I’ve had my head down in the computer for the past few weeks (not that there’s anything new about that) working on a couple new training programs. When it comes to designing a workshop involving a complex set of learning objectives that answer participants’ interests, making it highly interactive, and following some kind of flexible structure, I often struggle mightily.
In fact, every time I design a class or workshop, trying to adapt it to the ever changing interests of my participants, it’s a struggle. Not a fan of struggling, I usually give in and tell myself that I’ve already run this class or, I’ve got plenty of material I can adapt, and even though I feel something isn’t as good as it can be, I’ll just jump in and make it work.
Now you could say that this is normal and perhaps how most of us approach our work. We might even view one’s willingness to jump in and improvise as an admirable quality and one necessary much of the time in our frenetic society. You’ve probably seen this dynamic in your groups as well. People don’t want to feel the discomfort of struggling, or not knowing what to do. We like to feel movement even if it’s in the wrong direction, masquerading as progress. Struggling sucks!
But lately, I’m practicing a more natural approach. One where I really don’t have to struggle per se. I’m finding that what I previously labeled a struggle is simply the creative tension involved in birthing something new. Labor pains if you will. I have a sense that fresh new perspectives will emerge from my efforts. I see the process as organic and non-linear (just like life…Hello!). Just by showing up with gentle persistence, capturing the ideas that show up, often while I’m not actually working as it were, taking one small step after the other, clarity emerges.
Perfect One Thing and Change Everything
Perfect it forward. Those of us knowledgeable about group dynamics know that if one member of a group disappears or a new member shows up, the entire group dynamic changes. Drawing an analogy to one’s inner group dynamic, a barrier that shows up in one aspect of life shows up elsewhere as well. If we do the hard work of staring this thing down and dissolving it to it’s core, we may just change everything about our lives, our groups, our companies, etc. It may just be that if we perfect just one thing, we could perfect everything, at least for now.
It’s perfect now, but perfect it further. Though this may seem contrary to what I’ve said so far, whatever the situation is right now, it’s perfect, even if struggle is involved. Again, just like in child labor, without the push, we wouldn’t be here!
Slow down, breathe deep, and feel the labor pains. So often we’re in such a rush to show the appearance of results that we dig ourselves into a rut by running in circles. The new healthcare bill is a prime example. I hold this up not to debate a position but as an example of the lengths we’ll travel to avoid the hard work of solving the source issue. I see this bill as a perfect reflection of those it will govern–a society hell bent on a quick fix–it’s my right not to change, just give me a pill!
Open to the bug. What persistent little bug keeps showing up in your life, in the groups, or in your approach to groups in general? You know that nagging little thing that you wish would go away. Can you name it and bring it out into the open. Invite your group to spend at least some time digging into this muddy little pit and you just might find a gem or two. I invite you to do the same.
The most difficult part of attaining perfection is finding something to do for an encore.
What pattern keeps repeating in your life or work? What would it take to resolve it? Please click on the Add Your Comments link above and share your thoughts, stories, and experiences. I’d love to hear from you!