face but that doesn’t mean I won’t be helping, which is what I’m truly passionate about. I don’t need someone approaching me telling them I’ve helped them. I just want to continue helping people.
We all want to help and to live a life of purpose. What are three actions anyone could take to help address the root cause of the problem you’re trying to solve?
Here’s my list
- Stop and Pause
- Acknowledge your truth
The first one is pretty self-explanatory yet a lot of us forget how helpful it can be to just take a step back from the situation: like hitting the pause button on the remote. Whatever is going on in your life, stressing you, or making you feel like crap… sometimes you need to stop and allow yourself the time to consider it from a different angle, from all angles, and just give yourself some distance from it. Get some perspective and give yourself some grace. Nobody is perfect. Rather we’re perfectly imperfect. Stop and pause and give yourself a chance to see that.
Acknowledge your truth… this is about knowing truly what you want and looking at the facts. Sometimes we get wrapped up in whatever that little voice in our head is telling us, but let’s face it, that voice is a real downer sometimes. Remind yourself what is true. What are the facts, and ask yourself what you really want. You can’t achieve what you’re aiming for if you constantly focusing on the negatives or the things bringing you down. Manifest your destiny.
Forgiveness is a big one. A hard pill to swallow sometimes. But you’d be surprised how much better it feels to just let go and move on. Holding grudges, clinging to the past… it’s done, it’s over, you’re wasting energy. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. Like the saying, “fool me once: shame on you. Fool me twice: shame on me.” Sometimes people deserve second chances, sometimes they don’t. At the end of the day, holding onto all that anger, and pain, and sadness is doing you more detriment likely than that person or situation ever did. So just forgive. And that includes forgiving yourself.
Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Create A Successful & Effective Nonprofit That Leaves A Lasting Legacy?” Please share a story or example for each.
I think the five things you need to create a successful and effective non-profit correlates well with my 5 Diamonds — 5 Diamonds is a program I developed. Generally, the 5 Diamond approach is meant to be applied to inner self-work, but in this manner, we can see these 5 facets of healing and progress, can be applied to many different things in life.
Starting with the first Diamond: Acknowledgement. You must acknowledge the facts. Where is there need? How can you help? Set aside all the other stuff out there, the things you can’t fix or can’t control. What can you do? How can you make an impact NOW?
The second Diamond is Forgiveness. You must forgive yourself for not doing more or starting sooner. We all give back in the ways we can, when we can. Forgive others with wealth or the means to give back, who don’t or choose not to, because it’s wasted energy to be upset about it. It’s something you can’t control. And to an extent you have to forgive some of the systems in place that have failed people, particularly women. Does there need to be more safeguards? More resources? Increased access? Yes. But again, ask yourself what you can do, start small, then grow big, and take the action you can NOW.
The third diamond is Mindset. If you don’t think you’re going to make any impact, you won’t. The nonprofit sector is a work of heart. It’s thankless and faceless a lot of the time. But someone has to do it, and anyone has the power and capability to give back, in their own way, where they see value and feel they can be of use. Ultimately, you have to believe in the project and the importance of the work.
The fourth diamond is Accountability. This one is a tough one but so important as a non-profit; you become accountable to so many people. When people at their lowest or with some type of need rely on you, you need to show up. As a person, as a company, or organization — you’ve made it your mission to help in whatever way you’ve chosen, and it’s important to see that through and continue to show up and put your best work forward for people who need you.
And finally, the fifth diamond is Perseverance. It’s so important in life no matter what your mission or goal. You’ll feel so good getting to the next step or whatever accomplishment if you know you had to walk through the mud, uphill both ways, just to get there. In non-profit work, people are counting on you, many of whom have given all their fight — they’ve struggled, they’re downtrodden, and now they’re reaching out to you. You have to be their advocate and fight the good fight for them now: whether that’s battling bureaucracy or other red tape. Whatever your mission, see it through to the end.
How has the pandemic changed your definition of success?
The pandemic has changed all our lives, I feel… it’s hard to narrow it down to one thing, but in terms of success specifically, it made me realize that my success and my ability to help people are directly linked. Ultimately, success is arbitrary. It means something different to every person. I’m successful I feel because I truly know my purpose and my passion. The pandemic made me more grateful, feel more at peace with myself, and it made me even more aware of others’ journeys around me. Hence, my mission to build people up, to support women, to help people… let people feel seen and heard. In doing so, that will be a job well-done; that will be success enough for me.
How do you get inspired after an inevitable setback?
The key word here is inevitability. We can all get peace of mind by acknowledging the things we can’t control, and knowing that we have immense power, but not power over EVERYTHING. How I refer to this is, “getting out of your own way.” Instead of stressing about not being able to control everything, look at what you CAN control, what you can improve on, and which of those things will help you to move forward from where you are now. The past is the past; learn from it, let it go, and then take that next step forward.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world who you would like to talk to, to share the idea behind your non-profit? He, she, or they might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Yes! Karissa Bodnar, the owner of Thrive Causemetics…I would love to talk with her over coffee. I think she’s fantastic and I’d love to learn from her. I bet she’d have some great tips as well.
You’re doing important work. How can our readers follow your progress online?
Check out my website: Patricialove.com or get in touch through Instagram @coachpatricialove
Thank you for a meaningful conversation. We wish you continued success with your mission.