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How Back-to-School Season Can Inspire Your Leadership

By September 17, 2015No Comments

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Last week, the temperatures here were in the 90s, and my partner and I went on a madcap search around Oakland for anything – fans, a/c units, bags of ice – that would keep us cool.

But this week, in true Bay Area weather fashion, it’s like someone flipped a switch: it’s cool and breezy, there’s that autumn scent in the air, and I find myself thinking about hot chocolate and new TV shows.

The seasonal change is a little bittersweet for me, though. September always signaled the start of something – it was all about change and renewal. Now that I am an adult *cough*mumble* years out of school, I miss that fall feeling. There’s no anticipation of a new school year, or excitement about trick-or-treating and winter holidays.

If you’re like me and want to rekindle that “back-to-school” vibe as a busy nonprofit professional, here are a few things to try:

  1. Register for Class – Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? Or maybe a project that you’re nervous about because you don’t know where to start? Build up your skills with a training, class, or online resources. You could also consider finding a mentor to help you more deeply focus on your work and yourself.
  2. Check Your Syllabus – If a student misses a class or forgets what the homework is that week, they can look at the syllabus to find out. You can do the same thing – if you’ve lost sight of your big picture goals, lay out a “syllabus” to help you stay or get back on track. You might include important milestones you want to reach, objectives, measurements, or reading materials and other resources that will be useful.
  3. Go on a Field Trip – Even if you just take a walk around the block, getting out of your office is a great way to relax and focus. It might also be helpful to schedule some time on the weekends to “fill the tanks”, i.e. – experience new things to give you inspiration and clarity in your work. You could visit museums, parks, or attend special events like concerts or plays. Bonus: you don’t need to remember your permission slip.
  4. Join a Team – Chances are, if you’re feeling the excitement of the season, others are too. Now might be a great time to reach out to any organizations, companies, or people you’ve always wanted to partner with. Don’t worry if you don’t have a specific goal in mind; often, just building a relationship can inspire ideas about possible partnerships.
  5. Give Yourself a Report Card – Grading yourself can be hard, but it can also shed light on what you need most. How are you really doing? How’s your workload? Your relationships with your co-workers? Your stress level? Take the time to be honest and kind with yourself about where you’re at, and then reflect on what steps you might take to move your grade up… or to reward yourself if you are doing really well!

How is fall inspiring or exciting you in your work?

Get ready for 2016! Check out the full schedule of all our upcoming trainings for next year »

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