“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they go by.” — Douglas Adams
April may be the cruellest month (or so said T.S. Eliot) but December, the Month of Deadlines, can sure run a close second.
“Wait a minute,” we think. “I was supposed to have another job by now! I was supposed to have done that volunteer training by now! I was going to have called all our major donors by now! I was supposed to have found my life partner by now!” Not to mention the deadlines for holiday shopping, for making personal donations by the end of the year, and for cleaning your office.
But don’t let deadlines – real and imagined – make you crazy. Take a breath. Or two. One of the best gifts I ever received was from two coworkers. They scheduled a 3-hour meeting with me for December 23. “It’s an idea we have for a new project,” they said. “We want to be sure there’s enough time to discuss it thoroughly.” When I showed up, they shouted “Surprise! There’s no meeting! We’re giving you this 3-hour period to go Christmas shopping.”
Be a little easy on yourself this month, if you can, and let this issue of Blue Avocado give you a hand. Take a 3-Minute Vacation – like a trip to wildlife habitats via National Geographic. Give someone an unexpected compliment. Instead of freaking out about end-of the-year accounting, change the way you think about tax forms, as Jeanne Bell suggests in “Six Things Every Board Member Should Know About the New 990.” Dump your old way of thinking about your annual report.
“I’ve been lucky to have a life full of love,” said Diane Keaton’s character in “Marvin’s Room.” Her nephew asks, “Because so many love you?” “No,” she answers. “Because I have had so many people to love.” Maybe it’s impossibly corny to take inspiration from a movie line, but isn’t it by working and volunteering at community nonprofits that we find ways to give? –Jan Masaoka
P.S. Our goal at Blue Avocado is nothing less than changing the community nonprofit sector’s view of itself. We can appreciate ourselves for not only doing much of the heavy lifting in service provision, but for binding and strengthening communities, and for providing the vehicles for giving back and for leading social change. That’s all part of going easy on ourselves, too. Thanks for joining us . . . and pass along Blue Avocado to a friend or colleague!