Let my back be a bridge

March 28th, 2008

I did a training today for an incredible group of people. I was in a room filled with visionaries- people who get things done because it would never occur to them not to be vigilantly working to find solutions to every problem they see.

The issue in the non-profit community of high achieving visionaries, however, is that often they are working in systems or organizations that are so dysfunctional, mis-managed, under-resourced or inadequately staffed. There are an elite group of people in this world who just know how to get things done. And these people are often drawn to these failing systems because they know they can make an incredible difference and work towards a mission they believe in.

But I am recently beginning to question, what is the cost of working in this way. When we decide that we must stay in a job because we are afraid of what will happen to the organization or the kids in the programs or the people who have come to depend on us - what happens to the passion and vision that burns in us? My experience is that when you operate in crisis mode for too long the creative parts of us start to die, and when that happens we begin to lose the life force that fuels us forward. This is when people start to use words like burn-out.

I think that we should never become martyrs to a cause. Those creative, impassioned people in the world who know what they are doing and are forced to manage their boss and manage the programs and manage themselves would most definitely be able to achieve their life work in a more functional scenario. It may be time to start your own organization. It may be time to expand your horizons. It may be time to stop holding something up that doesn’t have the healthy structure to deserve holding up.

I think we need to have the courage and the passion to love ourselves enough, to never become a martyr in this way. To never do for someone or something else. To know that we do our best work, connected to source, when we are doing what feels right for us, not out of a sense of obligation or responsibility, but out of a sense of love, and longing to create and manifest- to see our visions come true.