On Saturday, I did something new.
I taught a workshop on a topic I am passionate about: Telling Our Life Stories.
It was a process, putting the content for the workshop together, organizing it in a way that made sense, and – perhaps the greatest joy and challenge – anticipating the needs and questions of those who attended.
I was nervous, yes. Nervous that the content I put together might be too general or easy, nervous that my “expertise” might not hold up, nervous that nobody would show.
But as I got down and into it, both the creating of the event and the sharing, I realized a few things.
First, I was having fun. By exploring a topic of interest to me – Telling Our Life Stories – I was allowing myself to spend time immersed in something I loved. Good had to come from that, I thought.
Second, the preparation for the event allowed me to view myself and my work in a different light. I have never considered myself a teacher. Never really thought I had the skills or desire to teach. That might be true if I were talking about a fourth grade classroom or a room full of preschoolers. But give me something I’m passionate about and some listening, interested ears and what do you know, I can find a groove. This workshop also challenged me to think of that word “teacher” in a broader form. I am a teacher every day, as a mother. As a writer, I hope my words speak and shed new or re-discovered light on topics and experiences that are important to others. As a workshop leader, I can aim to inspire and challenge conventional ways of thinking. This workshop allowed me to see that I am a teacher – just perhaps not in the most formal of ways.
Third, sharing knowledge I’m passionate about with others who are interested in the same subject presented me with an invaluable opportunity to give. Saturday’s workshop was, for me, a small act of service in which I hope I empowered others to think more intentionally about their own life stories and ways they can communicate them. Rather than lecture, I aimed for conversation. And boy, did I strike gold. The conversation that unfolded in that small room on Saturday was entirely a joy to me – and with so many questions and insights, I could be confident that the others who were there were getting something out of it, too.
What “new thing” is on your bucket list to try? Take the leap – and you just might surprise yourself.