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The Surprising Gift of Doubt





The Surprising Gift of Doubt,” written by Marc Pitman of Concord Leadership Group, is a book that’s not just about nonprofit leadership. It can be applied to leaders in any situation, especially if you, as a leader, need some re-grounding or refocus. And who doesn’t need that during this ongoing pandemic?

Even if you’ve never taken a leadership class, this book gives you, in easy bites, some of the key leadership tools and guidelines that you can apply to your everyday activities.

Marc gives you permission to know that “nothing stays the same” and that you, as a leader (no matter who, how many or what you lead), can doubt yourself, but by doing so, that’s when you’ll be able to grow and become a better leader. Whether you lead a large team or a small team, Marc’s book helps you get more focused.

Writing it down

Marc recommends writing down 100 things you’d like to do in the next 12 months. I just started brainstorming my first 20 or so. “Smile every day” is one. It’s what keeps me going!

Like anything you write down, you have the potential to accomplish it — so it’s a terrific exercise. What I also liked was how Marc worked in the mix between personal and professional things, as it’s about striking that important balance.

As a consultant who works with organizations of different sizes, I’ve seen my share of leadership changes, especially moving from founders to hired executive directors. I would have liked to have seen a few more case studies and stories from nonprofit leaders, from organizations of different sizes to address some of those special challenges.

I personally decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to manage a large team any longer, but I liked Marc’s approach to daily and weekly planning, and writing a personal mission statement.

Why do you do what you do?

As someone who runs or works in a nonprofit, whether you’re leading a department, part of a process or directing the whole enchilada, knowing the “why” is important.

Working at a nonprofit takes a lot of motivation, especially now. I’m convinced that writing down your goals and your own mission will help keep you grounded and motivated throughout these challenging times.

Marc’s book provides some great tools to help you do exactly that. Because leadership has never been more important than during crisis situations like we’re experiencing right now.

Review by Erica Waasdorp, President, A Direct Solution


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