Top 3 Survival Tips for Tough Times

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Written By: Janet Rock, Director, Design & Development

This month marks my 11 year anniversary working at Propellus. It will come as no surprise, but working in the non-profit sector has its ups and downs. It can be super hard or ultra-rewarding. Some of us may be experiencing some of these challenges right now. Is funding especially difficult this year? Are you experiencing higher demand for services and feeling the stretch? What keeps you going? How do you manage through the challenging times? I don’t have any sage advice, but I do like to remind myself of the important things around my anniversary and so I share them with you.

  1. Listen to someone who cares as much as you do. When things are challenging it can be easy to feel discouraged. If you’re like me, you work with some outstanding people who are so smart and dedicated. I like to take time to learn what they are up to, what’s exciting them today about our work. Often, without even needing to unload my own burden, I can feel refreshed and reinvigorated by the mutual love we share for our work. Pro tip: do this at a coffee shop with your favourite daytime beverage! Even Harvard Business Review says we all need friends at work.
  2. Re-commit. Let’s be honest, when things are really difficult, I’ve thought about running for the hills. For me, the key to getting through the tough times has been to never make a decision to leave when things are most challenging. I commit to the challenges right in front of me and I focus on getting through that. And things always get better again. It’s the beauty of working in our sector, isn’t it? To experience challenges and come out with even more commitment to the causes we believe in. It’s certainly what keeps my interest and energy going. Click here for some advice on slowing down the decision to move on.
  3. Make micro fun times. When things are busy or challenging it’s tough to take time out for a pizza party and if you’re like me, you may even be too tired to go for drinks after a long work day. Try to find fun moments throughout the day. Having a long, hard budget meeting? Take 2 minutes to do some fun yoga stretches. Share your trail mix with a co-worker. Play one round of eye-spy out of your office window. Throw on the latest song that gets your foot taping (and if you are feeling like being the office cheerleader, try it without the headphones!). For me, taking the time to disrupt my routine with a bit of fun can make a bad day good again. These moments of micro fun help me to feel replenished and ready to get back to it! The CEO of LinkedIn agrees.

No matter the challenge, our focus and our passion can help us through the tough times. What do you do when you struggle? How do you encourage your team and yourself to stay motivated? I’ll leave you with one last reference, in case you need a quick reminder of why we work so hard to make the difference we make, take a quick look at these inspirations from Pinterest.

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