Welcome back to the chronicles of Nicole!
We had another summit last Friday and I took active steps to meet my developmental goal of confidence and assertiveness.
Sounds like I'm done, then, I'M OUT! *drops mic*
No, not really. Let's walk through this experience, shall we? I started the meeting off very timidly, reverting to my usual secretarial role. We started off listing the five dysfunctions of a team, and creating our own group norms for how we're going to work together as, I hope, a not-dysfunctional team. We talked a lot about respect, etc.
The usual thing happens to me when I have to share ideas in a group - my heart starts pounding; the longer I hold back, the anxiety mounts until I have to practice controlled nostril breathing without being too painfully obvious that I am a nervous wreck. You know, the typical stuff.
The consultant asked someone to be the scribe for the first set of norms and naturally I volunteered BECAUSE I LOVE TAKING NOTES! No, really, I do. It makes me calm and I have the memory of a goldfish. I recalled my conversation with my lovely coach who told me that in our first unstructured team exercise that I really should have jumped up on that easel pad to help guide the conversation. Still taking notes, but more assertive-like. I loved writing on the board as a student teacher, so yeah I like being on that easel pad!
I hesitated at first. Then, when we moved onto the next topic, I garnered every ounce of gusto I could and leaped up, seized said easel pad and a nice red marker and went to town. It was nice, because by then I could take my messy notes and make them a little more organized and coherent. I slapped that baby on the wall and went back to my seat, feeling empowered.
But then... we moved on to the next topic, and no one else volunteered to be the scribe. Was I expected to continue to scribe for all eternity?!? (4 more topics)
So I stood my ground. I should have said "Hey would anyone else like to scribe" like a true team player but I kind of sat there, still taking notes but being to shy to call people on their lack of backing me up scribe-wise. When I didn't get up to take notes, the consultant mentioned it and I said, "Yeah guys, anyone else want to take the lead?" or something else brash, confident, and assertive but not mean. (Sure, I did.) I later confessed, once our group was gelling a little better, how it was a concerted effort for me to sit on my hands, so to speak, and not take that scribe role. I confessed to my colleagues that I am working on my assertiveness and confidence. Big step!
As the day went on, I asserted myself more and more. As soon as I got over that hump, I was able to speak up more, to the point where people said "I like Nicole's idea" and related phrases and I felt all warm and fuzzy and participatory. I even told everyone I used to be a project manager and how valuable timelines are and everyone really seemed to enjoy that I possess such a useful skill.
So, in conclusion, I think it will be a long road before I feel 100% confident to just jump into a group conversation all willy-nilly. But it is very valuable for me to learn that I don't have to default to a passive secretarial role, and that I can eject myself from my seat at any time and no one will say "What is this crazy woman doing out of her chair? How dare she not be sitting right now while the rest of us are firmly planted on our bums!" or something to that effect.
It's nice to know that my ideas are valuable. I must say I could see the indelible imprint of my contributions on our group presentation that day and I felt like even though I wasn't presenting in front of the room (Rome wasn't built in a day) I felt like I was right up there with them.
By putting myself out there, I helped the whole group to come together for an awesome result. Isn't that something?
Nice to meet you!
I am a tech pro, blogger, DIY'er, reader, TV binger, music lover, nerd and semi-crunchy mom. I write about professional development, being crafty, motherhood and politics. Thanks for joining me and letting me share my thoughts with you!