By Lisa Dietlin

I really love Fall. It’s a living example of my philosophy that change is necessary for growth, and that even if there’s a struggle along the way, good things lie ahead!

Experience has taught me that most people agree on this, but we resist change anyway, because it can seem difficult, or just plain confusingHow do I make positive change? Where do I even start?

Challenges also get tougher during stressful times, and there’s no denying the world feels stressful these days…

So, what can we do to keep on a path of forward growth when it feels like every day brings another terrible disaster or ugly scandal in the news?


I know not everyone can come to my workshops and seminars on maintaining balance and staying inspired, but some simple things you can do today to make positive change are:

1. GIVE GRATITUDE: Send a note of thanks to someone who’s Making A Difference you appreciate! Whether it’s a rescue organization helping hurricane victims, a teacher,
police officer, or firefighter that’s doing good work in your community, or even a friend or co worker.
Giving gratitude lets us focus on positivity – and spread it around!

2. CARE FOR YOURSELF: A quiet walk, a great cup of coffee, or just taking a few minutes
to jam out to a favorite tune can ground us, recharge us, and help us appreciate
what we have to offer. You deserve recognition not just from others, but from yourself.
Take a little “time out” every day and the results will add up.

3. MAKE A SAFETY PLAN: A practical way to protect yourself from the stress of worry is to make a clear plan in case of a catastrophic event. Know what kinds of natural disasters threaten your area. Talk to your family about what exactly you’ll do in case of a fire or flood. Put
together an emergency “two-week” box of food and basic supplies. Talk now to friends and family you might stay with if you need to evacuate.
Having a specific, actionable plan in advance will help give you
peace of mind about the unforeseeable.

When people feel overwhelmed by negativity, they lose inspiration and motivation, and it can be hard to shake off. But having steps in place to keep your life in balance, and understanding how to value the good things around you can help. 

I hope you all make some time to enjoy our transition into the beautiful season of sweaters and spices. I’m so grateful for this annual reminder that everything comes in cycles, and that change is always around the corner. Here’s to another great month of Making A Difference®!

Lisa M. Dietlin is an internationally recognized expert on philanthropy, charitable giving and transformational change who, as a leading figure in the American nonprofit sector, is a highly coveted keynote speaker, media personality, philanthropic consultant, coach and facilitator.
Ms. Dietlin has provided her expert advice and structured counsel to entrepreneurial individuals, corporate leaders as well as nonprofit organizations to develop strategies that facilitate transformational change. Ms. Dietlin has provided her services to over 1000 organizations nationwide, including the Alzheimer’s Association, BMO Harris, Kiwanis International, Aetna, VolunteerMatch, Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Junior League, Zonta and Feeding America. She has been a keynote speaker/presenter or facilitate discussions for several organizations and corporations including Navigant, UBS, Big Ten Development Conference, Alpha Gamma Delta, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, Stout Risius Ross, Sigma Kappa, Metropolitan Capital Bank and Trust, Merrill Lynch to name a few.
Ms. Dietlin’s decades-long experience in the fundraising and nonprofit arenas, groundbreaking research on giving patterns, and influential ideas on transformational philanthropy have led her to become one of the most trusted philanthropic advisors in the nation. She is a frequent presence on several TV and radio programs, including NBC, CBS, Oprah & Friends Radio, WGN, The Weather Channel and WCIU in Chicago, FOX News and National Public Radio. She is frequently quoted in national publications such as USA Today, Marketwatch, Reuters and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Crain’s Chicago Business, CS Magazine and regularly contributes to The Huffington Post on her blog “Making a Difference®: The World of Giving.”
Ms. Dietlin is also the author of four books on the subjects of charitable giving and enacting positive change: Transformational Philanthropy: Entrepreneurs and Nonprofits, Making a Difference: 365 Tips, Ideas, and Stories to Change Your World, Making A Difference II: More Tips, Ideas and Stories to Change Your World, Making A Difference® III: Still More Tips, Ideas and Stories to Change Your World.
Her fifth book, The Power of Three: How to achieve your goals by simply doing three things a day was published in June 2014 and is available in 7 languages including English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Korean and Mandarin Chinese. Her sixth book was released in September 2015 is titled, I Got Hit By A Taxi, But You Look Run Over: Life Lessons about Happiness and Joy based on her real life experience of being hit and run over by a taxi in the loop of Chicago. All of her books are available for purchase on and on the Amazon Kindle.
Ms. Dietlin holds a Master’s Degree from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and Alpena Community College. She has served or serves as an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University as well as DePaul University and North Park University. She is the Founder of The Institute of Transformational Philanthropy ( as well as several other companies.
Ms. Dietlin resides in Chicago. She is originally from Alpena, Michigan.



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