Dial Down the Drama! Dial Up Your Success!

by Marcy Heim on December 14, 2017

Samantha Poremba, (with me in the photo) was an inspiration! She said, “In my large family the message was, ‘Be a thumb (pointing at yourself to take responsibility), not a finger (pointing at somebody else)!’” Love It!

Be a Thumb, not a Finger!

It underscores the dramatic shift we make in our fundraising and life when we acknowledge that much in life is uncertain, frustrating and scary. BUT it’s always our choice how we react to and manage these feelings. And that’s where DRAMA comes into the picture!

Dial Down the Drama! Dial Up your Success!

We spend precious energy and time engaged in emotions that don’t serve us. In fact, they can drain us. How many times have we wasted minutes, hours, even DAYS lamenting about what might happen if… that major gift doesn’t comes in? We miss our goal – fundraising, exercise reps, whatever? They don’t want to meet with us? We have a change in leadership? Our kid acts out? WHAT IF OUR CELLPHONE DIES? OMG!

We are emotionally drawn to the drama of others through email, snarky comments, criticism, angry posts, or constant complaining. This time of year brings even more drama. Pile on year-end totals, gifts that don’t work out like we thought, holiday parties, holiday gift giving challenges and much more. Let’s just jump already!

Life triggers drama. Decide to move from “why me” to “what next” with lightening speed.

Why Drama? We need and want attention!

Drama is a way of relating to the world by overreacting to anything – often with a negative tone – and impacts your physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual state and that of others around you.

So if it is such a drain, why are we so willing to jump right into the drama-mobile?


You see, as babies we made our needs known (crying, fussing) and we got attention. But we drew the false conclusion that attention was love.

Think about it, kids ‘act out,’ adults miss deadlines, couples get pouty, and we become victims to a world that does TO US. Poor me, look at what happened TO ME. Our boss, spouse, colleagues, kids, you name it, all are doing things to us, the poor victims.

Can anyone relate to the “high maintenance donor?”

YOU Control the Dial

You can literally take charge of moments that set you off. Picture a dial – your Drama Dial. See yourself cranking it up….and cranking it down. Consider that you really CAN turn this dial pull yourself from energy-sapping drama.

Create a new Drama Default

1. Get clear on what triggers you.

What flips you out? What actions set you off? What makes you want to scream? In the office, when you’re driving, at home.

2. Pick a new default.

Find an alternative action – note ACTION. You can’t just think, “Oh I won’t let that bother me anymore or next time.” How is that working?

FOUR Drama Defaults to choose from:

1. Breathe. Easiest and most readily available. A deep breath buys time to dissipate a negative reaction to anything. It’s like rebooting the computer. Reboot you.

2. Shout. “Why me?” then “What’s next?” “Why me” and “Poor me” is victim talk – as self talk and to others. The second you ask yourself instead, “What’s next? What is a next step I can take to get out of this?” you have shifted away from drama.

3. Say “Thanks for Sharing!” When you hear something, read something, watch something that gets you riled up or brings you down, take your fingers and gather those words or image into your fingers, fling them off and say, “Thanks for sharing.” The action you take helps you move on.

4. Declare it away. Say, “Something good’s gonna happen to me!”

Drama Down, Dollars up, Joy Up!

Why is this so important? Drama takes its toll on our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It’s also generally toughest on our most important relationships – our family, closest colleagues and friends. Have a game plan going in to help you shift from the big and little things that get to you. This holiday season and always, whenever it feels like SO much pressure is on you to deal with SO much, choose a new default to the drama. Notice and enjoy the reactions of others when you do. Picture my dial and remember YOU CAN DIAL IT DOWN!

I am wildly optimistic about the success you will create this year-end! May your holidays be filled with everything that means the most to you. Thank you for being such an important beacon of light in the world! Joy and Peace to you and yours!

Invest in JOY®



Marcy Heim is a trusted authority in the development profession and helps organizations and educational institutions boost their major gift programs through artful, long-term relationship building that dramatically increases fundraising success while promoting increased staff job satisfaction. To receive a free chapter from Marcy’s book, Empower Your Board to Serve as Effective Development Ambassadors, click here.

Questions:  Contact KK Konicek at KK@MarcyHeim.com


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