Take 5: Perspectives on Overcoming Your Hurdles

What hurdle are you facing? What's standing in the way of your goals?

Five of our members sound off on that and more in this week’s take five:


This past fall, I transitioned into a new position at work. With this new position came more responsibility, lots of travel, and work that takes place outside of my usual 9-5. The hurdle that I am facing is ensuring a healthy work/life balance. I find myself doing more work at home in the evening or on the weekends than I used to. Additionally, I wake up in the night thinking of work and all that needs to be done. Up until now, this was always something I excelled in. I took pride in my ability to separate the two.

In February, I become increasingly aware of this. I have decided to make this a priority and figure out ways I can reduce time and energy focused on work (while I’m not supposed to be working). I am dedicated to going to the gym most days before work to kick my day off doing something I love and that will give me energy for the day. I also have decided to not check my work e-mail during my weekends. How do you ensure a healthy work/life balance? What are your favorite tips for staying balanced?

  • Madison Ward -- Community Integration Coordinator, SHIFT NC


Most job applications say it at the bottom—“Need 3-5 years of experience in x,y,z”. But, what if I don’t have that much experience? How can I get experience when you won’t hire me? Finding a new job is tough in any sector. Finding a new job in the nonprofit sector that pays enough and appreciates my worth? Really, really tough. It took me two years to find a nonprofit job and another year for it to become full-time. And while, it’s been a great job in many respects, I’m ready for something different, a new challenge. Maybe I want to focus on communications or fundraising. Maybe I want to do something totally different, see what else is out there, and discover a new passion. But, I need to get through the resume stage, two to three interviews, and finally get hired. It seems like a never ending process but it only takes one organization to believe in you. Come on, employers, believe!

  • Anonymous member


My biggest hurdle at work is building a culture of philanthropy and trust. My organization hasn't formally raised private funds, especially from individual donors, in over eight years. We support a network of 75 individual nonprofits across North Carolina and each has varying degrees of fundraising knowledge, staff, and resources. There is plenty to be done to get us all speaking the same comprehensive fundraising language. In addition, I have to find an equitable way to raise dollars for the network and my organization without stepping on any one organization's toes.

I am putting together a fundraising collaborative, with representatives from across our network, to facilitate tough, trust-building conversations. The goal is for fears about collaborative fundraising to be put to rest, and that the group will create a comprehensive fundraising plan that is actionable at both the state and local level.

  • Jessica Griffin -- Fund Development and Event Manager, The North Carolina Partnership for Children


My current professional hurdle is my internal fear of the unknown. I like to have control of the situations around me. To know what my week will look like and to plan for any potential mishaps that may pop up. But I've challenged myself this year to leap out of my comfort zone.

I've taken a new position at a new organization. One that is exciting and fast-paced and will bring so many wonderful opportunities. But, it will not bring the opportunity to prepare. Each day will be different and sometimes I'll have to make it up as I go. Which, as a meticulous planner, is more less like a hurdle and more like the bars pole vaulters have to clear.

In the nonprofit sector we tend to thrive off of these challenges, big and small, because we all know that challenges bring opportunity. The opportunity to better our organization, our community, and ourselves.

In time I know I will come to love that each day is different. I've already swapped careers and I have the support system in place to pave this unknown path. Now it's time pole vault my way into the moment instead of purely focusing on the future. Wish me luck!

  • Anonymous member


The hurdle I’m currently facing is figuring out what exactly it is on the other side that I’m running towards.

As a recent college graduate still putting that first year in the sector under my belt, I’m continuously trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

It’s really not as simple as everyone thinks. Up until this point, the ladder was clear. Do well in school. Get into a good college. Graduate. Get a good job doing something you love. Move out of your parents basement. Now what? What’s the next step? Where’s the next rung in the ladder? Where do I go from here?

I’m pretty good at facing hurdles once I know where I’m going. Right now, I’m still just trying to figure out my destination.

  • Louis Duke -- Marketing & Communications Specialist, North Carolina Community Foundation


We’ll be discussing our hurdles and obstacles at this month’s upcoming lunches. Join us in Raleigh and Durham.

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