I was lucky enough to attend TedX Brighton last Friday. I eagerly absorbed eighteen presentations from experts in psychology, art, music, tech, poetry, entrepreneurialism, health, journalism and most notably for me, international development.
The talk that stood out for me was by Cat Carter, Head of Humanitarian Information & Communications at Save the Children. Cat talked about the impact of aid work on the worker, and how many people employed in the sector don’t actively engage in conversations about wellbeing and self-care.
I know from my own experience that some not for profit organizations encourage cultures of martyrdom, and atmospheres of job scarcity. With working overtime repeatedly, and feeling in competition with colleagues as common practice, it’s no wonder that the sector experiences a high percentage of burn out, and a loss of talent where passionate post grads end up disillusioned and emotionally separated from the work they originally so keenly wanted to do.
Cat Carter talked about ‘putting your own oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs’, an analogy I regularly use with clients and in workshops, and something I think Co-Activity sums up well. I liken it to ‘concentrate on who you are being, before deciding on what you want to do in the world.’
Co-Activity, if integrated fully into a charity’s culture could be an absolute game changer. We’d see answers to the worlds biggest problems, we’d see a charity working from a place of abundance and worth, we’d see intelligent and passionate young people thriving rather than surviving and subsequently delivering sustainable services. There is the rumbling of thirst for this kind of work in the not for profit world, I’ve had conversations with CEOs who desperately want their internal values to mirror the values they so firmly stand by for their service users. I know that if enough of us can come together and offer something amazing, we could change the not for profit world for the better.