I read a quote recently that said something like,
“When you’re stuck, just sit down with a notepad and start writing… your brain has things it wants to say even if you don’t know what they are.”
If I had read it last week I probably would have laughed as it sounds so ridiculous, haha, but interestingly I experienced exactly this the other day and it completely changed my trajectory :)
I had arrived at the coffee shop as I always do in the morning, but rather than crack open another book or laptop or any other number of ways to occupy myself, this day I wasn’t feeling any of it. Instead, I sat there with coffee in my hands, bored, wondering what to do with myself. Then, randomly, something inside me said to just take out a pad of paper and start writing… anything at all. I opened up my bag to pull out an old pad of paper, and scrawled up at the top was:
“CHANGE IT UP.”
I must have written it over a year ago based on the notes around it, but I immediately started nodding my head and giving my past self some mad credit…
“Yes!! You said it, J$!”
“That’s exactly what I need to do right now: change it up! You are The Man!!” lol…
I flipped to a fresh new page and began writing whatever flowed out of my head not knowing where it would lead… (remember that quote above??)
Here’s what I ended up with:
The first chunk of ideas my brain pushed out centers around “learning” more and jobs I’ve always thought were cool, then moves to more fun/hobbyesque/mission-centered ideas, and then eventually to the essence of what I believe my heart was *truly* telling me to do more of in that instant: put more GOOD into the world.
Interestingly I had just spent an hour helping people online the day before, and it seems my brain was trying to bring it back up yet again despite me not being smart enough to catch it on my own ;)
I then tried to focus on my main superpowers, to help narrow it down more. This resulted in the following:
Time. Curiosity. People. Wow… I had never described myself like that before! And the more I reflected on it, the more true it felt in this current season of my life. I do have a lot of free time on my hands right now for the first time in, well, ever. And I AM super curious no matter what we’re taking about! And then of course I just love people… even the haters, bless their hearts.
It also made more sense then as to why I like to tweet out when I have a free hour and ask if anyone needs help with anything. Something about the immediate impact of helping people, coupled with never knowing *exactly* what I’ll be working on is so oddly alluring. And let me tell you, randomly throwing out these questions brings out some fascinating requests, haha…
Here are a few of them from last week:
- “Do I drive the old car or the new car for normal use? Old car is on its last legs but gas is cheaper for it (grade and mpg).”
- “I haven’t had a job interview in 10 years, but I have one today at 5:15 p.m. Any advice from experience on interviewing? Specifically, is there a weird question that you have been asked in an interview?”
- “Any tips on connecting with other people who are enthusiastic on making money online/sidehustles? I’m in a group with bunch of entrepreneurs but the owner is always “too busy with my business” to post content for us and I don’t have anyone in real life who isn’t content with a 9-5.”
- “Tips for my website? Still learning but having fun with it :)”
I’ve also been asked to help cheer people up in the past, offer guidance with their investments, or even give movie recommendations (my two faves currently are “The Swimmers” on Netflix and “The Pez Outlaw“). Of course, I’m far from being an expert on any of these, but I do make it my mission to fulfill these requests the best I can and it’s always so fun and rewarding.
It also got me thinking…
What would happen if I did this in real life?? Like, what if I just rolled up into places and told them I have an hour to spare and would like to help them with whatever they need right now? Would it work? Would I be similarly fulfilled? Would they laugh and point and think I’m a psycho? 😂
My online friends of course trust and know me well, but to the rest of the world I’m a total stranger… and one with a mohawk at that, which does me no favors at all here, lol…
But the second I got this in my head I became enthralled with it and came up with all the reasons I should try it. It looked like this (I’ll spare you the chicken scratch this time):
- Easy way to volunteer fast
- No pressure for anyone!
- No clue what I’ll be working on, which is exciting
- Get to meet a ton of new people!
- 100% flexible (I can offer my free help anytime I want, 24/7 – or not!)
- If it sucks, I’ve only committed one hour (and if I’m enjoying myself I can keep going!)
- Great way to give back to my community I love so much
- Don’t think it’s ever been done before? I can start something new?
- I get to learn a lot!
- It’ll give me more courage (I’m social, but also SUPER shy)
- It’ll forever be a “story” I can tell
- It’s a fun experiment!
Then of course, it could very much fail:
- People probably won’t trust me or even believe me?
- They’ll think I’m weird or up to something, haha…
- They’ll probably give me $hit work to do! 😂
- Also maybe a liability issue on their side?
- I’ll probably have to go through proper training or paperwork or something first?
- Maybe an hour won’t be long enough to help…
They’ll just say no and it will be a huge waste of time…
(I quickly crossed out that last one because I don’t think you can EVER go wrong acting out of love, even if you’re rejected… Just asking to help makes it a WIN right out the gate no matter what the answer is! Which is another reason to try it out!)
I stared at these notes for around 20 seconds and immediately had two thoughts:
- THIS is what I was called to do right now in my life… It all makes so much sense!!
- No more *thinking* and writing down lists. Go out right now and TAKE ACTION.
I was so moved that I packed up my bag, walked out the front door of the coffee shop, and headed straight to the first place I saw before I had a chance to change my mind… And holy $hit was I scared!!!!
I’ll tell you all about what happened next…
UPDATE: Tomorrow is here: Operation Give Back IRL: The Results!
PS: Here were some of the “pitches” I drafted up during my brainstorming session…which completely went out the window once I opened up my mouth 😂
“Hello! Y’all need help with anything? I’m working on volunteering more and have a free hour.”
“Hi! Question for you – I’m on a mission to volunteer and give back more to the community and I love your shop. Is there anything I can help you with? I have a free hour.”
“Hi! Question for you – I’m trying to give back to the community more and I have a free hour. Is there anything I can help y’all with?”