We live in a culture of sharing.

Between Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, and forums like Clickin Moms, people are everywhere, sharing just about everything.

If you are reading this blog, you are part of a sharing community and more than likely have benefited from another’s willingness to share their knowledge with you. You are probably sharing a bit, too. Like most photographers, you are posting your favorite images to social media and blogging your recent sessions.

But have you taken the leap to sharing what really matters to you – your knowledge, your passion, and your skill – with the world?

Have you gone beyond posting beautiful images and kind comments to others and started sharing what makes you and your work special?

If you haven’t shared more of yourself, I invite you to consider why. Perhaps you feel you don’t know enough or that everything you know is already out there, shared by someone else. Or maybe you fear embarrassment, that no one will care or, even worse, you will look silly or just plain wrong. You might even want to share, but think you don’t have the time, or lack any idea of what you should share. You may even feel possessive of your hard earned skills and be reluctant to share for fear someone else will use your knowledge to surpass your success. Perhaps you just don’t think it’s important.

I invite you to consider that you, along with everyone else, most certainly have something to contribute, regardless of your skill level, interests, or where you are in your creative journey.

Your unique background, education, perspective, skill, and talent, make you qualified to have a voice in the creative community. In fact, the more voices we bring to the conversation, the more we all benefit.

If you are still feeling reluctant to jump in, let’s consider what you stand to gain by sharing:

1. When you teach, you learn.

The mere act of explaining your thoughts to another helps you to slow down, organize information in your mind, and evaluate your own process. As a result, you better understand what you know or how you do something. You may recognize gaps in your knowledge or alternative methods or ideas, or new ideas may be sparked. So even if you think no one cares about your idea, technique, or opinion, or you think everyone already knows what you have to teach, go ahead and teach it anyway. You will reap the benefits regardless of how many people are watching.

2. Sharing allows you to create relationships and enter into a community.

Sharing is the foundation of human connection. When we share what is important to us, whether it is our work, our knowledge, our ideas, or our opinions, we invite friends with similar interests to find us and be a part of our conversation. Our offering creates trust and a connection to us and our work. In photography, where our work is often personal, both to us and our clients, sharing more about our process allows people to get to know us better. The more personal our relationship, the more interested, or even invested, others are in our success, and the more likely they are to want to work with us or contribute to our success in some way. By starting a conversation, or jumping into an existing one, and giving freely of what we have to offer, we create opportunities to learn from others and to receive valuable feedback. No matter where you are on your journey, you have something to offer and even more to gain.

3. Sharing is a less obvious, but very effective form of self-promotion.

When you share knowledge, you increase your visibility to potential clients and become recognized as an authority on the topic. What you share helps define your brand and sell your work. You are engaging in content marketing, defined by the Content Marketing Institute as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” This is one of the key strategies used for business development and sales today.

4. Sharing is fun and it feels good.

When we share about our passions, it feels good. We are spending time with the thoughts and ideas that stir us. Plus, we are engaged in the act of giving, which by its nature, feels good. As Ben Carson once said,

Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.

And, when you are happy, you apt to be much more successful at everything you do.

5. Personal growth.

All of these benefits combined lead to both personal and professional growth. Learning, growing, making connections, and giving back are the keys to success in any area of your life, and all involve sharing yourself with others.

On an intuitive level, we all know that sharing is a good thing. And research backs this up with study after study showing that when you share, you start a cycle that returns greater benefits back to you. Essentially, “the more you give, the more you get.”

So now ask yourself, “what can I share of myself today,” and go share it! Want to share here on the CM Blog? Submit a proposal here.