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Swapping Skills: Benefit by Trading Your Experience With Others

One wonderful thing about life is that each of us has our own unique skills and areas of expertise. Maybe you bake better than anyone you know and you can wash a car in 45 minutes flat. Or perhaps you know how to install tile floors and can re-upholster chairs and sofas, too.

But chances are good that you don’t know how to do absolutely everything you need done in your life! Wouldn’t it be great to be able to trade your skills and knowledge with others who have different abilities than you do?

You’ll experience great satisfaction whenever you apply yourself to help others. After all, if you’re doing things you know how to do well or love to do, the work won’t be difficult. In this day and age, everyone needs guidance or assistance to get things done.

In return for your unselfish sharing and efforts, you’ll probably gain the benefit of their abilities and experience. Everybody wins when you and your friends decide to trade off skills, knowledge, and work with each other.

Get together with a group of friends or neighbors and follow these steps for a successful “swap meet” that you can all benefit from:

1. Make a list. Each person writes down what they know how to do. This can be anything from doing tasks in the house and the yard to completing heavier jobs, skilled trades, or projects.

2. Make another list. Next, each person writes down some things they want to have done. This might look like:

• Take up the old carpeting and lay new carpeting.
• Get a tune-up for the car.
• Paint the rooms in the house.
• Obtain help cooking dinner twice a week.
• Wash the car once a month.
• Find someone to babysit the kids for an hour or two, twice a week.
• Pressure-wash the driveway.

3. Swap lists! Now, everyone trades lists of what they want done. This way, everyone gets to see the needs of the others.

4. Evaluate. Which tasks are you willing and able to do for someone? Record your name beside the tasks on their lists that you can do.

5. Make your trades. Now comes the “swapping” part. What can they do for you? What can you do for them? If someone marked some tasks on your lists, the two of you can get together and talk about what you want to do for one another.

• For example, if your neighbor John agrees to take up your old carpet and lay the new carpet you purchase, what can you do for him that holds equal value? Maybe you can watch his son after school for a few hours a week over the course of the next six to nine months.

6. Schedule. Plan out when you’ll do your tasks for one another. To avoid one person feeling like they’re only giving and not receiving, you’ll want to both begin to do your part of the task at around the same time.

Helping your friends and neighbors is a deeply satisfying experience. And so is getting work finished when it needs to be done! Plan a skills swap in your neighborhood and see how much you can accomplish together.

The Power of Breathing

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