At the same time I have gone back to doing what I’m passionate about part-time, which is helping children with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties. It’s what I love and what inspired me to set up Heart and Mind Education in the first place.
It’s fair to say that exploring these creative ideas and projects pushes me out of my comfort zone. I notice how I’m avoiding, distracting and procrastinating when it’s time to sit down and get to work. There’s some real resistance there, a hesitancy to put myself out there, outside of my comfort zone.
As I'm observing this in myself I think of some of the children I work with who do a similar thing, which is: anything to avoid leaving their comfort zone. In some case that manifests as refusing to do any work, in other, more extreme cases as storming out of the classroom or becoming physically aggressive (fight or flight basically) depending on how much anxiety is triggered in them. For some children their comfort zone and/or learning zones are very small and they are easily pushed beyond that into the panic zone, which can then trigger any of the above behaviours.
How often do we really push ourselves outside of our comfort zone in the way we regularly expect children to? And by that I mean, how often do we put ourselves in situations where our work/performance will be judged by others, where there is a real danger of failure and feeling or looking stupid in front of our peers?
I’m finding it really useful to observe the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that arise in me now that I’m faced with such a situation and to figure out how I’m going to motivate myself to push past this into my learning zone without pushing too far and ending up in the panic zone where I’m no longer learning but simply feel overwhelmed or scared.
This experience is a welcome reminder for me to remember what school feels like for some children who struggle with leaving their comfort zone and entering the learning zone.
If you are a parent or educator, I invite you to try this for yourself: do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. It will help you empathise more with your children and by learning how to motivate yourself to push past your resistance you will be better able to help them do the same.
It certainly works for me.