The WordPress community (and ecosystem, to a larger extent) thrives because people are continually encouraged to give back however they can, even if they are new. It also helps to be as accepting as they are of new people, which constantly inserts new energy into the platform. But for someone new to the group, it can be difficult and at times overwhelming to figure out how best to contribute.
The vast majority of WordPress users, designers, developers, and business owners I’ve met are humble people. While this benefits the community because most people feel grateful for being included, it can also make it more intimidating to find ways to give back. At least, I know I have felt that way at times.
If you struggle with impostor syndrome or just feel inadequate compared to your peers, it it make take longer than it should to feel capable of contributing. But in the last year, joining a meetup has helped me see firsthand the many nonthreatening ways I can help. It even inspired me to give a talk at a WordCamp.
A Leader By Example
Seeing leadership demonstrated in the community is also helpful. Liam Dempsey organizes the WordPress meetup in my area, and has been tweeting about his commitment to answering tickets in the WordPress Support Forum (which you can read more about here).
Liam has been a great example of servant leadership as an organizer of meetups, WordCamps, and other community events. While he is often the public face of the meetup (making announcements and introducing speakers), he doesn’t make it all about him, and I never get the impression that he cares about the attention. I believe this attitude is one of the things that makes the meetup beneficial for so many people.
Plans To Help
In addition to possibly speaking and/or volunteering at multiple WordCamps this year, I also want to join one of the WordPress online teams. I have already begun transcribing a WordCamp talk, and while it is taking much longer than I thought it would, I am enjoying learning something new and helping with accessibility.
After many years of procrastination and self-doubt, I’m also planning to release at least one WordPress theme this year. My hope is to get it approved for the official theme repository. This means it will be completely free to download! I also see this project as a way to practice and improve my developer skills, as well as learn how to do things “The WordPress Way.”
This is all to say that I’ve heard it said many times that the more you give to the WordPress community, the more you’ll get back. Here’s to testing that out more in 2017.
In general, giving back is a great way to practice gratitude and overcome feelings of helplessness/ineptitude. It has even been linked to “lower depression and increased well-being” (source: Psychology Today).
What can you do this year to give back or help someone else?