...serenity in motion

Know your community and never regret asking for help

I've been involved in the art market since I was a young child but things change and as I work on my own career, I am finding myself facing challenges I have never come across before.  I am now the president of a non-profit and that has really upped my "What the hell?" game.  Recently, the board and I have been working on a new location with new problems.  When you go from a small space to a much larger space, there are so many things that need attention.  Many of my board members are having the same questions and we are all reaching out for answers.  I myself ended up phoning a friend, or several of them as it were.

Questions about bylaws, fundraising, class size.... it has been mind bending.  I started calling everyone I knew with any kind of experience in the non-profit sector.  I wasn't just calling friends; I asked mentors, educators, professionals, retirees, and all of them were helpful.  They all had different perspectives to offer and each one gave me incredible advice.  I was amazed at my audacity when I was calling around to these people.  Some of them barely knew me but all stepped up and were kind.

What I learned is don't be afraid to consider everyone you were ever in contact with.  A gentle reminder of how you are connected to them and ask if they have time and are willing to talk to you.  Your community is everyone from friends to their friends, educators, professionals; anyone who has a connection to you.  Being an artist is scary, being a professional is confusing and difficult.   You end up finding yourself with conundrums you have no way to figure out.  It isn't strange to be asked for insurance for an event 2 hours before you set up.  Where do you go to find that?  Facebook groups are part of the community as well.  Scrounge, beg and plead for the information and remember, at one point, each one of them was in the same place you are now.  There is always a beginning for everyone, no one is born with everything they need to know.

Sometimes it helps to write down the question and then the names of people who might have the experience you need.  Look at the problem from different sides and think about ways another kind of solution might help.  Never fear asking the question and listen carefully to the answer.  They took the time to talk with you, respect them in return with your full attention.  Take Notes!  They may give you more answers than you were thinking of and you may need the extra information later on. I wish you luck in problem solving but only the best can come from asking for guidance.