Leaning into Fear

Being in the flow requires us to be focused on our own work. To just do the best work you can.  As soon as we start worrying about measuring up, we lose our focus.  

What drew me to yacht racing was the challenge of balancing the boat so that it’s passage through the water seemed effortless.  The thrill of sailing through the fleet because your boat was making better use of the wind than your competitors.  The need to compete using the forces of nature rather than your own physical attributes.  It felt as if I was conforming to nothing but the laws of physics and my own belief in my tactical ability.

Especially when writing for eLearning the pressures can feel high.  We all like to get a positive reaction.  More learners completing the whole modlette.  Less bailing out after a few minutes.  

When we write for eLearning the ego in us is watching the number of completed modletttes and the feedback from learners.  The results of assessments.  I try to acknowledge those pressures.  I let the trainer in me set some boundaries, like deciding what media I will use and what material I will use to best present my learning.  Then I try to let go and give my inner trainer the freedom to play and create.  

There is an inner trainer/artist in all of us.  When we let go of pressures and let our inner trainer/artists play, we can do our best work.

As trainers, we’re fortunate.  We’re not at risk of falling out of the boat and drowning.   Yet, interestingly, experts consider the fears of not measuring up as bigger than the physical risk of physical danger when committing to sports with dangers such as yacht racing.  

The fear of not being good enough, of being unable to hold a learner’s attention, that’s what we face as eLearning trainers.   And the antidote?  

Fears often gain in pain when we try to fight them.  But when we acknowledge our fears, they become more manageable.  It’s the same with writing for eLearning.  I try to acknowledge my fears, and I can do that best when I move out of my comfort zone.  

When I stay in my comfort zone, I go stale.  When I venture too far outside, fear can become paralyzing.  So I stay in that zone in between.  Enough challenge, but not too much.  

When I first started designing modlettes, it felt like I was wrestling with words and fighting my inner critic all the time.  I worried how the dialogue and narrative would turn out and what the learners’ reactions would be.  

Over time I learned that I can only try to do my best.  

So, that’s what I do ….