Genius Bar Panelists Agree You Should Get a Life

By Sandy Wiegand, Copyeditor and Writer at Joining Vision and Action

Work-life balance: We all say it’s important to us. No one WANTS to be a workaholic. But if you’re working for a nonprofit or social enterprise with a small, dedicated staff… you might think the rules are different for you. You’re doing this for the greater good, right? How “dedicated” is dedicated enough?

Panelists on JVA’s recent Genius Bar shared some thoughts on the topic with their audience of Executive Director Academy participants. The Genius Bar featured Nita J. Gonzales, president/CEO of the Escuela Tlatelolco Corporation; Adrianne Maddux, chief operating officer and acting CEO of Denver Indian Health & Family Services; Damon McLeese, executive director of Access Gallery; and Mary Cipollone, executive director of the Heart and Hand Center For Youth and Their Families.

Among the key takeaways: If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll burn out, and your efforts will backfire. Trying to do too much can actually hurt your organization, its clients and your team.

The panelists had further words of advice:

  • Be strict with setting limits for yourself. … The problem is not going away. Your toughest years might be your first year on the job—and your tenth.
  • No one is going to set boundaries for you, so you have to do it yourself.
  • Recognize that you set the tone for your employees—if you’re at the office until 8 p.m., everyone else thinks they have to be, too. That’s not going to make for happy employees.
  • Take advantage of boundaries that normal life sets for you. If daycare closes at 6, you have to leave work before then.
  • Learn to say no, to accept when your organization doesn’t have the “bandwidth” to take on a new responsibility.
  • Although nonprofits like to support each other’s events, family has to be a priority. One panelist has a rule that if her husband doesn’t want to attend a weekend event with her, she doesn’t go either.

JVA has lots more great training events planned for this fall.

Check out our calendar here, and sign up!