DonorsChoose Challenge: The Power of Your Unique Perspective
No matter how you might slice it, your unique perspective is what makes you YOU. Many women spend their whole lives trying to diminish its light, cram it to "fit" into someone else's opinion of who they "should" be, or simply spend so much time tending to others that they lose sight of their own special lens.
Personally I spent many years discounting my talents, perspectives, and what I had to offer. I felt not good enough and afraid to accept the vulnerability that comes with putting oneself "out there" by expressing myself fully and honoring that.
One powerful experience I had when I was receiving some of my coach training by Debbie Ford was that of documenting my perspective each day for a year. I was doing some personal transformational work and my heart told me that what I needed to do was document my view on the world and my day to day life for an entire year. That looked like picking up my camera and taking at least one photo each day capturing my perspective, my experiences, my take on things. What a powerful experience it was.
First off this exercise forced me to get back behind the camera again. I have LOVED photography since I was a kid. I still have my little Kodak Instamatic camera I got as a gift. Those little square contraptions that had a flash stick that could blind a horse. Yet, I had let this passion languish because after all, I'm a superwoman, an over-achiever - of course there were "more important" things to do. Second, it made me see my life, one day at a time, through a new set of eyes. What was interesting today? What did I see that caught my fancy? What is ordinary that I take for granted? And on days when I was busy and found myself nearing bedtime without having fulfilled my commitment to myself of taking a photo, I saw the world through the "What the hell can I take a picture of so I can go to bed?!?" lens. Needless to say in that year-long experiment my partner, family, and cats got their fair share of photos taken in the most odd moments.
What I learned from this exercise was how to honor, respect, and even celebrate my own unique perspective. I learned to celebrate ME.
What opened up for me from that experience is that suddenly I had much more courage and confidence to speak up, negotiate, contribute, and make changes. This translated directly into my professional life because let's face it so many companies just want people to conform. If they could have robots they would. The human-ness of many companies is faceless. Yet, I knew better. I knew behind every desk was a real person. I could suddenly relate better, build better relationships, and stand up to get my needs met. Even today the experience continues to resonate because I know deep in my heart how powerful these lessons are for my clients and the relationships I build as part of my business.
That is why when I came across the Cameras in the Classroom at DonorsChoose I KNEW it was a message I needed to share. How powerful would it be for children to be able to document their experiences and then claim that creativity, that unique perspective as their own. Imagine the self-esteem that can be cultivated by honoring each child in this way. And, the cost to do such a task is minimal. The yeowman's job is that of the teacher who has taken on the challenge to make this dream a reality and then implement the plan.
When I chose this project my intrepid editor was kind enough not to ask (but I know she was thinking it) -- how does this tie into business, career, and personal finance? Here's the short answer -- when we learn to value ourselves we make more empowered choices. When we honor ourselves we tend to be good stewards of our money and allow more abundance to flow to ourselves and others. When we have the confidence and courage to design our lives and careers in a way that fit who we are and our unique gifts we succeed on our own terms and make the world a better place in the process. I believe little things do matter.
What can you do to help? Lots!
First and foremost -- give to support the projects. Every dollar counts. Every dollar really does matter. Consider donating yourself, encouraging others to give, or even setting up a coin jar at the office and then pooling all that money together for one donation. Donate to a project that really speaks to you -- of course I'd love it if you show some love for the
Cameras in the Classroom.
Second, if you have a blog -- blog about it! You can grab the links from this post and those from my fellow contributing editors. You can grab a variety of widget code from the sidebar or from the BlogHer Challenge Page Widgets.
Our spirits need to dance. We all yearn to have our voices and our very uniqueness matter. Whether that is by taking time to dance or a shot at documenting our experience, it is essential to experiencing our lives fully. Take time to do that for yourself and then also spare a few moments and a few dollars to help some disadvantaged kids do the same.
Paula Gregorowicz, owner of The Paula G. Company, works with women who are ready to create their lives and businesses in a way that fits who they are rather than how they were told they "should". Get the free 12 part eCourse "How to Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin" http://www.coaching4lesbians.com and start taking charge of your own success.
To get the latest word on personal finances from an LGBT perspective and Paula's practical coach approach to the topic check out Queercents http://www.queercents.com.
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