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That sounds really hard. Some people in here been chatting in a Google doc for a while this week and this part popped in my head when I read your thing so copy and pasting it here in case it’s helpful:
“Who said trying wasn’t cool? It’s not cool if you have to try hard then it means you are not good at it. No, trying means you’re about to get better. Trying is struggle in the dark, tiny shoots reaching around in the dark, it’s struggling in the dark. Trying is a soul cry for growth, for change, for better. Why on earth would be you be ashamed of trying? Rejection. Failure. Heartache. Trying means not good enough. Trying *IS* good enough. What else can it be? Success is like the star on top, like the very pinnacle. You can’t make the star into good enough itself. That’s better than good enough. That’s gooder than good enough. SO LOWER THE BAR.”
I guess it sounds like the definition in your case currently stands somewhere around “we are successful if our suggestions work out in real life”. But perhaps for this, the real success was people came up with suggestions, listened to each other’s suggestions, tried out the suggestions, worked together, all those really really good things would make for a much more accurate definition of success. The life thing, bleugh. Even when you are perfectly beyond perfect, life is still gonna life sometimes. But the meeting stuff, it doesn’t sound like anything went wrong there at all.
We also have a lot of instant deflating/giving up completely when something doesn’t work out and it really does get in the way. So right now we have posters on our wall as reminders and one is the word FAIL, but written like this…..
So the idea with that is when we find ourselves in a situation like the one you describe, it’s not fail give up forever (which can be our go to reaction), it’s first attempt in learning. You can reflect on it together that way. Sometimes you can see something you could have done different and then it’s a learning opportunity. Other times you can see there is nothing you could have done differently, and then it’s more a case of being gentle on each other and knowing none of you are to blame. It’s never a reason to give up, especially not on each other.
Then someone else in here is saying sometimes people just need time. If they feel disheartened, knocked down etc, then they just need time to feel what they feel about it and that’s okay too. Also not a failure. Instead of holding a get things done meeting, what about more like a group therapy meeting just holding space and processing the crappiness of what happened. That’s a way to not give up on each other, even if some things suck. That might sound boring, but sometimes the nice thing about boring is how low pressure it is.
If meetings really really look too pointless and hard now… I wouldn’t run at it or force it or beat yourselves up over it. This might be worth a try instead: After lot of hard decades, we were in sore need of experiencing some successes, so we started intentionally setting ourselves up for success purely so we can benefit from the experience of feeling success. I mean super small things too, like no pressure teeny tiny things, like making an origami bird and hanging it up so we can remember we did good at that. Fixing a lock on our bathroom door so every time we can actually lock the bathroom door it’s a little “yay, we made that happen!”. Just any little things where people can feel like they had some control or autonomy or power to change stuff. It feels silly at first because the things might look tiny and futile or like drops in the ocean, but as you gather more of those little things, they start to grow into momentum. Kinda makes an upward spiral into feeling better instead of stuck or further downwards, and the trick is to keep it really tiny and only one at a time.