I came across one of my favorite quotes today. It went like this...
"Be the light in your world, wherever you are, today. Your smile or word of encouragement or forgiveness may be the very salve someone needs to heal a deep wound." - Betty Mahalik (1953-2014).
Betty was a close colleague of mine and my encouragement coach. She was one of the smartest, kindest, most intuitive women that I've ever met. I invited her into my life at a time when I was having a hard time managing some of the stress that comes with fundraising and the nonprofit world. She showed me the way to manage that stress and to stop overthinking everything! Betty was my hero. There are days when I miss her a lot and think about how she guided me through my career.
Ironically, I found Betty's quote today just after I got off the phone with another fundraiser. She was struggling with some of the same issues in her career that I faced more than a decade ago. I encouraged her to stop stressing over her mistakes. There is no perfect fundraiser and there is no perfect career. When we get up each day and do this job, we always hope for the best. We have to because people are counting on us. The world needs us to step up and do our best so we can make the world a better place.
As I was talking to her, I noticed she found some solace in what I shared with her. She became a bit more calm - more at peace with where she was with her fundraising career.
I finished up the phone call thinking to myself, I'm so happy to have made someone feel better today about their life. We all need that once in a while, especially when we have the weight of the world on our shoulders, and specifically when we are facing the monumental task of raising millions of dollars.
So many fundraising professionals go about their day-to-day job and never complain or say a word. Remember, they could use some encouragement now and then. Give them a smile, say thank you, or buy them lunch. Do something that will let them know that someone cares about them and their work.