Sharing your knowledge can feel a bit like tearing tearing off your clothes in public – it is the stuff nightmares are made of! Many of us grew up at a time when we were encouraged to ‘keep ourselves to ourselves’ and not tell the world everything that was on our minds. Times have changed, and as you have probably noticed, people now are not in the least bit reluctant to share exceptionally personal information. I’m not certainly suggesting that sharing your knowledge also has to done in a brash and tasteless way, but times have changed, and now it is no longer considered to be rude to share your knowledge publicly – especially when it can help others. (Think of Martha Stewart and her empire that grew from sharing recipes and housekeeping tips!)
So what are some of the ways you can share your life story, share your poetry, or share your knowledge? It may surprise you to know that both blogs and websites can be password protected so that only those you want to see the information can do so. It is also possible to password protect single pages that may contain sensitive material. I have a client who has a huge family genealogical database site. He wants to share enough about his family, that distant relatives can see the family origins, but all contact details for family members in the current generations are securely hidden. We have taken the added precaution of telling google not to add the site to their list of sites found in searches. This doesn’t mean the site is unfindable, but it does mean it wont be very public.
This makes a safe way to begin to share life stories, share your story online, or share any stories you may write online. Down the road you may decide to publish any of this material for members of your family to keep, but I understand that it takes time – and courage – to start putting your deeper thoughts out online. You may also feel protective of your knowledge, especially if it concerns a sensitive matter or is about a family member who is still alive.
Sharing Your Knowledge
What I have found when it comes to sharing your knowledge is this; you tend to have to start sharing gently. Exposing too much makes us feel uncomfortable, and as humans we are disinclined to keep doing anything that makes us feel uncomfortable! I began by creating a family recipe book that included favourite recipes, and included family photos, but which didn’t share anything too revealing. I still keep the book ‘private’ on the site, and only buy copies to send to friends and family members. Even now, that book isn’t listed amongst the books I have created, in part because it is about my family, and in part because my book designing skills have (mercifully) advanced somewhat since then… (The book in the photo isn’t my recipe book!) Clients also generally start by sharing less personal information to get started. They will post about public events and their thoughts about them for quite some time before they are comfortable sharing their own thoughts.
So sharing your knowledge is likely to feel odd and a bit uncomfortable at first. Unfortunately you have to start somewhere, and by password protecting your content, you can start writing, and keep adding to your knowledge base for as long as you need before you feel confident about letting it go public!
We all remember that kid in school, who when the class was asked to write a story seemed to know right away what they were going to write about. Most of us chewed on our pencils, looked out of the window, and looked around at our friends for inspiration before finally settling to the task. Eventually something would come to mind and then we wrote, well aware that we’d have to hustle to catch up, but knew we would get our story written and handed in on time.
I have news for you – life is still like that when were are older – there is always someone who has already written their book, painted their picture, got a gallery of photos all the way up their staircase – but that doesn’t mean we can’t catch up! In the same way we doggedly worked at our story and got it written as children, we can still get to our project now – and get it done!
How people decide what to work on has always mystified me. As someone who always has many projects on the go at any one time, I find it hard to decide just which one to work on at any time. I have friends who find this approach really bizarre. They prefer to research, read, think, buy tools and supplies, get the opinions of others, and do nearly anything but get started on the project. We’re all at some point on this spectrum of fear of commitment to a project and fear of finishing one and being judged on it, so many of us struggle with choosing one project and working on it until it is done.
One way to bypass this indecision is to ask different questions, and let our gut reaction decide which answer feels best. Our ego-lead brains will try to talk us out of doing anything, and yet we keep asking it what to do. So here are some questions that bypass your brain and go straight to your gut to get some clarity.
- What do you find yourself doing – when you have free time – that you actually enjoy? Hint: Ignore all the “shoulds” and head straight for the “loves”. (E.g. “I love to go to the beach!” not, “I need to wash the kitchen floor.” ) List 2-3 things, big and small, that you love to do, then look at your answers to see if there are any common threads. Are they all about getting outside, uncovering mysteries, or eating, perhaps?
- What did you spend a lot of time doing as a child? Again, this refers to your down time, the things you would go to your room and pick up to play with, or start to do, that made time disappear? Or did you go outside and play with others or refine your own skills?
- What is it that others say is unique and wonderful about you? Do they admire your homemade cooking, your ability to do your taxes without breaking a sweat, or your organizational skills?
- What personality traits do others tend to comment on about you? Are you the go-to carer, listener, no-holds-barred-tell-it-as-it-is person, the stoic who can be relied on to listen without freaking out?
- What could you stand up and speak about or demonstrate for 15 minutes (or more) right now this second?
- What do co-workers or clients say about working with you? What do they most like about your interpersonal skills and ethics?
- What do you feel you have still to achieve in life? What is driving that need?
If you jot down all your answers, you will probably find your story in amongst the words on the page. Your personality will start to appear – like it or not – and threads like “freedom”, “friendship”, or “family”, will start to emerge. Sit with this list for a few days and see if you change or add words. This task has no due date, so work on it until you’re ready to act on your project.