In the past, I have talked about not burning yourself out on participating in too many projects. What if you are feeling burnt out by your own organization? Has the spark of passion in your mission flickered out?
We don’t do easy work, and I have seen many domestic and international non-profit/aid/foreign service workers get jaded by governments, bureaucracy, or by the ‘lack’ of progress seen. We get questioned about why we work with those people in that country, when we could obviously be working with people in country X. We are told that constituents are undeserving because of a certain prejudice they hold, or just pure ignorance.
That’s enough for anyone to feel like giving up. I know I’ve lost that loving feeling for my organization from time to time. Trying to stay positive in that midst of a wave of negativity has tempted me to throw in the towel more than once. We need to focus on what drives us, not what tears us down. The most important people to think of are who we are working with and the communities who are grateful for what we do.
When I get bogged down by pessimism or red tape I try to go to the core of my passion: the answer to WHY I run an organization without funding for a salary.
The answer could be abstract, but for me the majority of the time I seek out tangible pictures. Whenever I lose my drive, I try to look at pictures from my organization. These pictures of the people we work with re-energize me, strip me of my pessimism, and focus me back on the mission.
Whether you have a picture, a saying, or a song, you need to have something that draws your passion back and reminds you of your organization’s goals and how important your mission is.
Remember, even if your day sucked and you are feeling disenchanted, you are a driving force behind feeding the homeless, creating quality education, fighting disease, and many other worthy causes.
Chin up. Focus on the mission. We couldn’t do it without you.