Share Your Knowledge

“Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.” ~ Dalai Lama

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned the guys behind The Self-Publishing Podcast. Sean, Dave, and Johnny are among the thousands of creative people who freely share their knowledge through newsletters, webinars, online courses, podcasts, tutorials, and videos. Although these are all good marketing strategies, that’s not the main reason most of these entrepreneurs offer them.

Abby Glassenberg, of While She Naps, shares business and blogging tips and sewing techniques on her blog, podcast, and newsletter. On Pinch of Yum, Lindsey and Bjork offer recipes along with tips for making money as a food blogger. These generous people and all the others who share their expertise reap much more than just monetary rewards.

Psychologists tell us we’re all hard-wired to be teachers. Without the sharing of knowledge, humankind would not have survived. As a parent, there’s an intense feeling of pride when you see your child succeed at something you’ve taught them. You can achieve the same feeling teaching other children and even adults.

When I was a young mother, I taught community education classes, including those for children. One class really sticks out in my mind, although it happened so long ago the children involved probably have children of their own by now. In the class, each child and their parent were shown how to create Christmas ornaments from a homemade play dough. I took all the creations home, baked them, and at the next class they painted the ornaments. More than half of the parents were dads, and they seemed to have even more fun than the kids. Although most of the children had worked with Play-Doh, they actually got to mix up the handmade dough, which was as exciting as it was messy. I was so proud when every single student had at least one ornament they could be proud to hang on the tree.

Sharing your knowledge is a gift you give someone, and research has shown that sharing brings us joy. Scientists have discovered that when we share, our brains release the hormone oxytocin, which gives us a feeling of well-being. Oxytocin can also relieve stress and improve immunity. In other words, sharing our knowledge will make us healthier and happier. It can also help us make friends.

Over the last 40 years I’ve taught classes and done consulting in drawing, crafts, scrapbooking, computers, sewing, personal history, and writing. In each instance I stayed in contact with at least a couple of people, and some remained friends for years. I once ran into a former student at the grocery store, and she introduced me as the one who taught her how to use her sewing machine. She then went on to tell me that she had been making clothes for her children over the 10 intervening years and had recently started sewing a wedding dress for her daughter.

You don’t have to write a tutorial, shoot a video, or teach a class to share your knowledge. With the appropriate expertise, you could show a friend how to use Pinterest, help an elderly neighbor set up and use her new smart phone, or teach your niece how to crochet a scarf. If you have learned how to do something, why not teach someone else how to do it too. You might be surprised at how much you will learn yourself.

When I served as a Mac consultant, I was occasionally asked technical questions for which I didn’t know the answer. After admitting I didn’t know, I then found out the answer to the question, thus adding to my own knowledge. Sometimes, we actually learn right along with our students. How many of you have had to learn the New Math so you can help your kids with their homework?

I know some of you are probably thinking, “How can I share my knowledge when I don’t know anything of value?” I can guarantee you do. Has someone ever told you that you’re a good cook? Teach a young person how to make one of your favorite dishes. Do you know how to hang wallpaper? Maybe your neighbor is redecorating and could benefit from your expertise, or your 16-year-old son wants to get his driver’s license and you’re an excellent driver with a spotless record. You’ll be surprised how much you know that others would like to learn.

As you have learned, sharing your knowledge will improve your life by making you healthier, happier, and more popular. Share in the comments below what knowledge you’d like to share.

NOTE: This is the year I celebrate (?) seven decades residing on this planet. My journey so far has taught me many life lessons, so I decided to share some of them with you. I’ll be posting one each day from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Yesterday: Regret Nothing
Don’t Fear Change

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