Today, I have a story for you about taking risks and making time for things that really matter to you. It’s also a story about how your work can touch other people’s lives… often, in a really surprising and beautiful way.
So, about twelve years ago, I began to feel the urge to write. I had these visions of being a published author. I thought about starting a blog, too. But I had tons of excuses about why that couldn’t happen, about why it was unrealistic and pointless. I mean, I was busy! I had small kids at home! I barely had time to sleep and bathe! Writing seemed like a nice fantasy… but not something realistic.
Despite all these excuses, I managed to convince myself to sign up for a writing class. It wasn’t a very long class, so it was a relatively small time commitment. I figured it would be a good first step.
In that class, the teacher gave us an assignment to complete. She told us: Write a short article on any topic you want… and get it published somewhere.
Of course, I had a million insecurities. I thought to myself, “An article? By me? Who’s going to want to read an article that I’ve written? I’m not an ‘expert’ on anything. I’m just a mom living in the suburbs who used to sell real estate. I’m nobody special.”
But I wanted to impress my teacher because she was a hero of mine. So I was determined to complete the assignment.
I decided to write an article about raising a kid with ADHD. My son Ryan had recently been diagnosed, and we’d tried so many things to help him succeed at school. I wanted to share a little about our story—what we’d tried with Ryan, what helped, and what didn’t.
I didn’t present myself as an “expert” in my article. I didn’t claim to have “all the answers.” I just shared a few tips that, I hoped, might help out some parents out there.
I reached out to a small magazine in Evansville, Indiana, where I live. To my surprise, they say they’d be happy to publish the article.
I said, “OK great!” (My internal dialogue was more like, “OMGGGGGGGGG seriously??????”).
When the article came out, the most amazing thing happened…
Parents from the community started coming up to me at the bank, at the grocery store, and outside the school, and saying things like, “Thanks for what you wrote.” and… “That article was really helpful.” and… “It feels good to know I’m not the only parent who’s struggling with this stuff.”
I was really touched by this reaction. It felt so good to know that my article had made a difference in their lives.
I remember thinking to myself, “Wow. I had no idea that my article would actually HELP people like that.”
I’ve never forgotten that experience.
Here’s my challenge for you…
The next time you feel an urge to create something—just DO IT.
Write your blog post. Post your video. Cook a meal for your neighbor who’s at home recovering from surgery. Teach a class. Make a painting. Record a podcast.
Whatever your heart wants to create, just do it. Because you never know who’s life you might touch. It could be one life. It could be one thousand lives. You never know who’s going to be uplifted or deeply, powerfully moved by your efforts.
If you feel stuck, if you’re worried that nobody will care about your project, if you feel like it doesn’t even matter so why bother, I want you to coach yourself through that moment.
You can imagine me sitting on your shoulder, like a mini life coach, whispering in your ear, saying to you, “Who knows who you’ll help?”
Because you’re going to help someone. That’s for damn sure. The ripple effect that you create might be bigger than you can imagine.
We’re all here to serve one another. Whether it’s through a blog post, an article, a business, a fundraiser, or some other project, we’re all here to serve humanity.
So, go create and share. Please don’t hold yourself back. Because who knows who you’ll help?
Muhammad Ali once said: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
Go pay your rent.