Prior to leading a yoga teacher training, I go through a ritualized freak-the-*$@!-out period in preparation. I get extremely stressed over the expectations that I tell myself the trainees have of me, my performance, and my responsibility for their experience in the training. I even get angry at them for having these expectations. (How dare they expect me to be/perform/deliver perfect!) Then, I have moments of sanity and I remember that I am telling myself the story that these are their expectations, that I am prepared, that I do have lots of knowledge to share, that I can help others, etc…. All of this because I truly care that the trainees have a great experience.
As a recovering perfectionist, this cycle is no new experience for me. (And it’s a fun ride for my husband as well…Yes, Sheldon, that was sarcasm.) I can identify the long list of thinking errors I typically run through and all of the things that I tell others to practice and be aware of, but at times seem unable to practice myself. (I think this is why I can effectively help others through it; I have literally been there myself.)
[I should note, that I do believe that this cycle actually helps me to deliver an effective training experience for those who attend, however, I have suspicions that my ego is just telling me that I need this process…]
So, recently, as I was preparing for a training in my usual stressed out and critical manner, I just happened to see a clip of Gloria Steinem from an interview with Oprah. Oprah asked Gloria what advice she would give to her younger self and magic came out of her mouth. “Do more of what you can uniquely do and less of what other people can do.” Brilliant. Mic drop.
So, I start thinking of the experiences that have really touched me, helped me to grow, or inspired me. They were usually created out of someone else’s unique ideas or delivery or spirit. The pivotal, eye-opening experiences I have had did not occur from cookie-cutter moments of zero creativity.
And then I start thinking, ya know what makes something great? When you do it with your unique talents, that’s what! It’s like Rudolph when he puts the mud on his shiny red nose to fit in and do what others do. How was that ever going to save Christmas?! He had to do it with his unique talents that no one else had! You have to kick that shit off and shine! Only you can do the unique things that you can do. Go be that light within! You are not your body or your thoughts or the stories that you tell yourself. And neither am I. Exhale. Also, you are not what other people think of you. In fact, that’s none of your business. You are the shining soul within that has something wonderfully unique to offer the world.
And I pep-talked myself right into inspiration! I decided that I would lead the training in my own special way. I would do my best to offer my knowledge, my creativity, my guidance, but ultimately, that it was up the trainees to take what I offer and use it in their own unique way.
Did the training go well? Yup. Did I prepare in advance (this is an important step…remember the tornado socks??) and then deliver in my own unique way? Yup. Will I have to remind myself of all of this again when I lead a training in the future. Yup. But that’s ok; It’s a journey.
So, go be unique! Fly! Do what only you can do. Will some people be disappointed? Yes, because they went into it with expectations. But that’s not your problem, that’s theirs. And remember, I will be trying right along with you. Let’s chat again soon.