How to become a stronger nonprofit leader in 10 minutes a week

Kathy Archer
4 min readFeb 6, 2023

If you’ve written down your nonprofit leadership goals, congratulations. Many never even get to that point. If you are one of the leaders determined to grow this year, you’ve also devised a plan to accomplish those goals. Now what? Now, you need to take action, and you need to keep taking action throughout the year!

But rather than steadily moving towards your goal, if you aren’t careful, you’ll join the 80% of people who abandon their goals by February.

What, then, is the trick to sticking to your goals? Instead of floundering, forgetting and failing — you successfully achieve your goals by reviewing them regularly.

Build a systematic review process

Positive thinking, believing you can achieve your goal, is the first step. However, positive thinking alone does not equal success. You actually have to do something!

Habitually reviewing where you are on your journey as you progress toward your goal will make you more successful. Being determined, even though adversity will always hit, is how you achieve your goals and become a strong leader.

Review your strategy for achieving your goals

The actions you take on the journey to achieve your goals make a difference. However, it’s consistently taking action that is the hard part. In truth, many of the steps you need to take to achieve your goals won’t be easy or enjoyable. That is precisely why many people don’t achieve their goals. They stop when it gets tough or they come up against a barrier.

Remember that adversity strengthens you

Here is the thing, though, you NEED those roadblocks! The difficult parts are the essential parts. By going through the struggle, we learn, grow and become better versions of ourselves. It is during the challenges that we become better leaders. Therefore, getting through the trying segments of the journey is necessary for reaching the goal.

The truth is for you to get to the next step:

You need to learn something
You must increase skills in some area
You are required to come to a new awareness

This more difficult part of goal attainment is the portion that many of us resist but, sadly, it is also the part that will keep you stuck and unhappy.

Your plan keeps you moving

To keep moving forward when challenges hit, you must have a plan that includes

  1. Recognizing roadblocks
  2. Plan how you will overcome them

Your plan might incorporate coursework

  • Your strategy could be about building support networks
  • Your approach might integrate the practice of learning to manage your thoughts and actions

But you need more than a plan to ensure you reach your goals.

You must keep reviewing your plan

Once your strategy is in place, you must regularly review that plan. That way, when you hit a roadblock, feel overwhelmed or want to quit, you can reconnect to your goal and strategies to get over the hump. In addition, reviewing your plan will remind you of what you can do if you feel overwhelmed, confused, apprehensive or stuck.

Make the review time effective

Create a habit of reviewing your goals to make the review time effective. The following steps give you a process for the weekly review of your goals and your strategic plan to achieve those goals:

The 10-minute framework for your weekly review

​Each week, set aside 10 to 30 minutes to review your goals and the plan you have for achieving them. During this time, create the habit of doing the following:

1. Write out your goals
Don’t just read them over. Rewrite them. Writing your goals down creates new pathways in your mind that activate the desire to achieve your goals. It keeps them alive and real.

2. Visualize achieving your goals
Close your eyes and imagine what it will be like when you reach your goal. Connect emotionally and viscerally to it. Feel the excitement, pride, and sense of accomplishment. Let your tummy get jumbly, and your heart swell and your eyes water.

3. Identify the overarching steps needed to achieve your goals
Remind yourself of the steps you identified in your strategic plan that you need to take to achieve your goal.

4. Visualize yourself moving through the steps
Close your eyes and see yourself navigating the steps you need to achieve goal attainment. As you do, notice challenges that may pop up and envision yourself overcoming them. Then, as you see yourself moving towards your goal, notice what it takes for you to progress through the difficult times. It may be your determination, increased patience or ongoing persistence.

5. Identify the next step you need to take
As you review your plan each week, identify what you need to work on to keep moving towards your goals.
Next, write that action step down.
Then, schedule it in your day timer and commit to doing it.

The ongoing review will help you achieve your goals!

To be a better version of yourself this year and, thus, a better leader, you need to set goals. Then, you must have a strategy and a plan for how you will achieve those goals. But from there, the next crucial step is regularly reviewing your goals and plans. Creating the habit of regularly reviewing your goals will help you be the best leader you can be. ​

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Kathy Archer

Helping women leaders make it in the nonprofit world. Leadership Development Coach * Best-Selling Author * Wife * Mom * Grandma * Mom to one boxer named Zeus!