Are you achieving your mission – or only trying?
Last month, I read an article advising women to eliminate the word “just” from their vocabulary.
The author explains why the word was bothering her:
I am all about respectful communication. Yet I began to notice that just wasn’t about being polite: It was a subtle message of subordination, of deference. Sometimes it was self-effacing. Sometimes even duplicitous. As I started really listening, I realized that striking it from a phrase almost always clarified and strengthened the message.
I’m guilty, and I’ve been conscious of it ever since.
In the same way, I’ve noticed a problem many nonprofits have.
There are some phrases you find on organizations’ “About” page or in their mission statement.
Do you see where I’m going?
These phrases weaken your claim. They make you sound less effective.
Here’s why you should consider removing those words.
- It’s whiny – “We’re working so hard!”
- It’s passive – “Well, we’re helping…”
- It’s fudging – “Can we really claim to be doing something?”
Ask yourself: does your mission matter?
Are you getting results?
Did you answer “no”? Then you should find a different organization or change how you’re working.
If you answered “yes”, then take Master Yoda’s advice:
Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.
just say it.
A personal note
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote Your work or a life: a painful choice no one should have to make.
I was surprised and gratified by the response. Thanks to Roger Craver at The Agitator and Gail Perry for their pieces on the topic. And Pamela Grow, Beth Kanter, Vu Le and Tom Ahern for pointing people to mine. (By the way, Beth is writing a book about wellness in nonprofit organizations. Stay tuned!)
And huge thanks to everyone who sent me comments and shared their experience.
I’m going to come back to the topic – it needs more attention. I’m putting together my thoughts now and hope to have another post for you next week.
Photo by Ryan McGuire, Gratisography