After doing this, your year of #volmgmt may be SO much better

Do resolutions seem like a waste of time? Start your year this way and see what happens for your volunteer program

You may have noticed a just-for-fun-thing going around on Facebook. It’s an infographic that you create with your defining life quote, complete with your photo and signature.  Volunteer manager Amy Whary, created one that says,

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.”

I thought of that quote this time last year, while planning an Intention-Setting Workshop for volunteer managers and development directors here in the DC-area.

The workshop was all about getting clear on what you want to see accomplished on the job – and then figuring out what needs to happen to make those intentions come to pass.

Intention-setting is about more than ensuring that the big deliverables get done (because we know they will). It’s about making room for the projects that are most important to you. It’s about ensuring that your big ideas – the ones you get excited about but fall to the bottom of the to-do list, actually come to pass.

Intention setting means making your dream projects a priority and making an agreement with yourself that they will happen.

This kind of dreaming comes more naturally to some than others. Volunteer managers and development directors tend to be very practical people.  We solve problems. We put out fires.

We get things done.

Or – back to Amy’s quote, we try and stay ahead (and worry about) all the things that might go wrong instead of envisioning what might possibly go right.

We rarely give ourselves the luxury of imagining what is possible.

That’s why I gave all of my workshop participants some advance homework – and I’ve updated that homework to share with anyone who is on or joins my mailing list.  It’s an Envisioning Worksheet designed to free up your thinking so that you, too, can get creative about your work year.

More than likely, you already have some ideas about what 2018 might look like.  Treat the questions on the worksheet as an opportunity to expand beyond your current ideas and explore what else you might possibly accomplish.

And as you answer the questions, keep three things in mind:

  1. Don’t edit yourself. Since we’re practical by nature, it’s tempting to strike possibilities from your list because they seem unrealistic. As with any kind of brainstorming, you will get better results if you keep the ideas flowing.
  2. Watch out for limiting beliefs and reframe them, like “I need an advanced degree to get promoted” or “My boss would never ok that.” Chances are, the thought is more restricting than the reality.
  3. Have fun with the process. Think of the questions as a chance to get playful. Studies show that the areas of the brain responsible for problem-solving become active when we daydream.

Taking the time to envision is a part of leadership. You are stepping forward and saying, “my gut and my experience tell me that this idea matters and I will make it happen.” And once you commit to realizing your intentions, the obstacles that might cross your path become much more manageable.

What’s your workplace vision for 2018? 

Try my FREE Envisioning Worksheet to get clear on what you might accomplish.  Email me for a copy – and I’ll add you to the Twenty Hats mailing list.

4 thoughts on “After doing this, your year of #volmgmt may be SO much better

  1. Meridian Swift

    Great advice, Elisa. Sometimes, you just need to trust that what you envision will work and that you will face each challenge along the way with the same, honed skills that you use to put out your everyday fires. Starting a dream project does not mean jumping off a cliff; rather, it means plotting the course in the same manner you use for any volunteer assignment, but this time, you know the end result will be something truly amazing.

    1. Elisa Kosarin Post author

      Thanks, Meridian! You describe the process so eloquently. We make our dreams happen in the same manner as any other project – and it starts by affirming that your own projects matter.

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