It can be frustrating when people in your course want to challenge almost everything you are teaching and seemingly want to argue about almost all of the principles and concepts you are presenting.
As frustrating as it can be, the key is to step back, take a breath and reframe the experience through self reflection questions.
Why are they pushing back? Is it because I am challenging the way they think? Is it because I am encouraging them to think differently? Is it because they have strong beliefs, which are being challenged by this material? Is it because we all have a tendency to push back against change? Is it because they believe I am suggesting they are doing something wrong?
Why am I getting defensive when they challenge me? Is it because they are challenging me to step up and articulate what I believe what I believe? Am I defensive because I now have to articulate my justification for what I am teaching? Is it because I am taking their challenge of the ideas, principles and concepts personally?
It sucks that they seem to want to argue and challenge me on so many points. What’s Important Now? Follow your own advice Willis – Embrace the Suck and Look for the Good. It is good that they are engaged and willing to challenge these ideas. It is good that they care enough to challenge and ask for an explanation. It is good that I have to step up and articulate the research, evidence, personal experience and experiences of others that have lead me to these beliefs.
As Victor Frankl said, “There is a pause between stimulus and response.” It is good that I get to practice breath control and emotional control and utilize the pause between stimulus and response. It is good that I have an opportunity to acknowledge the validity of their questions and challenges. It is good that I get to ask them questions to explore their beliefs and experiences. It is good that I have the opportunity to practice the philosophy, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
It is good that I now have the opportunity to use different examples and explanations to explain what I am teaching. It is good that the debate is an opportunity for everyone to think, reflect, engage and grow. If I cannot articulate the my position in a manner that makes sense to them emotionally and logically then I need to learn more and grow more. If I cannot explain the benefits and advantages to them in a way that makes sense to them, then I have more personal work to do.
I can get frustrated, pout, lash out, shut down or respond in some other less desirable manner or, I can focus on What’s Important Now?, Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to Be Great. Either way it is a choice.
I have had the opportunity a couple of times in the last few months to practice this reframe during some five day Excellence in Training Courses. Is it Simple? Yes. It is easy? No. (Simple is the lack of complexity and Easy is the lack of effort.) Is it worthwhile? Yes.
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