Thanksgiving Thankfulness

This fall has been a whirlwind of activity -- from kids' school and soccer, to a husband in grad school, and a work load that threatened to bury me in direct mail. There were more than a few moments I wasn't sure how much longer I could keep up the pace.

A friend of mine once told me that if you work for a nonprofit, you will always have work on your desk and exhaustion in your bones.

And these days, when more organizations are trying to meet increased need with decreased resources, I think that's more true than ever. If you don't find a few moments during the year to remember why you do what you do, you'll go bonkers...or worse, burn out completely.

So now that I have a light, short week in which to take a breath and reflect, I want to jot down a few of the things I'm thankful for...things I haven't been able to see amidst the deluge of responsibilities this past few months.

  • Clients who consistently surprise and delight me. It is so much easier to endure crunch time with people who appreciate what we're trying to accomplish and who collaborate fully and openly. What a treat!
  • Family support. Even my four-year-old knows when Mama needs a break, and my husband and three children are my biggest caretakers...and biggest fans.
  • Friends and neighbors who step up, no questions asked. Whether it's providing emergency child care, donating a hot meal, helping me network, or volunteering to proofread my latest letter, these people have my back!
  • Work that I believe in. One of the best things about my job is being able to channel my creativity into efforts that make the world a better place to live.
  • Connectivity. I'm old enough to remember how cumbersome working at home used to be, and I'm thankful every single day for the tools that allow me to work with people all over the world from a corner of my kitchen.

There are, of course, many other things I'm thankful for -- my home, my town, my good health, the bottle of wine on my counter, peppermint jojos from Trader Joe's, and more. But those are the biggies.

Try to take a moment this week to think about what makes you thankful in your job and in your life. Colleagues? Donors? Small successes or huge triumphs?

Nonprofits are busy places at year's end, and sometimes the only way to make it to the other side is to remember what keeps you going. So, what are you thankful for this year?