By Ian Baker, SSE’s head of learning (student wellbeing)
As the global pandemic continues and the crisis unfolds further around us, it’s clear that social entrepreneurs are a driving force to the recovery. Many are adapting their businesses to meet new demands the crisis has placed on their communities and target groups.
It’s also clear that social enterprise is needed as part of a compassionate society that rebuilds itself from the bottom up.
This demand places a huge burden on social entrepreneurs, so it’s critically important that we manage and listen to our own needs and emotions, as well as those of staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. I liken this to the analogy of putting your own oxygen mask on first to ensure you can help others.
Here are five tips to help you do just that and manage your wellbeing:
1. Manage the double edge of your mission
Social entrepreneurs are often driven by personal experiences of the issue they are trying to tackle. This passion is key to their success. It also makes them highly likely to go beyond their limits – especially as there is likely to be no limit to the need that they see and feel so acutely.
Look to surround yourself with good people and get comfortable with delegating and working as a team. It’s okay to think about your endgame – to define the role that you can play and know the point at which you exit.
2. Align to your strengths and passions to avoid imposter syndrome
Whilst many of the social entrepreneurs we work with have direct experience, or deep knowledge of the problem they are trying to solve, many have limited prior experience of running organisations.
Identify and recognise your strengths and weaknesses. As you grow, focus on your strengths and bring people in that compliment your skill set and can manage areas of the business that you feel weaker in.
3. Embed wellbeing into the organisation’s core
As the founder and leader, it’s important to set an example to the rest of the organisation.
How are you managing your wellbeing? How is this prioritised across the company? Book in holidays. Don’t work late every evening, encourage a work/life balance.
4. Reframe setbacks as learning
Social entrepreneurs take risks – that’s inevitable. With risks comes the chance to achieve something amazing. There also comes the very real possibility that you will fail. And fail a lot.
Reframe failure as a chance to learn and a step closer to succeeding.
5. Build in recovery time
When you’re stressed, time for yourself is the first thing to go. Paradoxically, when you’re feeling under pressure and stressed, this is when you need it most.
Be sure to ring-fence time for you to take whatever you need – be that a 5 minute meditation, a 30 minute run, or a morning a week with the grandkids.
Looking for more?
Check out this webinar all about managing wellbeing and avoiding burnout. It’s part of our Recover & Rebuild webinar series, where you’ll find advice and resources to help you during this global pandemic.