By: Hannah Geiser

Self-Care for Leaders and Martyritis

We sat down with Kishshana Palmer, an internationally acclaimed speaker, trainer, coach, and writer in the fundraising world to talk about her definition of "Martyritis". With burn out being especially prevalent in the nonprofit sector, how can leaders protect their productivity through self-care?

First of all, what is martyritis? To put it simply, it’s the close cousin of being a workaholic. Leaders suffering from this condition are literally obsessed with the idea of being needed and feel like they are the only person who can complete a task to a certain quality standard. To clarify, martyritis is not narcissism or being self-obsessed. It’s that fine line between finding joy in your work and not being able to ask for help.

Some of the symptoms of martyritis include:

  • Perpetual fear of letting people down
  • Working beyond your scheduled hours
  • Operating with a constant sense of emergency
  • Feeling like there aren’t enough hours in a day
  • Shame or embarrassment about your working habits

If you checked any or all of these boxes, fear not. Here are some of Kishshana’s top tips for nonprofit leaders to combat martyritis and practice self-care.

  1. Have an OHD (Open, Honest, Direct) mindset. Vulnerability as a leader about the space you’re creating for your team and your mission in the world is the thing that’s going to drive top performers.
  2. You already have what you need to be ridiculously awesome. Know that you are capable and “you got this”. Enlist the help of an accountability partner to remind you, whether that is a friend, therapist, or a spiritual leader.
  3. Hire people who know their stuff, and then give them the space and tools to do their best work. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to your team. You’ve hired the best of the best, now it’s time to use their skills!

For more ideas on how you can practice self-care and reclaim a mindset of abundance, listen to Pursuant’s full podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/user-853787959/self-care-for-leaders-and-martyritis-with-kishshana-palmer

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