There are six or seven big binders sitting on a shelf at my office. They are full of all kinds of information that is helpful to individuals in different ways. Some of the binders are about helping people learn to stop, pause, and reflect before they act, especially as parents. One binder is full of great information and worksheets on family finances. One binder gently guides people through identifying traumatic experiences they have had, and finding the hope and strength that they can gain from those stories. One really terrific binder is stuffed with activities that help couples strengthen their relationship. They are all really fabulous resources for me. And for over a year, they sat untouched. No one was benefiting from all that important knowledge. In essence, I was wasting it.
Now, obviously, that sounds crazy. Why would I waste such good information, that could be life-changing for so many people? The knowledge, activities, and worksheets in those binders are like food for the brain and soul, and it was just sitting around, getting stale, while people were starving for it. I was justifying not using it because nearly all of it was meant for groups. For classes. And I didn't have any groups to use it on. So, I just didn't use it. The conditions weren't right, so I kept pushing it off for "someday". Shockingly, "someday" wasn't arriving.
Clearly my waste of that material was not a good idea. And while it might be easy to point to that decision I made and form a negative opinion of it, I ask you to hold off for a minute. Because what if, instead of ignoring curriculum on a shelf, I put my strengths, gifts, and talents up there and let them collect dust? What if I really had a knack for something, and I just let it get stale, while the world was starving for what only I could provide? What if I only fed myself with that talent? Wouldn't that be kind of like reading one of those binders to myself, alone in my office, reveling in the pearls of goodness while depriving everyone else of the same?
If I'm being honest, the truth is I have done that. I don't always share my writing with people. I keep photos to myself. I avoid doing something that I know I could do. The fact is, I keep those aspects of myself to myself all the time. It's hard to share. It's hard to put yourself out there. It's scary. And vulnerable. So often I just don't do it. I put it on a shelf and ignore it.
What have you put on a shelf, that you are ignoring?
What are you holding back from sharing with the world?
I'm serious. Close your eyes. What is collecting dust in your soul?
You, sweet reader, have something that the world needs. Something that the world is starving for. Maybe you are a musician. Maybe you are a writer. Maybe you make people laugh. And boy, do we need laughter right now. Maybe you have a gift for empathy. We need a lot of that, too. Or you have a gift for problem-solving. Or organizing. Or you have a spot-on bullshit radar. That one can be super helpful! Maybe you arrange flowers in a way that makes people smile and feel that the world is a little more beautiful. Every single person on this earth has a talent in something. Every single person on this earth has strengths. And every single gift, talent, and strength is useful, and can be used to make the world a better place.
I'm happy to say that eventually I did find a use for all those binders. I began using them in individual work with people instead. It was scary, and a little intimidating, each time I pulled a binder off the shelf to use for the first time. But every time I took the risk to share it with someone else, I was glad that I had. I'm still grateful every time I use one of those binders (and I'll tell you a little secret--I still get nervous when I use them, too!). Sometimes it goes really well. Sometimes it's kind of a flop. Sharing anything, whether it's personal or professional, is always going to be a risk, and is always going to make you feel vulnerable. But it's always worth it. You can learn from a flop. You can learn from a success. Growth can happen in both scenarios. But you can't learn from not even trying.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. What have you put on a shelf? What do you need to dust off and start using?
It's nice to meet you! Welcome to my blog. My name is Amy, and my husband and I have three lively kids. We are so happy to share our journey with you. Come along as we learn to embrace the messiness of life, and maybe chase a dream or two along the way.