Who are you? How do you identify yourself? This is a subject which is a lot more suited to a psychologist than to myself. But I remember having to discuss this in some detail with my sister Julia. Being an elite athlete means dedication, fixity of purpose , focus and sacrifice. It is an all-consuming pursuit. To get to the top it is a single-minded dedication. You live and breathe that mission- the same as you have to do in fundraising.
However, when you decide to stop pursuing that goal, what then? Some manage to prepare themselves by having a parallel activity. Others are propelled into a vacuum. Cricketers, for instance, struggle at this juncture. They spend more time together than most other sportspeople, on the field, in the pavilion, and suddenly all those support mechanisms vanish. Their sense of identity is dramatically challenged.
There was a particular phase in Julia’s running life where it became too much. The attempts to improve performance were leading to serious physical and mental stress. She wanted to stop. So she did, while she worked out how she could continue to get joy from running without negative impact on body and mind. Much of what she now teaches is the result of the self-examination she went through; how to pursue the activity for its own sake and let the goals/rewards deliver themselves?
In my blog “The length of Spain: barefoot !” https://fundraisingsuccess.info/in-2018-my-sister-ran-the-length-of-spain-barefoot/I use the analogy of Julia’s ability to focus on the moment, on each step. I compare that with the challenges faced by every fundraiser.
There was another issue; that of Julia the Runner. “What am I if I am not a runner? What will I talk about? My identity is as a runner, that’s what people know me for. It is what they talk to me about!” In short “Who are you? How do you identify yourself?”
It made me think about what it is to be homeless. People fortunate enough to own a house can get very emotionally involved with it. Where you live, what you do with your house is part of your identity. For a homeless person however, that sense of identity and security is missing. I referred in my previous blog to Maslow and the Hierarchy of Needs – https://fundraisingsuccess.info/the-kicker-is-she-is-doing-it-barefoot/. Basically it states that to fulfil your potential, your physiological needs- food, warmth, shelter, security – have to be met first
That’s why Julia is running the length of Britain https://barefootacrossborders.com/ visiting the Crisis Sky Light centres on the way – to support the cause to end homelessness. Help people to fulfil their basic needs, so they can make the most of their journey through life. Her latest video is partly filmed under a banner “Do you want to change the world with me?”
So join the cause and help end homelessness.