One of the most powerful benefits of our Meet The Beasts confidence building workshops is that they don’t just involve theory; they require people to take a step & put theory into action.
I can present all the best reasons for taking a certain action & provide you with all the greatest benefits from taking that action, but until you actually test-out or apply what I say, my words remain an unproven theory.
To quote the song, “I could talk for hours but you wouldn’t hear a word; your own opinions make you blind!“
I can talk about overcoming fears; I can talk about theories of how to build confidence; I can talk about holding a snake. But, however plausible my words may sound, the proof is when you actually touch or hold a snake. At that point they are no longer just instructions; they become applied words, actions, leading to experiences which can change our thoughts, perceptions & responses.
Three days ago I was with our reptiles & minibeasts at an activity centre quite near London. As part of my introduction I spoke about how we never force people to have a go at holding a snake, but always encourage them to try, because if they don’t try they’ll never know: “I never could!” remains unchallenged & unchanged. During the day I was independently approached by 3 people with a real fear of spiders, each of whom said that they would like to overcome those fears & have a go at touching one of our tarantulas.
And the result?
Amidst a certain amount of tachycardia, deep breaths & sweating, each of those 3 people stroked Samba our Curly Hair Tarantula (Brachypelma albopilosum). The the look of achievement on their faces & the comments, “Well I never!” & “I’ve done it!” & “I’m so glad I did that!” made my day.
What had happened?
Theory was converted into action because they’d taken a decision to make it actually happen.
So what about situations not involving snakes & spiders? 🙂
it can be very difficult to demonstrate our concern in situations where we feel uncomfortable or inadequate. In those situations I find myself sending a text or e-mail wishing them well & hoping the situation gets sorted. I kind of abdicate from action in the hope that ‘someone else‘ (whoever that might be) that is more able, more competent, better equipped than me etc will help or get them sorted out. I guess that I default to the theoretical so that I don’t have to get involved.
And I understand why we act like this.
If someone is faced with sending me good wishes or visiting me when I am very unwell, good wishes are so much easier. It may not be practical or possible to visit through lack of time or distance & in those situations the very fact that they have taken time to let me know that they’re thinking about me or wishing me well is still very important. I’m talking about the people who use such a message as a space-filler or an attempt to dodge a direct, active response. It’s a bit like the, “I’d love to help but …” response; it may be better to say nothing.
But the power of words is when they’re put into action (applied).
This was demonstrated to me last Tuesday when a friend (whom I don’t see very often) had heard that I was particularly unwell, knocked on my door & said, “I’ve come to see how you are.“
There was something incredibly powerful in that short sentence.
It felt as if I’d been noticed in amongst all the busyness of their life. It felt as if I really mattered to someone AND it really DID make a big difference to my day. It’s difficult to explain but it’s a little bit like the people who take the step to handle a snake or touch a spider to overcome their fears; there is something very powerful when thoughts/words are converted into tangible action.
I was challenged by the actions of my friend because I know how often I can write words that allow me to keep a safe distance & not be involved.
I made a pledge with myself on Tuesday that I would take a leaf from the book of my friend Brian & wherever possible, I would be more active rather than just thinking about it or sending a message.
I’m sure I’ll get it wrong more than once, but I’m also sure that I will be more effective in helping others &, like Brian, start chain reactions which impact far more people than myself or just the person I help.
Thanks for reading & thank you Brian 🙂
Until next time …