To change the world: teach your life
You have a message, a story, an idea that the world needs to hear. Not everyone, no, but there is a distinct group of people out there right now in wonderful need of what you’ve got to teach. And it needn’t be something big. It’s very likely that it’s something very small…or rather lots of very small messages and ideas and stories that do more than show the way, paving a journey through time, but actually inspire action, provide support and create connections with people who feel lost, stuck or fed up.
And this is why I say ‘teach your life’. It’s the best way to form those connections. If you know about what it takes to get over depression, teach that. If you love dogs, let them be part of your messaging and stories. And guess what? People who love dogs who are struggling with depression will find you and connect with you and learn from you.
You see, we learn from people we respect, sure, but we learn best from people who’ve walked a path like ours. People who understand how we feel, people who have inspired us because they’ve been there and found a way out. I mean I’d always choose to learn from someone who’s ‘been there, done it’ and found a way through rather than someone who’s super smart but never truly lived what they’re teaching. Wouldn’t you?
In fact, if it’s one thing I find hard to listen to more than anything else it’s lectures from people who’ve never done what I’m attempting. It’s like taking fitness advice from the couch potato (hehe, full disclaimer – I am that couch potato once a month) . No disrespect, but no thank you. I’d much rather go find a blog, vlog or Instagram feed of someone who is attempting or who has done something I’d love to do in my life. And the people I tend to follow are the people I respect, not because of what they know, but how they live their lives. I’m drawn to vegans, dog lovers, leaders, people who speak out, people who take care of their appearance, people who love baking & fitness (tough combo hehe). When I find someone who has done what I want to do and I love their way of life – bingo! Instant match.
And this is why I say ‘teach your life’. Teach something you’ve been through, something you’ve learnt and show your life along the way. If you love dogs, let’s meet them! If you love baking, mix that into your stories and your feed. Whatever you’re into, share it with the world and let the people who are into the same things find you.
I mean isn’t that why you’re following me? You want to change your life or find your purpose or make a living doing what you love ANNnnddd you love baking, or dogs, or Tynemouth, or hair and beauty, or reading, or all of the above. Ask yourself now, why do you read my blog or follow my vlog? Why do you follow anyone online? Because you can learn from them, sure, but you also like their lifestyle right?
So if you want to change the world, follow the same model: teach what you know and share your lifestyle. As you grow and change and develop, teach what you learnt, share how you did it and show people the journey.
And you don’t need some big fancy web site or YouTube channel with 10,000 subscribers to get started. You don’t need to look a certain way or have all the answers about everything. You don’t need have it all right now or have a mailing list. You don’t even need a plan or a strategy in the beginning. No, no, no. Don’t worry about any of that. Just start sharing and do it your way, as you please. And guest what? As you teach what you know, using your life (your truth) as a backdrop, you will grow a following and build a mailing list of people who connect with you and your life lessons anyway. But more than that, you’ll continue to change your life and you’ll change other people’s lives too.
So what stops us? Well, too often we don’t share what we know or what we think because we’re afraid of being judged. We’re scared of the haters. But do you know what? For every judgemental person out there are 101 people who need to hear what you’ve got to say and they’re actively looking for you right now. Plus, I’ve never ever been judged by someone trying to change their life or by someone who is happy; living a life of passion. I’ve only been judged by people who want to stay the same; people who’d rather I didn’t raise the bar. Know what I mean?
I mean imagine if you shared a quote on Facebook or published a blog on Linked In and someone – one person or even two or three – message you to say “Thank you! I’ve been having a tough time and that is just what I need to hear”. Can you imagine how that would feel? Have you ever read something or watched something and felt the desire to reach out and say thank you to the person that was brave enough to share it?
We all need inspiration in our lives and it’s so sad to think that most of us will never share our truth because we’re scared. Quite often, the ‘scary thing’ we made up in our heads is way worse than anything that would ever actually happen. So what if one person says ‘What a load of rubbish’ or ‘back in your box’ or ‘hahahaha’. That’s sad for them, not you. I mean would you ever do this? I doubt it. Because you’re a kind, thoughtful and supportive person and that is why we need you more than ever to find your voice, build your courage and teach.
Teach what you know, teach your way, teach your life.
Do you know what I teach people? I teach people how to uncover their purpose, how to change their lives and how to make a living doing what they love. I teach this because this is what I’ve learnt to do in the last few years and I teach it because I love it! These are my favourite three topics in the world…followed closely by dogs and vegan baking (I’m not sure which comes first?!).
How do I it? Well it depends how I’m feeling and what’s going on. I love vlogging and I love writing and sometimes I feel like doing one or the other and sometimes I feel like doing both. Right now, I’m writing a blog a day for 30 days and I’m also testing a vlog a day. We’ll see how that goes! If I’m in the middle of promoting my online course I am more much structured, often linking into a free demo course or mailing list, but I didn’t start out this way.
When I first launched DARETOGROW (the blog), it was on the back of another web site. I started writing about how to get over depression and how I planned to get out of debt. It was just the odd story here and then and nothing really happened. Until I started posting them on Linked In as articles. I got likes and comments from people I’d never met, people I hadn’t spoken to in years, people I never expected to comment. I got a lot of support but mostly the comments were from people thanking me for sharing my story because it had helped them at that moment in their lives. I never expected that. I just had a compulsion to write, to share. It was helping me to make sense of my thoughts and in an odd way it helped me to re-connect with the world.
Things have evolved a lot since then but the premise of DARETOGROW is the same: I just tell stories…my stories. Stories of how I changed my life, stories of what I’ve learnt and stories of how I spend my day. Some are written, some are in videos and some are in live stories on Instagram. I share photos and clips of what I’m up to – mostly baking, writing, reading, walking along Longsands Beach in Tynemouth, and even now I’m surprised when people message me to say thank you or to ask me a certain question. Sometimes I think ‘but what do I know that they don’t?!’.
And then I remember – we’re all at different stages in our journeys. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what experience you have. There will be some things you’ve been through or learnt that someone else could really benefit from. It might not even be a strategy, but rather that feeling you give someone: ‘oh phew, it’s not just me, someone else has felt this way too’.
We’re social creatures and we need a sense of connection to learn, to grow and to heal. When you share your life, you create the opportunity for that connection. And connections form over time – weeks, months, years. When sharing your story, do it often and do it in different ways. As you get moving, consider photos, quotes, blogs, video clips and even vlogs! Lots of little stories over time are much better than one big killer blog! So don’t get too hung up on making it perfect. Just get it out there! Show people change is possible. Show them you’ve been through it. And show them what’s on the other side.
I am so grateful to the wonderful leaders, mentors and trail blazers who’ve gone before me; those who’ve gone out into the wild and created a path for me to follow….The thirty year old woman with social anxiety who shared a VLOG in Toronto, the twenty year old with depression who started that blog, the fifty year old man with no money who wrote that book.
I have so many people I’m grateful for. Some of them are famous – Tony Robbins, Lisa Nichols, Les Brown, Oprah, Paolo Coehlo, Eckhart Tolle – and some of them are not. Some of them I follow and some of them I saw once in a passing blog or video.
The point is that teachers come in and out of our lives. We don’t get attached to them. And you will enter into someone’s life and leave again. People will subscribe when they need you and unsubscribe when they don’t. Don’t get hung up on any of that. For now, just teach. Teach your life and do it your way.