Getting Your Mojo Back
No matter how much you love your job in the nonprofit sector (or any other sector, for that matter), you’re bound to have one of those days/weeks/months that your mama warned you about. From my vantage point, it sometimes feels like development directors carry the weight of a nonprofit on their shoulders like proverbial atlases. No funds = no programs = no service to the community. Oftentimes, that can also = low self-esteem, feelings of guilt, and added stress.
I stopped into the office on Easter Sunday with Art, to feed our resident cat and check on the theater. I sort of sighed inwardly, looking at the empty street and thinking that downtown seems pretty dead when we have nothing going on at the Capitol. On our way there, I had decided that I would take the opportunity to take some progress photos of some work being done in some of our newly-purchased buildings. My mind let out a kind of moan about working on my off hours, not having anyone to delegate photo-taking to, having too much on my plate already, etc. In an attempt to silence the negative voices in my head, I loaded the camera with new batteries, and strolled down front to see how Art was doing in his rounds.
When I reached the stage apron and casually turned around to face the auditorium, a strange feeling washed over me. An almost visceral memory of the awe that I had felt the first time I saw a show at the Capitol hit me like an unexpected wave. I could remember the excitement, the joy of getting involved, the sense of pride that I felt when I started working for the theater and making good things happen.
If I hadn’t been so busy getting burned-out and feeling overworked and under-appreciated, I may have been able to remember why I was here in the first place. We offer fun and entertaining programs for our patrons, expose children to the performing arts and film, and serve as a living room for our community. In 10 years, we have transformed the Capitol from a sporadically-used venue to one that does in excess of 100 performances per year. Remembering my passion for our organization and its work—and putting it to good use—makes me a much better advocate, and fundraiser, for my organization.
After this epiphany, taking progress photos, even on a holiday when I could be cozy at home, was a distinct pleasure. I couldn’t wait to tell people about all the great stuff that was happening at the Capitol, and ignite the excitement in them that would make them donate or get involved. All from taking a good look at what we do and why we do it.
If you’re feeling a little down about the work you do, I would encourage you to look at your cause with new eyes. Spend time with those who benefit from your programs. Walk around your facility or follow your organization on the road. Watch the work being done. Listen to the people and the workers; these are the stories that move people to action. Once you recharge your passion, there will be no stopping you.
Have you lost your mojo and gotten it back? Are you currently struggling in your position, and need a pick-me-up?
Posted on April 2, 2013, in Developing Relationships, Kylie, Philanthropy, Team Work, Workplace Issues, Your Career and tagged Burnout, Capitol, Mission, Mojo, Passion, Self-esteem. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.