Thursday, February 12, 2009

Daily Inspiration

i can hear the earth moving under this ceiling
i cast my soul to the small ripples
and find humility in morning
the truth reflects back through cloudy haze
an extraordinary responsibility to decide to see
to put into practice the life i breathe in
i know there is potential for glory today
potential to radiate.

So begins a day in the life of DiscoverHope. Every day commences with a moment of reflection about my conscious choice to be present with people on this day, and a reminder of the ability we have to influence people in loving, genuine ways. Do I succeed every day? No way. Do I intend to? Absolutely.

As a young organization, the Austin headquarters of DiscoverHope are run through my home office. We choose not to spend overhead rent money here in Austin so that I can look nice all by myself in an office! Instead, we’d rather source the money to programs in the field in Peru. This means that for many hours during the week, I am alone in the home office to inspire myself. Working alone takes a great deal of mental strength sometimes. I thought I’d share a little bit about that as an entrepreneur working as Executive Director for DHF. People sometimes don’t get the “inside scoop” on what the work is like.

There are ups and downs, without a doubt. More than anything, the upside is that I get to do what I love everyday of my life for something I believe in. I get to choose my daily direction. We have an amazing
Board of Directors who constantly keep me afloat and guided. I think this is key to a healthy nonprofit—having a team of people that truly love the work and want to participate in the governance of the organization. Many nonprofit Boards are comprised of people who just show up to stamp their “yes” or “no”, and while that may serve its purpose certain organizations, there is something utterly encouraging about a group of people putting their hearts and heads together to grow something that serves beyond them. On that note, we are actually seeking a couple more Austin-based Board members with either fundraising talents or legal background, if you want to “pasa la voz” (pass the voice) as we call it in Peru, please do so. As an organization that prides itself on growing a solid foundation of people, we have an extensive process for integrating new Board members as we really want people who we know will come with the highest level of passion to the DHF family.

Certainly one of the most difficult parts of the entrepreneurial journey working from this space is staying confident when you are alone. When all the meetings have been had, I come back to the quietude of the home office and my job is to ground and grow DHF. The list of needs is endless as is work for anyone, and so my first level of mental organization is prioritization. Looking at a list of items with no immediate voice for validation or feedback can be daunting sometimes: For example, 1) write Spanish contract for development center 2) develop extensive draft of fundraising plan 3) prepare presentation for women’s leadership conference …you get my drift. My motto as I jump from one deep project to the next is “keep on keeping on.” One thing is for certain, if you aren’t completely dedicated as an internally motivated self-starter, this job isn’t for you!

Today’s morning task was indeed writing the Spanish rental contract for The Hope House women’s development center. Language code-switching for both legal purposes and business negotiations may be some of the toughest work. You mix in cultural expectations about business responsibility and trying to iron those points out between two languages, and you can feel like your mind is melting! Luckily, I have an amazing Latina volunteer, Enea, who checks all my writing with her fluent editing eye. She is a life saver.

Speaking of The Hope House women’s development center, I hope to see some of you at our Planting Seeds of Hope event. We’re looking forward to taking you through a tour of the plants at
The Great Outdoors while sharing the vision of The Hope House. We’ll also have some incredible tunes by local Austin musician (from New Zealand), Jackie Bristow, along with some Latin cuisine. As a teaser or if you can’t be there, you can take the video tour of The Hope House that I filmed in Peru; the video is available on DHF’s Facebook. Sign up to be our friend if you haven’t yet.

In a couple weeks, we’ll be launching our 2008 Program Evaluation Document and I will make sure you all have the link for viewing or downloading. The book is filled with pictures and first-person stories from women about our work in 2008. This work was supported by many of you and hundreds of other incredible people. At the end of the day, seeing the change in one person is what drives me. When I lack my own inspiration, I just turn to their images.

To daily inspiration for all of us, MM

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