Grief can have many devastating effects on individuals, loved ones and friends. Knowing this, it’s difficult to see how grief could possibly have a positive outcome. However, if we dig a little deeper, we can understand how grief can actually motivate us to become better versions of ourselves and better leaders. When we think about how grief has affected us, most of us recall the feelings of loneliness, depression and even anger at the situation — whatever it may be. While it is hard to understand why these things happen to cause this grief, there is still hope.
Surprisingly, through all of the feelings we experience during the grieving process, we can actually find the motivation to become better from three primary reasons: gratefulness, inspiration and love. Here’s how you can transform your grief into self-motivation in three ways:
Lean On Gratefulness
Though there are events that happen in our lives that cause us grief, we still need to find reasons to be grateful. You may have heard someone once say, “I’m thankful to be alive right now.” You may have even said or thought it as well. Despite these events that have caused grief, think about how you are thankful to still be here today. By remembering to be grateful that you are here, you can actually choose to live for an individual you’ve lost or even for a cause that aims to bring about change. With the life you still have left to live, you can use it for the better, especially from your position as a nonprofit leader.
You can also ask yourself: What can I do now that I’m here and have another day to experience this thing called life? Perhaps starting new habits, such as taking a morning walk to be grateful for a new day, making a daily phone call or text to that friend or loved one you’ve been meaning to contact or even just cooking a meal for yourself more often. There are so many small habits you incorporate into your day that can help motivate you to move forward.
We all know how difficult it is to find inspiration after a loss or when we are grieving, whatever the situation may be. It’s important to remember that everything is out of our control. We cannot blame ourselves for bad things happening to those around us who we love. Knowing that, think about how you can help others cope with their grief. Especially as leaders in the nonprofit sector, we have the opportunity to evoke positive change.
Additionally, how can you turn your grief into inspiration and help raise awareness for your causes (whether personal or for your organization)? For example, if you have lost someone you know and love to a terminal illness that people may not know about, perhaps consider sharing information about it to educate others. Or perhaps there are no funds currently going toward that illness, or toward a specific project or community initiative that’s close to you or your organization, depending on the situation. Consider raising awareness and money for this cause and donating it to research centers or collaborative partners who are doing the on-the-ground work. Or consider starting a new branch of your nonprofit to address it. It can be a great way to inspire others to give and learn more about something that is important to you.
Love is a motivator for all things, even during grief. By taking a loving approach toward others experiencing grief, you can truly help them. We can use love as a motivator to do great things and make the world a better place. Take a loving approach with whatever you do in life, and teach others what you can in a gentle and kind manner. Grief comes in many forms, and it’s important to be kind to people because we do not know what others may be going through. Prioritizing love is an especially important practice as a leader, whether your organization is large with hundreds of employees or a local NPO with a modest team.
In addition to us helping them during their trials, people can also teach us so much about love and kindness. Whether it’s in your nonprofit organization, or in your personal life, think about what others have taught you about love and kindness. These lessons can motivate you to be better by loving others, but can also teach you the importance of loving yourself.
No matter what you may be going through or where you are in the grieving process, be sure to remember that something good can come from any situation. You just have to think about what lessons you can learn from trials in life. It may not happen right away, but over time, you can learn to motivate yourself by remembering the reasons grief motivates you to become better. It definitely took me some time to find my motivation again, and when I did, it was for the three reasons I listed above.
Everyone has different reasons for why they are motivated. What are some of your motivators in life, even when you are grieving?
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