Leaders of non-profit organizations feel the overwhelming responsibility of challenging the status quo in the causes they believe in. And not only do they face insurmountable obstacles in trying to address such issues, but they do so while being under-compensated and over-worked. No wonder that the risk for burnout amongst non-profit leaders at 50 percent is double that of the average American worker.
The best way to avoid burnout that comes from challenges and the experience of setbacks in the non-profit sector is to build personal resilience.
Personal resilience is having and using personal resources to overcome challenges. It is having the ability to not just “bounce back”, but to “bounce forward” when faced with outside challenges. An individual with personal resilience is optimistic, has mental agility, can manage stress, has heightened stamina and confidence that helps them overcome tough setbacks. You can build and strengthen these personal resources with a whole-body, holistic approach. Here are five ways non-profit leaders can boost their personal resilience and thus avoid burnout.
One of the most important areas when it comes to building personal resilience is your mental health. Disconnect regularly from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, tune into your body and practice breath-work to achieve a calmer, clearer focus. To build optimism, try to see each challenge and setback as part of the road to success and an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as defeat.
By clearly defining your personal mission and purpose and setting easily attainable goals that align with it, you experience success more often, which boosts stamina. Make it a point at the end of each day to reflect on and work through your feelings about the day’s events.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you and give you energy, and frequently make time for social settings that bring you positive energy. You can draw from these social connections a refreshed perspective and even imitate the strength you see in others.
When you’re proactive about your physical health, heightened stamina and a sense of confidence naturally develop. Rest well! Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, even if you feel like you should be working instead. Food-wise, focus on adding energy to your body instead of indulging in nutrition-bankrupt, comfort food – at the end of the day you’ll lose out. Eat slow-burning carbs, cut out added sugar and processed meals and snacks and make it a point to move every day.
When you task yourself with work you’re good at and delegate to others tasks less interesting to you, you’ll feel rewarded more often. Find mentors that hold you accountable and inspire you. Mentoring others is also rewarding and helps you recognize your strengths, which builds confidence, too.
Non-profit leaders equipped with these powerful personal resources display the stamina, mental agility, and optimism needed to overcome challenges related to their work. By building their personal resilience they possess within their own mind and body what it takes to avoid burnout and can pursue their passion and carry their immense responsibilities a little more comfortably.