Hey friends, welcome to a moment with Mary-Ann Blog edition, every month you will hear from me with this fabulous blog and some cool reels, so stay tuned.
I am now an advocate of the Rafiki Thabo Foundation, crazy!
I did not see this coming. But perhaps I should have, since 2023 was my year of ‘saying yes’. I am sure we have all listened to the podcast and the blogs who have advised people to say yes to more things and I gave it a go.
I said yes to EVERYTHING… And for a while, I honestly felt like superwoman. People would ask, “how do you do it?!” and I would reply by saying that its all in a day’s work, flutter my eyelids and feel proud of myself.
I started a postgraduate course; I said yes to every invite, I helped every friend and family who asked. I worked overtime to help pay for the cost-of-living crisis. I started a YouTube channel and increased my social media profile to help share mental health tips to people, as the world seems to be crumbling around us. I tried to get fitter, faster and stronger to improve my own mental health… I even took on more work, saying yes to opportunity to be a better at my job. It almost became a compulsive behaviour, fuelled, and fired by hearing the deluge of bad news in the media… I wanted to give more and help more.
It all came to a fantastic climax when I agreed to raising thousands of pounds for charity and climb Africa’s highest mountain… that’s what saying yes does, and I don’t regret any of it.
But then I crashed…
There was too much going on.
I feel like you can relate, you try to do it all, you try to help everyone, you try to be in every corner, it feels amazing. But as mere mortals, we get tired, irritable, and overwhelmed, then slowly but surely, all your carefully curated, positivity and productiveness begin to diminish, falling to the wayside, until you find yourself sat on the sofa watching the news about how the world continues to crumble, and you think “I am just not doing enough…”
Back to square one.
Why am I telling you this story? Well, it’s because I have learnt a lot during 2023 and one of the most important lessons, came to me while on the amazing trek with Rafiki Thabo Foundation.
We were discussing whether more people don’t get into charity work, because they just don’t have the time and feel daunted by the amount of help that is needed out there. One of the trekkers said to me “that’s the problem for so many people, they want to save the planet, but they get so overwhelmed and end up doing nothing”.
The way I understood that, was to say that you could walk into a village and feed everyone with the little you have, and perhaps you might feed them for a day or two. But, then what? What’s the point? It immediately feels like so little impact, that the effort could be in vain.
This resonated with my ‘saying yes’ experience. I tried to do it all, but I learnt that all that happened, was that I only gave everyone and everything a small percentage of effort and time. Nothing was done well, and the effort began to feel in vain, which did have an impact on my mental health. It was a struggle to try to be superwoman, it would have been a lot better to pick just a few things that I really cared about and do them well. So, to finish the feeding the village analogy, I should have picked a few villagers to feed and nurture properly, so that they may get to a point where they themselves can nurture a few more, and on it goes.
You see, there are a million charities out there, there are billions of people who need help, and it is hard to know where to start because, YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL. In fact, from what I have learnt, you shouldn’t do it all!
The next 12 months for me will be about priorities and focussing on quality over quantity. Which is one of the main reasons why I decided to become an advocate for Rafiki Thabo. If everyone picks one movement, one thing they care about, there is enough of us to go around to cover it all, even if that one thing feels small.
I picked something I am passionate about, education.
So, I will never tell people to “just say yes”. My version now, is to slow down and think, always say yes to things that matter to you and make sure that you do that thing well. Because, when you sit down at the end of the day, you know that you are doing your bit and that’s all you and I can do.
View this post on Instagram