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The following four steps will help you to get started developing your persistence and mastery so that you can be more successful in all of your endeavours.

1. Listen to your inner voice. You might not realise it, but there is an internal conversation going on in your mind at all times. While most of us are too busy going about our day to notice and listen to this self-talk, taking time to stop and listen to this internal monologue is the first step in changing your mindset.

When you are going through a difficult time, or are facing a challenge that you can’t seem to overcome, if you stop and listen to your self-talk it is likely that it’s pretty negative if you have a fixed mindset. You will hear yourself thinking things such as, “I am not smart enough, talented enough, or pretty enough”, or some other self-criticism. You may also hear yourself say that it’s not your fault, or you may even become frustrated or a bit angry with those who offer help, advice or suggestions for improvement. All of these attitudes come from a fixed mindset, and you must learn to listen for it, and recognise it for what it is, if you wish to change your attitude, reaction and results.

2. Make a Conscious Choice. Up until now, it’s likely that you’ve either been ignoring this negative self-talk, or going along with it in agreement when you were aware of it. Just because you are thinking these thoughts, however, doesn’t mean that you have to agree. You can fight back, by making a conscious choice to look at the situation objectively and seek ways to turn it around. This might involve seeking the aid of others, working hard to improve specific abilities and skills or searching for another solution. Realising you can choose to disagree with these negative feelings and false beliefs is the second step to changing your mindset.

3. Replace the Negative with the Positive. As you learn to listen to your self-talk, and identify the limiting myths and false beliefs that come from a fixed mindset and begin to look for proactive solutions, you will need to also learn how to combat the negative, critical inner voice of your fixed mindset. Fight back with learning how to replace the thoughts from a fixed mindset with the positive tones and encouraging words of a growth mindset.

When the voice of your fixed mindset points out that you don’t have the right skill or talent to accomplish your objective, acknowledge it. “Yes, I might not have what I need right now.” Then, flip this negative into a positive by replacing it! “But, I don’t have to leave things as they are, I can work hard and persist until I do have what I need to get the job done! I can learn, I can improve and I can succeed!”  Learning to embrace challenges and face fears and combat negative, self-limiting thoughts with affirmations and statements that identify the actions that you can take to achieve a solution will help to give you the confidence, inner strength motivation and determination to not give up!

4. Take Action! Now that you’ve begun to learn how to see challenges and other issues with a growth mindset, and to identify areas for change and improvement, make plans and take action to achieve your objectives. Setting goals, and making a list of the steps that you need to take to achieve these goals is helpful during this stage. Over time, as you begin to experience some success, your confidence will grow. Eventually, your inner self talk will become more positive, your determination and persistence will grow and eventually you will experience fewer incidents of negative self-talk.

The level of success that you experience in your life is really up to you. You can use the power of your mind to improve your life by taking action to change your mindset into one that is more growth oriented and positive.

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Were you born lucky? Do you believe that you are in control of your own destiny? Do you believe that any skill or talent that you need can be learned, developed and improved? How you answer these questions provides insight into the type of mindset that you have.

Why having a certain mindset is important

Research being conducted in the field of psychology increasingly shows that more than one’s  intelligence, educational experience or talent is taken into account; it is one’s mindset that actually determines how much success we experience in school as children and later in life as an adult.

In an article published in Psychology Today as well as The Science of Success, Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson discusses how children, particularly bright girls, set themselves up for failure when they assume that their abilities are something that they are given at birth, a gift of genetics that is determined by gender, rather than a skill that can be learned and honed.

Having this fixed mindset results in students giving in too early on difficult problems and subjects, and attributing the failure to a “lack of talent”. This fixed mindset then follows us into adulthood and leads us to give up control for our actions and results and blame others, or circumstances, for our performance level.

Halvorson’s comments mirror the results of research conducted in the areas of achievement and success by the psychologist Carol Dweck with the well-respected Stanford University. According to Dweck, individuals with a growth mindset are more likely to persist in their efforts and seek to learn from their mistakes. This persistence leads to eventual mastery of skills which in turn helps us create an environment where our abilities and performance are recognized and rewarded. Through this persistence and mastery, we experience greater success throughout our lives, whether it’s in school or the workplace.

According to Dweck, having a growth mindset doesn’t just increase the level of success we experience in our academics and careers. It also points to how successful we will be in our relationships, both at home and in our communities.

How to change your mindset

It is a bit unnerving to realise that something as simple as having a certain attitude about our abilities can impact how we perceive ourselves and others, as well as influence the actions that we take. Perhaps the best news from this research into mindset is the fact that regardless of what has happened in the past, none of us are confined to keeping the same mindset.

It really is possible to use the power of our minds to change our mindset and change the way that we interpret ourselves, others, events and the world around us. It’s also not that difficult, or time consuming, to begin to understand our current mindset and take steps to change it.

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To be successful, it is essential to have ambition. Unfortunately however, ambition may not always be a good thing. There are three types of ambition, the good, the bad and the good with a bad side. Confused? Let me explain…

Good ambition is the driving force behind people like Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, and Oprah. People who utilise their ambition to rise to the top of their field, become extremely wealthy but then turn that wealth into ways to help others. When you not only utilise your ambition for personal success but for the success of others then you have a healthy dose of good ambition.

Bad ambition is that drive to succeed at all costs. It’s the driving force behind someone who reaches the pinnacle of their career without a second glance towards the people they may have had to step on along the way. Their success is not directly related to the ambition to help others, it is purely ambition for their own success and, in the end, greed.

Good ambition with a bad side is the one a lot of people get caught up with. You start out with the ambition to be not only the best in your field but with grand plans to help others along the way. You might invest money in social causes and help the less fortunate at every turn. The reality of this type of ambition however, is that it can become addictive. By that I mean that you become addicted to your work, your passion for your job and your passion for helping others. Whilst that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does actually impact your life in a negative way. You may become a workaholic and sacrifice family time for the sake of your work. You may sacrifice your health by working far too many hours and not eating correctly to maintain your own health. This is the bad side of good ambition.

What starts out as a good intention can end up with the worst of outcomes because we lose sight of what the aim was from the start, to help others. You may be helping others on a grand scale but are you helping those closest to you, your family and friends by being present in their lives. This type of good/bad ambition can often be recognised by everyone but the person at the centre of it.

Ultimately, it is important to be very clear on why you do what you do and to set boundaries for yourself from the outset. We all want to save the world but when we do that to the detriment of our own health and our relationships, then it becomes a cost nobody should pay.

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When we think of habits we often think of bad habits. Our habit of reaching for chocolate when faced with a crisis or as a child we left our homework until the last minute, every time! There are however, good habits. Yes, there really are and the good news is you can create them easily and quickly and they will help to reduce your stress levels both at home and at work.

We all know what our weaknesses are and the bad habits we create around them. It’s time to find good habits to replace the bad and reduce our overall stress levels.

We can create good habits in the workplace that not only reduce stress but make life a lot easier in the process.  Habits that not only help us to work more efficiently but also more effectively. Without inducing any OCD tendencies, you can actually put in place structured habits that help you to not only prioritise your workflow but also take the stress away from having to constantly be considering what needs to be done next. Imagine how freeing it would be to know you could just flick to a diary/spreadsheet/mind map (insert your medium of choice) and see in black and white what needs to be done. You don’t need to store it all in your head, you don’t need to keep leaving sticky notes everywhere, and you don’t have to constantly be wondering whether you have enough time to get things done.

Here are a few things you can put in place right now to create good habits in the workplace and reduce your overall stress:

  1. Diarise everything – not just appointments but deadlines for documents, meeting times, project deadlines. The more you diarise the more you can structure the rest of your day, the less stress you will have because you know ahead of time what you need to achieve and where you need to be.
  1. You know when you were at school and you were always being told “don’t leave your homework until the last minute”, the same applies with work. If you have a project to achieve or a deadline to meet, start getting prepared right away. If you have to collect data, immediately create a folder either on the computer or a lever arch folder and add relevant inner folders/tabs to start collating information from the outset. Each time you come across something you will need, file it away immediately so that when the time comes you don’t have to think about where and when you saw that particular item.
  1. Plan everything. You don’t need to become a tyrant about it but having a plan laid out for each work day means you don’t have to continuously be juggling tasks. Diarise time for admin work, phone calls, email catch-up etc. so your work will flow rather than having to multi-task all the time. Multi-tasking is only good if it reduces stress not increases it.

We would love to hear about your good work habits that help you get through each day with lower stress levels.

Have you ever wondered why you’re more productive some days than others? Or why you seem to get so much more work done on the days that have lots of interruptions?

There are reasons for this, and once you know what they are, you can make some conscious choices in your day. You can build on them and turn yourself into a productivity machine.

Take a look at this clip.  It has some excellent information about the way our minds work and the impact they have on our actions. The clip covers:

  • Why worrying about having “more willpower” is a fool’s game.
  • How world class experts stay productive… and what they do differently.
  • The reason why better energy management = a more productive you.
  • Big pitfalls that lead to busywork and procrastination.

Take a look at the video and then at the way you’ve been working. With a few changes, your productivity levels will improve.

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In past posts, we’ve discussed a few of the different types of budgets and how each type might be used by a NFP. While the most common type of budget is an incremental one, the actual goal that you are trying to achieve determines the type of budget that will provide your board members with the clearest, most actionable information.

Budgets can also vary based on the length of time that they measure, such as monthly, interim and annual budgets. Individual budgets can also be made for a specific department or service project, while a master budget includes information and projections from all of your organisation’s individual budgets.

The following list outlines a few steps to take to help you get started creating your NFP’s next annual budget.

1. Pick a Budget Type. The first step in creating a budget is to decide what you are trying to measure and pick the corresponding budget type that will give your organisation the most useful information. For incremental annual budgets, figures and categories from the prior year’s budget form the basis for your new projections.

2. Start With Expected Revenue. As you begin to prepare your annual budget, you will likely want to start with the revenue section, as your NFP’s level of service, and the number and types of projects it offers the community, are dependent upon the type and amounts of funds that you expect to receive.

Include monies you expect to receive from all sources, including federal grants, donations, proceeds from fundraisers and/or ticket sales, other events and even unexpected or overlooked sources of income, such as rental fees or interest earned from other NFP assets.

3. Count Your Costs. Regardless of the budget type that you choose, you will want to separate your fixed and variable costs. This simple step enables your board to quickly see if they have enough revenue coming in to cover operations and what expenses that they might be able to lower through their direct actions.

Controlling costs enables your board to make the best use of the funds that they receive. Boards can also go a long way to ensuring their long term survival by controlling their costs.

4. Account for Project and Service Funding. This section of the budget allocates funds from revenue to specific services and projects. Depending on the type of budget that you choose, a portion of the fixed and variable costs associated with providing these specific services to the public might also be accounted for in this section of your budget.

5. Stay on top of Capital Budgets and Asset Management. Assets that are owned by the NFP must be properly maintained and cared for, and at some point, may need replacement as well. The costs associated with these actions should be accounted for in the budget.

Rather than directly using funding from the revenue budget, some NFPs use proceeds from investments in real estate, annuities, bonds, or other investment vehicles to help them to save to acquire capital that is later sold, with the proceeds being used to finance specific NFP goals.

Other NFPs seek to operate in such a way as to build cash reserves that can be later used to cover unexpected pitfalls, such as a loss of funding that might occur. Plans to save to cover the cost of purchasing, maintaining, and selling plant, equipment, and other capital assets, as well as plans to build cash reserves, should be included in this section of the budget.

6. Don’t Forget About Restricted Funds and Assets. Some grants and donations may come with conditions that restrict their use, so you will want your budget to include the revenue and costs associated with these funds separately from the sources of revenue and expense that don’t have such limitations.

For example, you wouldn’t want the sections of your budget reserved for general revenue and costs to include funds from sources that can only be spent to meet a specific need.  To ensure that these funds are spent properly, it is best to account for them in an individual budget that is then accounted for in a separate section on your master annual budget.

7. Frequently Review and Revise the Budget. Your board will likely want interim performance reports for each section of the master budget. Budgets should be reviewed frequently and action taken by the board so that they can quickly respond to any sudden changes and developments.

For example, the unexpected loss of funding from a long term donor or governing body should be addressed to prevent a shortfall in the revenue section of the budget and a corresponding drop in service level. If the loss of revenue can’t be made up, the NFP might look at cutting back on some of its variable costs or drawing upon its cash reserves or selling a capital asset in order to maintain its service level to the public.

While preparing the next annual budget for an NFP might seem like a daunting task for the volunteer treasurer, Admin Bandit’s software makes it easy for both the novice and the expert to stay on top of these and other common NFP accounting tasks. You can see just how easy it is to use by getting started today with our 55 day free trial!

mouse-593297_640As a volunteer treasurer for a NFP, you may wonder just why your organisation needs a budget. After all, your charity isn’t an actual business whose primary purpose is to increase the business owner’s bank account. The funds that your NFP receives should go towards meeting your community’s needs as defined by your group’s mission statement.

Even though the main purpose of a charity or club is to meet needs rather than make a profit, it must still operate in a sound manner so that it can continue to meet its goals and objectives. Both individuals and businesses use budgets to help them better control their expenses, manage their cash flows and create plans for how they will meet future obligations and goals. A realistic budget is also the key to helping your board members have better control over your NFP’s finances.

Budgets are Planning Tools That Help you Meet Your Duty of Care

Having a budget helps your board to wisely manage funding and other resources received by your charity or club. It also helps your board to be able to make strategic plans to ensure your organisation remains operationally sound and able to fulfill its mission statement for many years.

A budget is basically a plan that maps out what funds are expected to be received, when they will be received and how they will be used to further the group’s goals and mission. A budget doesn’t just provide greater control over the NFP’s finances, however.

Creating and approving a realistic budget can also be seen as fulfilling one’s legal duty of care to properly manage the funding for the public good. As we’ve discussed in a prior post, there are negative personal, professional and public ramifications when NFPs and their members fail to follow their duty of care.

Why Budgets are Part of Good Governance

Having a budget is also part of following good governance procedures, as it allows the board to plan how to reduce risks to their reputation and work as well as how they will comply with any tax and superannuation requirements. Along with your NFP’s minutes, the budget, balance sheet and other NFP documents are all records that help to explain why your NFP’s board members have made certain decisions. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) states in Section K of its NFP governance checklist that it’s good practice for NFPs to keep their minutes and other records explaining their actions for at least five years.

We hope you found this information helpful. In our next blog post, we are going to discuss how you can best create a budget, so stay tuned.

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