“Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” Albert Einstein.
It’s midwinter and getting out of bed on a cold morning is a struggle. Even my border collie, a hardy soul, put one paw outside the door this morning and thought better of it. How’s your motivation right now?
We know that end of financial year can be a high-pressure time. You’re super busy and time feels scarce. It can lead to a state called ‘tunnelling’ where people concentrate on immediate, low value tasks to get things off the To Do list. Tunnelling creates a vicious cycle, where you avoid the bigger strategic goals and simply add to your stress and busyness. You can feel stuck and end up languishing, not flourishing.
Partnerships don’t always fit neatly into budget years, and they can take 12 months to come to fruition. You need to keep up your motivation whilst you’re nurturing the relationships. Here are 10 simple tips to boost your motivation and keep the wheels turning every day.
- Reconnect with your WHY. In the midst of busyness you can lose sight of why you’re doing what you’re doing. What is it about your cause that inspires you? I recommend spending time with your program/ services team and scheduling a visit to one of your organisation’s great programs. Hearing from frontline staff or beneficiaries about the value of your work can be inspiring. You’ll get your head out of the day-to- day tasks and reconnect with your WHY.
- Revisit past partnerships. Reflect on what you achieved together. Check in and give your former corporate partners a call and see how they’re going now. You may even get an awesome testimonial to use in your next pitch deck.
- Thank someone. When was the last time you properly said thank you to a colleague who helped you get a partnership over the line? Or acknowledged the support that you’re receiving from a current corporate partner? Even better, thank them publicly on a social media post they can share. Giving makes us all feel better and creates an urge for reciprocity in the one being thanked.
- Ask for a referral. If you’ve got a great cohort of existing partners that love you, then ask for a referral. Ask them who else might be passionate about your cause or who needs help with a similar business issue. Don’t be shy about tapping into their networks.
- Connect with your peers. Partnerships can be a lonely journey, so reach out and share the ups and downs with people who get it. Join our next Partnership Huddle if you want to meet other partnership professionals.
- Set small goals for each day. Don’t get overwhelmed by the whole To Do List, just focus on one or two key things you want to achieve that day. Quick tip from productivity expert Donna McGeorge- the first two hours of the day are usually the best time for conquering the meaty, thinking tasks.
- Give yourself rewards. If you’ve achieved the goals for the day, give yourself a treat. It could be a walk in the sunshine, a special coffee or 15mins watching cute puppy videos. Note- this is after you’ve hit your goal, not an excuse for procrastination!
- Stay match fit. Don’t forget to nurture your own health and wellbeing. Improved physical health will help with stress management during those busy days. Taking a walk at lunchtime will fill your brain with oxygen and combat those winter bugs.
- Learn to say no more often. All of you working with small teams, trying to do everything- I see you. Just because you’re totally passionate about your cause doesn’t mean you have to be a martyr to it. You can say no to the extra project, longer hours or umpteenth meeting if they’re making you unproductive or exhausted.
- Ask for help. That might be help from outside experts or just help from your boss to reprioritise the huge amount of stuff on your desk. Don’t accept that busyness is the new normal.
We want you to stay the course through winter and emerge into Spring with plenty of energy in the tank. Keep the wheels of the bicycle moving and you’ll be closer to your partnership goals with every turn.