Giving yourself permission to shine

A couple of weeks ago I facilitated a leadership course for a group of 15 public library leaders. I’ve been facilitating leadership courses for a few years now, so in some senses this is nothing new for me. This time, however, it felt different. Mostly this was a mindset change, and I was amazed at the difference it made to my energy, my approach, and the effectiveness and impact of the course.

So what was it that made the difference?

I gave myself permission to deliver the course exactly how I wanted to deliver it.

There were specific outcomes the course needed to meet, and specific topics that needed to be covered, but how I achieved that was largely up to me to decide.

I’d put in a bid for the project and it was a brave one for me. I focused not so much on ‘what’ I would deliver but on ‘how’ I would deliver it. When I was successful and discussed my ideas with those commissioning the project, I was delighted to learn my approach completely aligned with what they wanted. It gave me the confidence to fully commit to delivering the course in the way I felt would be most beneficial to the participants and the way which felt most natural to me.

Along the way I had to get rid of a lot of old habits and challenge assumptions about what people might expect and how they might respond when things weren’t what they might be expecting (I chose not to use any PowerPoint slides for example and initially was worried participants and those interested in the course outputs might not like that). Deep down though I knew I had to be brave and all the decisions I made were based on my previous experience and my commitment to the course.

Once I gave myself freedom and allowed myself to facilitate the course how I wanted to, it all came together and I was able to put my energy into focusing on developing the best learning environment I could for all participants. I was so looking forward to delivering it and I loved every single second (well, apart from some unusual food provided by the hotel!).

My energy during the course was commented on and the project lead mentioned they’d spotted me skipping around the room. This is one of the modes I go into when I am truly loving what I am doing and who I am being. It was fantastic and I’m still on a bit of a high from it two weeks later. 🙂

I’ve been reflecting on my experience a lot, and I’ve realised how important it is for me to be able to deliver things in a way that feels authentic to me. I bring so many elements of me to my work and it is strengthened because of that. I bring my professionalism, dedication, and structure. I bring my energy, humour, and silliness. I bring my honesty, curiosity and vulnerability. When I fully commit to this it results in experiences I am proud of and as a bonus, these are often more powerful for others too.

When do you shine? What do you love doing and if you were able to bring more of you to it you might love even more? How could you bring a little more of yourself to it in future?