How to Push Through When You “Don’t Feel Like Dancing”

Woman with briefcase looking slightly unhappyA few months ago one of my favourite bands, The Scissor Sisters, were playing in my home town here in the UK.  I bought some tickets as soon as they were released, and I wasn’t disappointed – they put on an excellent show.

During the show, just before they sang one of their most popular songs, they thanked their crew and the “roadies” that help keep them sane throughout the tour.  As they were introducing their song  “I don’t feel like dancing”, Jake (the lead singer) explained that when they are on tour, visiting countless venues in different countries, sometimes they just don’t feel like dancing. They love their music, they love what they do, yet some days they just don’t feel like performing.  It’s those around them that give them the energy to continue.  This support allows them to get psyched up and put on an outstanding show every night.

I wouldn’t for one moment compare the art of Business Analysis to the art of surviving a world tour… however, sometimes it does feel like there’s an element of performance in our work.  There are times when we need to be “on stage” facilitating a workshop, playing back a requirements document or meeting stakeholders for the first time.  All of this requires an element of extraversion and an element of energy.  To do it well, it’s necessary to build rapport and build relationships.  Yet it has to be said that not all analysts are natural extraverts (I know I’m certainly not).

This leads to a challenge.  Sometimes you might be on your way to work on a Monday morning knowing you have a couple of stakeholder interviews booked, followed by a workshop that you’ll be facilitating, followed by a week of stakeholder interactions.  If it’s raining, you’re tired and you just aren’t in extravert mode (or, as the Scissor Sisters might say, you “don’t feel like dancing”) what can you do?

Here are some tips that work for me:

  • Allow preparation time immediately before:  There is nothing worse than getting straight out of your car and running to a workshop or stakeholder meeting and arriving out of breath.  Yes, there are times when this will be necessary, but it’s best to allow some time before so that you can “get in the zone”.  This allows time for you to re-cap what the meeting objectives are, and iron out any last minute logistics.   Plus, it’ll give you time to find your mojo!
  • Remember: Introversion isn’t shyness,  but you may need to plan in some “down time”:  I remember having a Myers Briggs four-letter code thrown on me during a “management training course” several years ago.  All of a sudden I was branded an introvert – this was a shock to the system!  The world, in my view, misunderstands this phrase – there’s often the assumption that introverts are shy, quiet people.  I’m certainly neither shy or quiet (as anyone who has met me will attest).  However, I personally find it takes me more energy to meet new people than some of my extravert friends.  Therefore, if you’d consider yourself an introvert, it may be worth planning some “down-time” into your schedule.  For me, this doesn’t need to be anything more than a 15 minute break where I can sit quietly, write up my notes and compose my thoughts.  It helps me to mentally recharge.
  • Phone a friend:  One of the greatest way to solve problems or change mood is to speak to someone else.  It’s well worth building a support network of people who know you well.  If you’re feeling in a funk one morning before a workshop, a friendly colleague may be able to help you “get in the zone”.
  • Start with energy:  In workshops and meetings, often the amount of energy that the attendees throw back is directly proportional to the amount of energy you put in as a facilitator or leader.  So it’s worth starting big – that way the attendees will respond with increased energy, which is likely to quickly get you in the mood for “dancing”, metaphorically speaking!
  • And if all else fails…. Perhaps try a coffee or donut!

I hope you’ve found this article useful, and that you’ll think about these tips on those gloomy mornings when you just can’t find your mojo.   Good luck!

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