#14 How to take time to make time in planning your social impact strategy

No retreat no problem.  What I learned last year from turning off my inbox and billable time for a week. 

Image via Fashion Revolution

Today is May 17, 2018.

Facebook memories is really on fire for me this week as it keeps reminding me that a year ago, I was in Costa Rica with my then-boyfriend-now-fiancé Brandon, in between living in Chicago and Denver, and focused on building and launching this website at hannahgay.com. 

It wasn't just a site; for a year prior to that, I'd been consulting in social impact, but didn't really have a clear brand, value proposition, or really idea within myself of what type of work most fired up my soul. So I turned off my inbox for a week or so, and from a beautiful Airbnb in the suburbs of San Jose I worked long days and into some nights figuring all that out.

On launch day, I went to the beach, and it felt very much deserved. I snuck on WiFi when we were grabbing snacks at a local store and jumped up and down in the aisles – I'd already made sizable $$ in sales and my community was only about 1/4 the size it is now! 


Next week, while it will be from the comfort of my home office in Denver, I'm taking a step away once again from both client work and my inbox. I've been running for a year with this website and brand and have not only grown, but I have new products out (my coaching!)  and some new things in the cooker I want to really plan for. 

I've always had the mindset that it makes sense to take time to make time, and here's why I think that, if you're running a social impact focused organization, you should do this too.

1. You don't have to actually take time off work – just make sure your team has time off meetings, client and customer communications, and everything else routine in order to focus and reflect on personal and organization wide strategy. 

2. I'm not convinced this has to happen away from the office at a retreat. How many times do you pack up at the end of the day and say "I wish I had time at my desk to . . . "? Now, you can. The experience of doing this type of scheduled reflection and strategizing at your office can actually help remind you in the future that when you're at your desk and in your office, reflection and strategy can and should happen. 

3. I write a lot about mission creep – or saying yes to things that are kind of sort of in line with your core products and services but aren't quite 100% there – and discuss this lots with my clients. This actually cannibalizes both your impact and your brand, which in turn hurts your chances of getting new clients, customers, or funders. Within social impact, we're incredibly susceptible to this and thus it's that much more important that we take time to check in with ourselves and address it.

I'll be back May 28, and will share with you all how things go, what I've cooked up, and what I've learned. And to my community, thank you in advance for allowing me this space.