The other day at work I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with one of our facilitators. I told him I’d soon be facilitating myself but that I was feeling particularly uneasy about it. I told him that it’s not even the content or the questions or the unknowns that have me completely terrified. My anxiety is born of anxiety.
Having experienced anxiety attacks in the past I know what it is to be totally overwhelmed by your own energy. I never thought of it like that at the time but that’s what it is. The facilitator didn’t widen his eyes or look at me like I might spontaneously combust when I told him that was my biggest worry. He told me that successful facilitators are often those with high energy. He positioned it as a positive characteristic of who I am, rather than a hindrance. He told me that rather than suffocating this very vital piece of myself I should focus on re-routing the energy so that it’s working to my benefit rather than to my detriment.
I went away with this little gold nugget safely tucked away. Imagine-I’m not defective! Imagine-I could actually use this as some kind of positive and gain strength knowing it’s what naturally flows within me!
I’ve focused so completely on how to stop it that I’d never once considered being able to use the energy to actually be a great facilitator. This is something that’s been zipping around my brain since our conversation and it’s exciting me. I feel like his words have planted some sort of seed that’s given me a tiny bit of hope.
Then, tonight as I was clicking around linkedin I came across a posting by a user I’m linked to. They were talking about fear and how it relates to coaching and facilitation. My lovely contact posted a link to a blog by Seth Godin. I have to be honest I felt a little numb and tingly as I read his article on how fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear. Well doesn’t that seem timely…I’ll leave you with his words and a link to his page because he says it so perfectly. I love it when a plan comes together. Now, to harness that energy…..
In his blog Seth writes:
“The fearless person is well aware of the fear she faces. The fear, though, becomes a compass, not a barrier. It becomes a way to know what to do next, not an evil demon to be extinguished.
When we deny our fear, we make it stronger.
When we reassure the voice in our head by rationally reminding it of everything that will go right, we actually reinforce it.
Pushing back on fear doesn’t make us brave and it doesn’t make us fearless. Acknowledging fear and moving on is a very different approach, one that permits it to exist without strengthening it.”