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Stop the Pantomime!

If asked to name the pantomime character that best represents you, who would you say? Chances are you’d adopt a positive mindset and suggest Buttons, Cinderella, Peter Pan, or one of the more affable Seven Dwarfs. It’s much less likely that you’d describe yourself as an Ugly Sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, or the rear end of the panto horse. Others might disagree.

The run up to Christmas can be a stressful time, in work and at home. Pressure builds, and our performance deteriorates. The more wound up we get, the more childish our behaviour becomes. We even describe events as a ‘pantomime’, and that’s not a reference to great enjoyment and fun.

Have you ever been involved in a conversation that can effectively be boiled down to ‘Oh no I didn’t – Oh yes you did’? (Dress it up whatever way you like, but I bet the answer is YES.) When discussion degenerates to finger pointing and blame, it doesn’t matter if you’re right or not. It’s energy sapping and pointless. Neither being right nor abdicating responsibility is a helpful result in itself.

Look Behind you

It’s often easier to ascribe character roles to the people we work with than it is to recognise the less attractive traits we display ourselves. So, how can we see ourselves as others see us? Instead of diving straight in to the fray, why not step out of the situation for a moment? Step into the audience seats for a fresh perspective. When there’s chaos on stage, it’s the observers who see what’s really going on. Of course, in all good pantomimes, there’s active audience participation. ‘Look behind you’ is beloved of panto-goers regardless of the plot. Without such participation, the pantomime doesn’t work.

Whether acting the baddie, playing the buffoon or silently letting others walk straight into trouble, we’re not doing ourselves any favours. For a bit of performance improvement, next time you feel ready to huff and puff, why not find your inner Tinkerbell? You may not be able to sprinkle fairy dust and magic the evilness away, but you can give yourself a ten second pause, take a deep breath and take the heat out of the situation. Think you can’t do it? “Oh yes you can!”

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