For the past week, I have taken the challenge of writing 500 words each day for 31 days. This is a challenge from Jeff Goins. So far, it has been wonderful! I wanted to share with you one of this missives on contentment. (Note: this has not been fully edited so please forgive!) Please feel free to dialogue with our community with your thoughts on the topic.
Day 7 – I wish that some had told me (and remind me since) that I am good enough. I know that I have heard it. But what I knew never traveled to my heart. I keep volunteering for different projects with the hopes of being thanked or recognized. As I wrote yesterday, I minimize the work needed while expecting to be recognized. It’s an interesting tension.
What I am understanding is that contentment is not as difficult to experience IF I just get myself out of the way as I do what I am designed to do. I am an encourager. I am a leader “sidekick” (i.e., I help the visionary leader get it done through encouragement, delegation assistance, etc.). It doesn’t raise more money directly. It is the “soft” part of the job. BUT it is welcomed and needed.
The metrics I tended to live by included how many people responded to my posts and thank yous for spending time with someone. If I didn’t have almost immediate feedback on my goodness, I changed direction. Yet, in my line of work, getting noticed means doing what is right (proven by others) and sticking to it. For example,many fundraisers will write handwritten notes to donors. Because of time constraints, we tend to write these only to significant donors, never reaching the less significant ones. Of course, their significance is based on how much they personally give and/or how well connected they are in their community. It’s Not wrong, it’s just a fact of life.
In my work, Iam attempting to reach each donor that is in my portfolio a minimum of twice each year with such a note. Why? Because few fundraisers do this. To stand out here,it means doing something without the internet. I can’t encourage people enough to find a way to make this happen.
An embedded point is that my worth is NOT based on how many cards that I do or the number of responses that I receive from these notes. (In fact, I can count with the fingers on both hands the number of times a donor mentioned my handwritten notes over these past 25 years.) My worth comes from doing what is right when nobody’s looking.
Not being good enough has cost me some money. After 7 years of running video at our church(filming, editing, etc.) I thought that I could start a business. After one year and $10,000 invested, I folded. I was not content with the money that I was earning and thought this might work as a side job. Instead, it was a money pit that took a few years to fill in and get back on track.
So, am I goodenough? Yes. I still fight against filling my time with too much unconnected things.However, I find that I am spending more time hone my work craft, studying for the classes that I teach at our church, and reading (well, listening) to books.The ideas that flow from these foci are clearing the cobwebs in my head. I can see clearly that I have worth and I am content with that.
What are your thoughts on contentment?