Janice Chan
Jul 18, 2018 · 4 min read
Van with graffiti crashed through a building on fire, at night | Photo by Dawn Armfield on Unsplash

If you’re in the business of making things better, the world can be an exhausting place. Lately, the news seems particularly filled with one trash fire on top of another smothered with more trash fire. And how about a nice splash of lighter fluid to top that off?

If I’m being honest, Fiona the hippo got me through 2017.

If you’re not familiar with the heart-stealing preemie hippo named Fiona at the Cincinnati Zoo, then you need to fix that pronto. Even if you’re not an animal lover, you have to admit that seeing her overcome the odds and thrive with exuberance is still a ray of sunshine.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the good in the world — the beauty, the joy. (Really, when was the last time you were as in the moment as this little girl experiencing rain for the first time?)

Research has shown that nature can help us de-stress. If you need a mid-week boost and can’t get to your local park or a backyard, visit virtually to enjoy a moment of nature, or brighten your timeline by following the hashtag #flowerreport. But if you can, go for a walk with a friend!

Even if you live in an urban area, don’t discount the human-made beauty you might find in murals, architecture, or even a little love in unexpected places.

If that feels like escapism, it’s not.

It’s less about escaping, but about pulling yourself back into the present so that you can find your own fire again.

Find a way to shift your lens.

Sometimes we need to look at the world a little differently — not only for beauty, but creativity is also a part of problem solving. Art can be a way to do that, but get out there and explore!

The best way to remember your power is to do something for someone else.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of our own agency, of why what we do matters, even the small things, like helping a neighbor mow their lawn. Inclusion can happen through small nudges, not necessarily some monumental act.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that there are other people doing good out there, even if the bad is what everybody’s talking about.

We are actually making progress.

There are happy endings in real life.

Like the 12 Thai boys and their coach rescued from being trapped in a flooded cave!

And if children are our future, I think it’s looking brighter.

Celebrate the victories — and each other.

When India beat an outbreak of the deadly virus Nipah, they made a music video about it:

Not to say that isn’t a major accomplishment! Yet too frequently at non profit organizations, while we make sure to celebrate our donors for their impact, we forget to celebrate the teammates by our sides as well. Celebrate the small, incremental wins, too. Maybe just go get ice cream with your team or something less labor and planning intensive. Impromptu dance party at least?

“Hold on to your heart. Never let nobody take it over.”

Some days are about survival, but survival is also about the hope that there is life and the possibility of better on the other side. Here are a few writers who might buoy your faith and your hope:

Be brave.

And perhaps also mindful of your news consumption.


The Nonprofit Revolution

Nonprofits are badass, and so are the people working at them. We're gathering stories covering real and authentic perspectives in the nonprofit sector. Join the revolution at Wethos.co

Janice Chan

Written by

Writer, problem solver, project manager, nonprofit information pro. Always asking how we can do this better. Twitter: @curiositybone | shiftandscaffold.com

The Nonprofit Revolution

Nonprofits are badass, and so are the people working at them. We're gathering stories covering real and authentic perspectives in the nonprofit sector. Join the revolution at Wethos.co

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