Burn-out is real and can affect all of us– a sense of helplessness, cynicism, and exhaustion are signs of burn-out and compassion fatigue. What we want to feel instead is the satisfaction and joy of using our compassion to help others! We want to be fired up, not burned out! What we want is compassion satisfaction. 

Compassion Satisfaction is “The pleasure and satisfying feelings that come from helping others.” In other words – feeling good about doing good! We all know that sense of satisfaction that we have when we are a part of a client’s journey and they do well. Making a difference – transforming lives through helping people – is why we do what we do! 

Our work is challenging, exhausting, and sometimes overwhelming! Burn-out and staff turnover was the #1 concern of Charlotte non-profit leaders when surveyed in 2022. When staff are asked to list factors that contribute to compassion fatigue, they name things like lack of support, not working as a team, working in an agency that is understaffed, feeling unappreciated, lack of community resources, and clients not succeeding. Most of the factors on the list are not directly the responsibility of the staff member. And yet these are the things that can wear us out. 

So, the #1 strategy in preventing burn-out is to carefully examine what is in your control (your actions, thoughts, goals, self-talk etc.) and what is not in your control (others’ actions and opinions, the past, the future). Being intentional about your goals and boundaries and limiting negative self-talk can go a long way in re-discovering the satisfaction you get from your work and in preventing burn out. 

Remember that you are an amazing and dedicated person who perseveres in a challenging field of work! 

You can explore more about this topic by registering now for the Compassion Satisfaction: Preventing Burn-Out class offered at The Forum next month! 

I am looking forward to seeing you soon at The Forum! Stay fired up! 

Barbara Thomas 

Director of The Forum @Hope Haven 

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