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How to overcome the stress of fear – Chopping the big chunk

As a caring father I am glad to help my children out, in any activity, they find hard to accomplish. Also a few months ago, when my daughter asked me to help her with mathematics. She was afraid that she would fail on her test, because numbers aren’t her strong suit. I am convinced she can do anything, if she believes in it. When it comes to mathematics, her biggest obstacle was seeing the questions as a chunk of chocolate, too big to swallow. This created much stress, and also often running out of time, to finish the test. I tried to help her chop the big chunk in smaller pieces, that can be eaten one at a time. When I told her how to do that, she said: “Why don’t you do that yourself, dad?” Bam…, that was a direct hit. I had to admit that when I get stressed out, because I feel stuck or don’t know where to begin, it also feels like a chunk of chocolate, or rather in my case a big rock, blocking my path. Chopping it in smaller pieces would help me also. But how do I do that in complex or unknown situations?

Around that time, Mirjam de Boer, a fellow practitioner, did an invitation in the Host2Transform community platform to collaborate and do a Host2Transform session on Work Stress week at Seats2meet Utrecht. I immediately volunteered and maybe it could also help me to overcome my own stress. From my experience with Host2Transform I knew that being agile and having fun is important. Agility being the ability to react appropriately to whatever comes up in the moment. But for that, like my daughter showed me, breaking it down to smaller pieces helps. So I thought about it, and came up with:

  • Mindset (Leadership)
  • Situation (Facts and impact on my Comfortzone)
  • Design (Knowledge and Structure)
  • Why (Purpose, Connecting and Sharing with participants)

Okay, now I said “Yes!”, what’s next? I felt nervous, because I did not know what to expect. I knew from experience with my daughter, how important my mindset is. So, I chose to think like Pipi Longstocking. She always said when doing something new: “I never did it before, so I think I can do it”. In other words, if there is no proof you cannot do it, so why not believe that you can do it. Can you feel how that mindset will take you further? It certainly worked for me in seeing my abilities in a confident and positive way.

Comfort zone
My next step was to zoom in on what to expect and details of when, where and how. I first thought that my Host2Transform sample session would take place about a half an hour before lunch in a separate room and that people would sign-in. However, that was not the case. I found out that it would take place in the open work-space, and we had to personally invite all people, working at Seats2Meet, to join the session. I had no idea how many people to expect and how they would react to the invitation. My comfort zone was stretched big time. Even though this was stressful, I was confident I could handle the situation through my experiences using Host2Transform exercises in co-creation sessions. So, why not now? Furthermore I knew that when moving outside the comfort zone, learning takes place.

Now that I had the right mindset and knew the specific circumstances, I focused on designing the session. That meant choosing the exercises and deciding how to structure them to match the theme (Work Stress) with enough leeway to be agile. Figuring it all out myself is something I usually do, but I also experienced the power of asking for help. So I shared my design to the Host2Transform community platform. There I had access to many video examples and help from Jessica Tangelder, as well as the community. Getting good feedback and suggestions to make it even more suitable for the situation helped me gain confidence, during the session, to act in the moment, break it down in smaller pieces and trust my intuition to face any unexpected situations with agility.

The feedback I received made me realize to be clear about the value for everyone involved, or the “why/purpose” question. I wanted to use Host2Transform in new situations and become more comfortable with it while also getting feedback and testimonials. Mirjam de Boer, the organizer, wanted a valuable addition in her program. The participants would experience a playful break and connect with others in a unique way, while learning how to boost their resilience. Focusing on the why of the different stakeholders involved and using this as a guideline was very helpful for me in the preparation. The preparation made me feel more confident, agile and more resilient to stressful situations that may occur.

Love to see your comments how you cope with something important, that seems overwhelming? Leave your comment below.

My next guest blog within two weeks will go into my experiences doing the session. So stay tuned and check it out on

Action photo of the Host2Transform session at Seats2Meet in Utrecht.

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