Groupwork Centre Blog

Stop the train, I want to get off!

I worked with a client recently who turned up at my session with a heightened energy, unable to focus on one thing at a time – it felt quite stressful!  She was completely task-focused. The list of her responsibilities was so long (work, family, community etc) she felt completely overwhelmed.

She was like a train flying down the track without a driver! Just got to get there, get there, get there. But where is there? And at what cost?

To start our session together we did a grounding exercise. We sat quietly, with our eyes closed, noticing our breathing and reconnecting to our bodies.

Just two minutes – as simple as that. A pause in the chaos. An opportunity to be a “human being” rather than a “human doing”. An opportunity for the train to stop and pull in at a station.

My client saw the default setting she had landed herself in.

That is where the work needed to happen. We explored alternatives that were more resourceful, more nurturing to herself and ultimately more productive.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

The never-ending task lists, the constant  struggle to juggle requests for support and to meet the expectations of others. It’s our need for approval, to belong, to be liked!

So much of it comes down to the modelling we have received over the years, our life experiences that have created our inner voices.

You know those inner voices that keep the train going?

“Well, they are relying on me!”

“Who else will do it?”

“They can’t do it themselves.”

Now, I’m not telling you to throw all your responsibilities into the bin with joyous abandon and walk out into the sunset!

But I am encouraging you to take stock, and think, Am I making the best choice here? For me, for them, for others?

As leaders and facilitators we need to be the best versions of ourselves, to use all the inner resources available to us to support others. How can we do this when we are running on empty? And what modelling are we giving others?

It can be as simple as taking a moment to pause when things get overwhelming and asking yourself:

  • Does this need to be done right now?
  • Can I find 10 minutes to go and sit with a quiet cuppa (no social media!) and just breathe? And reflect.

I encourage you to find your station and every so often pull over and allow yourself to “BE”.

Here are some useful questions to check in with yourself while you pause:

  • How am I feeling at this moment?
  • What do I need to look after myself right now?
  • Do I need to fulfil this expectation at such a high standard, or is it good enough?
  • Is this my responsibility or does it fit better with others?
  • Can I get some help with this?
  • How can I create healthy boundaries with others?

If you want to dive deeper as a leader or facilitator, check out our advanced facilitation course, and join some lovely people who have decided to get off the train and see what life is all about!

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