Tue, September 04 2012
Filed under: Nonprofit leadership •
Trying to save the world is tough work. You’re going to have low days, and you’re going to get cranky. At least I do. Plenty.
So what do you do when you’re at your most drained?
You give a little more.
It sounds paradoxical, but that extra little generous bit sometimes fills you up - and recharges your batteries (to mix metaphors) - more than anything else can. Heck, there’s a reason you were drawn to this line of work - because you draw energy from making something better. I’m no sage when it comes to coping with stress (as anyone who knows me can attest), but I will offer advice anyway, because this paradox does work for me.
When your colleague is driving you crazy, say something positive to him.
When your fundraising results are down, thank the donors you have.
When you’re feeling unsupported, ask the person who’s not helping how you can help her.
This may involve serious tongue-biting, slow counts to ten and other forms of self restraint, but it does have a positive outcome.
Seth Godin, one of the most generous people I know, calls this being generous when you’re hungry. There’s something very wise in the idea that when you’re in need, you should dig deeper to give rather than grasping to take. It has a way of working better - and feeling better.
What do you do when you’re low? There can never be enough advice on this subject, so share yours!