Dear Dalitso

Everyday lessons for tomorrow

Dealing with pressure

September 7, 2023
Letter #

I am pressure. I exert pressure on the team at times in a positive but I suspect in a negative way as well. Pressure is necessary- it helps us to discover ourselves. The end product is usually good. But at times pressure can destroy us. Pressure tends to come from either of two places- a very dark place of fear and insecurity. You feel the need to perform and to fit in. That is negative pressure. However pressure can also come from a place of healthy competition- where one wants to better themselves. The quest for self improvement based on what you have seen elsewhere. I have mostly used this pressure in building skills within the team

As I observed organisations in Zimbabwe and elsewhere I put myself under pressure to make sure that we build an organisation that is fit for purpose. We knew of the factors that would work against us; our location for instance- there are very few donors interested in funding in Zimbabwe. How did we respond? We put ourselves under pressure to build a compelling product offering and secondly we began the process of rapidly growing into the region. We are still doing it. So this is not a claim to have figured it out or conquered the problem.

In our expansion into the region I had to take advantage of the fact that I had spent more years working in the region than in Zimbabwe prior to establishing SIVIO. We have a number of good networks spread across the continent. But still that was not enough. We had to build a compelling story and case for support- positive pressure.

I will not pretend that I don’t suffer from negative pressure. At times I doubt myself- if I am the right person for the task of leading the organization. I think that happens to many of us. At times we even question whether what we do is of any value to anyone. What to do then?
We all need reassurance or affirmation once in a while. Find what is meaningful for you. I was raised in Church and remain a firm believer. We have created relationships with various church bodies in our work. That has served to reassure me that even though I am in secular purposes there is a divine purpose that I am pursuing. It doesn’t take away the pressure but if makes it worthwhile.

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