Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tips for working in nonprofits and the arts

What can you do to keep enjoying your work in the non-profit sector or the arts, or both?

Over the years, I've found developing resilience is important, and maintaining an easy-going attitude.

But talking with a few other colleagues, here's a few positive things you can add to your to-do list to keep from getting too frazzled and burnt out before your time.

1. Dream a big dream. Don't be afraid to think of a bigger vision.When the mind and heart take flight, ask what do you truly love to do, and what calls to you?

2. Don't settle for too little. Out of the nearly 100,000 hours you spend in your lifetime on work, don't waste those hours as if it's dress rehearsal. Value that time and where it's taking you. And if it won't move you or the cause you care for forward, think about what it will take.

3. Don't sell yourself short. You're not defined just by your last job or assignment. Make sure you fully understand all of the experience, potential and skills you bring to your work and your art.

4. Challenge yourself. Remember the dynamic elements of a job. And yourself. You're both changing all of the time. Pause to review, but don't get paralyzed by it.

5. Keep learning. Always keep filling your toolbox with new skills. Like the saying goes, a head full of knowledge is worth more than a tray full of money.

6. Open to outcome, not attached to outcome. Our craft means lots of things don't always go according to plan. Be patient. Keep the long-term picture and goals in mind. Setbacks are not defeat.

7. Play the hand you got. Ups, downs? That's the territory. But it's how we get back up that counts.

8. Be present, and make a difference. All jobs have ways to accomplish things and to be proud of those achievements. Even if you're not quite in the dream job, you can still care about quality, and doing your tasks responsibly with an eye on a well-planned future.

9. Envision beyond yourself. We're in this work because can care about others, and there's room to collaborate on a common goal. There's a lot to be interested about in the other people who are there with you.

10. Recharge your batteries. This field attracts zealous workaholics because it often demands deep passion and lots of intangible rewards. But always reserve time and emotional energy for the other important aspects of your life. It's ok to wander around a bit and clear your head if it makes you more effective.

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