One of life’s greatest frustrations is taking charge of your destiny as the leader of a nonprofit organization. Many individuals and consequently, the organizations they may come to lead, get stuck in their path to success. They mire in self-doubt, in self-sabotaging behaviors, and never truly reach their goals.

Could this be you?

If so, you may be suffering from limiting beliefs. These are your core values that put the brakes on your progress. They present resistance to your goals and stop you dead in your tracks. They could cripple you and your performance.

Limitations prevent you from moving forward. They may cry from a spot deep down inside you that has been lingering for years. “Stop. Don’t go there. We don’t know how it will turn out.”

Oftentimes, without realizing it, you may be facing an erroneous assumption about your own capabilities. Take this short quiz giving yourself a score of 1 for every “sounds like me/us”, 2 for every “not recently.”


1. Why change? Things are fine the way they are. .

2. That won’t work. We’ve already tried that.

3. We can’t do that.

4. There’s no money to do that.

5. We don’t have the time.

6. We do not know how to do it.

7. We simply do not have the resources.

A score of 8 – 14 would be indicative of an open mind and probably a more imaginative form of leadership. A score of 1 – 7 would be indicative of someone suffering with severe limiting beliefs.

Let’s take a minute and examine what the 7 key limiting beliefs for nonprofit leaders and try to identify empowering behaviors to overcome them.

1. Procrastination: Inability to get your job done. Either there are too many distractions from others because you haven’t set boundaries or you are not holding yourself accountable.
Solution: Identify a solid list of tasks with levels of importance first and then urgency. Just because someone screams the loudest, doesn’t mean you should take care of them first. You are rewarding abuses of power.

2. Epidemics of Self-doubt: If there’s something you don’t like about yourself, it’s better to hide it than express it or explore it. Do you hear yourself saying, “ I can’t; I’m too scared; I don’t know enough; I’m not skilled enough. I have to fake it to make it.”
Solution: Engage yourself productively in exercises that permit you to acknowledge your strengths and gain the confidence that you need to become more secure. Identify and then, conquer your fears. Give yourself permission to do what you need to do to get it done.

3. Perfectionism. “If I don’t do everything and do it right, I will end up alone.” Doing the right thing should take precedence. Are you guilty of micromanaging? Do you watch every detail instead of the big picture?
Solution: Delegate, delegate, delegate and empower yourself and those around you by giving them the opportunity to excel. Give yourself a break and others permission to make mistakes. Again, what is the big picture and are you losing sight of your goals because you are focusing on minutiae instead of the vision?

4. Scarcity: I cannot earn a living doing something I like. We can’t make money because we are nonprofit. We are not allowed to look successful because then, no one will give us money. Does your organization look like a loser? No one wants to throw money into an endless pit where progress is not easily recognized.
Solution: Clean up your act. Start behaving like a professional organization and one that welcomes abundance. Acknowledge that you are a winner and act like one.

5. I’m too busy. I don’t have enough time, money, staff, etc.
Solution: Time management skills may help you realize other benefits. Are you a wheel in constant motion, afraid to let anyone help you? Trusting in others, permitting them to make mistakes, and delegating may all prove beneficial to your end results.

6. I’ll fail despite all of the hard work. If I fail, I should feel bad for a very long time and then be scared to try again. Often leaders burn out a vast majority of resources including their staff because they are stuck in a hamster wheel doing the same thing over and over again. Besides, if I am successful, no one will like me.
Solution: Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Surround yourself with others that bring you balance. Hire people smarter than you are. Delegate to others whose skills set compliments your specific needs.

7. I’ll never…..What are your goals? If you truly believe that you will never, you never will – no matter how you complete the sentence.
Solution: Set goals; know what you want. Build roads to get there. Find out what it takes and do it. Reflect on what you want and go after it.

If you release your mind and dispel these myths, you will overcome these limitations and set your goals and that of your organizations on an unlimited path to success.

Author's Bio: 

Kayte Connelly, CCP is a leadership coach and an Organizational Development Consultant.She is a certified ChangeWorks Practitioner and Standards for Excellence Approved Consultant.Connelly supports individuals and organizations by processing solutions for personal, professional and organizational goals by restoring control to the areas in which they are experiencing extreme tension.

In addition to leadership coaching, she offers a variety of services including strategic planning, governance, association management and fundraising. She resides in West Chester, PA with her husband Marc Riddell CPA, CVA.

Contact her at or 484.769.2327. Additional information can be found at Best Principled Solutions and Community Business Connections.