“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.” ~Unknown
One of the hardest things about volunteering regularly and saving animals is to stay motivated, focused and sane on an ongoing basis. Many animals are still being euthanized every year simply due to being in the wrong location, and many others suffer fates of abuse and neglect.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed like a small boat on the vast ocean of negativity. Phrases such as “Code Red” and “Urgent” and “Will die tomorrow” litter our social media pages, and the people that call themselves cross-posters spread these desperate situations across our social media and even through our email. If you allow yourself to be overtaken by these images and desperate cries for help, you can get overwhelmed, scared and even contemplate getting out of rescue entirely. How can you function and stay positive and focus on why you started saving animals when everywhere you look is another hopeless situation?
One of the ways that I keep my focus through all of the noise is by recognizing that I alone cannot solve this problem. After all, I alone did not create the problem in the first place. The challenges of animal welfare are bigger than any one person and I recognize that while I am a part of the solution, I am not the ONLY solution that is needed to tackle this seemingly insurmountable, global issue. So instead of focusing all of my time on how to solve the problem single-handedly, I try and focus my attention on how I can help other people solve the problem. It may sound strange but simply shifting your focus has a dramatically positive effect on your thinking.
Stop for a moment and think about what you do in your animal rescue efforts or through your animal rescue organization that has a focus on making things better for other volunteers or organizations. Sure you need to have well-organized efforts that are saving animals, why else would you be in animal rescue if you didn’t. However simply shifting your thinking from just surviving to thriving can have a significant impact on your outlook. Trying to enable others can help you to increase your impac
t and develop relationships with passionate people that have a similar end goal. You can support each other.
Often we are so focused on our own efforts, that we neglect the opportunity to help others. Remember the first time you did an animal rescue activity? Were you nervous? Did you have all of the knowledge, equipment and processes that you needed or did you just want to help? Did others step up and mentor you and provide you a helping hand or did you have to learn everything yourself? What can you do to help those that are new to our cause to get acclimated and educated in the right way so that they don’t make all of the same mistakes we did when we started
Focusing on helping others with the common goal can have a dramatic effect on our outlook and can provide you the support structure and help you need to keep going. I for one rely on all of you to keep me motivated, focused and driven to succeed. Let me know what you think.