Why do you put off what you need to do?
Is it because you don’t have time?
Is it because you don’t know how to do it?
Or is it because you really don’t want to do it?
What is it about?
I know a nonprofit founder who has put off, for years, actually getting her 501 c 3 status.
Why has she done this to herself?
She could have gotten hundreds of thousands of dollars for her nonprofit at this point.
What would make someone put off something they really needed to do like this?
What’s going on behind the scenes?
Taking time to do the right thing is hard.
It requires that we show up, and do the work, and accept the consequences of our actions.
It requires, in short, taking responsibility for everything.
A true nonprofit leader needs to do this.
Recently I read a book called Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield, which goes into detail about how to get more serious and successful in your life, and I of course immediately took this to the place of your nonprofit.
How can you get more serious about what needs to get done in your nonprofit?
What is holding you back? I mean, REALLY holding you back?
I think you’ll find that 9 times out of 10, YOU are holding you back.
How so, you ask?
You’ve got to start with your own psychological issues.
I’m totally serious here.
Because sometimes part of you doesn’t want you to succeed.
Part of you wants to keep failing.
Part of you self-sabotages your nonprofit, so that every day you might take 1 step forward and 2 steps back.
How does this look?
Let’s say you had a childhood where people abused you. Or maybe one of your parents was an alcoholic. Maybe your caregivers were not loving, or neglected you. So you start out life thinking that you are not good enough, that you are unloveable.
So then you grow up. You hold this in your heart even while around you people tell you they love you.
You start a nonprofit, or you start working for a nonprofit. Your sabotage comes out to bite you.
It says, “Who are you to stick your neck out like this? Don’t get too successful! It’s not safe! Stay small! Don’t be too professional! It’s safer to kind of get it together, but not too much! Don’t be too organized! Be chaotic! That way, when you fail, then you won’t have far to fall!”
Or maybe it’s even deeper than that. “I don’t like myself” you might be thinking. “I don’t like myself, and I am trying to help people like me. They need my help. But I am not good enough. I am afraid of stepping up and being a leader. I don’t want to be a leader. I don’t want to fundraise. I just want to do program work, because this feels safe to me.”
“So I am going to act out, like a child. I am going to sabotage other people’s efforts to make me be a leader. I am going to take out my fear and anger on them, just like my parents took it out on me. That will teach them to make me fundraise or get organized!”
Does this seem familiar? Do you know someone like this at your nonprofit? Is that person you?
If this seems familiar, you might like to read the ACOA Sourcebook, (That’s Adult Children of Alcoholics Sourcebook) because it talks about all of the underlying issues when someone is self-sabotaging. And it just might help you deal with this person in your life, even if this person is you.
Personally, I struggle to stay organized in my business. I struggle to plan ahead, to do what needs to be done. I have so much to do and feel overwhelmed a lot of the time.
I do procrastinate. But self-sabotage is less and less one of my problems. I attribute this to reading this book. I highly encourage you to read this, because even if it doesn’t describe you, chances are, you will meet someone in your nonprofit workplace that it does apply to.