Don’t be Distracted by the Amuse Bouche
I was speaking with a client this week who shared with me that he was exhausted of showing up for zoom meetings and ‘putting on a serious face’.
It sounded like a mask or a costume he was forcing himself to wear, and we laughed at how his mind wandered in the direction of simply not turning up, of making a stand against fakery and the pretence of showing up as the person he thought others wanted him to be.
Of course he knew that there was a line somewhere in there, between being serious and taking things too seriously.
It was OK that he didn’t buy into some of the points of view or the machinations of his colleagues, and that didn’t mean he couldn’t take his role, and the work of the organisation seriously.
Coaching conversations often start like this-asking someone what’s on his or her mind will, usually, bring up what’s literally been occupying space in their mind.
Sometimes we go down that path; sometimes not. More often it’s like the amuse bouche at the start of a meal, something to salivate and smooth the conversation, an ice-breaker, a get-to-know you exchange. Something that’s easily satisfied with a quick look at the difference between being serious about what we engage with and taking something too seriously-pushing ourselves, or finding ourselves drawn into a place that doesn’t fit or feel natural-taking on someone else’s expectations and concerns as if they were our own-the wrong shoes so to speak.
It’s Not About the Shoes…
It’s understandable that the discomfort of the wrong shoe occupies time and energy-it can cause distress at every step. It’s easily resolved, though, when we realise that’s what’s going on and we swap back into a shoe of our own.
Our own navigation system is working fine, we just picked up someone else’s signal, and that’s why we’re getting some feedback that seems to jar.
In this case, we went on to talk about something much more interesting and fruitful for the client (more on that later!), but I share this because we can easily occupy ourselves with trying to resolve the discomfort, or wanting to step out and stop what we’re doing, rather than seeing what’s causing it and being able to let it go and replace it with something that’s a better fit.
It’s easy to spend time trying to resolve those niggles that are causing discomfort, but it can be more productive to ask whether they’re really ours to resolve or whether we’ve taken on the ‘wrong shoes’.
When you see that, it’s easy to jump in with your full engagement and be completely serious about committing and engaging with what’s in front of you.
Enjoy your week and here’s to playing full out with whatever you want to be doing.
Originally published at https://cathypresland.com on September 21, 2020.