"We are afraid of change. We are afraid of each other. And we are afraid of social innovation because we do not understand it."

Sash Milne

What is the most common refrain heard while introducing the timebank to potential members? “I don’t know what to offer.” The underlying assumption is that what I have to offer is not big or brilliant enough to matter. Our assumption is embedded in  how we introduce ourselves to each other: “What do you do?”

We are entrenched in a cultural norm encouraging us to leverage our connections. We are discouraged from showing our full hand or being too transparent too soon. Therefore we make the mistake of thinking that time exchange is about about our profession rather than our connection.

It is not what you do that is most critical here. It is how you show up within the world in all of your idiosyncratic multitudes. We can disrupt that discomfort by asserting one central question in building our social safety net: “What do you need?” I may not have the particular thing that you are after at this moment, but I may know someone. Perhaps they are already a member of the timebank or maybe they require an introduction.

We do not value the profession as much as we value the connection. The power of time is in our ability to invest it in being of genuine service to another person. The cost to the recipient is that they must by virtue of the exchange be of service somewhere else using an asset or skill which they possess.

This circle of reciprocal exchange values relational transactions; connections more about the people involved than the medium of exchange. Time as currency has a dual function. It accomplishes an accounting function for the value being exchanged, but also reminds us that work arises in many forms. While all of these forms of work are not valued by the dollar economy, we can imbue our kola (time dollar) with a different set of values. Our money will then become capable of keeping its value and holding our values.

What is your time worth?

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