Curated Story

When You Burn Out While Changing the World

This article originally appeared on TwentyThirty

Many social entrepreneurs experienced trauma early in life, which motivated them for social causes. These experiences can –  especially in the early phase –  provide a positive impetus. Over time, however, the personal shadows can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle that is exacerbated by the “normal” challenges of the social sector, such as high financial pressure and persistent social grievances.

The Wellbeing Project discovered that activists who had undertaken inner work – such as seeing a coach, therapist, or spiritual teacher over a long time – were leading healthier lives and more sustainable and innovative organizations. Thus the theory of change for the Wellbeing Project was born: Support social activists in nurturing a deeper sense of inner wellbeing and they and their organizations will flourish and be more impactful in creating the necessary systems change.

Results indicate people indeed underwent a deep transformation, seeing themselves and their roles in a new light. Many were relieved to be able to show up as a “whole person,” not the “hero” that funders or the media desire them to be. They developed new self-care practices and some made radical changes in their lives and organizations.

And so the journey continues, with the Wellbeing Project hosting the social sector to create a more sustainable, healthy culture, in which changemakers and their work flourish together.

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