Meeting People Where They Are

During training when we undergo training, we are reminded that we often have to meet the students we work with half way. One of my favorite exercises to accomplish this is through the Privilege Walk and Cross The Line. Both require intense vulnerability and the support from an organization that is there for you.

Often times, the Privilege Walk is something we do during our multicultural training. We use it as an exercise to support the notion that even though we are essentially the same, we have been afforded different opportunities to get to where we are now. The Privilege Walk is one of my favorites, not only because it makes people uncomfortable, but it allows people to physically see and sympathize (maybe empathize) with each other. Skin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc. aside we are ALL human.

Cross The Line on the other hand is perhaps one of the most important and necessary icebreakers there is. It is raw, exposing, and very uncomfortable. What comes out of it is something enlightening–something great. Cross The Line enables us to step-out of our identities and be people, just people.

As an aspiring professional, I love it when I see the light bulb click on for people who did not necessarily think someone identified with that statement. As a person, it makes me feel validated to know that I am not the only one going through it. At any given time, we have one way or another, felt like we were the only ones going through our specific situation. Needless to say, that is rarely the case.

Both of these icebreakers need to be done very effectively. There needs to be 110% transparency. All or nothing…or else it does not work. I have had instances of both that have been very successful and very unsuccessful. Not only does it show in the moment, but I shows through the year. Dynamics change, become stale, and even cease to exist.

On any team there must be some vulnerability. Teams work better that way! Emotional vulnerability goes a long way. It all helps us meet each other where we are so that we can continue to facilitate positive change in our communities.

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