Once again, I’d like to welcome back Maureen Carruthers (pictured at left). Maureen is a non-profit consultant, and the force behind the excellent blog “Low Hanging Fruit Communication” which covers many topics including social media for non-profits.
Maureen’s goal is to help nonprofit leaders reach their right people more quickly so their organizations have a greater impact, She has over ten years experience working in and around nonprofit organizations, most recently as the Workforce Development Program Manager for the Dayton Tooling and Manufacturing Association, where she managed a robot competition based on theBattleBots television series. Previously, she managed the Orchestra Forum program for theInstitute for Cultural Policy and Practice and served as House Manager for the Delaware Theatre Company.
I have spent some time on Maureen’s blog, and I highly recommend you check her site out. I learned a lot! You can even sign up for Maureen’s free e-class and newsletter.
Super-hero Guide to Beating Burnout
I’ve mentioned before that I’m something of a geek, right? Excellent. that means the fact that this post is basically one big comic book metaphor won’t come as such a shock.
Thanks to the summer of small voices series, I’ve been thinking about heroes, especially unlikely heroes, a lot lately.
Thanks to spending over six hours this summer watching comic book heroes come to life on the big screen* I’ve also noticed some important parallels between those real life heroes and their comic book counterparts.
Heroes develop over time
New super heroes are bad at their job. Really, shockingly embarrassing to everyone but their mothers, bad. These heroes are so consistently (and comically) hopeless that every origin story includes a bit where the new hero loses to his nemesis in an embarrassing fashion, or, at the very least gets knocked down repeatedly by a generally cranky coach who spends the whole scene complaining about how much better new recruits were in his day.
If these heroes blessed with (sometimes literally) out-of this world powers have to work up to being consistently awesome, doesn’t it follow that you, mere above-average-mortal-with-a-dream that you are, might need some time to learn your craft as well? Take a break from beating yourself up for being less than 100% perfect already, and take refuge in knowing that being able to see your short-comings is a sign of your future awesomeness.
Heroes need a secret hideout
It’s hard to be a super-hero. People expect you to be, well super, all the time. And yet, everyone needs a place where they can let their hair down, release a little steam, complain in private, admit they might be a little scared, and train for their next mission.
You are not an exception to this rule. If you want to continue to make the world a better place for years to come, work now to create a safe haven– a physical or virtual place you can go where you can let down your guard, be yourself, and even be the one who gets saved (rather than does the saving) once is awhile.
Heroes need back-up
Have you noticed that almost every super-hero has at least one side-kick, as well as a handful of “regular” human friends that love and support her when the going gets tough? Many heroes even take those connections a bit further and join a team of super-heroes, like the X-Men, Teen Titans, Avengers, or The Justice League so they can take on levels of evil they’d never consider tackling on their own.
And yet, real life heroes sometimes worry their good deeds won’t count if they don’t defeat injustice on their own–or worse, fear there aren’t enough resources to fix everything that needs fixing, so by teaming up with other do-gooders they risk siphoning resources away from the cause closest to their heart.
I’m not here to suggest collaboration is always easy–even super heroes do some in-fighting. But by shifting one’s outlook from a scarcity paradigm to one of abundance, more heroes will find the courage to team up with “the competition” and I promise, the world will be better for it.
Want a little help?
I can’t make you be nicer to yourself, but I am creating a safe place for heroes like you to hang-out, learn new moves and meet the future members of your personal Justice League. It’s not quite ready for you to hang your cape in yet, but if an internet-based secret lair** appeals to you let me know by clicking here to get on the waiting list.
You’ll be the first to know when the doors open–and get a sweet deal on club dues. If you want, I’ll even let you help pick paint colors.
Can’t wait to see you in the secret lair!**
*Green Lantern, X-Men: First Class and Captain America: The First Avenger, in case you were wondering
**When it’s up and running the secret lair will not actually be called a secret lair but you and I will totally know its true nature.