Thursday, March 31, 2016

How do I show up to serve?

Between my work at the EcoCentre and being on our MM Outreach Committee (Quakers) I've been rapidly coming to the conclusion in recent weeks that I need to do some serious upskilling in the field of online content and management. The idea of signing up for a year long course through the polytechnic felt more than a little bit daunting given I am still getting to grips with having upped my regular 'work' hours, paid and voluntary, so I decided to try some webinars as I really needed some input now rather than in a year or twos time when my health might be more conducive to study.

One was run by Tech Soup, a Kiwi organization that supports charities with technical services etc and was about website content - I had a meeting when it was broadcast so I've now got the recording and need to make time to go through it. The other was by Jill Winger, whose e-newsletter, blog and Facebook page The Prairie Homestead has become regular reading for me in recent years. She's been the inspiration for many of my ventures into Urban Homesteading even though she's rural based rather than urban. There's nothing like thinking that if a city girl gone bush can do it, so can I! Over the years she's become a professional blogger, as well as a homesteader, so she's now sharing her experience with other bloggers.

I'm not expecting to ever turn this blog into anything much more than it's current ramble through life, it's purpose has been primarily as a window into my life for whānau and f/Friends who are spread around the world; if others come across it and enjoy it then great, welcome on board, please excuse the mess.... But I've seen blogging be used as a great outreach tool, and I can see the potential for a blog being part of the revamped EcoCentre site when that happens (later this year funding applications willing...). And if the EcoCentre blog/website can help bring in some funds as well then that would be brilliant. So what had originally started off as idle curiosity some time back when Jill asked in one of her e-mailings if anyone would be interested in a webinar on blogging, suddenly became highly relevant and I was glad I'd put my hand up.

What really struck me in her webinar today were some of the questions she put out there as needing to be addressed when planning a blog:

Who am I?
Why do I want to blog?
What do I have to offer?
How do I show up to serve?
What is my message?
Who am I going to help?

As I hurriedly scrawled those down on the back of an envelope I thought they were pretty good life questions in general, let alone for blogging, even as a career! The last few years of my life have been a bit vague in those areas as I've transitioned from being an Early Childhood teacher, to someone who can barely stay awake all day, to someone doing a bit of this a bit of that and wondering where it is all heading... they would've been useful questions to have on hand sooner to help me focus on what I wanted to be doing.

As it happens things have been starting to crystallize and I'm quite happy with the way things are heading. I've had time to 'practice' being in the EcoCentre slowly picking up more and more of the admin and finance tasks. I've been quite clear about saying 'no' to tasks I haven't felt ready for, and those around me have known me when both well (relatively speaking!) and really sick, so if we ever do get the funding to pay me for the work I'm doing I know there won't be any unrealistic expectations and I'll have a supportive environment to work in (and even a warm one too this winter if we get resource consent for the woodstove!). Alongside that I'm enjoying the work putting together the Yearly Meeting documents (and yes it is much easier this year having done it before), and there might be other work of a similar ilk I can help the YM Clerk with.

Being realistic even if I had managed to get my head around those questions a year or so ago it would probably have been frustrating more than anything else as I wasn't up to doing much about it. So I guess as per usual the universe is unfolding as it should.

I hope as the years roll by I'll always be able to 'step out and take my dreams seriously' as Jill said, rather than listen to all the people who say take the safe conventional route. She's right in that the biggest hurdle is getting past the fear you'll fall on your face and they'll all say 'I told you so', but better to fall on your face having given it your best shot than never having tried. As I reminded a friend on Facebook recently who was being self-depreciating about her slow jog compared to other's rather more athletic approach to triathlon training, she's lapping everyone still sitting on the couch. She may come in last (but probably won't), but the most important thing is she's stepped up to the challenge. Especially as she wasn't a runner, cyclist nor swimmer before signing up!

I keep coming back to the question Jill threw in to the mix 'How do I show up to serve?' and a diagram the same triathlon heading friend shared on Facebook:

I'm not quite sure where I'd put myself on this diagram right now, but I'm aiming for the middle. Both how to get there and 'how do I show up' is one step at a time...

No comments: