On the Wednesday morning of every Choices session, the core team meets for breakfast before the session begins. The conversation centres around what to expect in the next five days, with Mary Davis, the facilitator, sharing any information she needs us to know before the coaching team and trainees enter the room.
Last session, she shared a fear she has and asked if anyone else would be willing to share theirs.
“Sure,” I replied.
I had a big one. This was the first training session where I was 100% responsible for all the work that gets done at the back table in the room. And there’s lots. I’d been helping out over the past few months but had never gone it alone. RM was always there to teach me and to catch any mistakes. This time, I was alone.
“I’m terrified I won’t do the backtable work as perfectly as RM,” I shared with the group. And I laughed. “I know it’s irrational but while my conscious mind knows that I will do my best and everyone will have my back, somewhere within me is the belief, I can’t do it as perfectly as RM. I know the fear is unreal, but it feels real to me.”
Joe Davis, Mary’s husband and co-facilitator reassured me they’d have my back. And of course, now that they knew my fear he and a couple of the other coaches would make sure to tease me about it throughout the week.
And they did. Tease me. Lots.
And every time they did, I got to laugh at myself and feel my fear diminish as I saw the path to letting go of my fear was to focus my light on doing my best. My best is good enough and when I believe everyone around me wants me to do my best, my fear fades in the light of trust.
It can be easy for me to get caught in the trap of thinking ‘it’s up to me and only me to get it right’. And if I get something wrong, it’s easy for me to believe, I will be banished, shamed, voted off the island or any other calamity that might happen when I mess up and don’t do it perfectly — or at least right.
My fear isn’t about making mistakes. It’s about trusting others to support me and give me room to grow through my mistakes. It’s about trusting others to turn up in kindness, fairness, love.
In being given the gift of being teased whenever I did make a mis-step, I was given the gift of seeing my fears as what they are — thoughts in my mind that really aren’t based in reality. They’re just based in my critter mind’s need to keep me safe from trusting in others — because the critter believes people aren’t trustworthy. They’ll only let you down. He doesn’t believe they will turn up and be true.
When I give into the critter, I give up on people. And giving up on people, not believing in their worth, value, truth, creates a world of fear in and around me.
And that is not the more of what I want in my life.
Truth is, no one else was expecting me not to make mistakes. They were willing to give me the grace of not doing it perfectly. It was me who wasn’t.
In the end, any mistakes I did make were easily fixed. The training happened. Everyone got to Sunday evening with the paperwork, directions, and tools necessary to complete the training.
And I got to the end laughing at myself and feeling like I really did have a place on the island. I really did belong.