Understanding Where You Want to Be and Getting There


As a nonprofit staffer, no one’s going to give you a formula to achieve your professional goals. While most bosses have the best of intentions to help you formulate goals, they often get caught up in their own work. They are focused on the important work they have to do and are trying to figure out the quickest way to get it done. Nonprofit staffers, as you might know, don’t have the luxury of time.

That’s why it’s so important for you to take the bull by the horns and do what you need to advance your career. This means tapping into some self-awareness about what you want. Here are a few steps you can take to learn what you want and understand how you can get it.

  • Figure out where you are: Before you understand what you need you must understand where you are. Think about how you feel every morning when you get up for work or every Sunday night when the work week is creeping up on you. Think about the elements of your job that make you happy or you avoid like the plague. Take stock of where you are currently to form your goals for the future.
  • Think about where you want to be: After you’ve taken stock, think about the elements of your job that you love. What type of role will allow you to do that all day, every day? From there, think about what your ideal professional life looks like. Take some liberty to dream a little bit here. Are you part of the management team? Are you a nonprofit ED? A consultant? Don’t think about where you are now, think about where you’d be if nothing else mattered.
  • Consider how to get there: Now it’s time to connect the dots. What are some steps to take to get from where you are now closer to where you want to be? Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of steps it might take or how unattainable things may seem. Create some steps that you can do tomorrow or next week or in this month. Don’t worry about when you’ll get there, worry about getting closer.

How are you going to achieve your professional goals if you don’t have them on paper? After writing them down and taking stock of your current position, you can understand how the two might connect. Maybe there are educational trainings you’d like to attend. Maybe you want to improve on your public speaking or leadership skills and want to do periodic presentations at meetings. After you identify these things, present them to your boss. Chances are she’ll support you. Anyway, what do you have to lose? But you have so much to gain.


31 Day Reset: Day 29 – Beginnings of a Side Hustle

I’m participating in the 31 Days to Reset Your Life program at Happy Black Woman. The program is designed to help you evaluate your goals and priorities and think of them in the context of your life today and how you might be able to refocus on what’s important. Read on to learn about my experience with the challenge!

The Day 29 exercise is to start a side hustle. A side hustle is exactly what it sounds like – a second job, a consulting gig, anything you can do outside of your 9 to 5 job to generate revenue, and something that should make you happy! This often turns into something full time, too – which really is a win/win.

I have a few ideas for a good side hustle, but Rosetta’s video about finding your sweet spot for your side hustle helped me hone my ideas. She encouraged us to think about our passions, what we’re good at/have an expertise in, and a possible target market. Then, look at your lists and see what could go together.

General themes of mine are personal and professional development and empowering others, and I think I’d like to focus on the Millenial target market. I’ve actually been brainstorming new ideas for my tag line, etc for my 1 year birthday for my blog (coming in March!) that include that. But another side hustle idea came to me out of left field, and probably is the one there’s the biggest demand for and could possibly generate the most revenue. I’d like to create something to connect with other young people who have my medical condition. Whether that means speaking for national associations, blogging, and even counseling services and groups, I see a big opportunity here – there aren’t really many resources for people my age, and it’s most commonly diagnosed in women between 20 and 30. Where is everyone?

Anyway, I’m glad I thought of this new idea. I’m definitely going to let it stew a little longer. It’s not like I have tons of time to start something up right now anyway, with both work and school… but it’s something that I could definitely work on soon… I hope! Hmm…