As a non-profit professional, you are really good at taking care of stuff. You go in early to get that report finished. You’re the last to leave at your organization’s events. You make sure donors have everything they need and that they are properly stewarded.
Not only are you wired that way, but the entire non-profit sector is, at its core, focused on “the other.” That has some fantastic positive aspects to it, but there is also a dark side.
That dark side is that while you are taking care of everything and everybody, you are neglecting yourself. Richard and I see this as a rampant problem across the industry.
You are taking care of others while losing your own life.
That is why our last resolution for 2014 is to “Take Care of Yourself.” If you are truly going to try and do that this year, it’s going to require that you create balance in your life. I know how hard this is to do, but as I get older, I realize how important it is.
Over the last year, Richard and I have written numerous blog posts on the theme of “taking care of yourself.” I’ve gone through those posts, gleaned all the advice we’ve given, and compiled it here for you today. I will list a word or phrase for you to consider this year that I hope will help you to, as Richard would say, Preserve Self. Here they are:
- Seek joy.
- Take time for reflection.
- Do less.
- Practice gratitude.
- Take counsel.
- Find a mentor or colleague who can be your confidant.
- Take some personal time to discern your professional and personal goals.
- Practice grace.
- Admit mistakes.
- Get up early and take time to be quiet.
- Never sit for more than an hour.
- Take time to breathe during the day.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Be authentic in your relationships with your colleagues and donors.
- Be vulnerable.
- Be respectful.
- Take time to feel the pain that your organization is trying to alleviate.
- Take a personal retreat.
- Move your body
- Take all of your vacation time.
I’m certain that if you commit yourself to many of these in 2014, you will begin to find a new sense of balance in what you are doing for others. Richard and I want to thank you for all the incredible work you are doing all over the world to make it a better place. Your hard work and dedication inspires us every day.
Now, go out and do something good for yourself today.