It felt like there was some unfinished business with this blog because lockdown has completely scuppered my tried and tested routine as an experienced homeworker. I’ve been diligently following my own advice and trying to take each day as it comes, but it’s not always that easy. Here is the next chapter – warts and all – attempting to ride the rollercoaster of life on lockdown.
Thanks to being involved with @CharityNikki’s deliciously titled event Pizza For Losers, I’ve laid some solid foundations for success being turned unceremoniously on its head. I’m now somewhat of a failure fan. I know all the theory and science behind why failure is healthy for growth and development. And thank goodness for that! All the successes of last year seem like a distant memory and it feels like I’m finding new and novel ways to fail everyday.
The recruitment market is quiet – understandably so – as charities fight to find their feet navigating unknown, rocky terrain. Many of our charity partners are dealing with the impact of lost fundraising and challenges to their service delivery. Right now, success for Charity People doesn’t necessarily look like advertising lots of shiny new jobs. I’ve started a simple list of things I've achieved during lockdown and it looks very different to the one I’d have written last year. I’ve been a listening ear for worried, anxious candidates and been brave by co-hosting my first webinar. Although I haven’t placed as many candidates into new jobs as usual, I’ve supported small charities to adapt their recruitment practices for a virtual world. On the days when I feel like a loser, the list reminds me that I'm doing the best I can under difficult circumstances and that success just doesn’t look the same anymore.
I’m a big fan of yoga and meditation (my husband often refers to me as a stretchaholic) and it’s been my lifeline during lockdown. Over the years I've listened, but not always heard my teachers when they talk about connecting with your self and listening to your body. On lockdown it finally makes sense; probably because I'm not jumping out of bed and dashing straight out into the world at helter-skelter pace. My dad commented that it’s lovely to talk to me when I’m not rushing through a train station. I don't have to strain my ears to listen; my body is chit-chatting to me all the time now.
What I'm hearing is that drinking makes me anxious. I was developing a new habit of relaxing with a glass of red wine, so I know I need to take regular booze breaks. Sometimes I'm absolutely shattered in the afternoons. Naps (or siestas on the days when that glorious sun is shining) are the way forward. If my body needs to rest, I give it an hour and wake up feeling fresher and ready to give it a go again. I try not to feel guilty for taking those breaks because I’m working hard.
My biggest revelation is the power of fundraising. I've taken on a couple of charity challenges on lockdown: an oldie, but a goodie with the ice bucket and a front door to Everest challenge climbing the 8,848 metres in just over a month. In the charity sector, we know the capacity of fundraising to power an entire organisation and drive change that makes the world a better place, but its secret superpower is in what it does for the individual. It's more than just the warm fuzzies (although goodness knows we need those right now). It gives people agency and purpose and motivation and relevance and hope. On more than one occasion, getting out of the house to complete the challenge was the difference between a good day and a bad one. So much so that I’ve taken on a new fundraising challenge now that I’ve conquered Everest. Not for any altruistic reason, but because fundraising has vastly improved my mental and physical health and I need that support right now.
This blog is an emotional and heartfelt shout out to all the phenomenal fundraisers making a magical difference to people's lives today. Thank You. You’re all just awesome.