Outside In

Jun 19, 2024

My husband hates going to the movie theater. So, when I want to go, I just phone a friend. But when I want to go see a Pixar movie, I use my nieces as an excuse. That’s what I did last weekend when Inside Out 2 premiered. I loved the first movie so much that I just had to see the sequel. It’s such a smart script; and I adore good writing. Plus, you know my life’s goal is to become the Philanthropic Leslie Knope, so anytime I can catch my girl, Amy Poehler, doing her thing, I’m in!

Image result for i am leslie knope
Poehler is back again in IO2 and it is excellent! If you’re not familiar with the premise of these movies, Inside Out is about a pre-teen named Riley and all the emotions that live in the Headquarters of her mind. As with us oftentimes, these emotions take over her internal Control Panel, influencing Riley’s actions and memories. Poehler plays my favorite emotion, Joy!

While Inside Out 1 highlighted the primal emotions of Joy, Sadness, Disgust, and Fear, something traumatic happens to little Riley in IO2—puberty. Hormones are swimming and pre-teen angst takes over and suppresses the primal emotions with some new kids on the block.

Anxiety:  She’s hilarious! And if I’m honest, this character felt a bit too familiar. Any nonprofit fundraiser will be able to relate, trust me.

Embarrassment:  He’s as big as this emotion often feels, but tries to hide and remain quiet as not to make spectacle of himself. Sound familiar?

Envy: She’s a firecracker who simply tries to fit in by copying what the cool kids are doing. The problem here is that it’s at the expense of letting Riley be her true self. When you only feel good when you gain approval of others or wield competitive dominance, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Ennui:  As a term we don’t use often, Ennui is the epitome of every teenager you’ve ever met. Unemotional and non-plussed. She’s really the coat of armor that helps her look cool to others by seeming apathetic, especially toward her parents. Can any parents of teens relate.

Nostalgia:  Occasionally, we’ll see an adorable frail old woman pop in—that’s Nostalgia. She doesn’t show up much in the movie because Riley’s only 12, but she’s always there taking notes. We’ll need and appreciate her so much later in life.

INSIDE OUT 2 Reveals New Trailer, Characters, and Voice Cast - THE ...
This emotional B Team shows up and that’s when the war of true identity breaks out and it was delightful to watch because it’s so applicable.

So, why am I doing a movie review? Well, you know me, I can’t help but relate all things to the work that we do. Just like Riley is beginning to mature in IO2, each of our nonprofits are maturing, too. And with maturity you get change and with change you get emotions. Thus, a movie review!

While there are many examples that can be found online, below is a good example of the lifecycle of a nonprofit. Check it out and see if you can determine where you and your organization are currently. Then, think about where you want to be. That bridge from where you are to where you want to be is where it gets tricky. That bridge should be called the Change Bridge and the water beneath it is the flood of Emotions. And even though we all must cross it, it can still be tumultuous— but it’s still worth it.

Do you ever feel like you’re fighting to maintain your nonprofit’s true identity? How can you do things differently and still be true to your mission? Like Riley, you must keep your Core Beliefs top of mind. Don’t negotiate there, stand up for who you are at the core.

It’s easy to be who your donor wants you to be or who a grantmaker tempts you to be with their restricted funds that don’t quite match what you should be doing or where you should be dedicating your time. Knowing your resources—even your energy—are limited, you simply can’t be what others want you to be. You must be true to yourself, your organization.

After all, the choices you make today sculp your nonprofit personality. This is how people see us from the Outside In. In fact, just today I was Zooming with a CoFo colleague telling her how my “yes” to a donor or a grant today must be upheld by whoever takes my place in 10 years, 50 years, or 100 years. Yes after yes after yes, slowly but surely, turns us into who we become as an org.

Sunday scaries menu | Coping skills, Sunday scaries, Life inspiration

And if you’re not careful, you’ll get those Sunday Scaries and dread coming to the office on Mondays when Joy and Anxiety start their weekly battles. That Joy you once had when you started your job begins to dissipate. Sadly, a career lacking Joy will allow Anxiety to redefine who you are professionally—and it’s not good. That life will make you feel like a failure as you will never be able to conform to the lofty standards set by other nonprofits. Envy fuels the Anxiety and those mixed emotions create a Nervous Wreck. You deserve a life and career far better than that!
real life be like - Imgflip
A career filled with that kind of angst will bring forth Anxiety’s two biggest cheerleaders, Embarrassment and Envy. It’s a trio that makes us act without thinking. Yet, we mistakenly think that the anxiety fuels us.  Even Taylor Swift sings, “I cry a lot but I am so productive, it’s an art,” to capture how she felt at one time about her work. After all, we get so much done powered by anxiety. But it’s no long term strategy.

In a sense, this movie serves as a warning to all adults and to you, the nonprofit ninja you are. Letting that B Team of emotions take over pushes you do to things entirely based on getting ahead, saying what you think others want to hear, and filling the void where Joy once lived with a fear of both failure and the future.
Michael D. Eisner Quote: “Fear of failure is a far worse condition than ...
Sure, our work can feel overwhelming at times. You can feel alone, and afraid of the change that comes when your organization matures. But mature it will. The only thing that doesn’t change is change. But you can manage it and being a lifelong learner.

Self-care and professional development (like reading this blog), can get back to your basics—that place that made you say Yes to this job in the first place. Once you remember the sheer delight of doing your job for the love of it rather than the social cache or short-lived gratification, you’ll be able to cross the Change Bridge when it’s time.

ITAP of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay : r/itookapicture

Things look far different from the Outside In. Ennui occasionally sets in to protect us with his hard exterior. That’s why you need to take care of the Inside Out. And one day you’ll be able to rely on sweet Nostalgia to remind you why it was all worth it. Until then, take care of you. Your nonprofit needs you and your ginormous, mission-driven heart.

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily,

[email protected]
dawn brown creative, llc. 

P.S. Fundraising is hard, even though you make it look
oh-so easy! ♥

Frideas--Friday ideas are filled with
info and inspo!

Want to participate in some Knowledge Generosity,
here's your opportunity!

What do you do with an idea?  You change the world!

Get a Fridea: a Friday idea!

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join my mailing list to receive the latest news, updates, and ideas for days!

Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

I seriously hate SPAM, like for real.

So, I promise to never sell your information, for any reason.