Kickstart Monday: How to Discover Your Strength by Paying it Forward



Knowledge is Power

Have you ever heard someone say that knowledge is power? Did you know some of that knowledge comes from things we've learned in books, but an equal part comes from experience and learning from our own mistakes?

We may not always have the information we need or want, and there may even be days where we feel like complete idiots, but the truth is no matter where we are on our own path, we all have knowledge, skills and experience that someone else needs.

Which brings me to this week's topic, how to discover your strength by paying it forward.

I went to the new Software Entrepreneur group's meetup last week.

It was an interesting experience and it kind of got me thinking about how a lot of people get stuck and dwell on the things they don't know how to do instead of focusing on the things they can do.

And it's something we all do. We undervalue the skills we have today and forget that chances are good someone else needs or wants the knowledge we take for granted.

A lot of people suffer from impostor syndrome. They compare themselves to people who have a lot more experience than and feel like a fraud because they're not at the same level yet.

It's very easy to lose track or undervalue the knowledge you do have when you're focusing on what you don't know.

In my case, I know a lot of software engineers. These are people who seem to effortlessly build incredible products. They can write code in multiple languages, understand advanced developer concepts and have experience in areas of development I've never even heard of. When I compare myself to them and dwell on the many things that I don't know how to do I am completely overlooking all of the things that I do have experience with and it drives people nuts.

Which brings us back to the idea of finding your own strengths by paying it forward.

Rediscover Your Value

When we reach back to lend a hand to someone climbing the ladder behind us it gives us the opportunity to see ourselves through someone else's eyes. Not only do we get a new perspective on the value of the knowledge and skills we take for granted, but it forces us to learn new lessons from our old experiences.

In the heat of the moment, when we overcome a challenge we tend to focus on the next hurdle rather than taking a minute to consider how we made it to this point. When we're in the zone our focus is on the horizon and how to deal with the next step. We don't ask why certain steps did or didn't work, and we certainly don't pause for an atta boy.

Taking the time to lend a hand forces us to step outside ourselves and consider how to apply our own experiences to different situations. It forces us to look for the commonalities and let go of the "that's the way we've always done it" mentality so we can effectively apply what we know to the other person's situation.

Sharing your skills by paying it forward also acts as a catalyst to find a new way to use your old skills.

For example,Cami Baker is known as a real estate expert. Not only does she have a stellar track record as an agent, but she has years of experience training other realtors how to reach the same level. Instead of building on that experience to focus solely on real estate she found a way to apply many of the skills that made her a successful agent to becoming an expert on networking. Now she has tv shows, books, speaking gigs as well as an entire line of workshops and products created to share that knowledge and they are all built from the same skill set. A skill set that many small business people have and take for granted. The ability to walk into a room and introduce yourself. The ability to listen to what people are saying and recognize what they really mean when they say it.

Helping someone else is a great way to shift your focus away from the status quo, to see how other people view the skills that you don't even realize you have and find strength in the knowledge that you do have what it takes to make a difference and succeed.

There is power in knowledge and that power becomes exponential when you share your knowledge to help someone else. Not only is there the karmic benefit from giving the assist, but there is the enlightenment that comes from seeing the value other people put on your skills.

When you pay it forward by sharing your skills it shifts your focus away from what you don't know or haven't done and helps you appreciate what you have already achieved. It's a win/win and it's something that each and every one of us can do.

Misc. Links From the Podcast

Software Entrepreneur

Cami Baker

Daryl Eames (Paid Search Society)