On being afraid

My mate VIv really struck a chord with me today:

Everybody’s afraid. Of something. The future. The past. Our capability or inability; the voice in our head that says yes and the other one that says, no. Can I? Will I? Should I? Will I look foolish? Make a mistake? Be successful? Be too successful?

Once in a while, the planets align (well, it might just be clients in fact) and she and I get to work together, often sharing our experiences of facilitation with folks from some very different places and cultures. I think one of the most useful things we learn and relearn is the acknowledgment of the fear and the difficulty of the work. To deny that is to fall into the temptation of formulae and the delusion of best practice.

Paradoxically, when we accept the fear, it gets easier. I remember speaking to a client before a gig where the stakes felt very high. He said he realised my task was impossible. I quipped that I knew that, that’s why I was willing to have a go.

If that sounds a tad smug, let me say that much of the time I am a worrier and rate myself as at best a highly-functioning neurotic. I think the challenges of manaing myself as that kind of character probably help, rather than hinder, me in my work.

1 thought on “On being afraid

  1. Earl Mardle

    I may have mentioned before that about a couple of times a week, lying awake in the middle of the night, I say quietly to myself, “we are totally screwed” or words to that effect. Followed by an admission that I’m scared of not being able to measure up when the shit hits the fan.

    I’m pretty sure I’m right about the way things are going, I’m even quite confident that we have a good plan, but what scares me is that I will fail to deliver when the chips are down.

    Most of the time it doesn’t impinge, but I see nothing at all wrong in acknowledging it on a regular basis. It helps to balance the rescue fantasies on the other side of the ledger.


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