Personality musings, Nonprofit leadership + development courses…

Goodness, it’s been a little while, hasn’t it? Apologies for the lack of updates.

I have been meaning to blog about some women’s issues lately but as with most projects in my life, I struggle with launching. I am somewhat of a perfectionist so if I can’t envision doing something the right way, right away, then I put it off. I’m sure some of you can understand that.

This goes into one of my most recent experiences. I am currently enrolled at LMU’s Extension program, partaking in the “Nonprofit Leadership + Development Certificate” class. It consists of a grant writing course and a nonprofit course that will essentially (I hope) cover all the basics of how to build a nonprofit, how to make it sustainable, and other tricks of the trade. My first two classes have really opened up my eyes (or at least wiped the blurriness from my vision) to what I’m about, what I want to be about, who I am, and what the heck is happening in my life.

I was completely enamored with my Saturday course, A-Z Grantwriting, instructed by Linda Vallejo. I was nervous at first, as I struggle with attention maintenance and the class was scheduled for 10am-4pm. But, much to my surprise and pleasure, I was 100% engaged, interested, fascinated and humbled by the first class. My mom encouraged me to pursue this grant writing deal, as she works with grant writers and knows that they are the “rich folks” of the nonprofit world (well aside from the lawyers and accountants, I’m sure). It was great for me to put some of the financial elements of nonprofit sustainability in perspective. It has been a daunting task, to envision the money I’ll need to funnel into the eventual np I hope to one day run. But Linda’s first class has already eased some of my fears and steered me into a more focused direction. Good stuff.

Last night, I took the first nonprofit leadership + development course, which seems to be more focused on the inner workings of a np, the leadership aspects, the morale side of it, the passion side, etc. We spent the entire class talking about the Merrill Reid 4 Quadrant personality models.

Let me start off by saying that we were told there are many different avenues of the Merrill Reid models and many different types of labels, names, etc. We examined the specific models of Control Emotions v. Emotes & Ask v. Tell. The instructor Kevin Walsh provided 4 general groups of words/terms and asked us what we felt we were best described by.

The categories of words/terms were:

1) results, achieving goals, being direct, achievement -> “Driver”
2) social, fun, sense of humor, spontaneous -> “Expressive”
3) loyal, compassionate, empathetic, good listener -> “Relationships”
4) detailed, controlled, precise, analytical -> “Analytical”

(guess which one I am?) I’m incredibly fascinated by personality studies and models. I’ll always be the first to jump up and say, don’t categorize people, don’t label them, but I do believe that many people can become predictable or understandable based on their personality type, character traits, and more. I live by my Pisces, Rabbit, INFJ casts and they have yet to fail me.

Now I understand that I am also driven by relationships, but splashed w/ a deep sense of analysis as well. I am a question asker, I am led by emotion, I yearn to make human connections, I am influenced heavily by others’ emotions conveyed to me, about me, surrounding me, etc.

I think that I have many traits desirable in the nonprofit world. But I also acknowledge that I need to be a lot more of a “Driver” and a lot more “Expressive.” I am excellent at building relationships once a foundation is laid. I am great at looking at details and understanding that kind of thing. But I wish to be more comfortable approaching strangers, at introducing myself to others, at putting myself out there. I also yearn to take more initiative and more action-oriented. I’m a people person, but I also need to be a task person.

I have a long way to go before I can jump into this nonprofit world. But I’m excited. I think that these courses I’m taking will offer a lot in terms of allowing me to look within myself and understand what makes me, me. I will also be able to really put some practical language and action to my passions and desires. That’ll be most important. It’s great to dream big, to have high ambitions, to be a passionate person, but without a foundation of understanding, a great business plan, and lots of sustainable, practical, tangible actions and ideas, those pretty flowers are just going to blow into the wind.


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