Today I presented a workshop about stress to a business I'm working with. It went well. I had fun. But it wasn't all easy.
When I was asked to do it, I was thrilled. But lost in the haze of enthusiasm was recognising my own inexperience.
I spend lots of time talking about people, the mind, emotions. All that stuff. But in a therapy context. Knowing a subject is one thing. Packaging it to deliver a specific message to a particular group, though. That's different. (So I've learned).
I'd started drafting it. Then the deadline began to loom. Though that's not what stressed me. The deadline itself wasn't stressful. It was me feeling so alone with it.
Now, it's not like I hadn't talked about it. I mentioned it to everyone. Everyone. But it was the conversations that would've helped most which I'd avoided.
I used to think vulnerability was talking about the difficulties you'd overcome. But it isn't. Real vulnerability is about reaching out when the fan's still taking a shit-beating. Not once you're done cleaning up. You might paint a good before-and-after for your audience once the blades are sparkly again. But is that truly being vulnerable?
Learning to ask for help has been a big part of my journey the last few years. I always felt I had to work things out on my own. And that pattern I began to fall back into.
The irony in becoming stressed over a workshop on reducing stress is not lost on me. And was actually that making me realise, "I need to take my own advice here". So I reached out.
I spoke to the boss, asking to change priorities. And to the team. What I realised is, given the bigger picture, I'd bitten off more than I could chew. And I'd been afraid of saying so. But afraid of what?
Truthfully, I'm still not sure. Maybe rejection, being seen as weak. Or just a negative reaction. Still, nothing like that happened. Instead, I got the help I needed. As well as compassion and understanding for my honesty. And an increased sense of camaraderie as a result.
They say life keeps sending you the same lessons until you've learnt them. And reaching out is one I'm still working into the muscle.
(Looking to make a change? Cognitive Hypnotherapy in Leighton Buzzard can help you. Get in touch to learn how).