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What do I have to offer?

 

Source: Shields, Katrina. In the Tiger’s Mouth: An Empowerment Guide for Social Action. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1994.

How to use this tool

How confident are you in recognizing what you have to offer activist projects or activist groups? The purpose of this exercise is to remember and validate skills and resources that we have to contribute in our work for social change. It can also encourage you to take a wider view of what you have to offer and to highlight things you especially love to do. This is an opportunity to include your whole self, rather than selecting certain more acceptable parts, as we may be inclined to do when making job applications. Don’t prejudge what is needed or is relevant; all sorts of skills are vital to the composite process of social change. The things we feel a passion for will be our greatest source of energy.

Exercise

  1. On a very large sheet of paper start to create a “brain-net”. This is a loose association of ideas, which flow uncensored into clusters. Create 4 quadrants on the page.
  1. On one, write down all the SKILLS you have to offer (e.g. ability to organize information, parenting, scrounging for cheap things, listening skills, etc.)
  1. In another corner write down those EXPERIENCES that have contributed to developing your skills (e.g. worked in a library, campaigned for a school crossing, lived in a shared house, acted as a treasurer for a social group, etc.)
  1. In another corner create a net of the RESOURCES you have which may be useful (e.g. a car, phone, good links in the neighbourhood, a house where meetings could be held, etc.)
  1. In the remaining corner write down POSITIVE PERSONAL QUALITIES which will be useful in achieving your goals (e.g. tenacious, get on well with most people, learn quickly, assertive). Don’t censor or reject things as irrelevant and keep adding more until you run out of possibilities.
  1. The next step is to look at the net and draw links between related items, perhaps group some together, or delete repetitions. Rearrange it until you can see some patterns emerging.
  1. Highlight with a coloured pen the things you especially love to do, or things that are more highly developed. In another colour mark things you do not want to do, or roles you are sick of.
  1. Next ask yourself: What does this particular set of skills and experiences suggest about your potential? What specifically do you have to offer?

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Source: Shields, Katrina. In the Tiger’s Mouth: An Empowerment Guide for Social Action. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1994, pg. 22.

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