Have You Hit the Wall? Keep Going Might Help

August 2023

Most nonprofit leaders hit the proverbial wall at some point on their career path, and it's difficult to break through. At times like that, I've found Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon to be a motivational boost. Kleon offers essential advice and encouragement for artists, writers, and anyone seeking to maintain their creative spark in the face of challenges and setbacks, including nonprofit leaders. 

At its core, Keep Going urges readers to embrace a consistent creative practice, regardless of external circumstances. Kleon emphasizes the importance of showing up regularly to work on one's craft, even when motivation is low or inspiration seems scarce. He also explores the significance of maintaining a healthy balance between online and offline life. While acknowledging the benefits of technology, he encourages readers to carve out space for solitude and deep focus away from digital distractions.

I like this book so much that I've given it as a gift to every member of our Mastermind program, fittingly, as each cohort comes to the end of their formal time together. I've come to realize the book embodies the spirit of a Mastermind group in four distinct ways:


1. Supportive Community. Like a Mastermind group, the book emphasizes the value of a supportive community in fostering creativity. Kleon encourages readers to seek out like-minded individuals, join creative circles, and engage in positive interactions that can uplift and motivate them throughout their creative endeavors.

2. Accountability and Commitment. A Mastermind group holds its members accountable for their goals and commitments. Similarly, Keep Going emphasizes the importance of regular creative practice and staying committed to one's craft. The book encourages readers to set small, achievable goals and maintain a consistent creative routine.

3. Shared Challenges and Solutions. Mastermind groups often involve sharing challenges and brainstorming solutions collectively. Keep Going addresses common obstacles faced by creatives, such as self-doubt, creative blocks, and the fear of failure. Kleon provides practical advice and strategies to overcome these challenges, making it akin to a collective problem-solving session. (We call it the hotseat!).

4. Encouragement and Motivation. One of the primary functions of a Mastermind group is to offer encouragement and motivation to its members. Similarly, Keep Going serves as a source of inspiration and reassurance for creatives, offering uplifting messages and reminding readers to persevere through tough times, stay curious, and embrace the joy of the creative process.


In these ways, Keep Going embodies the spirit of a Mastermind group by fostering a sense of community, providing support and encouragement, and sharing collective wisdom to help individuals thrive in their creative pursuits. Interested in learning more about PMA's Mastermind Leadership Development programCheck out the landing page here. 

Dr. Patton McDowell, CFRE, MBA, is the author of the best-selling Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership and host of the weekly podcast, also titled Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership.  He founded PMA Nonprofit Leadership in 2009, and has coached and consulted with over 275 nonprofit organizations. A Certified Fundraising Executive and Master Trainer for AFP Global, he also serves as an Executive in Residence at Cornell University's Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy.