How to Take a Break to Benefit Your Nonprofit

Take a Break for the good of your nonprofit

It sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but could taking a break really help your nonprofit?  I was recently listening to Ali Brown, the Entrepreneur Coach, about being a successful entrepreneur.  She spoke about different people’s practices of either ‘thinking or doing’.  Ali states that people typically function in 1 of 2 ways.

  1. Spend a lot of time thinking about what they would like to do, but do not take action on their thoughts.
  2. Spend a lot of time doing and working and do not take a break to think or to be strategic about their goals.


She believes that it is important to do both.  I completely agree!  Callen Rush gives a nice example of the importance of this by giving the analogy of digging a ditch.  She states that if you want to dig a nice deep and straight ditch, you have to do two things.

  1. You have to get in there and dig it.
  2. You have to take time to get out and determine if you are moving in a straight line.


Callen speaks about the importance of ‘doing and thinking’.  In this example, you have to do the work to dig and you also have to take the time to assess if you are meeting your goal of digging a straight ditch.  If not, it could be a very crooked ditch!

I find that it is important to also add ‘learn’ to this principle.  I believe that it is critical to learn from multiple sources so that when you think, or are strategic, and then take the time to do the work, you are taking educated steps rather than guesses, hopes and dreams.

I recommend that nonprofit leaders, staff and volunteers take a break to ‘think’ about what is working well, what is not working and where you want to go.  Is your nonprofit meeting the required outcomes that will help it reach the organization’s vision?  Also, take as much time as possible to learn.  You can learn from books, the internet, the library, friends and other nonprofit leaders.  Go for a coffee!  Enjoy it and learn what works for others.

I am about to take my break!  I will be away from the office for the next two weeks and will not be blogging.  I look forward to speaking with you the week of July 29th, 2013.  Have a great two weeks and remember to not only act, but to also think and learn.


Photo credit to: Microsoft Office Clip Art

Jeanne Ward is a Consultant and Personal Strategist who brings her knowledge of psychology, strategy and personal fulfillment to her current work. Jeanne started her career by helping mentally ill inmates to ‘get their lives back on track’ as they integrated back into society from jail in NYC. She leveraged this experience with a Social Work degree to manage teams who were supporting people trying to move back into the workforce. She later lived in Atlanta, GA and Frankfurt, Germany where she began consulting with nonprofit organizations to guide them on their strategy, volunteer development, and organizational development as well as to support the development of their leaders and board of directors. After the jolt of a divorce, Jeanne found herself doing a lot of soul-searching. Digging deep, she arrived at a new-found appreciation for herself and the world around her. This journey taught her that when we start with improving ourselves, the benefits multiply. Jeanne realized that her strengths of strategic thinking, relationship building, and implementation planning could be combined into her ongoing passion of personal leadership. Hence, her personal strategy work was born. Jeanne helps men and women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are fed up with their corporate jobs to create fulfilling professional and personal lives through the development of a personal strategic plan. This work ensures that her clients identify their professional and personal goals as well as create a plan to make those goals a reality. Jeanne is also the Executive Director of the Atlanta Road Trotters Kid’s Running Club, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for children to build a foundation of running health and fitness which leads to a better connection to the organized running community as well as a strong foundation of Discipline, Self-Esteem, Respect and Team Work. She has also co-authored a workbook on networking, founded and organized the National Association of Social Workers-Georgia-sponsored ‘Social Service Career Network’ and organized a summit for the National Alliance for Mentally Ill attended by over 100 organizations from 6 Atlanta counties. Previously, she sat on the board of NASW GA as their Secretary as well as on the board of NAMI GA/DeKalb as their Co-President, was a senior consultant for the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and helped to run a capital campaign for an independent school. Jeanne has an MSW from Hunter School of Social Work (City University of New York), an MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) and a BA in Psychology from Emory University. Jeanne lives in Atlanta with her ten-year-old son.

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