This guest post has been written by Annick Seys. A lovely ACT trainer based in Belgium. Annick has twelve years experience as a social worker.
A couple of weeks ago I gave a try-out training session for a few linkedin-connections. I prepared with a lot of help from Rachel and Rob (and Skype). The workshop was about getting to know ACT and what it can do for the wellbeing and level of performance of personnel at the workplace.
At a certain point in the session, I asked people some questions that were not so easy to get an answer to in an instant. Things like: – ‘What can you see yourself doing that pulls you away from the things that are important in your life?’ and, ’What do you already do that brings you closer to what’s important in your life?’.
Participants became quiet, looked at each other, looked at me as if I was asking something very awkward. Rob had suggested I say something at the beginning of the session about how this new conceptual framework would take some time to sink in, which I totally forgot to mention! The reason for that is simple: I was a bit nervous and thinking a lot of what my audience was thinking of me, I was looking for that moment where you can see people ‘getting’ ACT and when I couldn’t find that, I started looking for explanations for what was going on and how they probably didn’t get it and how this was my doing. Which of course meant that I was spending some time in my head instead of in the session! In other words, I wasn’t present in that moment at all!
Or perhaps this is too much of a judgment towards myself because the participants gave a lot of good feedback at the end, so everything worked out well. But… if I would have been able to focus more on the situation itself, I would’ve probably been able to ask the group much more quickly if something wasn’t clear, if I had to explain it again etc. Because everything that popped into my head was really not of much use during the session in my analysis after the workshop!
Do you recognize how you can be totally caught in your head, stuck in thoughts that really aren’t of any use and just cause distress? A good question to ask yourself is: is my behavior based on the situation I’m in right now or am I focused on my perspective of how I see the situation? And if you’re stuck in your head, do those thoughts get you closer to what you’re trying to achieve or do they really tear you away from that goal? Because if you’re making decisions based on what your head is telling you, then you could be missing out on the solution, which probably is part of the situation you’re in!
Thanks again to Rachel and Rob for helping me in the preparation of this session!