We as humans are so good at making things hard, aren’t we? I know I am. Not to brag or anything, but I am incredibly talented at pushing so hard on something that I not only wear myself out, but also make the task so much longer and more difficult.
For some reason we often think that if something is hard, it’s better. We mistakenly believe that if we aren’t killing ourselves trying to get something done, we probably aren’t doing our best work. As a diehard, type A personality, I have spent most of my life buying into this ethos. And I know I have many kindred spirits in the nonprofit sector where the Savior Complex encourages nonprofit leaders to believe your social change work has to be hard, thankless, defeating.
But it doesn’t have to be. The work of social change can be joyful, it can easy, it can be abundant.
When something comes easily to you, when it is fun and effortless and joyful, you are doing your best work. In fact, you are likely doing the work you were put on earth to do. This is essentially the idea behind the Zones of Genius concept I talk about in my book, and that I discussed a few weeks ago on the blog.
Every single one of us has a Zone of Genius, a set of activities that we were born to do. They come naturally to you, and therefore they are so easy and joyful. But somewhere along the way, the message got warped. You began to believe the opposite: that you are supposed to be doing the hard, difficult, challenging things.
Like most social change leaders, you likely rarely give yourself permission to make something easy, to have fun, to find joy and space and peace.
So take a minute and answer this question:
“What would it look like if your social change work were easy?”
Really pause and think about that for a minute. If you are struggling with finding an answer, try one of these on for size:
- You jump out of bed every morning because you are so excited to get to work.
- You feel incredibly grateful at various points throughout the day because you get to do this work.
- When you think about your staff and your board, a huge smile breaks across your face because they are so amazing.
- You can easily visualize all of your organization’s big goals coming to fruition.
- When you encounter a challenge in the work, you see it as a fun and exciting opportunity to think about how to do things differently and better.
If you’re not there yet, don’t worry, I get it. You’ve been conditioned to believe, for years (maybe decades), that work — especially social change work — must be challenging and hard in order to be meaningful and right. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, when it is easy and joyful and fun, it is so much more effective.
So start thinking about what easier means for you. And then start making easy your new goal.
There’s much more about how to make your work easier and more joyful in my new book Reinventing Social Change, which is available now. And don’t forget to subscribe to my email list to hear about trainings, reader’s circles, webinars and much more that will help you attract all the abundance you need to achieve your mission.
Photo Credit: Nathan McBride