Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Could you say "No thanks" and stay?

Have you ever taken on an obligation and realized along the way that it was not for you? But out of a sense of duty you stayed the course?  While it might strengthen your character, it could also be pretty soul-sucking.

What if there were a way, something in the culture, where you could set that burden down, that it would be ok, and you could take something else on? There would be no shame, no "I told you so", no bitterness.

What might you move on to?

In our congregations (and in many other volunteer organizations), this first part seems to be very common.  People want to be helpers, so they say yes when asked. Perhaps they know the realities of the position ahead of time, but often they agree to obligations without knowing the full extent of duties and skills required.

How often is there a graceful way to say, "You know, this is not working for me. I love the organization and want to be of service, but not in this way" instead of either suffering through a term (hopefully there is a set term, and you aren't stuck forever) or sneaking away?

For those creating the leadership systems, what check-ins can we build into our processes?

I don't have the answers...yet.  Give me a couple of decades.

One resource I am finding helpful is Connect: How to Double Your Number of Volunteers, by Nelson Searcy. While written from a very Christian point of view, it has a lot to offer Unitarian Universalists willing to do the translation.  The book provides some great infrastructure, particularly for the early stages of volunteering--giving people ways to get their feet wet and explore their gifts before they commit to something bigger than they can handle.

(To be continued...)

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