Self-interest is what compels individuals to engage in the work of organizing. What is it about a cause that speaks to you? What is at stake for you personally if nothing changes? That is your self-interest.
Our culture conflates self-interest, selfishness, and selfishness, but do not be fooled. If you believe that you should live only to serve others, that it is wrong to have a self-interest in your work and organizing, you are participating in your own oppression. You are denying yourself an active role in creating the world you want, and you are not being fully honest with yourself and your colleagues about your reasons for participating in an organizing movement. If you believe that you should live only for yourself, you are participating in the oppression of others. Self-interest is understanding who you are in the midst of others . . . how you relate to others and how you engage with others in a way that is life-giving and transformational.