So many of us are accustomed to self-censorship. We hold off on sharing the beautiful things in our minds, not knowing what the world’s reaction will be. We delay and delay until we see agreement around us. Maybe that agreement never comes, and we never share at all.
Whether the creation is a cake, an article, an idea, or a business, sharing a new creation is inherently vulnerable. We offer these things up, and we hope that those we show them to do not reject them.
What might be possible if we chose to see this time of social distance as an opportunity to practice sharing without consensus? What if we took our physical distance from others as permission to distance ourselves from the fear of judgment that stops us? What might we be capable of if we released self-criticism and self-consciousness, sharing instead from a place of authenticity, passion and service?
We can practice knowing that our ideas are valid, our perspectives are valuable, and our ways of being are enough so that we develop the habit of speaking our truth and build the muscle of sharing our unique gifts without apology. When our kids see us contribute our gifts to the world in this way, they will be receiving the incredible gift of learning to share themselves without apology, too.
Be still. Be here for it.
Before challenging yourself to take on the world, ask yourself: is this the right time and place for me? If now is a cocooning time for you and you’re not in the sharing stage of your creative process, then the most courageous thing you can do is be still. Try and notice what this is like for you. Journal or make art just for yourself, or maybe just sit, breathe, and be in the moment you’re in.
Let your fire warm those around you.
The tiniest gesture can change someone’s life. Lately I’ve heard people describe how deeply they’ve been touched by a single texted picture or memory, a letter in the mail, baked goods left on doorsteps, or craft packages mailed to kids at home. You can turn the things you are passionate about into something that ripples positivity and hope into the lives of others any old time you want.
Express yourself and better the world.
There are many ways to share your story, and you’re the only one who can. Share it with your partner or friends, your family or wider community, or put it out there for the world so that we can better understand what is really happening for people during this time. Here are some other ways to get your voice there.
Be an advocate.
Share your views on privilege and equality. This is needed more than ever and folks with privilege need to speak.
Share life hacks.
We are all trying new things. What is working for you? Share little things like a recipe, a way of thinking, a way of guiding your kids through this time, or a struggle that you walked through that you think might help others.
Light it up.
Share a story of something that made you feel hopeful. Put your favorite coping strategies or messages of empowerment into the world. Consider the ways that the things you know and do might equip others.
Share to serve others.
I’m writing a book, and it’s an isolating project. While the writing allows me to spend time and energy on a creative project that I’m passionate about and is an avenue for self-expression, it’s not yet serving others because I’m not at the sharing stage of my process.
To find balance, I’ve pushed myself to write and share something every week that’s in immediate service to the people around me. They are small things I’m putting into the world each week, but knowing that I’m using my strengths in a way that has the potential to ripple out and serve people is powerful and necessary, even when it’s scary.
When we have that nervous, butterflies in the stomach feeling, it’s likely that we’re sharing something authentic and it can be a sign that we’re on the right track.
It’s not just me, of course. I have friends that are pushing themselves to start podcasts and radio channels, host virtual art shows, create coloring pages, and build self-care resources.
If you want to start a larger project, here are some steps you can take.
Sit down in a quiet place and do some written reflection. Write out the answers to these questions: What are your unique skills and experiences? What are your passions or what are the things that bring you joy and fulfillment to focus on? What is something you’d like to do with spare time when you have it? What contributions have you made that people have valued in the past, and what networks, systems, or communities have you served?
On a fresh page, reflect on these. What are the greatest needs in your community, your nation, the world? What are ways that you see others around you contributing? What is the change you most want to bring to the world?
Where your unique gifts meet the world’s need:
Now find places where the two lists overlap. Work with one or more others to get feedback on your ideas, and start creating.
- Set milestones and identify when you’ll take action.
- Find a friend to be accountable to, and support them to achieve their sharing goals too.
- Once you share, ask for specific feedback. This can be the fuel that helps you continue to crank out good work.
We can each find the place where our heart’s deep longing meets the world’s deep need. When our daily actions are actually little steps toward sharing our gifts in service of others, we become fully ourselves. We teach our kids that they can use their strengths and ideas to change the world. The more you share yourself, your ideas, and your creations to connect to the people around you, the better off we’ll all be.
Sarah McDonald is Galileo’s VP of Southern California Operations. When she’s not heading up camp operations, Sarah loves to write, paint, and adventure with her fam.
The title of this post is based on a quote by Frederick Buechner.