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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0083 | December 10, 2002
5,500 Subscribers


picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.

From the Publisher: 

Hello MFJ Readers. I've been on the road for a little over two weeks, and in the interest of my own self-care--I'm taking a pseudo-break from being creative by rerunning a previous article on that very topic. Holding an effective "container" as a facilitator requires our best. So please take a few minutes to review some tips on being your best by attending to your needs.

If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading! 
Steve Davis


Self-Mastery Skill

Care and Feeding of the Master Facilitator
Care and prepare yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to maintain peak performance.


The Point?

Facilitation is a demanding role that can take its toll on you if you are not prepared at all levels. A master facilitator must have fine-tuned awareness and intuition to sense and act on the nuances of group process. She must stand tall in the face of conflict, willing to walk participants through to its resolution if required. She sometimes endures standing in a room for long hours, staying attuned to everything going on. She can't afford to space out and miss something important to the process. It may even be true that the facilitator, acting as a coach and role model, will challenge participants only to the level of her internal fortitude. 

So how can we fortify ourselves for this awesome and challenging task we call facilitation? Will Spinach on Special K for breakfast do the trick? Or is there more? Though there are some things that you can do for yourself shortly before each event, there are also "habits" that take time to develop and cultivate over time, just as the Olympic athlete cultivates and prepares to maintain herself in peak condition to meet the demands of competition. We'll review some examples of these habits and practices below.

Whatever nurturing habits you decide to cultivate, just be assured that if they help you to nurture the high energy, awareness, and perseverance of a facilitative leader, you'll be a model for others and a master of your fate no matter what role you play. 


Example

There are many self-care actions we can take that will have immediate impact on our ability to be present and attuned to our work as facilitators. Here are a few examples in each of four major dimensions.

Physical
-
Eat light and healthy, especially prior to a facilitation session. Heavy food, sodas, coffee, or junk food will not support you. It will impact your ability to pay attention and reduce your endurance.
- Pamper yourself with massages, hot baths, spa visits, etc. to help you relax and to affirm your self-worth. These actions are a message to yourself that you are important and so are those with whom you work.
- Breathe! Pay attention to your breathing while facilitating. This is particularly important during moments of stress when we tend to shallow breath. Steady, deep, and slow breathing will help keep you present, and provide your brain cells with optimal levels of oxygen for acute mental clarity. 

Mental
- Check the messages you're sending to yourself prior to your facilitated events. If you hear negative, self-defeating, or judgmental thoughts, stop and replace them with thoughts about how you'd ideally like things to turn out. Most successful people talk about visualizing their success prior to it happening. Yet most of us are drawn to visualizing failure. Our thoughts about what might happen are only fantasy anyway, so doesn't it make sense to win in your own fantasy?

Emotional
- Attend to any nagging feelings you might have about anything prior to your event. If something is bothering you that can be handled with a quick conversation or action on your part, get it handled so it's not sapping energy from you while you're facilitating. If you have heavy feelings about something that can't be handled right away, give yourself permission to have the feelings. Express what you can through journaling, conversation with a friend, or private reflection prior to the event and make an appointment with yourself at a time when you can deal with this issue further. 

Spiritual
- Grounding, centering, or connecting with the source are very important to effective facilitation. People use such practices as meditation, prayer, Tai Chi, marshal arts, etc., to enhance their connection with something greater than themselves. Whatever you believe "something greater" to be, use it. It will provide a source beyond your own ego to draw on when things get tough.


Action

Your assignment this week is to decide on at least one self-care habit you're going to implement and practice it daily  for the entire week. Iím interested in hearing what happens for you. Please email me right away and let me know what happened. I'd love to hear about it!


Skill Related Resource
Take Time for Your Life : A Personal Coach's Seven-Step Program for Creating the Life You Want,
by Cheryl Richardson

In Take Time for Your Life, personal coach Cheryl Richardson shows you how to switch from being stressed, unfulfilled, and overworked, to "living a life you love" by using a seven-step process. First, she gives you permission to "make the quality of your life your top priority" by honoring your self-care--a difficult choice for fast-track readers, but essential. Putting yourself at the top of your "to do" list will help you connect your head with your heart and enhance your satisfaction and joy. Next, you define your priorities and revise your schedule so it reflects them. Then you figure out what actions, issues, and people are draining your energy and start to "plug those drains." The next step is getting your financial house in order. And so on, through seven progressive strategies that free you to live an authentic, high-quality life, embracing your spiritual, emotional, and financial well-being.


cartoon image of a talking man.

Reader Survey 
What self-care habits do you use to prepare or maintain yourself as a Facilitator? 

This week, we're asking for your input on this week's topic and the question of self-care. Please share with us the special  things that you do for yourself to prepare yourself for facilitation and/or the habits you use to keep you in "good form" for facilitation. All those who respond will be sent the entire collection of responses.

Thanks for your help in making the Master Facilitator Journal the best facilitation resource site on the web!


If you know someone who might benefit and enjoy this newsletter, please send this link to a friend.


About the Author
Steve Davis is a Facilitator's Coach helping leaders enhance their effectiveness through the application and perspective of facilitation. Please email or call me at 805-489-4130 to schedule a Free exploratory session, or to share your suggestions and ideas for the journal. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading!
 


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1) Self-Mastery Skills: How you facilitate yourself.
2) Presence And Presenting Skills: How you show up.
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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on December 17, 2002.   


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