January 09, 2020

pov: Never Stop Learning

Happy New Year! I will refrain from the cliché messages about setting resolutions, eating healthy, exercising and the like – we are already getting slammed with that on all of our social media. Instead I want to center us with one of the five Values Statements that Team UNA has adopted.

Learning: Keep an active, open mind and demonstrate a willingness to explore new experiences and concepts; we seek to first understand and then to be understood.

Learning is one of those skills that literally cannot be taken away from you. No matter where you go or what you do or how much time has passed, if you’ve learned something – a skill, bits of knowledge, or history – it generally stays with you.

Take for instance this – I recently decided to dust off my bow and get back into archery. This skill was not used for at least six years. So I was worried that I had forgotten how to hold and shoot the bow. And if I am being honest, I was a bit embarrassed about feeling out of place and being judged for what I didn’t know (or remember) and for my skill level.

But as I have discussed, our hang-ups are often our own so we need to deal with them so we don’t project them as realities. Taking that to heart, I went to Salt Lake Archery and signed up for a lesson. My desire to expand my skill set and to be willing to be uncomfortable for a period of time has really made me smile. I’ll share three specific examples:

1) The staff at Salt Lake Archery were incredibly helpful and they didn’t make me feel out of place.

2) I got a front row seat to how my own implicit bias kicked in as I processed the lack of women in the facility and my instructor who lives without the ability to hold objects in his hands.

3) I have some good archery skills.

With one decision on my part I learned that some of my perceptions about others and specific environments aren’t real. I learned that if you ask questions and are genuinely interested in learning then there will be people there to assist you. I learned that there was an excitement about me being at the range. Many people commented on my bow, encouraged me, asked me what my goals were and they even invited me back.

I bring this up because I think it’s important for each of us to be challenged with new information and to give our brains permission to work differently. And really that is what Learning is all about. UNA is here to assist you and your team in your Learning journey. We have been working very hard to have our 2020 training and event calendar ready for you to plan and strategize within your teams. We have upcoming advocacy and policy events to get us prepped and ready for our Legislative Session. There’s Board Governance on the horizon as well as Fundraising and Resource Development. Let’s also not overlook our upcoming Member Benefits Orientation and being intentional with Making Mindfulness Happen. There is something there for everyone working at or volunteering with a nonprofit.

You can access our training and events calendar here. We look forward to seeing you soon and learning from you! And remember no matter what chaos may come your way this year, Team UNA is here to assist you (and your staff!!!). So please let us know how we can be helpful. Special Note: If you have any archery tips or courageous ways you’ve checked your own bias, do let me know!

Kate Rubalcava
Chief Executive Officer
Utah Nonprofits Association