On Monday, I went LIVE on facebook where I talked about the improv saying, “everything is a gift”. If you missed it, check out the replay below.
Here's the recap:
I’ve been reflecting lately on an important improv saying: “everything is a gift.”
Notice the expression does NOT say, “there are gifts.”
EVERYTHING, friends. Everything is a gift.
Even explosions of tension and confrontation are gifts, despite the fact that we often refer to those moments as “the straw that broke the camel’s back”... or something unmentionable hitting the fan. ;)
We use these expressions to talk about a breaking point before a confrontation. But if we truly believe everything is a gift, let's help ourselves with some better imagery for that experience. I'd like to offer this:
the last strike on a piñata.
When that final strike causes the piñata to break, little gifts fall for everyone to enjoy. Good things come from productive confrontations, even if there is tension and stress leading up to it!
This metaphor also leads to the observation that once the piñata breaks, the kids don't all leave with the same thing! There are many different opportunities that fall out of a confrontation piñata - you might not get the same one as someone else, but BOTH are gifts.
It's noteworthy that the exact same gift can feel like a treasure or a weapon depending on whether or not we found it or someone else is trying to give it to us. When we do the work ourselves and find the gift in the middle of our difficult situation - it feels like a treasure. But the same "treasure" can feel horrible to hear from someone else depending on the situation.
Sometimes the confrontation piñata gives us the opportunity to learn something very specific about ourselves, or identify a way in which our own attitudes, believes and behaviors must change. Those gifts are especially hard to receive from someone else.
This is why making a habit of self reflection is so important. The best note is a note you can give yourself, as we say in improv. If we're not doing the work - if we're struggling through a tense, frustrating or unpleasant situation, it's inevitable that someone will try to help you find the gift. Most colleagues won't let someone stay feeling mad and visibly wilting for too long without addressing it.
Explore this idea with me. What if people don't offer adages or optimistic notes it to be mean, condescending or cliché? What if they simply don't want you to be the kid at the party who's distracted by the sadness of the piñata breaking and doesn't notice all the good stuff that just came out of it? What if it's more painful to watch you not find a gift than to risk the conversation of offering it to you?
Just sit with it, even if it doesn't resonate right now! Everyone's work situation is different, but regardless of your specific office dynamic, doing the work of finding our own gifts in a hard situation helps us cultivate more peace and beauty in our lives.
When the piñata breaks, we get a choice.
It's my hope that you hold space for your feelings about the piñata, and then move on to the candy! Be on the lookout for your gifts today, friends. They are all around you.
The Art of Confrontation™
If you haven't heard, &Beyond is launching our first-ever online course, the Art of Confrontation™, which is designed to promote a more peaceful, collaborative, and communicative office environment using insight and skills from Improv! For more information and enrollment, clickhere! Register by October 1st to receive a $50 discount.
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