Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

Packing up is never easy, I know, but I have to go

With my red marker, I write E8 on the top, short, and long sides of my moving box. In my notebook, I write down the number and exact contents: coaching, personal development, and psychology books.

It seems such a simple idea, but it would never have crossed my mind. I saw my friend do it when I helped her move three months ago. And mèn, I love knowing where my precious box from St. Petersburg, my party stuff, and my Rummikub game is.

My husband suggests stacking the books in two columns on opposite sides of the box. That way you reinforce the corners and increase the strength of the box, avoiding total collapse in the middle of the move. I flunked science in high school, so that’s a great tip.

The New York Times quotes therapists and psychologists who share that moving is an intensely emotional experience: “It is filled with symbolism, the hope for new beginnings, crushing disappointments, loss, anxiety, and fear.”

I agree 100%. But packing and moving together makes it 200% easier. You can look at the challenges from multiple angles, build on each other’s ideas, and hold space for all the feelings that come up in the move.

Other things are easier too when you share the experience. The one thing that the participants in my Leadership Circle love the most is realizing that they are not alone in their struggles and challenges.

These are some of the issues that they have in common:

  • The overwhelm of facing the constant pressure of taking care of your team and moving the agency forward, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night to finish up,
  • How to deal with conflict within your team, or with your supervisor,
  • Grieving the loss of colleagues who you got close to,
  • How to balance being a professional and having feelings on the job,
  • Create support systems for your team so they don’t get burned out by trying to save the world.

You might have different ones. But I’m pretty sure that there are others like you who struggle with it.

In the first week of May, we start a new circle. Six bi-weekly sessions. Are you a person who contributes to others?

Schedule your free discovery session to talk through how you could help other nonprofit leaders.

P.S. Read the New York Times article about the psychology of moving.

P.P.S. This weekend we are moving into our new home, two houses down the block. But you can still reach out to me by phone and email: 512-589-0482 |

What does a birdfeeder have to do with being a leader?

Birdfeeders are great for attracting birds. With the right type of bird seeds, you get Northern cardinals, house finches, sparrows, American robins, Carolina chickadees, Carolina wrens, cedar waxwings, eastern phoebes, orange-crowned warblers, red-bellied woodpeckers, and yellow-rumped warblers.

Don’t think I’m some kind of bird wizard. I just use the Audubon app to identify my visitors by putting in their color, size, feeding behavior, and range of habitat.

I love the hussle and bussle around the birdfeeder. The live stream of bird interactions, altercations, hierarchy, courtship, and mentoring of adolescents is quite addictive.

When nothing is going on, I read the Audubon magazine to satisfy my bird craving.

As a result, I now know that the black-capped petrel’s habitat is the open ocean in the West Indies. It nests around steep forested cliffs. It used to nest in burrows on the level ground till exotic predators were introduced on their islands.

And I read about the dangers of birdfeeders. If you don’t clean them regularly enough, they collect molds that are toxic for birds. Shocked, I rush outside to take it down and clean it.

I never realized that the right kind of seeds is not enough to keep birds happy. If I hadn’t stumbled upon this article, I would never have known how unconscious I was of my own incompetence.

And I would never have become consciously competent if I hadn’t read their suggestions about birdfeeder cleaning.

Are you, too, unconscious of your incompetence? If it is about birdfeeders, you can click on the link to the Audubon website at the bottom of this email.

But if you suspect you have areas in your leadership role where you are unconscious of your incompetence, you need something else.

You can read a book about leadership, like The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge. You can explore your enemy images with Byron Katie’s Judge Your Neighbor worksheet. And you can seek feedback from your peers.

In my leadership circle for nonprofit leaders, you come together with five to seven other leaders. You share your struggles and wins. And you can ask them for feedback on your actions.

You might cringe thinking about receiving feedback because so often it is critical and judgmental, pointing out all your mistakes and faults.

No worries, in the leadership circles we agree that we respond more like the Audubon magazine: observational, informative, and empowering.

Participants in my current circle find reassurance that they are not the only ones struggling. They feel inspired hearing how their buddies deal with those challenges. And they value the feedback that helps them be the kind of leader that attracts the right team members and keeps them safe.

Schedule your free discovery session to explore how the circle might help you become more consciously competent.

And this is the Audubon website. Be careful, you might get hooked!