Episode 7: Bridging Self-care, mental wellbeing and Successful Fundraising with Mallory Erickson
What does the cognitive behavior loop have in common with successful fundraising? Find out as we weave through the fascinating world of nonprofit fundraising with our guest, Mallory Erickson. This accidental fundraiser turned nonprofit guru shares how she skyrocketed an organization from one million to 3.8 million using a cocktail of design thinking, executive coaching, and habit and behavior design. We delve into how our thoughts, beliefs, and narratives can either propel or hinder success in our endeavors. Mallory also sheds light on the concept of energy and how to navigate it, particularly when you feel caught in a failure loop.
Categories: Nonprofit Expert Podcast
Episode 7: Bridging Self-care, mental wellbeing and Successful Fundraising with Mallory Erickson TranscriptPrint Transcript
Welcome to Nonprofit Expert presented by DonorPerfect.
Julia Gackenbach: 0:14
Okay, Read More
Welcome to Nonprofit Expert presented by DonorPerfect.
Julia Gackenbach: 0:14
Okay, welcome to Nonprofit Expert presented by DonorPerfect. We’re so glad to have you here. My name is Julia, I work with DonorPerfect on the marketing team and I’m so glad to be joined by Mallory Erickson today. Mallory, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role in the nonprofit world.
Mallory Erickson: 0:33
Yeah, so I have spent my entire career in the nonprofit sector, although it was not necessarily what I expected, but I started right out of college working for an organization in Boston. I was really focused on education policy and working in the public schools there and, like so many people inside the sector, ended up becoming an accidental fundraiser as I stayed in the sector and started to move my way up and first in a managing director role and then executive director role, had big fundraising responsibilities, and I hated fundraising.
Julia Gackenbach: 1:05
Yeah, you know, it’s funny. I think a lot of people end up in that place. I also was in fundraising and I got a job right out of college that was a nonprofit and then, as we mentioned, kind of moved through the ranks and became a development director and suddenly it was part of my role to fundraise and nobody told me anything about that and they just said, okay, this is our budget and try and find it. That’s a little intense.
Mallory Erickson: 1:31
Yeah, yeah, I there was when I was graduating college. There weren’t nonprofit courses and I didn’t really understand all the systems involved in creating social services through nonprofits, and so I didn’t understand that element of it or expect that element of it. I loved the organization. I wanted to further the work, and raising money to do so was a core piece of that, and so I kind of powered through but always felt really uncomfortable and ill prepared and like I didn’t know something that was hidden under a rug that everybody else seemed to understand, but me and I always. I remember always saying, like you know, there’s no way that good fundraisers want to throw up before major donor meetings, and so I had this big narrative in my head that I was a bad fundraiser, but that’s what it sort of looked like to you know, move up in this sector, and so I really got to a moment where I was thinking about leaving the sector because I couldn’t figure out how to get fundraising to work for me, and I ended up having some really lucky combination of life experiences that weren’t initially connected to my fundraising. I got certified as an executive coach, I got trained in habit and behavior design with Dr B J Fogg and I got trained in design thinking and those frameworks while I was frontline. Fundraising really fundamentally shifted the way that I fundraised and it had huge financial implications. I ended up moving an organization from a million to 3.8 really quickly. But more than anything, I started to love fundraising and I was like, if I can love fundraising, anyone can love fundraising.
Julia Gackenbach: 3:08
I think we all need to learn these things that you’ve learned. That’s really wonderful to be able to step into a role that maybe you didn’t know a ton about and then be able to say I really love it here and I’m thriving. You mentioned about this behavioral habit science, and it’s something that you know. Sometimes we have blockers in our head that we don’t really know about. I know I felt that way when I was fundraising. I didn’t know what was stopping me from making the ask or what was stopping me from trying something new for a campaign or something like that. Will you explain a little bit about what you’ve learned with the behavioral connection to fundraising?
Mallory Erickson: 3:44
Yeah, so one of the core principles of executive coaching is this idea of the cognitive behavior loop. So it’s this concept that our thoughts and our beliefs inform how we feel, and then how we feel ultimately impacts how we show up. So the actions that we take, but also the energy with which we take those actions, and then that’s what ultimately impacts our results. And so I think before I really understood the connection between my thoughts and my beliefs and my feelings and my actions, I was hyper focused on my actions and you know the to-do lists and the prioritizing to-do lists and I never really looked at what some of the driving forces were behind, why I was taking certain actions, why I wasn’t taking certain actions right, more focused, like action. Only then we can have this running to-do list. We never have enough time to do everything on our to-do list. Nobody does that day is never coming right and so. But then we just keep saying, okay, well, I just de-prioritized it, but I’ll prioritize it tomorrow. And it’s when we start to understand actually there’s resistance there. There’s something happening inside our brain and inside our body that is keeping that five minute task on your to-do list day after day after day, when we start to be able to get curious about that and say, okay, how does that action make me feel? Oh, it makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel like a sinking in my belly. I feel anxious when I think about it. Okay, so what are some of the thoughts and the beliefs that are leading to that anxiety? Because fundraising is just fundraising, like it’s. What makes things stressful are the thoughts and the beliefs that we hold about fundraising. I’m never going to hit this year’s budget. I have no idea how I did that last year, so I don’t know how I’m going to do it this year. So and so donor is giving less, and so that means X Blank is mad at me because they haven’t responded to my email in 48 hours. Those narratives that our brains naturally come up with in a perfectionist and protective way really impact how we feel, and then those feelings inform how we act and the energy with which we act.
Julia Gackenbach: 5:57
Yeah, I mean, you shared a few things there that I think I would love to dive into a little bit more. One of the things you talked about is this energy piece. Is there a way to like battle that energy or to correct that energy? I know, sometimes I would just feel like I was in a failure loop. Yeah like everything I tried was not going well or was not hitting the numbers I wanted it to hit. I wonder if that was a certain energy I was having and if there was a way for me to correct that.
Mallory Erickson: 6:27
Yeah, I mean so in the framework that I use. I got certified through an organization called IPEC and they have this framework called the Energy Leadership Index and it talks about these two forms of energy that we all experience on a spectrum catabolic energy and anabolic energy. So catabolic energy is a really depleting energy. We experience it when we’re in a lot of judgment, black and white, thinking that there’s a lot of resistance there and dread. We wake up and we’re like ugh, like it’s Monday or ugh, it’s January 1st, and that we’re experiencing a lot of catabolic energy. Antibolic energy is more of a flow state energy. It’s where we see a prism of opportunities win-win, collaboration, connection, joy, helping. All of those things are more anabolic and there’s a spectrum from one to seven, one being the most catabolic and seven being the most anabolic, and we’re a combination of those energies at all different moments, and I think about the old boomboxes with the flickering lights up and down, that that’s just how our energy is always moving and it’s not actually that One is bad and one is good, and everyone who’s listening to this is probably like well, I don’t know, like that pretty bad. But the truth is that actually, the whole spectrum is like necessary in the human experience, like when we are in, you know, protection mode, catabolic energy, that dread, that avoidance Sometimes, honestly, our nervous system is too is a little bit too vulnerable and we need to be there, we need to protect ourselves for a moment, we need to heal, we need to go inside. And so it’s not about judging ourselves like, oh, I’m experiencing this catabolic energy now and that’s bad. It’s about using it as it, as a curiosity, to say, okay, I’m feeling a lot of resistance here. What does that mean? What’s behind it and how do I want to show up for this moment? Right, and what do I want my experience to feel like. And then there are tools and ways that we can Choose to shift our energy when we want to like sometimes I will have something happen. I’ll be like, oh, like, I feel it like there’s that level one, that’s that victim hood and maybe I need to have a little pity party for myself really quick. But then I’m about to go into a meeting where I really want to be in my level five, which is like win-win, you know, mutual benefit and I’m like, okay, what would it look like? What would it take for me to start to feel more anabolic energy right now? And then you can play with different tools. And Even just that choice, even just that awareness that, like, we are not at the effect of our life and that we have Choice around how we show up and the energy we bring to certain situations, that alone starts to create more anabolic energy because we don’t feel so trapped in the circumstances that are happening to us.
Julia Gackenbach: 9:23
Yeah, I love that and I think the things that you just shared are so practical for fundraisers. I know for me I always felt like I was running to the next thing, I didn’t have time for Thinking anything, but just to take that one beat and say, okay, I’m, I’m feeling the thing right now and I’m gonna acknowledge that, and then I’m gonna move on. I think that’s really practical and helpful. That’s great another thing you talked about and that I Also very much so struggle with, as you mentioned perfectionism. I think as a fundraiser, it’s very hard, honestly, in any case, but especially as a fundraiser, it’s very hard to be perfect. There’s no way to control other people’s actions or giving or the fact that they will or will not show up for your event. Not that this is personal to me in any way. What would you say to someone who is, you know, really struggling with perfectionism in the nonprofit space?
Mallory Erickson: 10:20
Yeah, so I mean, perfectionism is really. First of all, perfectionism is an illusion. Like, perfect is an illusion. There’s no such thing like when we think something is perfect. It’s because we cannot see the Imperfection, like we don’t understand what’s behind the curtain, right? That’s why it’s so easy for us to observe other people and be like, oh, she does that perfectly right, because we’re not looking for anything else, we’re experiencing something in that moment, and but with ourselves, we know, we know what it took to bake that cookie and we know we put in just a little bit too much salt, right. And so perfection is a total illusion and, honestly, what it really is is a form of protection like our. Our striving for perfection is really to protect ourselves from criticism, self-doubt, negative self-talk, like all of those things. And so one of the one of the key strategies around Dealing with perfectionism is, first of all, to start to acknowledge that it’s an illusion, it’s not a real thing, and to have our own back when we are imperfect. And to really, because one of the things that happens is when we make a mistake and then we beat ourselves up about that and we Spiral in our head for a day or two. Then the next time we have to make a decision. We’re obsessing about how to make the perfect decision more than anything because we know how we treat ourselves when we make a mistake and if we start to show up for ourselves with more grace and compassion and understanding and you know, some of the sentences I use with myself is like you made the best decision with the information you had in that moment. You know, and you know more information now. Okay, well, that stinks, that you didn’t know it then but you didn’t know it, then you know and so, just like saying you know you made the best decision you could in the moment, or what something you can learn from this Without having to go back and sort of relitigate in your mind why you didn’t do the exact perfect thing, it’s like, okay, well, what’s the learning here? And Recognizing I remember one time when I was the managing director of this organization, there was a mistake that happened that cost the organization a thousand dollars, and we were really, we were really small and that Thousand dollars hurt, hurt at the time it totally did and acknowledging and validating how much we wished we hadn’t lost it was real. But then I remember saying to the executive director I remember saying you know this, in five years, when we’re a two million dollar organization Would be a hundred thousand dollar mistake, and so it’s actually really good that we learned it right now. Like a thousand dollars it hurts, but relatively like this was a really important lesson for us to learn, and so I think the way we talk to ourselves when we are imperfect is so important in starting to address our perfectionist tendencies.
Julia Gackenbach: 13:09
Yeah, that’s really helpful and great advice. Do you think that that perfectionism is what feeds those energy loops Like? Do you think that being able to address perfectionism in a healthy way feeds anabolic energy and losing yourself in the depths of perfectionism feeds the catabolic energy?
Mallory Erickson: 13:31
Well, perfectionism just is catabolic energy, because it is black and white thinking, it is tunnel vision. It’s completely like right or wrong. Right, in perfectionism there is no curiosity, there is no. There are a million right ways to do this. There’s one right way and it’s the perfect way, or you have failed. So it’s kind of the epitome of catabolic energy. And so when we start to, yeah, acknowledge and validate how we feel, show compassion for ourselves, and then get curious, all of those things are tools that start to bring us into more anabolic energy. So you know, people will always even ask me questions about the podcast how do you do the podcast? How do you get this thing to be perfect? And my answer is always there are 4,000 ways to make a great podcast right, and it’s about figuring out what’s the right way for you and so. But when we’re in that kind of like fear, I have to get this right. That right that we’re talking about in those moments is one way and we lose so much creativity and we lose so much opportunity when we’re in that mode. And so yeah, it’s. It really just is kind of the epitome of one of the ways catabolic energy materializes.
Julia Gackenbach: 14:39
Yeah, wow, that’s so interesting. I’m gonna, I’m gonna kind of put you on the spot here. Okay, I have a real scenario for you and I want you to tell me how I could have avoided perfectionism and catabolic energy in this moment.
Mallory Erickson: 14:54
Okay, hit me.
Julia Gackenbach: 14:55
Okay, it was. I was very, very early in my fundraising and we were sending out an invitation to an event and I had sent it to everyone in my company to look at it and to approve it. Everybody’s good about it, that’s fine. Once we sent it out, I announced in a meeting we’re so excited we sent out this invitation for this event. You can see the invitation. I put it at your, your table. I would love for you to take it home. Put it on your fridge, think about it, you know. And someone in the room who had reviewed the invitation raised his hand and said Julia, this is the wrong date and we had mailed 500 of these invitations. So my perfectionist self and my torpedo into catabolic energy sent me to every post office in my city to try and track down these invitations instead of taking a moment to address what had happened. So how would you have handled a huge failure situation without spiraling?
Mallory Erickson: 16:00
How long between when you sent those out to the mail and that announcement was it.
Julia Gackenbach: 16:07
I dropped them in one of those you know public mailboxes that was on the corner the afternoon before at like 4 30 pm. Okay, announced it in the meeting at 10 am. Okay, so I was like maybe it’s still in the mailbox.
Mallory Erickson: 16:21
I’m going to go find it.
Julia Gackenbach: 16:22
I did go to the mailbox, stood there until the mailman came.
Mallory Erickson: 16:26
There was nothing in there, okay yeah, I mean, I think you actually sort of said so the perfectionism a lot of times. So there are a few ways I would think about this. One is how you address the actual mistake. That happened right, and sometimes a level of urgency in addressing that mistake can allow you to correct it Like had you found, had you? I don’t think it’s such a bad thing that you tried to go to the mailbox and see if it was there, it’s like okay, like yeah, let’s see if there’s a way to intercept this right. That’s like an action to maybe save you some other work down the line of having to resend out invitations with another date. For me, where the perfectionism really comes in is how you were talking to yourself while that was happening, if what was happening in your head was. You’re so stupid, julia, you always mess things like this up. You know, I’m just saying things. I know I would say I mean definitely. Okay, that’s like you are there, Mallory, it’s because these narratives are the same in all of our heads. Right, you’re so bad at things like this, like why are you so bad at details like that? How could you have missed this? You should have known better. So all of those things that’s us verbalizing to ourselves in our mind we should have been perfect, Like, right, our expectation of ourself was perfectionism and we let ourselves down in being imperfect. So that’s where I think the course correction happens. Right, it’s like it doesn’t mean we don’t try to actually correct the actual mistake, if we can. Sure, right, you’re not going to let those invitations go out like that and never take another action and let everybody show up on the wrong date. Of course, not Like we’re going to correct mistakes, but it’s about what is the energy, the narrative that we bring to that mistake. Do you write everybody a totally self-deprecating email you know, bashing yourself for making a mistake or do you just come out being like, look how human we are. Apparently, we wanted to see you two weeks earlier you know, but the reality. But you know, here’s the actual date. And it gave us another excuse to tell you this story about Janet Like what a great opportunity to get into your mail again and doing something kind of fun, and sure did it maybe cost you a little bit more because you had to do a double mailer. But it’s more about, like, how you show up to that correction piece. I remember a few years ago I there was an email that went out for my email system where it was a. I always personalize my emails in my newsletter and the first name, personalization sort of way that you enter that in was misspelled and so or there was, it was missing some character. So everybody got an email that said hi, first name, and my VA at the time like freaked out and was like we have to send an oops email, like we need to really kind of put our tail between our legs and send an email out to everyone, like immediately apologizing and all of this stuff. And I took a beat and I felt in my body the like fear and urgency to make it right. I felt the perfectionism like wanna come up, the like how could you let this happen, all of these things. But I took a step back and I said, okay, what’s a way that this could feel good. Like what that oops email is not gonna feel good to me and it’s probably not gonna feel that great to anybody receiving it right, but like what’s a way that I can really stand in my authenticity, be a human. Not let the embarrassment of the moment or the shame I might be feeling drive my next behavior. Like what does it look like to really do this in a way that feels good? And you know part of that was also addressing in my head like this stuff is so normal. And mistakes happen, and I cannot expect myself to never have things like this happen in my business, and so I ended up writing this email about how I’m gonna keep personalizing all of my emails, mistakes and all, and how it’s so easy in the nonprofit sector when something like that happens or there’s some data issue or something like that, we avoid then using that automation or we avoid using that data because something went wrong that one time, and that the reality is. Is everybody who’s getting this email right now knows that I do not personally one on? one email 5,000 people at four AM on Tuesday morning Everybody knows that the personalization is there because I like speaking to you personally, but does it mean that sometimes there aren’t little tech glitches that go wrong? No, but this is what it looks like to just to keep going. And that email, more than any other email I’ve ever written in the last three years, had the flood of responses.
Julia Gackenbach: 21:31
Mallory Erickson: 21:33
And so I think that’s the piece is like recognizing that perfectionism is a gut reaction, it’s a protection strategy, it’s a get small, disappear, don’t be open to any level of criticism or anything like that, and to take those moments to say like, yeah, I’m not perfect and I don’t expect myself to be perfect, but what does it look like for me to correct mistakes then in a way that feels good?
Julia Gackenbach: 22:01
Right, I feel it even just happening in this conversation. You know, when you said an email, a tail between my legs, oops email. And then you said I learned from this and we all make mistakes, like the energy when those statements are said is so different, just sitting here talking about it, so I can’t imagine people receiving an email and feeling one way or the other. It’s really interesting how quickly that changes, which is what you were saying before about taking a beat in the moment and saying oh, I’m feeling a little icky, I’m going to take a moment and consciously move myself on the spectrum which is really great.
Mallory Erickson: 22:38
And so for your invitation thing, it could be like okay, let’s go see if they’re still in the mailbox, because that would be awesome, and then, if they’re not okay, we’ll figure out another plan, another way to address this, but without the whole story, the whole narrative, the whole, like you know, beating ourselves up for a week around it.
Julia Gackenbach: 23:00
Yeah, and I think that’s the. I think the mailbox was a good move on my mind. I think the four post offices I went after not quite necessary.
Maybe that’s where the line should have been drawn is the mailbox.
Julia Gackenbach: 23:14
No, I appreciate that advice and I learned a lot from that experience. And I don’t know, I think fundraisers just want the perfectionism but, I, do think sometimes we forget anyone on the receiving end of the things that we’re putting out want us and our organization to succeed Like they’re on our side Totally. I think sometimes it feels like you’re in it alone as a fundraiser and all the people giving to your organization are in it with you. You know you’re not alone, but it’s. It’s hard to feel like you’re the one putting that information out and so you have to make it perfect. That’s definitely about it. Well, are there any pieces of advice that you could share for the sector as a whole when supporting fundraisers? You and I are both very empathetic to fundraisers specifically. We’ve both been in the shoes of a fundraiser and we know the pressure and the stress. But what about? You know an executive director or a board member or a donor. What would you say to people that are part of the nonprofit but not necessarily the fundraiser? About helping the fundraiser to feel the freedom, to have anabolic energy and to not seek perfectionism?
Mallory Erickson: 24:28
Yeah, I mean, I think some of that is in the response to something like the letter. You know, it’s like what happens in the room when that happens. You know how and what’s not just what are people saying, but what’s the energy in the room, just like what you said. You could feel the difference in my energy when I was saying those two sentences. We can feel people’s energy and we can feel when our bosses get clenched yeah, even if they have said nothing right. And so I think, as the board or the executive director or a people manager with any type of and not just positional leadership, like, just like your energy in the room. You know, and this is why addressing your own perfectionism is so important, because if you are expecting perfection from yourself, you’re going to expect it from the people around you, Like they’re just because it’s catabolic energy, it’s judgment, it’s black and white thinking. You can’t only hold it for yourself and then have anabolic energy for everybody else. So one of the ways to support fundraisers being an anabolic energy is to be an anabolic energy yourself. And when something like that happens, to get curious, to be compassionate. Okay, what’s a creative way we could solve this? You know, okay, julia, like things like this happen like. I know this feels big right now, but let’s think about how we can use this to build even deeper relationships with our donors. Like, what could we do here? So I think one is like in the reaction to the imperfection is really important. I also think sharing your own imperfections is really important. I think the more leaders can be transparent about their own challenges, about their own setbacks, about their own worries, the more it creates space for other people to recognize that they’re not alone. When I hated fundraising, I was so afraid of fundraising. Nobody else around me was acknowledging that they felt similarly to fundraising. And you know, I remember somebody said recently I spoke in person at an event. There were maybe 1000 people in the room and when I talked about how much I hated fundraising and how afraid it made me, you literally could feel people breathe out in the room and like feel this, like shoulder down, like energy, just people being like oh my God, I’m not, instead of like like I’m the only one I’m holding so much. And so I think some of it is like acknowledging and validating everybody’s experience. The other is sharing our own vulnerability. Is that creates space for people to know that these feelings are normal, that talking about money is a very vulnerable thing to do, particularly for women, who for generations have been told it’s inappropriate to talk about money, and now our 75% of a sector that is trying to move money right. And so I think normalizing some of that stuff and women also, you know, biologically are programmed to create harmony and not disrupt, or like our desire to be people pleasers and make everything harmonious is biologically programmed into us, and so I think the more we can talk about the things that make us feel uncomfortable to make, the things that make us feel like we’re not doing a good job, and we can talk about those things in community, the more it creates that anabolic energy and that space for the fundraiser to be creative, to try new things, to be innovative and to know that they’re not just being told take risks, but then when they fail, they’re being criticized for it or knocked down in a staff meeting for it, and sometimes for the executive director that means having your staffs back in a board meeting. And so I know sometimes, you know, there’s like this trickle down, lack of support. That happens, and I think it’s really important to recognize. Like you know, we lead in the way that we model, we lead in, the way that we react and we focus so much on what we’re saying in that staff meeting and instead of all these other ways in which we actually like communicate our values. I think I have one more thing around, like how I think the sector needs to think about supporting fundraisers is around healing time between activating activities. So there are always going to be things in fundraising that create catabolic energy dealing with rejection getting ghosted right, getting an angry email from that one donor you know, like those things very understandably and naturally dysregulate our nervous system. They send us into a stress response, and when we expect fundraisers to just take hits like that all day, every day, and then get right back up and go and make an ask and be ready to be in connection with a different donor, and we don’t give them space or breaks, or time to breathe or time to reflect, we are. It is no surprise that we’re seeing the burnout and the exodus from the sector that we’re seeing, because burnout is just chronic stress and so if we don’t allow people and give people time to heal and process which is not just about rest, which is about, like actual healing then people stay in that stress state, right, and they stay in perfectionism. They stay in protection mode because when we feel vulnerable, we’ve just got ghosted, oh, you better believe that’s when our perfectionism comes out right, because we’re trying to protect ourselves from experiencing that again, which makes total sense biologically. We’re like I feel very tender here, so I’ve got to get this right because I can’t handle another hit at this moment, and so I think the more we can actually create space in this sector for fundraisers to heal and process, the more we’ll see them be able to access the type of energy that they need to to move money into their organizations.
Julia Gackenbach: 30:14
Yeah, those are all really helpful things, especially for people who want to champion a fundraiser. I think those are great pieces of advice. What about and you shared a little bit of this when you were just speaking but what are some things that maybe the fundraiser themselves could do? For example, you shared about this, this conference that you were at, where everyone took a collective breath. Maybe we need to get together with other fundraisers. I know when I was in my role, fundraising, I wanted to meet with other development directors in my area to see what kind of things were they doing that worked or didn’t work or what were they learning, things like that. So that maybe that’s one piece of advice is to connect with other people in development. But are there any other piece of advice that you have for fundraisers to grow and have that space to learn new things and to not have the pressure like perfectionism?
Mallory Erickson: 31:06
Yeah, I mean, yes, I think, being in community. There’s a lot of science to support the way that we co-regulate and so being and heal together. You know there’s a lot of literature coming out these days about the fact that there is no real such thing as self care, that it is community care, and I think there’s a combination right. But there are a lot of ways that you know we’ve seen throughout the evolution of the human species that people heal in community together. So being in safe spaces like that, where you can talk about hard things and be supported and realize that you’re not alone and isolated, I think, also because so many fundraisers are really isolated, they’re in, especially in small, even midsize, nonprofits, they’re the solo person doing the thing that they’re doing, and so, yeah, I definitely think like community finding, community that feels good, and sometimes that’s in person, sometimes that’s virtual, and there are a lot of different ways at, you know, and things that work for folks. That’s one thing I think for fundraisers, you know. The other thing is for to give time for their own sort of personal introspection and reflection. You know, I say I say a lot that it’s a lot easier, whether we believe it or not, to hustle ourselves and grind, because when we are in that mode we can avoid a lot of things.
Julia Gackenbach: 32:31
Oh, okay, yeah, I mean, I get that. That makes sense.
Mallory Erickson: 32:37
Right, and so sometimes we like stay busy because we’re nervous to look at some of the stuff we’ve been talking about. You know, during this conversation, like we feel like we can’t handle it, we can’t manage it. You know, what will we find there, what will we see there when we like look into ourselves, and sometimes that can be a book that you read that helps guide you through the process. For some people it’s a therapist or a coach, you know, something that sort of invests in your ability to take that step back, and even just the time to take that step back. For me, before I, you know, did all this work. For me, it was a yoga practice. You know, it was like the one time where I felt like I was being quiet and stopping and it took me going through like speed power yoga to finally get there right. And so it’s like finding your thing, but like what lets you tap into yourself, like what in your life makes you feel like you’re really in your body and giving yourself the space and the time to do that and valuing that. I think that that is really important, and boundaries are a part of that. Like fundraisers, you know, setting their own boundaries and knowing that, you know, a lot of times our organizations are not gonna do that for us, and so we have to figure out and design our lives as best we can, and that does it mean less things, less items, will get done? Yeah, it does, and you know what? That’s actually okay, because the more time we spend in anabolic energy, we are so much more productive, because we have the creativity and flexibility and all of these things to actually address the highest priority items instead of seeking out the dopamine hits of the check boxes. And so it’s like you know what is that saying? Like slow down to speed up, or something. I think that is really really true in nonprofit fundraising and just not something that we give ourselves a lot of time for.
Julia Gackenbach: 34:36
Yeah Well that I feel so rejuvenated from this conversation. I’m about to take all of these things and put them into my life. I really appreciate the practicality that you’re sharing and just the encouragement. I hope that those listening feel encouraged by this conversation and that there are some really practical things that they can put into practice, starting today. The taking a beat after you have something that makes you feel some type of way can start right now. We can start that today, so I really appreciate that. Any final thoughts or any last notes for those?
Mallory Erickson: 35:13
listening, yeah, I think just knowing that you can start small. If all you take away from this is like acknowledging and validating your own feelings, using your emotions as like a space to get curious and like actually getting curious, if you just did those three things, you would start to watch yourself experience more anabolic energy and you would watch yourself have some more space to deal with the real challenges. We cannot hustle ourselves into clarity.
Julia Gackenbach: 35:44
Oh, somebody write that down. That’s so good. That’s so good.
Mallory Erickson: 35:48
And I think we’ve just been really taught to try. Yeah, and I think the other thing is like recognizing how we talk to ourselves, like even if you just start to notice that, if you just start to notice what the relationship with yourself is like, it’s such an important part of this journey. And to do it without judgment, you know, to just know, and hopefully they’ve heard from both you and I sharing that like the narratives they’re hearing, the stories that they’re hearing in their head, the doubts they’re having are so normal. And I had this experience once where I was talking to a fundraiser on the phone who’s like actually a pretty like famous executive director, and she was talking about how much she, you know, looked up to this other woman that I’m friends with, who’s also like a pretty famous nonprofit leader, and she was sort of reflecting like oh, she has it so together and she would. This other, the woman I was on the phone with, was having a lot of self-doubt and she was sort of like I could be more like so and so, and da, da, da, no joke, I hang up this coaching call and three minutes later I get a phone call from the woman she was talking about spiraling, wow, and you know, something had happened with her kid and she was just like in a real place of like self-doubt and self-criticism, and so I think it was just this moment for me of like everybody this is like the most normal human experience. And so, I think, know that and be compassionate with yourself around it, and then recognize that you do have some options to change your relationship with yourself at any point, at any point in your life. You get to change your relationship with yourself, your relationship with money, with work, whenever you want. You get to change your mind and change your operating systems, but it has to start with getting curious about what is and what isn’t working for you.
Julia Gackenbach: 37:42
That’s great. I’m ready, let’s go. I feel like we can take on the world. Let’s do that. Thank you so much, mallory. This has been wonderful and I feel incredibly encouraged, and I hope that those listening do too. It’s great to have time with you.
Mallory Erickson: 37:54
Thank you, always Thank you for having me.
Thank you for listening to Nonprofit Expert presented by DonorPerfect. For more information and a special offer, visit DonorPerfectcom. Slash podcast.Read Less
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