Nonprofit Leaders: Here’s How To Rekindle Your Fire This Summer

Nonprofit Leaders: Here’s How To Rekindle Your Fire This Summer

Here we are in the thick of summer. For most nonprofits, it’s a perfect occasion to be idle – much like the rest of society when the holidays come around every year. I always get an eye roll when I urge nonprofit leaders to dial up the effort in the summer to prepare for a prosperous Fall. In lieu of that, here is a collection of worthwhile ways to capitalize on the season of relaxation…

Whatever situation you are in, be there NOW.

I get that your situation might feel intolerable. And you might be unhappy. You have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change the situation, or accept it completely as it is. Good and bad. Taking responsibility for your life means choosing one of these three options.

Begin to awaken every day with purpose.

The most pressing priority is not to fall asleep to your own life. Before you can take yourself and your organization to another level, you first have to find a way to wake up every morning with purpose. You must find a way to look forward to what the day brings, in anticipation of what good things will come. You must be able to see opportunity in everything – even things that seem wrong or disappointing. This is what it is to be engaged in living. Ambition is great, but being present and engaged every day is where you will find solutions that will bring your ambitions into existence.

Notice the daily pattern(s) you’ve been running.

How long have you accepted the work-eat-entertainment-sleep cycle in your life? Most people aren’t communicating or meeting up to have meaningful conversations. Rather, they’re getting together to engage in distractions. Netflix, eating, drinking, gaming, or whatever addictions are commanding their attention these days – and idle time is when it shows up the most. So take the opportunity this summer to observe yourself. Observe your daily cycle. Observe your patterns. Then ask yourself how your patterns are impacting the purpose driven work you’ve chosen. People aren’t just idle in the summer. They’re idle in life.

Ask yourself BIG questions.

Idle time is the best time for big inquiries, so take advantage of it! Ask yourself questions like – how can I accomplish my 3-year plan in 6 months? How can I raise $50,000 in 30 days? How can I enroll 20 people in my vision for my organization in 30 minutes or less? Ask big, scary, audacious questions. So much of achievement starts with the ability to dream big. When you’re on a deadline, that’s not so easy to do. So use your idle time this summer to start dreaming again.

Give your troubles the space to untangle themselves.

Solutions don’t come from obsessing. They come from being in a state of inquiry. If the answer you’re looking for hasn’t shown itself yet, use your idle time this summer to be in the inquiry. Let the answer show itself to you. Instead of chasing, let time and space untangle the mess. There is nothing wrong here.

Engage in expanding and improving your skills.

I hate to say this… most of you just aren’t reading enough. Hell, a lot of you aren’t reading at all. Scroll culture got a hold of you a long time ago. Those dopamine hits you get every day are not a replacement for actual learning. If you want to improve your organization, you’ve got to commit to improving yourself. So while you are enjoying some idle time, pick two skills you are certain would improve how you show up inside your organization. Go find a book or two on those skills – and read. Let the possibility of self improvement grab hold of you this summer.

Make the decision(s).

This is a tough one, and it’s necessary. The only reason you’re in whatever predicament you’re in right now is because you have not decided. I’m sure you have many reasons for avoiding deciding, but none of those reasons will fix the problem. Use your idle time over the summer to get clear, and commit to making a decision by the end of it. Let’s say August 31st. That gives you just over a month to figure out how you’re going to handle whatever “mess” will be caused by your decision(s). You are more powerful than you know. Remember that.

Everyone who knows me well knows how much of an aversion I have to being idle. Just the same, I have an appreciation for time off, vacation, slowing down, and reflection. I encourage you to use that time in gentle pursuit of the best version of yourself.

Want help? I offer individualized coaching and consulting specifically tailored to meet you where you are, with the people and resources you have available to you, and with your goals in mind.

Reply to this message directly to set up a conversation. Even if we don’t end up doing work together, I promise our conversation will highlight a direction and solutions you haven’t yet considered.

Let’s start there.