Many people took up personal development—new hobbies, habits, or areas of study—due to the stress of the pandemic lockdown. As a psychotherapist, I viewed this phenomenon as an indication of coping and resilience. Perhaps more than ever, social media proved to be a place where people could find things to do or learn.
Upon exploring the online self-help landscape to find additional resources for my patients, I discovered an intriguing trend: numerous original, accessible curriculums. From historians to career coaches to dance teachers, some of the most creative personalities on the app were DIY-ing learning journeys for their followers. The recent uptick in digital curriculums provides an empowering reminder: You don’t need to be enrolled in a formal school setting to continue learning. And you don’t need to be an official professor to share what you know.
I spoke with five experts who have developed their own online courses. All of them told me about the personal fulfillment they feel in helping others, a dynamic that is proven by science by way of the “protégée effect.” When we share our knowledge about a concept, we understand the concept more deeply, and our own confidence develops too.
Then I realized: every one of us is knowledgeable about something, large or small. Do you have a passion for creative expression? Is there some handiwork you’ve mastered? Teach your friends.
This article could be viewed as a revelation about the mental health benefits of learning new things. But, conversely, it might also be an opportunity to consider what you know that others might want to learn. In either case, exchanging knowledge with your community can be a creative form of self-care and provide meaningful personal growth. Ahead, hear from the five experts on how developing their courses has developed their sense of wellbeing.
Brandi Richard Thompson, operation growth coach at Operation Growth Institute
Brandi Richard Thompson is a wellness expert who developed an online course called Black Girl Magic School, which helps Black girls find their magic through history lessons. According to the website, the course “begins with a survey of Black women in antiquity and ends with a recognition of the inherent magic each Black woman possesses.”
What made you decide to build your own course?
I believe Black women need training to build resilience and self-love. This a training that I did not see in the marketplace. Black women need targeted listening with an ear to help them identify patterns that need to be discarded to attain their full potential. I’ve learned from and coached people of all races and backgrounds. However, creating a safe space for Black women to become the best versions of themselves is my passion.
What is your favorite module or aspect of your course?
I love the part of the course that helps Black women address “daddy issues,” which impact how we engage in our personal and professional relationships with men. Some other great modules include: My Body Is A Sacred Temple, The History of Black Women, Generational Healing, My Black is Beautiful, Ain’t I A Woman, and I Found My Magic.
How has being a coach enhanced your own sense of well-being?
Helping others has a way of helping you. We teach what we most need to learn. Through teaching, coaching, and mentoring Black women, I grow as a Black woman.