I recently had an idea for a really cool coaching concept and I shared it with my friend and coaching colleague Tanya Geisler. Now we are partnering on the idea and getting more excited about it each time we meet about it.  In parallel, the notion of hoarding (things, information) versus sharing has crossed my radar a few times (and you may have read that historically I haven’t shared well!) so I decided to examine it a bit more closely. But first let me make a distinction: I give my ideas with ease and frequency and truly delight in sharing them.  Giving away things (i.e. possessions, money) is harder for me.

Royality free image from Fotosearch

Royality free image from Fotosearch

A few days ago, I read The Wisdom of Sharing in my DailyOM email. In short, a traveller comes into a town that is besieged by famine. The villagers are suspicious that he will beg for food. Instead, he sets a large pot to boil and proceeds to make a “stone” soup by dropping a large stone from his bag into the boiling cauldron. He “sniffs the brew extravagantly and exclaims how delicious the stone soup will be”. As the villagers get curious, he mentions how good the soup would be with a little cabbage. As you can imagine, bit by bit the villagers bring cabbage, carrots, onions and beets until there is a substantial soup that feeds the village.

In times of constraint, it is human nature to hold back and protect what is ours. And yet, when it comes to creating a rich idea soup, it is hard to make it alone. I did a quick search for a “hoarding vs. sharing scale” to see if one existed. I wanted to assess myself. Why can I share my ideas with detachment and not do the same with my things? Instead, I stumbled upon a hoarding scale used by professional organizers to determine whether or not their clients’ hoarding is actually pathological  (it’s free but you have to fill out some info before this site will share it). Hoarding, whether possessions or ideas, is about accumulating or keeping something hidden or private. It gives us a sense of safety and and security and enables us to pat ourselves on the back that we are being prudent and responsible. But isn’t the safety and security we feel a bit of an illusion?

The wise woman who writes copyblogger says that hoarding ideas is the same as throwing them away as your reputation is built on what you are doing now. I could have hoarded my coaching concept idea and kept it swirling around in my own head. For a while, I suspect I would have felt clever and creative. And then I predict it would have gone the way of the dodo bird, bumped off the back burner of my brain by my next brainwave. Instead, now I have a partner whom I love to work with on projects and we are developing an action plan for a September launch in Toronto and Montreal.  Just today she came up with a brillant name for our concept and we have committed to dates for pilots in both cities. 

I will share the concept here soon too. In the meantime, I will continue to work on sharing my things as often as I share my ideas…that’s the stretch for me. What’s yours?

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