I’m not an expert, but I know some stuff.
Most of my adventures begin with fear and uncertainty. What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? What if I look like a fool? What if I don’t really know what I’m doing? What if I get lost?
Next month I’m delivering an online workshop based around the theme of my first book, Shine Bright: Live A Supernova Life. I’ve been planning the workshop all year, and the doubts have been with me every step of the way. What if I don’t know enough? What if my content is uninteresting, not useful, already been taught better by others? What if people ask for my qualifications? I’m not an expert in anything!
Why, then, do I think I can deliver something of value to participants? Good question, and I’ve had to dig deep to find the answer.
First, I had to convince myself that I could put together the content.
I’ve been writing and editing for nearly two decades. I spent the past year developing educational content for eLeadership Academy, and I attended a course in Instructional Design earlier this year. Six years with Toastmasters International led me to the Distinguished Toastmaster award, which has given me oodles of practise at public speaking. Toss in a pandemic to transfer speaking skills to an online venue, and voila, I know I can do this.
But who am I, and what do I really have to offer within the content?
How can my honours designations in Hospitality Management or Accounting drive value for participants of the Shine Like a Supernova workshop? The years spent managing a busy fast-food restaurant, or delivering mail by foot and by truck? What about that construction flagging course I took in the nineties? Or the travel agent course in the eighties? Superhost? Foodsafe? Perhaps there is something of value in the few years of advanced scuba diving I did, or the year of theatre, dance, and self-defence through jiu jitsu. Or in the many writing and editing courses, retreats and conferences. Or the Artist’s Way workbook that I completed a few months ago.
Sure, I learned some things and built some skills. Many people do the same, each in their own unique way. But how has my life experience set me up to be of value to others? What else can I draw upon?
Long solo backpacking trips to Europe and Australia. Hosting a music festival to benefit the SPCA. Driving a tour bus for backpacker camping trips. Hiking the West Coast Trail. Leading the build of an accessible playground for my community. Living in a camper van with my husband and two children on a year-long trip through North America. Nurturing our kids to learn without a prescribed curriculum (unschooling) right through to graduation. Fundraising for our local car co-op. Hiking the East Coast Trail. Joining a rainforest circus production. I even went whitewater river rafting last week.
Those were all rich opportunities to live my dreams, meet people, take pictures, and make memories. And I know that sharing my stories has inspired others toward acting on their dreams. They’ve told me.
But, is that all? Are we only to pursue a life trajectory of endless fun and adventure? No, not really.
It’s human nature to share the best parts because that’s what inspires hope, motivation, and makes us feel good. We promote the good times to ease or balance the inevitable bad times. But they’re there, too, of course—the difficult or more challenging times.
My life hasn’t all been a cheery picnic. I was dragged up by absent alcoholic parents. I’ve sought love in the wrong ways with the wrong people in the wrong places. I’ve cheated and been cheated on. I’ve fought and drank, and drank and fought. I’ve been fired and I’ve walked out. I’ve lost good people to illness, accidents, and suicide. I’ve seen psychologists, counsellors, physiotherapists, an osteopath, an orthobionomist, and too many dentists. I’ve participated in cognitive behavioral therapy, core belief engineering, and past life regression. I’ve read dozens of self-help books, and attended workshops in emotional intelligence, respectful communication, and processing conflict. I’ve immersed myself in women’s and couples’ retreats. And through it all I’ve cried a lot. And felt. A lot.
I’ve also seen myself move away from hate, anger, fear, judgment, jealousy, and shame. And toward kindness, curiosity, expansion, acceptance, love, and grace. I’ve worked to shed the old and embrace the new.
So, where does that leave me now? Eternally attracted to learning and growth, it seems that I’ve been studying life for, well, my whole darn life. And what I’ve noticed is a pattern. It’s a model that I’m excited to share—life lessons that will help others to expand and shine. I may not be an expert, but I can follow my own workshop advice, stop doubting, and take a supernova step forward. And remember that I know some stuff.
Shine Like a Supernova is a five-week online workshop that begins September 17. Participants will explore the five stages of a supernova star as a guide for raising the vibration of their own life as well as the world around them. Register here to shine with me!