In my first post I mentioned some of my experience in making connections in the community. The truth is I’ve been building teams and making connections most of my life. When I was a little kid I constantly strong armed my cousins and neighbor friends into making silly clubs.
Something inside drove me to bring people together. In middle school and high school I got involved in student council and youth ministry – two new opportunities to recruit and connect talented people. As an adult, continued on this same path, to the point that my job now is literally to outreach to, recruit, and connect individuals and groups with opportunities and needs.
Still, I’ve been hesitant to put myself out there because, besides the two decades described above, I don’t feel expert at anything. Of course, I’m learning to get over that fear, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this.
How am I getting over it? By taking action. What action? Investing in myself. Once I realized that I have some real skills that need to be developed, I decided I needed to flood my mind with expertise. Since I’m busy, I immediately gravitated towards something I could listen to while doing other work – podcasts. Hopefully one day soon I will be able to share with you some of the shows that I have found helpful.
I literally grabbed my podcast app, searched for some key terms, and started subscribing to stuff. I didn’t know what I was doing, but that was OK. I was doing something. Instead of standing still, I was gaining momentum and taking the time to invest in myself.
The day I started to listen to these various experts talk about their crafts, I realized it wasn’t enough. I had this incredible urge to buy books. That night I went to the bookstore and picked two up. Both of them are by thought leaders I consider more expert than myself in areas where I am currently working – one religious, one secular. I’ll be sure to review them here once I complete them.
My point is this: I spent money and time on myself because I believe I have useful skills that need to be developed. You have great skills, too. We all need to put time and money aside to invest in ourselves. It’s not selfish or self serving. It makes you better able to help others.
So, all my fellow leaders out there: school teachers, youth ministers, social workers, social entrepreneurs, and so on, don’t just keep doing what you do. Put in the investment to do it better and better each day.