How are you doing emotionally, physically and spiritually, half way through the year? Now is a good time to reflect on this and either change course or keep on doing what you are doing.
Since I presented five New Year’s resolutions at the end of last year, I thought the best way to help reflect on this question would be to bring them back up, offering a challenge to both you and myself. I’ll tell you how I’m doing. Perhaps you can write back and tell me how you are doing as well.
So, here they are:
- Take time for reflection—We all need time to be alone, in quiet, doing nothing. This will help us recharge our batteries more than anything and allow us to see clearly. Whether you do this early in the morning, before you go to bed or during the course of your day, is not important. What’s important is that you do it. To be honest, I’m still struggling with this. I was doing okay for a while, but I haven’t been disciplined about it like I need to be. This is something I’m really going to work on over the next three months. You can hold me accountable. Discipline is the key word here. I really don’t like that word. But over the years I’ve learned to value it. It works in both my personal life and my professional life. I read a cool quote on Facebook the other, day but I forgot who said it. “Pray 30 minutes a day… if you are really busy, pray for an hour.” Now, you can substitute meditate, sit in silence, or whatever, for the word ‘prayer’, but the point is, the busier you are, the more you need time for quiet and reflection.
- Prioritize your life—The point here is to figure out what is most important in your professional and personal life, and to do that. You and I busy ourselves with so much that it’s easy for us to lose what is most important. It’s the same with our work. Where do you need to spend the majority of your time that creates the most benefit? Are you working your caseload or have you been going off “hunting” for new donors? Are you dabbling in events? Don’t do it. Have you created a strategy to make your priorities happen? To be honest, I feel like I’m doing okay on this. Not perfect, but I’ve been able to figure out what I really should be doing and doing more of that. Of course there is always room to grow.
- Do Less—This goes along with #2, but it’s a real challenge to you and me to let go of things that are busying our lives and focus on what is important. How many times a week do you say, “I’m just way too busy, I have so much stuff going on”? Why? That is what you need to ask yourself. Maybe it’s not just doing less, but thinking too much or worrying obsessively about something. Maybe it’s about letting go of the anxiety that you let hang around because for some reason it brings you comfort. Or, maybe it just means the need to stop doing so many things. Take a break. Relax, for goodness sakes. Fundraisers like us find it really hard to just relax. Okay, so this one is not going well for me. As I was just writing this, I was thinking, “Jeff, take your own medicine, you idiot.” I’ve really got to work on this over the next couple of months. I hear Richard in my ear, “Jeff you have to slow down.” Okay, okay.
- Practice gratitude—Everyday, do you wake up and just feel so thankful to do the work you do? I don’t. I try, but I can’t say I do this every day. However, I really do believe this is a great practice. Are you thanking your donors enough? Are you telling them how key they are in allowing the mission of the organization to happen? We are so blessed to get to do this work. I can say with honesty that I try and practice gratitude on a daily basis. I am in awe of the work and life I have. Thank you.
- Move forward—This one is really about taking these resolutions and actually putting them into practice. As I’ve already admitted, I’m only doing so-so. But, here is the great news… you and I can start over or start working on them… now. Especially if you became a reader of this blog recently, these resolutions can become your “half-year” resolutions right now! If you are struggling with some of these like I am, give yourself some grace. There is no need to beat yourself up.
There you go. How are you doing? Are you a total wreck? Are you up to your neck in work and full of stress? I know, it’s not fun. If you can put some of these resolutions into practice, you may be able to let go of some of that. Perhaps you’re doing great. You may really be doing well with these. Awesome. Now keep it up and inspire some others around you, with compassion and grace.
I’ll check back in with you in three months, right before the busy giving season. Hopefully I’ll have a better report for myself.