Every month, Chicago Now invites its bloggers to write about a set topic - for November, the focus is on a particular quote and describes how it resonates or has meaning for us. One of my personal go-to sources for inspiration is Winston Churchill, and one of his frequently used quotes describes my attitude about dealing with personal strife when working towards social change:
"If you're going through hell, keep going"
To be honest, this has been a really trying week - family health issues and some other personal matters have kept me busy, almost too busy to blog. As a nonprofit program director, I found myself navigating some tricky areas: personal matters with professional concerns, dealing with administrative challenges as well as helping others face their own challenges. Working through thorny issues within complicated socioeconomic/political/organizational structures can be emotionally challenging and may often lead to more severe issues like depression and burnout. Keeping perspective is also a challenge - many (especially those in the helping professions) deny their need for healing and relaxation - after all, someone needs to fight for social justice, and someone needs to take a stand.
But during those times - when my personal tragedies and professional challenges seem to overtake me - I remember Winston Churchill's words.
There's no false humility about them - no false optimism about the sun coming out tomorrow. Churchill's quote reminds me that everything is temporary....and that the only way through something is through it. There are no shortcuts, no ways around the feeling, and it also makes it clear that - for those of us working with others - that we can face our challenges with the same strength we attempt to foster in others.
(Plus, I should point out...Winston Churchill was my childhood hero. Having read an age-appropriate biography, I admired Churchill for his tenacity and his moral certainty. As a child, I admired him for his quick wit and savage insight....and as an adult, I not only carry a booklet of Winston Churchill quotes on my e-reader, but I'll often use these Winston Churchill-inspired motivational wallpapers on my desktop. So my admiration of Churchill's character may tend towards the nostalgic, but I find great inspiration from an individual willing to stand his moral ground.)
Churchill's quote has also helped me through several other challenges in my life: a failed relationship, the passing of loved ones, and even smaller scale professional issues. The quote has become my mantra during times of high stress (like this past week) - a way to remind myself that things may feel rough now, but they are only temporary. That success comes from dealing with smaller issues with great optimism, and recognizing that low points allow us to rebound.
And as a social change agent, I find that I share one quality with Winston Churchill: we both like people who grin when they fight.
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And as always, thanks for reading!
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