How a simple list transformed our business

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Pam Turos

Pam Turos

Writer. Editor. Consultant.

By Pam Turos, Owner | Managing Editor

There are more than a few ways the nonprofit sector could benefit from the advice and habits of our peers in the “for-profit” ecosystem. And, to be fair, the reverse is equally true. In my role as managing editor for Good Cause Creative and WISH Cleveland, I am constantly striving for the sweet spot between doing good business while doing good in the world.

One of the first homework assignments my business coach, Stacie Riffert, handed out last January was to write a list of “100 wins” that I had experienced personally and professionally since launching this business. She warned me that it wouldn’t be easy, but she promised it would be worth it.

Fast forward to January 2020, and the simple habit of adding a few items to the “Holy Sh*t We are Amazing” list has become the best part of our GCC weekly staff meetings. In fact, I can’t think of a single habit or strategy that has had a more positive impact on my work since the first time I said “Good Cause Creative” out loud nearly five years ago.

So, as we approach the start of a new decade, I encourage you to make a “win list” of your own — especially if you work in the nonprofit world. You need it more than anyone, though you’ll probably put it off until June because you think everything else on your “To Do” list is more important.

Yeah, I know. I’ve been there. But it’s not a healthy or sustainable place to be. Please learn from my mistakes and start now. I promise. It’s worth it.

If you do nothing else, take a few minutes this week and make your own top five list from the past year. They don’t have to be rock-solid stats. Anything goes. Sixteen days headache free? Total win. You let your sister cook Thanksgiving dinner? Sounds like a win to me.

One of my favorite list-worthy moments this year was when our Director of Operations highlighted her favorite items on our “win list” before sitting me down for a financial heart-to-heart conversation. It immediately placed us in a positive mindset and led to an honest discussion about our financial goals and what it will take to accomplish them.

The “win list” is an invaluable tool that smart business owners have been using forever. It’s time for the nonprofit world to take its success just as seriously — not to impress potential supporters and funders — but to genuinely recognize and celebrate all of the tiny victories and big wins that inevitably happen while you’re working hard to create a more just and equitable world.

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