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June 2014, from Kim Ratz, Speaker-Trainer-Troubadour
A Thought to Help You Live&WorkWise: Managing "Out-of-Comfort-Zone" Moments ...
Last Tuesday, as I thought I was finishing up this article about how to manage those "Out-of-comfort-zone moments" (OOCZM), I suddenly found myself in an OOCZM as I heard news reports about the shooting incident at Reynolds High School in the greater Portland, Oregon area. This was way too close to home for me, as two of my sister's sons attend there! As I watched the live coverage of students evacuating the school I was anxiously scanning faces for my nephews; I also texted my sister who I knew was having an "Out-of-her-MIND!" moment to ask if she heard from them yet. She had to wait for over an hour before she knew they were both okay, and for 2.5 hours before she was finally re-united with both of them. Turns out one of my nephews knew both the 14 year old student who was killed, and the student who did the shooting. In fact, he would have been in class with the student shooter, had that student not been doing what he did that morning. My nephew said he was just wondering where the student was since he wasn't in class that morning (2nd to last day of school), and then the shooting began ... Talk about being out of your comfort zone!!!
The Reynolds HS shooting is the 74th school shooting since Sandy Hook Elementary just 18 months ago! I still can't believe enough people haven't said "ENOUGH!" yet, and that this trend now appears to be well established ... And as is human nature, it was a big deal during the 24 hour heat of the news coverage, and now it's already slipping into the fog of so many other past tragedies ... The pain will get triggered again by the next tragedy, the specifics of past past incidents will be blurred, yet we'll still feel the pain of the growing numbers of incidents and casualties. Yet as parents, educators and people who work with children, it doesn't get much more uncomfortable than this: worrying that you, along with innocent children and your colleagues could be harmed or even killed in what should be a safe place. And in moments of distress and emergency even a minute can seem like an eternity ... And because of all the heightened emotions and awareness during these OOCZMs, we tend to remember them better too, and sometimes they have long-term consequences on one's mental, physical and emotional health!
What also concerns me is another trend: many people appear to be managing the OOCZM of a school shooting with a shrug of the shoulders, a sense of complacency, even acceptance, as in a sense of "normalcy." We can and must do better than that! Because if we grow complacent about these school shootings, then what are we doing about the more less consequential yet frequent OOCZMs that are caused by common stresses like an uncomfortable interaction with someone, a new task, or a challenging situation, especially if we perceive there is risk? We have OOCZMs just going through the routines and roles of our everyday lives. They are those moments when you want to complain, or cry, or quit, when you doubt your competence and confidence, when you feel like you've got it so rough, or life isn't fair ...
"It's not so much what happens, it's more what you do."
Everyone has OOCZMs, and since we'll all have more of them there's a huge WIIFM ("What's In It For Me") to be good at managing them when they DO happen. Here are a few reminders of things you can do to manage your next OOCZM, including tips for leaders, because sometimes the reward for stepping up and doing your best during an OOCZM can be very satisfying!
And because so many of you are formal and informal leaders in your schools / organizations, here a couple of thoughts to manage your OOCZM as a leader in times of distress/emergency:
If you have the discipline to remember and do these basic things, it's much more likely that you will not only get through your next OOCZM -- you may even realize some unexpected benefits or rewards along the way ...
Dates still available for Fall and "Back-to-School" Workshops & Conferences
It's still not too late for leaders to be planning your fall in-service topics, date and trainer, and I still have some dates open in August and into the fall, and would love to help you:
"Playing Nice in the Sandbox" continues to be a very well received program by groups of people who work in early childhood and K-12 education because it's a re-affirming review of skills and strategies that help people keep their busy workplace "Sandbox" a great place to work for you and your coworkers, and where great service is provided. The program needs a minimum of 90 minutes, and can be up to half-day or full-day too; each program is customized to who is in the room, their jobs, and how the skills need to be applied.
This program has also been well received by "non-school" groups (extensive client list at: Client List who want a chance to offer this kind of program to their employees or members, because it's about communication and relationship skills that help in your own professional performance, teamwork with coworkers, service to your customers, and leadership to your staff/members. It's suitable for state conferences or a local staff workshop, and when held with an "intact group" of people who work together regularly we also spend time to discuss how to apply the information to their specific issues and opportunities.
I also enjoy doing a "keynote" type presentation to all-staff groups to help kick off a new school year, and this allows me to cover more ideas and information about how to improve our discipline of how we engage our attitudes, which are the doorway from which come our actions through word and deed, which then helps further reinforce how a lot of success when we communciate and relate with others is about the "attitudes" we take into those interactions and situations, including times of change ... Feel free to share this with your leadership team in case they are looking for such a message for your whole team ...
If you are still planning an event for late summer or fall to help your workers grow their skills to their next levels, and the above program sounds like it could help, then call me soon so we can see if your date works, and how this could help you meet this important goal!
Quotes related to "Out-of-Comfort-Zone-Moments" for the days ahead ...
We are so accustomed to the comforts of "I cannot," "I don't want to" and "It's too difficult" that we forget to realize when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we are not achieving greatness. We have made ourselves weak. - Pandora Poikilos, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
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