One of the greatest things about getting older is that the desire to chase perfection sharply declines with passing years. We realize that perfect parents, perfect leaders and perfect partners simply don’t exist. The value we place on outcomes goes down while the value we place on effort goes up. Then hopefully, we have no choice but to start cutting ourselves some slack too.
If you’re at this place in life (trying to cut yourself some slack) then this post is for you. There are lies you may still be telling yourself about perfect service or perfect giving that are significantly limiting your impact on the world. These lies paralyze us with subtle fears that don’t really hold up under close examination. So please read each subconscious thought and see if you’ve got a voice in your head telling you any of these lies.
“What I have to give will fall short of what is really needed so I should do nothing.”
- What fear tells us: “I’m wasting my time or money.”
- An example of how this lie affects service: We don’t give $5 if the cause needs millions AND/OR we don’t volunteer an hour of our time if the organization is understaffed and really needs a lot more support.
- Why it’s a lie: Because we instinctively know that something is better than nothing. Every bit helps move a mission forward. Also, most missions survive due in large part to many small donations and short volunteer efforts. Believing that only big donations and large efforts matter is what gives this lie its power. Don’t believe it.
“I don’t know which need is more important so I won’t support either.”
- What fear tells us: I want my limited time and money to matter. If I don’t have the resources to support all missions I have to decide which mission has the MOST value.
- An example of how this lie affects service: We don’t donate to support global clean water because we aren’t sure if we should support local food banks instead. While we consider the importance of both, we don’t support either.
- Why it’s a lie: Each and every mission to serve others will have value. Choosing what you support is personal and will change over time. We don’t need to evaluate the merits of services against each other. Consider which missions you’re more drawn to, but be careful not to get caught in analysis paralysis. Getting stuck in judgement is precisely what gives this lie its power.
“There is no end in sight to all the needs. I should ignore them and focus on my own life.”
- What we fear: By opening the door to care about a service mission we will open the door to guilt and sadness when we can’t easily fix the problem.
- An example of how this lie affects service: We don’t support an affordable housing program because there won’t be enough housing for everyone that might need it.
- Why it’s a lie: Because once again small service efforts have a large impact. And you won’t serve at all if you don’t allow yourself to care. Doing nothing is the enemy of change but so is indifference. Ignore this lie. Be strong enough to stay emotionally connected and show concern for change. Serving others will also change YOUR life for the better. I promise.