Two weeks ago our latest group for the Psychological Safety Workshop kicked off, and as always, humans continue to leave me feeling floored and inspired.

The first week of this course is always interesting because everyone is working on letting their guard down a little bit in a group full of strangers, all while learning new things and experimenting with how much they feel comfortable sharing. Mondays are about digging into new content, and by the end of class all of us have specific behavioral focuses that we journal about over the next few days. Thursdays are applied learning sessions, where we reflect on our experiences from the week.

This past Thursday when we asked folks about what sort of experiences they’d had throughout the week a few individuals shared some positive experiences. Then someone spoke up and said “I’d like to share a very negative experience I had from taking this class.”

In our kickoff session we ask students that when they start thinking about psychological safety, starting with ourselves is vital. As we call it in class, The Self.

Cartoon person sitting down, hugging a sad face

Image cred: Jan Buchczak

We as humans all have our own unique history: stories, experiences, biases, heartbreak and joy that make us who we are and how we respond to those we interact with. And the more we get to know ourselves, the more we can know how we show up for ourselves and others.

With bated breath we were all silent, gave them the floor, and listened.

This student said that asking them to look within was tough. Really tough. While it was amazing to look back at how far they’ve come in their career, it also asked them to take a look in the mirror at the toxic people and situations they’d made it through. There were still scars, and they said it felt like some of them reopened a little bit.

Then they said, “I almost didn’t come back to class. It was so much to process and so incredibly painful I didn’t know if I could keep digging. But that’s why I know this is exactly what I need to show up wholly in the world. Thank you for the support; this course is exactly what I need right now for personal and professional growth.”

This class of 13 complete strangers showed up and held space for this person. And that’s the best thing about teaching this class, really. It isn’t anything about us as teachers, it’s all about how people show up as themselves, ready to get uncomfortable for the sake of themselves and others around them. That’s how we evolve. Not alone, but with one another.

Experiences and feelings aren’t fluff. When we pay attention to what we bring to the table we’re capable of producing healthier relationships and incredible work. I can’t wait to see what’s next for this group.

Join us for The Psychological Safety Workshop! Learn more here.