I spend a significant amount of time in my work life facilitating things. I facilitate workshops, I facilitate difficult conversations between colleagues, and I facilitate "learning about self" for my coaching clients. I also spend a lot of time in my family life facilitating, too: facilitating the morning rush to work and school; facilitating "who did what to whom" discussions between my twins; and currently facilitating the b'nai mitzvah (that's two kids at once, folks!) planning process -- with lots of Lamaze breathing throughout.
As I facilitate at work or at home, I often reflect on what facilitation even means: "to make easier; to assist the progress of." I am mindful of this when I lead a training session, and someone asks me a question to which I don't have an answer. When I was just starting out, my initial instinct was to self-flagellate. "How could I not know?" "I should have studied more!" "There goes my credibility." Now, I very quickly remember that my role as a facilitator is to make the learning easier and assist in the progress -- not that the learning has to come from me. And inevitably, someone in the room other than me knows something helpful that makes the learning easier and facilitates the progress of the individual , the group and me.
I must admit that I'm pretty good at facilitating (which is good news, since it's my job). Nevertheless, when it comes to making things easier for myself, I am at the bottom of the learning curve. I have found that if there's a way to make things more complicated, I do it. If there's a way to take on more than I can responsibly handle, I sign up for it. If there's a way to make myself feel guilty (or guiltier), I'm all in.
Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy wrote: "All you really need to know for the moment is that the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think, even if you start from a position of thinking it's pretty damn complicated in the first place."
If that's the case, why do I need to make it even more challenging? I don't. So, I've decided for the New Year to make me my #1 facilitation client, and commit to doing the following five actions (or inactions) to make life -- and the universe -- a little less complicated:
1) I will make "I need to think about it," my default response. I am a people-pleaser, so I want to say yes. I want to make you happy. I want you to like me. But the more I say yes without thinking, the less I like myself. So I'm not choosing "no." I'm choosing to stop responding "yes" without thinking about whether it will make my life more or less complicated first.
2) I will speak up or let it go. While I'm not a country and western fan, I do love to sing a "somebody done me wrong" song. But more often than not, I'm singing that song to everyone and anyone other than the person who done me wrong. That song gets old mighty fast -- to my listeners, and to myself. In order or make things easier, I am going to offer myself only two choices: speak up to that person, or let it go.
3) I will lower the bar. Not everything I do has to be brilliant. Not everything I do has to be successful. Not everything I do has to be done by me, done now, or done at all. And (total truth time): Not everything I do has to impress someone. I'd like to start impressing myself more with my willingness and ability accept a passing grade rather than scrambling for an A+.
4) I will say "I made a mistake" and deal with the consequences. One of my greatest TV memories was the episode of Happy Days where the Fonz had to apologize -- and all he could muster was "I'm sahhhhhhh... I'm sahhhhhhh." Funny on television -- not so funny in real life. I'm going to start admitting my mistakes more often and more honestly, and deal with the impact and outcomes. Chances are, the person who will be most upset with me will be me, which leads me to...
5) I will stop ruminating. "Deb, get over it, get over yourself and move on." (It doesn't have to be more complicated than that, right?)
What can you facilitate for yourself this year?
Follow Deborah Grayson Riegel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@gettalksupport