I coach creative people who work in collaboration with others. Sometimes, as we all know, it is difficult to work easily with people. One of my clients recently had the experience of feeling overly responsible for a project. Her partner was too busy to give her any support. My client was feeling resentful that she was doing all the work. She had to confront her and felt a great deal of fear about talking about the inequalities in their work loads.
Earlier in the conversation, she had spoken with admiration about watching her two year old niece playing on the monkey bars. I really like working with images with clients. Our brains like clear pictures in helping us achieve our goals. I asked her to describe what her niece was doing. This is what she said about it.
“Tayla heads immediately for the highest slide and flies down with glee – she doesn’t need anyone waiting at the bottom to catch her. She scales a climbing surface made up of footholds – then slides back down it on her belly. She investigates every option the equipment presents.
She is undaunted by any of the methods available for scaling that thing. She starts and if she can’t quite get it happening immediately, she asks for help. “I need help,” she says, in a straight forward voice. Her dad reassures her that she can do it and points out where she can place her foot or maybe moves her foot into a particular position. And away she goes.
It’s about her moving up, down and around in every possible way. Fearless, playful, constant motion.”
I suggested that there were a number of images from that description that she could use in meeting her partner to help her get over her fear. First, she could focus on the sense of play and the curiosity. She could adopt a more playful attitude in confronting her partner, and be more curious about why her partner didn’t assume more responsibility. She could be fearless, just like her niece in asking for help, something we all have difficulties doing at times. Perhaps another key image was the constant motion of moving forward, rather than getting stuck in old patterns.
The conversation with her partner was a long one, but she stayed with it. My client walked out of it feeling lighter, freer and able to move forward in a new way with her colleague, with their project and with all of her work. The image of her fearless niece helped her through a tough situation.
How do you navigate through those fearful confrontations?