Working on international development from a cushy Washington, DC office has its challenges. People always say that you must love your job purely because your mission is important to you, and that you feel like work is rewarding outside of yourself. They are correct, but it's not so simple.
The issues and their solutions are the drivers for my work -- and I think I can speak for my staff and say they share the same attitude -- but we sometimes lose sight of that. As the leader of the organization, it is important that I help the team stay focused on the mission. The low pay or lack of direct access to fieldwork opportunities all the time can be discouraging, especially when the times get tough.
So I put together a graph that explained this. Energy and Goal Clarity (See Graph) seem to be directly related over time. I have no problem working 14 hours a day on Think Impact projects - even if it means just drafting memos or setting up meetings -- if it also means that I am pursuing a clear and understandable goal. Goals like building a school for 300 children, providing young leaders access to a community that will inspire a lifetime of work, and so on. There will be inevitable drop offs; sometimes you just don't feel the inspiration. But if you can keep yourself in the top half of the graph and always have a good sense of what you are working towards then you will always have the energy to kick it into gear.