Be Yourself, Share Freely

by Lance Ekum on · 57 comments

Today I have another special guest with us.  Please help me welcome Amanda Linehan from Look Far – Using Self Awareness To Create The Life You Want.  Amanda and I go way back.  Well, at least way back in our blogging years (or months, more appropriately)!  She was one of the early commenters on my site when I was just getting started, and I’ve also had the opportunity to watch her blog grow and blossom.  Amanda writes much about becoming more aware of self, an important aspect in each of us truly understanding who we are.  One of her recent articles, How To Conquer Self Doubt, provides well thought-out approaches to help in those times when doubt starts to seep in.

Amanda is a fantastic writer!  Get regular updates by subscribing to her blog, and following her on Twitter.

Sit back and enjoy…

Be Yourself, Share Freely

magda and klara sharing icecream
Creative Commons License photo credit: springm

“In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal.  In every heart there is the power to do it.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Being yourself and sharing with your community are often perceived to be at odds.  Being yourself is an individual pursuit, where you may have to sacrifice what people think of you in order to pursue something you want.  While sharing with the community is about sacrificing what you want as an individual and doing what needs to be done for the group.

However, there is another way to think about this.  Being yourself and developing your unique gifts allows you to share those gifts with your community.  When you are doing something that is uniquely you and fulfilling a need in your community, it is a win-win situation.  Your community is looking for you to share your gifts, so spend some time getting to know what those are and develop them.

We All Have Different Gifts
The wonderful thing about being part of a community is that whatever you don’t have, someone else does.  We don’t all need to do the same things, in fact, it would be better if we didn’t.  Adding your gift to your community means you are contributing in a way that someone else cannot.  In essence, you are taking responsibility for something that needs to get done in a way that you are uniquely prepared for.  When people share freely with each other, all the parts are there in a way that they can’t be with just an individual.

Give Joyfully

It wouldn’t make any sense to have a talent or a skill to express and then not express it!  When you do something well, give it away with joy.  You don’t have to worry about getting something back.  The joy is in the giving itself.  When you see your gift being used within your community that is reward enough.


The word “community” essentially means “coming together to share our gifts” (thanks Daphne!).   A community is not just a random group of individuals sharing the same space, but a group of individuals each contributing their part so that the whole means something.   A community is vibrant, supportive, dynamic and functional only because of the individuals who bring something to it.  But those individuals need to know what they have to give and give it joyfully for the community to exist.  Know what you have to give and be proud of it.  Your community needs you.

Be Yourself.  Share Freely.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Yum Yucky March 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm

First it was Lessons from the Mountain, and now this awesome post. I think I’ll be hanging ’round the jungle a lot more often! I like it here.


Yum Yucky March 5, 2009 at 1:43 pm

(I hit enter too soon). I sat on my talent for many years and now at the age of 36 I’m just starting to blossom. For all of you younger than I, don’t waste your time doubting yourself. Go out and work your talent to its fullest! (and what an adorable picture)

Yum Yucky´s last blog post..Free nachos to be outlawed in most states


Dragos Roua March 5, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Welcome, Amanda

(at least, welcome to my world 🙂 )
This is inspiring. I totally agree with you on the false dichotomy you / community. The relationship between you and the community is a symbiotic one, it’s not at all a black and white separation, nor it involves any sacrifice from any involved parts. After all, a community is, like you said, sharing in joy 🙂

Dragos Roua´s last blog post..The Guardians


Amanda Linehan March 5, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Lance – Thanks again for sharing my post on Jungle of Life! I’m happy to be here. 🙂

Yum Yucky – I agree about the picture! Thanks for the advice on overcoming self-doubt.

Dragos – Thank you 🙂 Yes, it seems like the individual and the community would work against each other, but I think they work best together.

Amanda Linehan´s last blog post..Reflection: Keeping Your Dreams Alive In The Face of Reality


brandi March 5, 2009 at 5:31 pm

amanda, this is a wonderful article.

and lance-thanks for introducing her to us!

brandi´s last blog post..mission monday:: give yourself permission


Jay March 5, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Amanda- I have seen you around the comment world but wow- what a wonderful voice you have. This is a great post- I look forward to going to your blog and getting to know you better.
Thanks Lance for the introduction.

Jay´s last blog post..The Precarious Journey of a Life Purpose


Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk March 5, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Amen to that! My motto is “Stay curious and open to life. No matter what happens keep learning and growing. Find what you love to do and find a way to share it with other people.” It works for me.

Jean Browman–Cheerful Monk´s last blog post..Are You Conducting Yourself Well?


Daphne March 5, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Amanda, this was a beautifully written post. I love the picture! It truly says what sharing freely is all about. Thanks for the link too!

Daphne´s last blog post..How To Write A Personal Creed


Amanda Linehan March 5, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Hi Brandi – Thanks a lot 🙂

Hi Jay – Thanks for the warm welcome. Hope to see you around too!

Hi Jean – “Stay curious and open to life” – that one I will remember.

Hi Daphne – Thanks! and you’re welcome. Your “community” post made me think of some of this stuff 🙂

Amanda Linehan´s last blog post..Reflection: Keeping Your Dreams Alive In The Face of Reality


Evelyn Lim March 5, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Hello Lance and Amanda,

I enjoyed this article about being ourselves and sharing our gifts with the community. It is through expressing our natural gifts and talents that we can help others best. Very often, we do not even know ourselves well and find it hard to be sharing in community as a result.

Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..What Are The Akashic Records?


Karl Staib - Work Happy Now March 5, 2009 at 9:37 pm

I’m still learning about many of my gifts. The human experience is amazing. I keep discovering something new about myself every day.

Great post and really enjoy the writing style.

Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last blog post..Forcing a Smile Can Make You Happy


Vered - MomGrind March 5, 2009 at 10:44 pm

People today tend to focus on their nuclear family, almost ignoring the larger community. But as you remind us, we are indeed part of a bigger community, and giving to that community is giving to ourselves.

Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Modern Art: Sometimes I Just Don’t Get It


Bri March 5, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Thanks for this post, Amanda. It’s a great reminder that we don’t all have to be great writers or artists or anything, but that we can be our own unique selves and that’s exactly how it should be.

Bri´s last blog post..Have You Made a Bucket List?


Jocelyn of ITAKEOFFTHEMASK March 6, 2009 at 2:00 am

True, beings ourselves and blending in to a community could sometimes be conflicting, and we should indeed know the boundaries between blending in and being the unique person that we are. From experience however, I’ve learned that when I strive to be the best unique the person that I am, the more that I am able to contribute most to the community and inspire others to be their unique beautiful selves as well! 🙂

Jocelyn of ITAKEOFFTHEMASK´s last blog post..Money Tips 16


Rupal March 6, 2009 at 2:00 am

Very Powerful Post Amanda!! Reminds me of all the community work I did while in Graduate school. Fantastic feeling of togetherness in an environment like that. THanks for the reminder!


Rupal´s last blog post..Sprained Ankles No More


Jewel/Pink Ink March 6, 2009 at 7:01 am

Thanks Lance for this “sharing” Amanda 🙂

Hi Amanda,

What a wonderful thought. I really like the idea that the more you give, the more you receive. It is when we open ourselves to others that marvelous things happen.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!!


Jewel/Pink Ink´s last blog post..Appreciative Blogger


Laurie March 6, 2009 at 7:39 am

The author John Eldridge say “Be yourself and let the world deal with it”. I agree. I think many of us have stuffed who we are deep inside protecting ourselves from rejection. Because of that our relationships are really set on a false foundations. I have been working hard on looking deep into who I am and living from that place. Since I have been doing that, the joy I have in life has exploded!


Tess The Bold Life March 6, 2009 at 10:26 am

What a great article. I think one of the opportunities we currently have is to help each other through these times. Something we’ve lost touch. I just read a book called “Me To We: Finind Meaning in a Material World and posted an article on it today. Great minds thinking on the same channel. The photo is joyful and Marrianne was one of my favorite people when she was a minister in Detroit, MI.

Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..Magic Mondays with Eric Hamm


Audra Krell March 6, 2009 at 10:53 am

Great guest post Lance!
So many people are serving out of guilt. So they aren’t serving with joy. If you don’t like what you are doing, then feel free to stop doing it, so you can find a great fit for where you do enjoy serving. I truly believe there is a place for everyone, a place where each person can find true happiness and bountiful joy to give away.

Audra Krell´s last blog post..Finding God in the Shack


Gennaro March 6, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Nicely said, Amanda. Love the photo too. Community is so important. One of the great things about blogging is that it’s a community in itself. We have shared experiences regardless of the niche we write about. It’s fun to keep up with everyones work and give feedback. It’s a part of sharing.

Gennaro´s last blog post..Cusco, Peru: A Photographic Journey


Dr. J March 6, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Very nice post! Being reminded of personal generosity can’t happen too much.

Thank you!

Dr. J´s last blog post..Experts say school lunches need overhaul


Jannie Funster March 6, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Yes, this is a wonderful post.

“The joy is in the giving itself.” I intend on carrying that in my heart today, and hopefully every day.

Thank you both.

Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Seriously Weird!


Anne Partain March 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Sharing, what a wonderful topic. I think the more aware we are the more we desire to share. It is a natural thing for us. After all, we are already sharing everything whether we know it or not!

Anne Partain´s last blog post..No Matter the Path


Sagan March 6, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Now I’m thinking about how fantastic the blogging community is.

And how great it is to have friends to share an ice cream cone with!

Sagan´s last blog post..Preparing for a week without added sugars of any kind


Jennifer March 6, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Thanks Lance for introducing Amanda to us.

Amanda, it’s great to have you hear and read your words. These are really good thoughts.

I’ve been realizing that the powerful thing about being yourself AND giving freely of yourself in your own unique way is that you give others permission to do that same. Everyone is liberated that way. And with everyone sharing freely of themselves to one thing so much good can happen and the end result is better. I think this is what Jocelyn was saying. It’s so very true.

Jennifer´s last blog post..Words of Wisdom and Peace


Marelisa March 6, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Hi Lance, hi Amanda: The quote by Marianne Williamson made me think of something that I wrote on my creativity ebook. Lots of people think that everything has already been done; but how can that be true when there’s still so much need in the world? There’s a need for better schools, for better laws, better medicines, and the list goes on and on. We should each do whatever we can to better our communities.

Marelisa´s last blog post..Ebook: “How to Be More Creative – A Handbook for Alchemists”


Amanda Linehan March 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Hi Evelyn – I agree very much with your point about people not knowing themselves. You have to know what you can share!

Hi Karl – Thanks a lot. I think there is never an end to discovering our own gifts 🙂

Hi Vered – Yeah, it is easier to think of our own smaller communities (family) rather than the huge one we belong to 🙂

Hi Bri – I love your comment! I think that’s a great way to put it – we just need to be our “unique selves.”

Hi Jocelyn – Yes, I think when we start feeling and acting like our true self, others things fall into place too 🙂

Amanda Linehan´s last blog post..Be Yourself, Share Freely


Amanda Linehan March 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Hi Rupal – The feeling of “togetherness” is one of the great by-products of community!!

Hi Jewel – Yep, keep giving and you will always receive. Although, the giving is oftentimes enough 🙂

Hi Laurie – I’m going to remember that quote 😉 I think there are too many people who haven’t yet gotten to the place of “joy” you are describing. I’m hoping they will look inside themselves.

Hi Tess – The photo is really great! (Lance picked that out) And, yes, this is a perfect time to help each other out.

Hi Audra – I strongly agree with your comment! “Giving” out of guilt is no way to go about sharing. It has to come from joy. 🙂

Hi Gennaro – Yes, of course, blogging is a great example of individuals sharing their gifts with the community 🙂

Amanda Linehan´s last blog post..Be Yourself, Share Freely


Amanda Linehan March 6, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Hi Dr. J – No, it can’t!!

Hi Jannie – I intend on keeping the same thing in mine 🙂 Really like your gravatar by the way.

Hi Anne – Interesting thought about sharing whether we think about it or not. I guess you want to make sure you are sharing what you want to!!

Hi Sagan – I wish I had someone to share ice cream with right now (or, frankly, even just an ice cream cone 🙂 )

Hi Jennifer – Thanks for the warm welcome! I agree, there is something “contagious” (in a good way) about sharing who you truly are.

Hi Marelisa – I can’t imagine that there will ever come a time when there are not problems to solve and new things to create. That’s one of the beautiful parts of life 🙂

Amanda Linehan´s last blog post..Be Yourself, Share Freely


Lance March 6, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Amanda – Thanks so much for sharing your words here, and for coming back and taking the time to respond to all the comments. You are living the embodiment of this post – giving joyfully here of your time, and really building on the whole idea of community!

I’ll share that ice cream cone with you! Amanda, you’re a true example of these words you’ve written…


Lance March 6, 2009 at 7:09 pm

@All – Thanks, everyone for all the great comments. You guys are all awesome, and really help to make this “jungle” what it is today!


Stacey / Create a Balance March 6, 2009 at 9:29 pm

I love the concept of being in a community that is “vibrant, supportive, dynamic and functional”. I am currently house hunting and want to live in a neighborhood that has that type of community spirit. I’m heading over to check out your blog!

Stacey / Create a Balance´s last blog post..Your Ability to Fly


Liara Covert March 7, 2009 at 4:24 am

“Give what you have to give,” is such a meaningful sentiment. Many human beings spend a great deal of time learning how to give and receive. They do not always explore the depths of who they truly are. It is self-directed inner work that enables a being to rediscover innate gifts and realize the possibilities of what can be done to share and enrich the lives of others.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..How do you know what it means?


Robin March 7, 2009 at 4:52 am

Knowing we all have different gifts is such a great thing to grasp! We do have a responsibility to do the part we are uniquely qualified to do. Thanks for your thoughts!

Robin´s last blog post..Guy Finley Followed By An Illustrated Meme.


Arswino March 7, 2009 at 4:59 am

Hi Amanda, nice to see you here.
I like this part “Adding your gift to your community means you are contributing in a way that someone else cannot.”
A positive community will help each of us to create positive characters as well.
Thanks for sharing with us, Lance and Amanda 🙂

Arswino´s last blog post..Moments in Life


Jannie Funster March 7, 2009 at 7:06 am

@ Yumm Yucky – you don’t know the half of this wonderful blog, so do yourself a favor and come back here OFTEN.

Right, Lance??

Amanda: Thanks on my Gravatar compliment – my big eye has kind of “grown” (groan) on me.


Stacey Shipman March 7, 2009 at 7:44 am

Community – I’m involved in a lot of different communities and I always feel that people think they have to know everything or not contribute at all. But to your point that is the beauty of community. We all bring our special talents and gifts to create the whole package. I wish more people could see and appreciate that. It would make working together so much easier and more enjoyable.


LisaNewton March 7, 2009 at 8:37 am

I’m lovin’ this post. My community is just starting to take off, and I’m enjoyin’ every minute of it. It feels so good to be yourself and share part of a community at the same time………………:)


Kelly Turner March 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm

great post. i always feel like i have a homeowrk assignment when im done reading your blog 🙂

Kelly Turner


suZen March 7, 2009 at 12:36 pm

I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be in the jungle with you! And thank you for your generous sharing of your thoughts as well as sharing your friends. Lots of blessings happening here – I’m glad I found your blog. suzen

suZen´s last blog post..Patience and Change


Amanda Linehan March 7, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Hi Stacey – Thanks! Good luck with house hunting.

Hi Liara – Internal work can be difficult and time-consuming, but leads to great rewards. I think it’s worth it.

Hi Robin – Right, everyone’s not here to give the same thing, which makes it fun and interesting.

Hi Arswino – Glad to see you here! Yeah, developing ourselves and our communities is really the same thing.

Jannie – Nice play on words 😉

Hi Stacey – I agree, “knowing everything” is not a requirement of giving!!

Hi Lisa – Yes, being yourself does feel great!

Hi Kelly – Yes, and Lance will be collecting it next week… 😉

Hi suZen – The Jungle is a great place – please stop by often!!

Amanda Linehan´s last blog post..Be Yourself, Share Freely


Giovanna Garcia March 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Hi Amanda
I love the title “be yourself and share freely” Both are dear to my heart. I believe when we are honestly being ourselves, we will have more to share and also have more freedom to to share freely. So your post here speak right to my heart 🙂
Thank you for a great post.
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than no Action


Diane C. March 7, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Hi Amanda, I really enjoyed your post! The title, “Be Yourself, Share Freely” is a paradox that I’ll be thinking about for a long time. Being part of a community such as the blogging community is wonderful. I’m grateful for the diversity of the gifts and also each member’s unique ways of participating and sharing.


Nathalie Lussier March 7, 2009 at 9:45 pm

First, like a few others said: I loved the picture!

Also, I think Amanda is doing great. I’ve read her blog a few times before and really enjoyed what she had to say. This time was no different. I especially liked how you highlighted that we all have something different to give. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that life wouldn’t be as fun we were all identical, when you’re looking at the trees instead of at the forest. 😉

Nathalie Lussier´s last blog post..No More Goody-Two-Shoes


Elizabeth Barrette March 8, 2009 at 11:47 am

I’ve found that one of the best things about community is the chance to divide tasks based on what people are good at and don’t mind doing. That way, nobody has to do things they’re bad at or hate.

I write about “family skills” and “community” in my blogs, Gaiatribe: Ideas for a Thinking Planet and The Wordsmith’s Forge.

Elizabeth Barrette´s last blog post..Preparing for Ostara


Alik Levin | March 8, 2009 at 3:55 pm

liked the “Community” part. I am on my quest of finding like-minded, finding my community, community i belong


Lance March 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Hi Giovanna – Amanda really shared so eloquently what it means to share freely. And when we get a whole community doing this, great things can happen! Thank you Giovanna!

Hi Diane C. – The blogging community – a great example of “community”. And as a blogger, every one brings their own unique talents. That’s also a great thing about the blogosphere – the genuine sharing that takes place – and it fits so well with what Amanda has discussed. Great thoughts Diane!

Hi Nathalie – I love that picture too – that’s sharing at it’s best! The trees instead of the forest – a great analogy Nathalie – when we focus on the bigger picture – when we see what IS possible if we all share freely what we have to offer – that forest becomes a magnificent forest, growing lush and green!

Hi Elizabeth – Right on! If we all do a portion, and do what we like to do and are good at – then the sum of our works will be much greater than were we to do it all alone. This fits in well, I think, with what you’re writing about. Thank you for stopping by today Elizabeth!

Hi Alik – The community being people who come together to on a common bond. It’s a great place to get to. I wish you well, my friend, in developing a community that is dedicated to sharing freely – a wonderful place to get to indeed.


Amanda Linehan March 8, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Hi Giovanna – “Be Yourself, Share Freely” is actually a direct quote from Lance from an interview he did with Daphne at Joyful Days. It really got into my head 🙂

Hi Diane – I think some of the most important ideas are paradoxes. That makes them a little hard to practice, but very rewarding.

Hi Nathalie – Thanks for the compliment on my blog – glad you enjoy it 🙂 Yeah, it’s nice that we all have something different to give – then we don’t have to do it all ourselves!

Hi Elizabeth – Yes! That’s a great philosophy. When sharing tasks everyone can take something that they like (or at least don’t mind doing).

Hi Alik – Good luck, but I’m sure you will find it 🙂

Amanda Linehan´s last blog post..Be Yourself, Share Freely


The Midnight Writer March 9, 2009 at 3:28 am

This is a beautiful post about life and how simplicity is really the key to happiness. I always wonder why we forget to be as little children while walking through this life. Joy is more accessible to a child. Seems as though we need to travel back and find our selves in that little child we once were. Thanks for the memories and inspiration.

The Midnight Writer´s last blog post..Ahoy Me Heartys! Renaissance is Coming to the Midnight Writer’s Blog


gemma March 10, 2009 at 12:53 am

Community is very important, but I’ll take that a step further and say that it’s important that the community have a commitment to growth and empowering one another. Like any relationship there will be growth, to me it’s important that we respect each other and allow, even encourage each other’s growth without competition against, only within. Elizabeth Barrett over at, sent me over. Good to meet you.

gemma´s last blog post..The Birds & the Bees


Lance March 10, 2009 at 9:38 pm

@The Midnight Writer – Oh, that’s such a wonderful point. Kids seem to “get” this. And if we could be more like that – how great that would be for everyone – if we just had that child-like belief that all is good in the world…

@Gemma – So, I’m taking from this – be yourself and share freely – until someone else does extra well – we should avoid this. And I agree. That is disempowering others when we allow that to happen. And, thank you for stopping by today!! It’s very nice to meet you, as well!


The Midnight Writer March 10, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Has anyone else noticed how this enlightening subject matter has encouraged more comments on this post than most blogs ever see? It’s worth noting so each of us who visits here may take a piece of this energy and continue this dialogue in our blog posts, at least similar subject matter about life. I feel that it would benefit each of us who has commented on this post to visit at least one more site linked in the comment section, say hello and leave a link along with an unplifting message. The reason we all blog is to have our words shared by others reading them. We desire communication as living sentient beings and it is up to each one of us to take action in order to facilitate that communication. Reach out to others.

Thanks for sharing such enlightenment and hope. You are all beautiful people.


The Midnight Writer March 10, 2009 at 10:29 pm

I apologize for the piggy back post, but I made a typo in my first comment. It is corrected here.

The Midnight Writer´s last blog post..Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon Appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s 20th Anniversary Show


Robin Easton March 20, 2009 at 10:32 pm

This is beautiful beyond words. This post is like reading a post about: “Who is Lance?” Lance is someone who gives freely, abundantly and with wide open heart and soul. I just can’t get over how every time I come here I see how far reaching your love of Life and Humanity is. I see greatness.

Robin Easton´s last blog post..Being True: are you?


Lance March 22, 2009 at 2:17 pm

@Midnight Writer – Thanks for stopping by here! The comments are what really make these posts come to life – and I appreciate yours very much.

@Robin Easton – Hi Robin! Thank you thank you thank you!! You are too kind to me (I like it, though!). Robin, I think you see greatness because of the lens you are looking through. It comes from within – and you exude this quality like no one else I know. Really and honestly I mean this. You are an amazing lady – and I consider it a privilege to have you here and visiting me…


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