Learning the Importance of Studying

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Annie Lumerman is the Founder of Generate Change, a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in communications, fundraising, programming and executive coaching.

I used to think studying was just for school. As a young child I thought it was strange that my Uncle Dave, an attorney, had a library at his office.

I asked: "Why do you have so many books? Didn't you learn everything you need to know in college and law school?"

He replied: "If I don't study the law, I won't know how to best advise my clients.”

Sixteen months ago I started Generate Change, a nonprofit consulting firm specializing in communications, fundraising, programming and executive coaching. I was very fortunate to have quickly built a full slate of clients and found myself working into the late hours of the night.

In the beginning my business coach, Andy Kirschner – whose assistance I was able to pursue thanks to the ROI Go Professional Micro Grant – recommended many articles and books related to management. I wrote down his recommendations, but I wasn’t very good about actually getting the reading done. Once I went to the library to pick up a book but forgot to open it until the day I got the overdue notification. I loved to learn but I didn’t think I had the time to study.

Then one day, while researching for an assignment for one of my clients, I realized that I was studying. Faced with an issue with which I had little experience I was forced to learn through reading. It was something I had done countless times before but I had never made the connection. If I was learning about my client's work through studying, then of course I could also learn about and improve my business through studying as well. Soon after this discovery, Andy suggested that we try incorporating Jewish text study into our bi-monthly calls. I hadn’t told him about my light bulb moment but I think he must have picked up on something in our conversation.

Today, thanks to my uncle’s work ethic and Andy’s approach to coaching, I take the time to study several times a week. I have found that spending just 30 minutes reading and thinking about a particular topic helps me better advise my clients. I still rely on my past experiences to guide a lot of my work, but I am finding that the more I study, the more creative I get.

Thanks to ROI’s generous support, I am realizing my dream to help people who run nonprofits work smarter and generate better outcomes by working with a coach who helps me do the same.