Confidence and the Goldilocks dilemma


December 14th, 2011

Confidence is a strange thing – it comes and goes, almost with a mind of its own, and then there’s the issue of how much? Too little, and we feel intimidated, too much and we appear arrogant. Getting confidence ‘just right’ is tricky.

When Anne Pattillo and I founded Facilitating With Confidence it was based on the premise that confidence is the secret ingredient of great facilitation. Most of us can learn good, sound techniques and processes. We can practice and hone our skills of questioning, and giving instructions. We can be competent. But is that enough? Confidence is what enables us to shine, and to take risks, and to be true to who we are.

Sometimes I feel confident. Sometimes I have to fake it. Johnnie Moore likes to quip about Facilitating Without Confidence, and how this is often more of a challenge. I agree. Facilitating With Confidence is about finding that sweet spot, where our confidence is just right for the circumstances we find ourselves in. Athletes and performers sometimes call it a ‘flow’ state. Unearthing what conditions enable me to operate in that ‘flow’ state is an ongoing search. Just when I think I’ve figured it out, some situation will come along and remind me that I haven’t, not really.

The end of a calendar year seems to demand some reflection. As I look back over the last 12 months I’ve experienced the absolute joys of my work, serious questioning of my capability, discovering and rediscovering some things and people I love, letting go of some things and people that are toxic, and reinventing my approach to work. It’s been scary and challenging and exciting. I’ve felt validated at times, and at other times, vulnerable. I’m not alone. I know many others who are questioning what they do, and why, and looking for something more rewarding or challenging or lucrative or fun or serious or that simply makes them feel good about themselves.

Thanks for being part of the journey.

To celebrate surviving and thriving yet another year, I’ve created a networking group on LinkedIn – I want to stay connected, especially to my facilitation colleagues and those of you who have helped shape Facilitating With Confidence. I hope you’ll join me there. It will be good to talk to you.

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