Socialpreneur Starting with Self-Care
Your effectiveness as social entrepreneur rests on your ability to keep your internal innovation engine going strong. Sure, there's a whole world that needs you to transform its systems to benefit everyone, but they won't get what they need if YOU don't get what YOU need. In today's post, I'll give you specific techniques you can use to keep yourself in top shape in the process of doing social good. It's time for you time!
Make a list of things that make you happy.
Yes, I am really recommending you sit down and literally write out your raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. You've heard of the concept of the 'happy place'. I want you to think of your happy things, thoughts, activities, everything that puts you in a great mood no matter how small or how bizarre. Some of my favorite things are sitting on a heat vent with a blanket to make a tent of warmth all around me. If I can do this while level grinding (spending a lot of time raising the level of a character) on my favorite role playing game video game, I'm in absolute heaven. I also enjoy thinking about what I would do if I were in a horror movie setting (hint: it would NOT be investigating that creepy thing over there or saying those ancient words and daring something to happen!). You've probably got loads of things that make you happy, but you don't realize it because you didn't write them down. Once you've got your list, you can do/say/think one of those things when you're feeling run-down and questioning your entrepreneurial journey. When we're in such a negative state, it can be tempting to make decisions as a way to get out of it, but that's the worst thing you can do! Reach for your list of delight to improve your mood and think more objectively about how to overcome your latest challenge.
Be your own sleep General.
I know it sounds a bit weird stated like that, but what I mean is that you can make your sleep a priority by ensuring that you stick to a rigid sleep schedule. If you know that your best quality work gets done in the morning, you might consider getting up earlier to get some solid work in before you start your day job. Decide the time you want to wake up and subtract the number of hours you need for sleep to get the time you need to not only be in bed, but be asleep. If you need help figuring out how much you need, try visiting the www.sleep.org, a content-filled resource for sleep at every age. Note that they aren't sponsoring this post at all; I'm recommending them because their content has helped me stay sufficiently rested.
Take a vision break.
I define vision break as a time period where you step away from the day-to-day operations or hustle of your social enterprise to think about your progress toward your vision. You leave behind the smaller issues of customer acquisition costs and hiring to get to the heart of your vision. Are your programs/products/services moving you toward your vision of a better future? If you need a refresher on how to build you mission and vision, check out my post on how to do just that. Taking vision breaks is ESSENTIAL to ensuring continuous innovation in meeting the changing needs of your stakeholders and the cause you serve. This is the time that you invest in professional development through perhaps an online course, a book, a mastermind, or a retreat. You devote time to understanding your social enterprise's relationship to your stakeholders and to others whose missions support the same cause. As a proponent of continuous learning, I suggest taking a vision break in some form once every 2-3 months to course-correct as soon as possible and to guard against burnout. You owe it to yourself and your stakeholders to provide the best product, service, or program without sacrificing yourself in the process.
It's easy to be a social entrepreneur fueled by passion and purpose, but if you don't fuel you body and your mind, you'll soon go down in flames. By nurturing your mind, your body, and your vision, you can overdetermine for success in producing lasting social change. To get more practical steps for implementing your vision for social change, sign up for my mailing list . Change agents on my mailing list will receive early access to my social enterprise online community debuting on January 1, 2017!