mandela-impossible “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~Nelson Mandela

How many times have you shaken your head in wonder? in confusion? in disbelief?

Regularly throughout your life, perhaps. (Now if you are a wonder kid, you probably have just ignored the impossible and moved on to something else.) Most of us will have been in awe; uncertainty; incredulity. Most of us will always look at that which seems impossible and then be amazed when it is done. (Mandela nelson mandela 1 was such a remarkable man who had such amazing insights.)

The same thing can be said about evaluation. It is not that evaluators do not have the tools (we do); it is not that evaluators do not know how (we’ve done evaluations before); it is not that evaluators can’t figure it out (we can). It just seems impossible AT THE TIME.

I remember one time (true story) where the funders were asking for something  and I stood there shaking my head BECAUSE IT SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE. Then, almost like lightening (yes, that quickly), I said to them, I’ll figure it out. And I did. Yes, it wasn’t easy. Yes, it took a while. Yes, I figured it out–it wasn’t impossible, after all. (Thank you, Nelson Mandela!)

So how did I do it? So rather than jumping to the tool that I would use to gather the data (most people tend to jump to the implementation stage and skip the planning stage), I took the information I had and went away to my quiet office to PLAN. I looked at what the funders said they wanted; I looked at what activities would get what was wanted; I looked at who would be needed to get what was wanted (you can’t study women for testicular cancer treatment, for example). I developed a logic model (one of many). AND WENT BACK TO THE FUNDERS. They looked at what I had done; asked some questions; clarified some points; and provided me with enough information for revisions and modifications.I went back and modified and revised.  Only then did I move on to how I was going to measure what they wanted to know.

The take away here: PLANNING is good; designing a logic model (however it is conceived) is good; it is NOT impossible, really. It just takes work.

my two cents.


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8 thoughts on “Impossibiltiy?

  1. Sky is the limit if a person is work with planning and if lost completely in work with absolute devotion and dedication.
    And in your post the stating point and end point touched my deeply
    “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~Nelson Mandela
    “NOT impossible, really.”
    Md Shahzad Hassan

  2. Md Shahzad Hassan
    I think Nelson Mandela was so wise. The world will be long in finding his wisdom again. Hopefully, the light still shines.

  3. I agree with you Molly he was a very great person and it’s difficult to find a person like him in 21st century where people are fighting for money however i appreciate your reply.
    -Thank You
    Md Shahzad Hassan

  4. Md Shahzad, I had a conversation with my daughter when she was young (maybe 10y/o; she is now 23). She asked what one characteristic would I change of my generation to make a difference. My response immediately was “Greed”. You allude to that characteristic. I do not think that Mandela had a greedy bone in his body. I will keep looking for a 21st century example.

  5. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

    ― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

    i appreciate for this article.

  6. In light of the mass murders in Orlando, this statement by Nelson Mandela is even more relevant now.

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