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Recognizing your ability to lead

Nonprofit Motivation

I have a quick question for you.

Do you see yourself as a leader?

I’m curious because I know quite a few people who work in the nonprofit industry.

And I know a lot of people that work in fundraising.

And I’ve noticed that many of us tend to be a certain type of person.

I’ve written about it before. It’s one of the reasons you are my heroes.

How you tend to prefer to work behind the scenes.

How you are probably really good at speaking with people one-on-one, but hate speaking to a crowd.

So, I’m curious. Do you see yourself as a leader?

Or is that for someone else?

Do you think yourself incapable? Or not allowed?

I’d like to put forth the idea that you are, in fact, a leader. A powerful one.

And that you have proven yourself as a leader time and time again.

Don’t believe me?


Let’s see if I can convince you…

You are capable of being an extraordinary leader

We often think of leadership as something BIG, something that only a few exceptional people are able to achieve.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

No matter who you are, your strengths or weakness, your roll or responsibilities…

You are capable of being a leader.

Every. Single. Day.

You see, I know that you do remarkable things.

And I’m pretty sure that every day you make powerful choices, choices that have a positive impact on people’s lives.

But we have a tendency to downplay the impact we have on others.

This may be one of the reasons we are drawn to fundraising. We like that it is not about us or what we do.

It is about our mission and how we can connect others to that mission in a way that serves our beneficiaries and brings meaning to the lives of our contributors.

Which, when achieved, is an extremely powerful thing.

It’s empowering to others and that ability might just be an important quality of a true leader.

Don’t ya think?

But let me come back to that.

First, here’s a 6 minute video that perfectly illustrates how we impact people’s lives in profound ways all of the time without even knowing it.

Go ahead and check it out. It’s a great story.


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The choice of leadership

We tend to downplay the qualities of leadership that we show and at the same time we also overestimate the requirements of leadership.

Leadership does not come with a promotion.

Leadership has nothing to do with your job description

Leadership does not come with years of experience.

Yes, it can be improved with experience, but let’s be real, experience is no guarantee of leadership.

That’s because Leadership is not something that you earn.

It is a choice.

Every day, you can choose to be a leader…or not.

Directors that are driven by ego and greed believe they do not need to be a true leader because they have power.

People that have been convinced they are incapable of being a leader end up thinking they just don’t have what it takes and then miss out on opportunities to prove otherwise.

If you want to be a leader, the first step is to recognize that you already have what it takes.

[Pssst…you do!]

The second step is simply this…choose to do it.

Read this next sentence out loud…

“I am capable of being a leader. Today I will prove it.”

The greatest act of leadership

This is how I know that you are a leader.

The greatest thing a leader can do is identify and acknowledge the leadership in others.

Think about this for a minute.

At its most basic definition, a leader is someone that gets people to follow them.

And there are two common methods people use to achieve this:

  • Beat them into submission (stick)
  • Pay them (carrot)

But there is a third way that is actually much more effective and you know it very well…

  • Empower them

When you take the time to acknowledge the leadership of others, you empower them.

You motivate them to follow you by acknowledging their ability to take action and make a difference.

How many times in your career has your boss motivated you by acknowledging your ability to lead?

If the answer is “never,” then you might find yourself struggling to accept that you are a leader.

If the answer is “always,” then you probably already recognize yourself as a leader.

Either way, here’s how I know you are a leader capable of extraordinary things.

Great leaders convince people to follow them by empowering people to take actions that add meaning and purpose to their lives and the lives of others.

How many times in your life have you done this?

Don’t down play it.

You do this all the time.

And don’t think that it has to be something BIG or life changing.

True leadership is made up of many small actions.

I know you have done this many times.

And if it’s never been acknowledged before, then let me be the first to say,

You are a true leader. You empower people every day. Keep doing good work.

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