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Pages tagged "Personal Development"


Gratitude + Wonderment

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

A few weeks ago, some friends and I attended a weekend seminar entitled Superpower You. The goal of the weekend was to name our inherent superpowers and use them to be more unapologetically, gloriously ourselves. Through a series of exercises, work sheets, conversations, and a few tears, I now know my superpowers.

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When It’s Okay to Quit

main.jpgI need to quit something. It’s a something that is a net good thing for the world–it brings me extra income, it accomplishes positive things for people–but it is a something that is not good for me.

Lately, I’ve been challenged to think about the dangers of people pleasing and its negative health consequences. Fellow do-gooders, nonprofit professionals, and people pleasers of the world, I’m here to tell you: if something isn’t feeding you, it’s okay to quit. That thing–that volunteer gig, that second job, that thing that helps you 10 percent but runs you ragged–can survive without you. I am replaceable, and you are replaceable. That’s a really freeing thing if you’ll let it be. 

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Negotiating FTW

Negotiation In ActionI am finishing up an MBA at the University of Saint Thomas, and one of my last classes is an elective on negotiations. I really enjoy it. The readings are on sports contracts and great diplomatic compromises. I enjoy both role-playing in the cases that we use for mock negotiations and the debriefing afterward, where the class analyzes cases from every point of view. These are enriching experiences.

There are some really useful skills that I've picked up in the class, many from Ron Shapiro's book, The Power of Nice. If you are looking for an approachable book on building your negotiation skills, I'd definitely recommend this one. It’s full of memorable guidelines and pithy insights from many years in sports and entertainment negotiation, and it’s a quick read. His “3Ps and a Big L” – prepare, probe, propose, and listen – is as useful and basic an insight as you’re likely to get, and it can be applied to any number of situations we face as young nonprofit professionals.

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Doing Something With Your "Do Something"

main.jpgApril, 2009 Click… Bushfire in Australia kills over 150 people, exact numbers still unknown … Click… the WHO now considers the swine flu outbreak to be an emergency of international concern … Click…an Alabama man kills 9 people before committing suicide … Click …  

I wanted to “DO SOMETHING”. Only, I wasn’t really sure what that “SOMETHING” was- I just had a fuzzy, unfocused and sincere desire to help. I had recently graduated college, was stuck in a boring job, and my only response to horrible things happening in the world, was to click over to cat videos or, at most, write an impassioned Facebook post, where friends would join me in my outrage and inaction.

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Ferguson and the Single Issue Struggle

On Twitter, I saw the picture of Mike Brown’s father holding a cardboard sign saying, “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!” A few days later, I watched the livestream of protesters being tear gassed in Ferguson, literally with my hand over my mouth in shock. There were the pictures of protesters doused in milk to ease the tear gas and the waves of police officers in riot gear with armored cars. Countless images of young black men with their hands in the air: hands up, don’t shoot.

I cannot get these images, and the real lived experiences of what was captured, out of my head.

The post-9/11 mantra of “if you see something, say something” made us fearful of the forgotten backpack and the unknown stranger. But seeing the images from Ferguson compels me to do something, say something, do anything, say anything that can help those strangers. I just don’t know what it is yet.

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Invite the World to Dinner

A few weeks ago, strangers invited me into their home for dinner, and it completely changed how I understand community building.

In the nonprofit sector, we spend a lot of time discussing community building. We discuss everything from how to do it, to best practices, authenticity, intentionality, network-mapping, and lots of other jargon. 

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Could You Be a Superhero in Disguise?

The following blog is by Maria Ward.

main.jpgLike many of you, I came to work in the non-profit sector because of my passion for social justice. Fresh from college and student-led advocacy groups, my head was filled with facts about inequality and injustice and my laptop plastered with bumper stickers.

When it came time to find a job aligned with my beliefs, however, I was at a loss. You can’t make a career out of just believing really, really hard in a cause, unfortunately. You have to gain some tangible skills to support the cause, skills which sometimes don’t feel all that connected to that passion that led you to nonprofits in the first place.

I tested out the nonprofit career paths that felt most connected to the passion I felt, dipping my toes in community organizing and direct service, areas where I could talk about the issues as a public figure. Much as I wanted to be the hero on the front lines, I found these jobs to be a mismatch to my personality. What kind of career could I build when I wasn’t a natural with a bullhorn or an extrovert with the energy to interact with people all day?

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Bite-Sized Leadership Lessons

main.jpgEver since hearing the inspiring words of Bush Foundation CEO Jen Ford Reedy and Humphrey School Associate Dean Laura Bloomberg at the 2014 YNPN National Conference, I’ve been thinking about how impactful it is to hear an individual speak about his or her perspective on leadership.

After all, what really is leadership? You can’t put it in a box or a clear-cut definition. Everyone lives leadership in his or her own way, and it is something entirely different and powerful when it emerges from a team of individuals.

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Moving On

Loading a Moving Van“HelloGoodbyeHelloGoodbye… I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.”
-The Beatles, Hello, Goodbye

These lyrics come from what feels like my theme song of late: Hello, Goodbye by The Beatles. Since graduating college in 2007, my now husband and I have moved four times, never staying anywhere longer than three years. Perhaps we’re not so different from you or many others in our generation, who chase job opportunities wherever they lead.

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Time Keepers

Pulling Back TimeIt’s crazy that the idea of “work-life balance” even needs to be discussed. In a perfect world, a beautiful equilibrium across all facets of our lives would be so implicit that a phrase to describe it wouldn’t even exist. But we live in an imperfect world, and working in the nonprofit or philanthropic sectors means spending a great deal of time trying to keep bigger parts of the world in balance, often foregoing relative harmony in one’s own life.

In the past, I have struggled with a pendulum of all work or all play, a slightly destructive cycle that switches directions in full force whenever I’m overcome with exhaustion—a rhythm only recently broken by the birth of my son, and now all time outside of regular work hours are devoted to him. However, knowing my own penchant for the imbalance of work/life I was thrilled to learn that the first peer-led YNPN-EPIP Leadership Institute session would be about balance. Not only would I walk away with a toolkit for working toward balance, but I would also learn that I am not alone in my struggle to keep all parts of my life aloft.

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