This morning my valued colleague, Alison Gitelson and I, were brainstorming and preparing for our online conflict workshop next week. Something happened towards the end of our hour, that got me thinking again about the value of practice, practice, practice.
Alison and I have known each other since 2008 when she attended a Quantum-Touch workshop I hosted. We built a relationship over the years and in 2011 we presented a workshop together titled “Help – I’m a Yes-Addict”. (I’ll always be grateful for that collaboration as it lead to the subject of my first book. Thanks Alison!)
I can still clearly remember how uncomfortable I felt giving instructions to the participants at that Quantum-Touch workshop. It’s really funny thinking back to it now. It was my JOB to do that, they paid me to instruct and help them to improve, but HECK, it was hard for me!! Alison in fact, gave me feedback about that and asked that I check they were doing things correctly instead of passively standing around.
I still cringe a little when I think back (tap-tap), yet I know I was doing the best I could at the time. Bottom line was, I didn’t want to seem confrontational – so I chose the route of avoiding any feedback to the participants, in case I couldn’t handle what came back!
Fast forward 9 years. This morning in our brainstorm session, we were discussing a point. Alison laid out 2 options she had thought about, and asked my opinion. I heard myself say words that felt quite normal to me… and…. Her reaction was “WOW, Liesel, you’ve become a LOT more assertive!”
Gosh. Huh? Was the difference really that big???
And suddenly I remembered an exercise we did at the recent “Fall in Love with Presenting” workshop with Bennie.
We had to practice giving our ‘audience’ instructions in small groups. Simple instructions of 3 steps – for instance “Take a deep breath, let it out, and drop your shoulders”. That’s it. Not hard.
But guess what came out of my mouth, for the first 5 tries.
“If you don’t mind, please take a deep breath.”…. “Could you please take a deep breath…. “Please take a deep breath” or “I want you to take a deep breath”.
Nothing wrong with saying please, and… the point of the exercise was to help us become awesome presenters who sounded like confident authorities, not beggars.
I was cringing at first to get it over my lips without making it into a weakish-sounding request. All my ‘stuff’ about not wanting to tell people what to do, because it might evoke confrontation or conflict, popped up. I had to practice, and practice, and practice more, to say the words without discomfort. At least I was in good company – many of us had the same experience, while some had absolutely no trouble with it.
And here’s the bottom line….
I did it this morning in Alison’s company without blinking an eye. An instruction popped out of my mouth without thinking or hesitating. It felt natural.
THAT, dear reader, is precisely the value of practice, practice, practice.
Of course when we do something new, it feels uncomfortable, awful, difficult, plain wrong, completely against every fibre of our being. As we repeat it, it becomes slightly easier… and as we repeat it even more, it starts feeling more natural. Normal even. We can start doing the new thing then without a second thought, because new neural networks have been formed and the behaviour feels normal.
If the above sounds familiar or you have trouble with conflict, the next few paragraphs might be of interest to you. If not, is there someone you know who doesn’t do well with conflict, and will appreciate that you thought of them by sending them this link?
The online workshop we’re hosting, provides an opportunity to learn strategies to handle and resolve conflict with more ease. You’ll learn practical techniques, as well as a method to help minimize the anguish, anxiety or fear you might feel around conflict. Plus, we provide a Bonus Q & A call a week later so that you can practice in between, ask questions and receive gentle feedback and guidance.
Practice, practice, practice…. That’s what makes it easier.
(Side Note: It doesn’t serve us to practice something that DOESN’T help, like avoiding conflict. Ask me! 10 T shirts!)
For the details of this 90 minute online workshop on 16 August 2017 (4 pm SA, 10 am EST), and to register, go here.
It’s only $25 – around ZAR 330 for a 90 minute workshop PLUS bonus Q&A session a week later.
If you have any questions, there’s a handy form at the bottom of the page. Alison and I look forward to supporting you!