‘To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.’
This week I attended an Integration workshop. I had a fantastic full day of learning but there was one thing about the day that has really stuck with me and caused me to think deeper about. There were three different lines of managers attending the workshop so the majority of people had their manager in the room as well as their managers’ manager.
At first the hierarchy was quite evident and my belief is that there wasn’t much openness or honesty in the room even though that’s what we had contracted. The people with the most authority in the company were the ones talking the most and others politely agreed. Then the change happened during our ‘needs’ exercise, and the top manager in the room opened herself up.
During group discussion she gave personal examples about her needs and her feelings. As she did so I felt quite emotional at the power this had, she talked authentically and with passion. I observed a room full of people completely engaged in what she was saying and I could feel the whole atmosphere in the room alter and all the original tension drift away. She had let her guard down and by doing so invited everyone else to join her. The response was magnificent and people in the room who hadn’t previously contributed began to open up and share things about themselves.
There’s a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which says, ‘To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.’ I think too often we believe we have to be someone different than who we are, we put on a suit and become our role at work, we lose our identity to the job we have to do. It moulds us and shapes us but doesn’t have to mean we become someone different. What I saw happen this week was one group of people become connected in a moment, as humans not as their titles, which impacted the rest of the day and I suspect will have forever changed their relationships.
I reflected about relationships I have and the level of rapport with people I know, and I have countless examples of moments I remember someone sharing something about themselves with me and that moment being the golden ticket to a much stronger bond between us. In those moments, those people present you with an opportunity to completely judge them, but trust you not to. You have a responsibility to value and honour that gift, that little piece of them, which has allowed you inside and depending on what you do with it and what you give back determines where your relationship might go. I’m not suggesting by any means that we all go around sharing our life stories, but I do encourage that you be true to yourself and occasionally be brave and put yourself out there in a positive way. Being yourself is completely liberating and as you do that you unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Written by Maimee Morris – Intern.