The prickle zone

A few months ago, I completed a 5-day facilitation course with Zenergy Global.

It was a wonderful experience, a complex mix of learning about yourself and the art of facilitation.

While there were many experiences worth sharing, one super simple idea — a powerful metaphor — has stuck with me. And that’s having the courage to learn and lead within the prickle zone.

Not too comfortable, not cactus

It’s such a simple idea about where the magic of learning and leadership happens. In the prickle zone.

This means having the courage to step into the unknown and make offers when there are no guarantees. Knowing our learning and leadership actions will result in a prickly amount of failure, conflict, some discomfort and some confusion.

This can be contrasted with being too comfortable when we act, repeating what we already know. And we also don’t want to push ourselves too far and become cactus — feeling overwhelmed, freezing up like a dear in the headlights.

Why the prickle matters

“If you never leave the small comfortable ideological circle that you belong to, you’ll never develop as a human being”. — Malcolm Gladwell

We live in a rapidly changing world and what worked yesterday won’t necessarily be enough to see us resiliently into the future. It’s a world that is challenging all of us to be aware of how we can learn and lead in response to our challenges.

What I love about this metaphor is how it captures the balance we best strike to develop ourselves in responsible and healthy ways. Finding the sweet spot between being too comfortable and being cactus.

The prickle zone was a potent metaphor that elevated the potential for learning and leadership within our facilitation course. I hope you find it useful when approaching your own learning and leadership challenges.


Btw: The facilitation course with Zenergy Global was awesome. They regularly run courses in Australia and New Zealand. Get involved!