I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how hard it feels to build resilience when you work alone.

Confession time:

I’m having a little bit of a tough week when it comes to self-confidence. I’m a few weeks into the official launch of Collective Reach, and as with so many projects, I’m starting to have to fight off those inner doubts that creep in as the adrenaline wears off.

It probably seems like a really bad idea to air these doubts out on my business blog, the place I publish content intended to help “sell” me to potential clients. Why would I present anything other than unshakable confidence?

Attention: I am human!

Quality relationships over quantity

I’m abandoning the illusion of infallibility because I didn’t launch Collective Reach to attract a mountain of clients; I’m one person with only so much capacity. I launched this site because I want to authentically connect with other people who are working small toward big things. I’m here to facilitate deeply fulfilling work among people who get each other.

And if we’re going to get each other, I have to be honest.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” 

― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Yes, I sell nonprofit communications solutions, but my parallel purpose at Collective Reach is to make room for real talk about the aspects of mission-driven work that make it simultaneously exhilarating, terrifying, satisfying and exhausting. Even if you never hire me, I know we can connect on this level.

While publicly launching my own business is sticking my neck out in a new way, this exposure and self-doubt are familiar feelings among nonprofit communicators. I know this because I’ve been grappling with it my entire career, and through my launch survey you’ve been telling me you feel it, too.

worried woman awake at night
Have you taken my survey yet?
Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

Using your voice to amplify a nonprofit mission (or any other project you believe in deeply) requires constant vulnerability, and constant vulnerability requires us to cultivate resilience.

Just think of some of the things you’re tasked with as a representative of your mission, everything from high-level strategizing to making sure there aren’t any typos in your Tweets.

People (including ourselves) expect authenticity, accuracy and creativity. It’s a lot to shoulder, a lot to be personally on the hook for.

Is it worth it? I think so.

So what do I do–what do we do–with that sucking undertow of insecurity that pulls at our ankles whenever we start to feel like we’ve found solid ground in our skills and ideas?

Hand reaching out toward horizon

For starters, let’s reach out to the people walking beside us. We may all be on our own paths, but we’re headed in the same direction.

I think everyone could use a little more company on this journey.

Let’s connect.

Did this post make you feel heard? Do you want to get in touch about the highs and lows of nonprofits, working solo, careers and motherhood, or just say hi? You can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn or send me a message by clicking here.

Want to join this budding community of mission-minded communicators? Subscribe to email updates for your monthly infusion of actionable advice blended with honest reflections on the nature of mission work.

Featured image credit: Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

4 comments

  1. Great read, Reanna! I especially like the closing: “let’s reach out to the people walking beside us. We may all be on our own paths, but we’re headed in the same direction. I think everyone could use a little more company on this journey.”

    Thank you for trudging alongside us all on this journey. Onward,
    John

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