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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

When in Doubt, Take a Deep Breath: Words of Wisdom from Michael Kass

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Michael Kass of Story and Spirit will be leading a workshop at the Nonprofit Lab in Sacramento on February 6, 2020 and in Las Vegas on March 11, 2020. We recently had a conversation with him and wanted to share some of his insights that we think can lead you to a more productive 2020!

What is the best advice a mentor ever gave to you?

When in doubt, take a deep breath. If still in doubt, take another one. Unexpected things can happen at work. You should not make a decision in a reactive state or when you feel anxiety. Take a deep breath until you feel grounded. For example, if you are speaking at a meeting or sharing your nonprofit’s story in front of large group and you start to panic, take the space to breathe until you feel calm. When you feel calm again, that is when it is good to start talking.

What is your favorite tool for staying organized? What do you use it for and how do you use it?

I make a to-do list everyday. When I get really busy, I take a blank sheet of paper with no lines and do a brain dump of all that tasks that I want to accomplish that day. I take the list then categorize the tasks and prioritize them specifically focusing on the most important tasks from each category. Writing tasks down helps me stay focused and makes me feel less overwhelmed.

At our Nonprofit Lab in Sacramento and Las Vegas, you are leading a workshop “Powerful Storytelling: How to Stand Out in a Noisy World”, share with us some ideas on how nonprofits can improve their ability to tell stories with their audience:

Sharing stories is much more than a communication tactic or tool. As a nonprofit leader, it’s important to understand what your contributors know or don’t know about your programs and services. Knowing your contributor’s perspective about your nonprofit will help you build your story, so that others can understand your work. Taking the time to listen deeply is the most important part of storytelling.

We hope to see you at the Nonprofit Lab in Sacramento and Las Vegas. It will be a great day of learning, networking and skills building. Our Nonprofit Labs are a one-day deep dive conference for nonprofit professionals.

To register for the Sacramento Nonprofit Lab go to To register for the Las Vegas Nonprofit Lab go to



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