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01-firstA few weeks ago, after a bout of sunny warm days, the weather turned chilly again.  The last frost date here in North Carolina is April 15, and it’s supposed to be safe to plant seedlings afterward without worrying that they’ll succumb to the cold at this point in the year. 02-second_ver2Lately, I’ve been thinking about icebreakers and the feeling I get when I’m told that I’m going to have to participate in one.  It’s a gut-churn trigger. I feel dread. I want to escape. I’m never excited to break the ice. I’m always cautious about opening up in a space that is, as the name implies, cold.

03-thirdMy seedlings survived the weather, and I am relieved.

04-fourth_ver2There were times in my life when I opened too soon. When I didn’t have a good sense of who to trust. I felt pain, anger, and hurt in those moments, but I am still here. I survived.

 05-fifth

I don’t know if a flower feels things the way we do. Do they feel fear? Pride? Shame? I like to assume they do. And that the anxious, gut-churning feeling of opening up to a group of strangers in an icebreaker is not unlike the energy pulsing through a flower in bloom.

06-sixth-option2_ver2I have begun to interpret my own gut-churning in these moments as a sign of blooming.  I am no longer a seedling. My roots are deep enough to weather the frost and I have more to gain by opening up, being seen, and sharing myself with others.

 

Beck Tench was formally trained as a designer and journalist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and has spent her career since helping people in organizations of all types to embrace risk-taking, creativity, and change. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, National Public Radio, Scientific American, Quantified Self, Independent Weekly and several books and blogs. She is the creator of Experimonth, a change-making platform that encourages participants to try something new and be honest with each other about what happens. Beck believes that small things add up to big things over time and travels the world sharing that message to universities, corporations, conferences, and non-profits in keynote addresses, workshops and facilitated discussions. She also serves a limited number of clients as a creative coach and occasionally joins organizations for time-limited residencies. Beck is also a member of her local library board. read more about