Episode 161 | The 6 Basic Needs to Live Your Best Life

I am a huge fan of you raising a ridiculous amount of money and changing the world.  I know that’s what you’re focused on and why you’re here listening to this show but I want you to realize one thing.  If you’re awesome at fundraising and awesome at helping other people, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to be all that awesome at taking care of yourself.  Today I want to talk about how you can take care of yourself so that you can continue taking care of others.  It’s the same idea as putting on the oxygen make first before putting it on your family. 

Last week we talked about setting goals and the fool-proof process to achieving any goal and as you know, I’m a major proponent of personal development.  I listen to a wide variety of different people who have are experts in that space.  Earl Nightingale, Napoleon Hill, Tony Robbins, and the list goes on.  I’m always looking for ways to improve my life so I can help others improve theirs.  I hope today’s show gives you the opportunity to take a step back and look at all these basic needs that you need in order to be successful every single day.  Not just for work, but for your friends, family, and yourself. 

If you aren’t familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, his pyramid is the most common of all the graphics we see.  Maslow published his hierarchy in the 1940s and it’s just as relevant today.  At the very bottom is the basic need for food, water, shelter.  The second from the bottom is safety and security.  Then it moves into psychological needs, then to self-esteem, and finally to self-actualization.  When you get to the top, this is where you are achieving your full potential.  What I want to share with you today is Tony Robbins’ modification.

The first is certainty.  We all need that sense of certainty – food, water, shelter, safety, security.  This is why a lot of us have struggled through COVID-19 and now the racial unrest and the goings-on in each of our communities.  Certainty is something we long for and when we don’t have certainty in our jobs and lives we are uncomfortable.  It doesn’t feel good.  It’s hard to imagine feeling creative and putting on big fundraisers when you don’t feel taken care of.  Remember that.  We all need routines, habits, things we do every day that allow us to feel like we know what’s going to happen. 

Second, just as we need certainty, we also need space for uncertainty.  If we always knew everything that was going to happen, we would be so bored!  Uncertainty is what helps us learn lessons and grow as individuals.  It’s also what helps give our lives variety and probably why you love your cause because you never know from day to day who is going to walk in the door or how that new person could change your life.

The third need is significance.  You feel like you are making a difference in the world.  This is back to Maslow’s level of that feeling of accomplishment.  We all want to feel like we are making a difference in the world and whatever that looks like for you.  This is a really big one for me.  This is why I do this podcast and why I teach so much because I want to feel like I’m making a difference in the world and that what I offer is significant and matters.  I know many of you in this space feel the exact same way.  You want to use your skills and talents to make a difference.

Number four is love and connection.  We all need to feel like we belong somewhere.  This is why we find groups, why people are involved in churches, clubs, and organizations.  You want to feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself as well as connected with those around you on a similar topic.  We all want to feel loved.  That’s why in our home lives we want to have those key people who love us and can love them back.  Also, loving our neighbors and loving the people we surround ourselves with.

Next is growth.  I think a lot of people forget that this is one of our basic needs.  We absolutely need to feel like we are growing, learning, and doing things to turn us into better versions of ourselves.  Maybe you set a goal and you accomplish it.  You raised those dollars, you got what you wanted to get, and you’re at the top of the mountain.  What happens next?  You come crashing down.  All of a sudden you feel a sense of despair because you came, you did the thing, and now you’re wondering what’s next.  Many of you know I had this experience this last year once our house was finished being built.  It was a huge goal and a huge accomplishment for us to do this, but then I came crashing down off of it because I was like, ‘now what?’.  We want to continue to grow and get better at who we are.  My number one competition is not the people I work with, not my peers, or others I follow online.  I just want to be a better version of myself.  That means I have to grow every day and be in a constant state of learning. 

Finally, the sixth basic need is the one I think is most significant to the work that we all do and that is contribution.  We have a basic need to help others.  This is why your donors give to the work you do.  They want to feel like they are part of something bigger.  It’s back to the significance, but also helping others do something they otherwise couldn’t do.  It’s contributing to your fellow man.  This is why when you see natural disasters so many people are willing to jump in and help. 

All six of these come back to our basic needs and the desire to live our best lives.  You may notice in one of these areas you feel a sense of lack.  Maybe things aren’t going the way you planned or going in the direction you hoped and so, you have to look at all six areas and ask yourself what’s missing.  Have you neglected an area because you’ve spent so much time in another area?  Or, is it just something you’ve let slip through the cracks?  I think that even though many of us get love and connection with the people we work with, I have to wonder how many of you are pursuing growth and embracing the uncertainty?  The number one question I’ve gotten lately is, “how am I going to raise money during the Coronavirus?”.  Or, “how are we supposed to raise money when everyone is still wearing masks and we can’t meet in groups?”  Here’s the thing, your people want a sense of certainty and you have the ability to create that by continuing to do the work that you do.  But, with all that we’re doing, there is still a sense of uncertainty because you’re creating variety.  Plus, this is a great time to change up the way you’ve always done things and not be so cookie-cutter – this can be why people don’t come back to your fundraiser…they are bored!  They don’t want to come back to the same people, the same theme, the same everything.  Moving to virtual activities is good because you’re able to create a variety for your donor base.  You’re giving them an opportunity to do something different than they would have done before.

One more thing I want to share with you today is that when it comes to safety needs, we need to make sure we have personal, emotional, and financial, and health.  That is the foundational stuff that everything else builds off of.  When we feel a sense of safety and security we are unstoppable.  When you don’t feel like you’re struggling for your finances, or afraid that someone might abandon or leave you, you feel stable.  That’s when we can step out and be the best versions of ourselves.  Here’s my challenge for you today, if you are not in an environment where you feel safe and secure, where you feel you have the ability to grow and be the best version of yourself, I want you to take a few minutes and reflect on what’s missing.  What have you not taken the time to really address?  And then get those taken care of so that you can serve people better.  The one thing that most people are really bad about is their finances.  it’s the area I talk on the most; when you are stressed and overwhelmed by finances everything else will suffer.  When you don’t know when your next paycheck is going to come from, whether or not you’re going to stay in the home you live in, or if you’ll be able to pay your basic bills, how the heck are you going to serve your people well?  You aren’t!  Remember, you have to take care of YOU first.

Resources mentioned:

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Tony Robbins’ 6 Needs

Connect with Mary:

Mary Valloni

Fundraising Freedom Academy

Fully Funded Academy



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