Don’t Share The Panic
I was recently having dinner with friends and we were talking about our schools (we’re all educators). One friend told us about something she recently had to tell a colleague:
“Don’t share the panic.”
I knew this was a gem (and a blog post) the moment I heard it.
This is so real, and so important.
Don’t share the panic. If you’re feeling worried or anxious or concerned, how does it help to get someone else all up in arms with the same feelings? It may help you in the short term, but it doesn’t help the greater good and it certainly doesn’t help the community you’re part of. (And if we’re talking about schools, it one hundred percent does not help the students.)
The big project I’ve been writing about is a good example of this on a large scale. Over the course of it, there was so much panic for those of us leading it and countless times (as I have written about previously) when it felt like it was never going to happen. Yet, we only shared those feelings with a very small group of people. We didn’t share that with everyone. And everyone was better off for it.
I’ve been thinking about the distinction a lot. I think it’s always valuable and necessary to share information and facts, but it is usually not helpful or necessary to share feelings and opinions. It would not have benefited anyone on our staff or in our community if they knew I felt panic about our big project at times. It would have only made them feel panic too. It would have created doubt, and ill will, and concerning feelings. It would have served no purpose.
On a small scale, this concept can be applied every day in little moments. You don’t need a big project to remember not to share the panic. I think if we are focused on moving forward and looking beyond ourselves, we will share better energy with each other. We will share facts and information, which are not always positive, but they are real. We can work with facts and information, and we can use them to make decisions and to progress.
Our feelings don’t really help us do this, and sometimes they get in our way of remembering our priorities. Sometimes we get stuck in how we feel and we end up spreading panic instead of spreading positive energy.
It is not always easy, but when we stay focused on what matters most, I think it helps us remember to not share the panic. And, I think it helps to remember that moments of panic are just that: moments. The panic is not permanent. It will pass.
And, until it does, please don’t share it.
This one is dedicated to my grad school friends. “Don’t share the panic” is one of many gems that came out of our monthly dinners during the last school year. It’s always real when we’re together, and it’s always great. xo
Except for the 38th lesson in my 38 Things I Know for Sure post from February, I had not previously written anything about this project while it’s been going on. I think part of me never felt it was safe to do so because the outcome felt so uncertain so often. There’s certainty now and so this is my third post relating to “the big project.” (The first was Failure and the second was Failure, Part 2.) It’s also very important for me to say that I have not been alone in undertaking this big project, and I hope nothing I ever write on the topic makes it seem that way. As I wrote in my 38th thing I know for sure: “Persevering with a team – especially a team embodying mutual respect, hard work, attention to detail, good sense and good humor – makes persevering the only option even when it feels like it isn’t.”