Recently, I presented my first-ever hybrid workshop. I knew three things coming into this session. First, that the participants of this organization were “worn down.” They’d been through a tumultuous time. As a result, they’d “armored up” to protect themselves. So there wasn’t a high degree of trust or psychological safety. This meant that I wouldn’t be able to leverage my usual “pair and share,” breakout exercises, and elicit insights from the group as a way of understanding and reinforcing learning.
Second, the content that I was asked to cover was not something that could be done justice in a one-hour session. The organizer understood this and we agreed that I would give a primer on the model with bits of time for the participants to do individual reflective work throughout the session.
Lastly, the theme for the program was “navigating your journey.” This was described as an opportunity to consider how participants would like to approach their work moving forward in an ever-changing environment. Within that framework, I saw my role as helping the participants reconnect to why they do what they do, reignite their passion, and remind them that they are the protagonists of their own stories.
I know, that’s a lot to ask of a single 1-hour session. But, those who know me know that a fundamental need of mine is significance. I want to know that what I’ve invested my time and energy in is, in some small way, making a difference. In this case, my hope was to help them shift from feeling powerless to powerful.
What I learned, walking out of the session, is that it is REALLY HARD to get a read on how the session has landed and if you had the intended impact when there is minimal interaction. While the participants thanked me as they exited the session, there wasn’t a space to understand whether and how this may have been helpful to them. It was only that evening, when I was sifting through the feedback, that I was able to appreciate the ways the session had affected them. A few of the comments were:
Your presentation was really refreshing to me because I had put my dream on pause. I am now inspired to keep going. So…thank you!
I hadn’t thought about the power internal obstacles have.
I’m committed to making time to balance work and life, and I’m going to go over-achieving small things that are on hold as a way to build momentum.
Thank you for reminding me to always remember how amazing I am!
It was helpful to realize I could find people to help me solve my obstacles.
One aha for me was thinking about how to shift my perspective from what I perceive as wrong with me to what I can change.
I’m looking forward to taking space to figure out what I want.
I own my schedule!
I am going to build a practice of taking time daily to reflect on my plan.
It’s okay to focus on myself as well as everyone else.
I can think creatively about how to achieve my goals. It’s my timeline and my path.
I’m committing to try and wake up a bit earlier to do more to make less stress for my family.
I was surprised to realize how difficult and burdensome time management is and how it has strained every aspect of my life. Seeing this, and knowing I can do something about it, is encouraging.
I learned to look at my schedule and prioritize myself so that I can be more present. I’m committed to finding time for myself.
I am grateful that my intention of creating a space for the participants to explore and begin to reclaim their passion and their vision was realized. And, I also appreciate the reminder that, sometimes, you may plant seeds that you never get to see grow. In other words, that I may not have had the privilege of learning the impact of the session.