Finan Hagos , Training Specialist
Provident Credit Union
I had the opportunity to attend a virtual event on the topic of “Exploring Diversity and Inclusion”. Lisa Fairchild, a Life Coach, Public Speaker and Workshop Facilitator uses ‘Faces’ from Points of You® tools and methodologies to explore how we view ourselves and others. We were asked to share one word that came to mind when we think of the word Inclusion and my word was “openess” because we should be open to the differences in others. The exercises that we did followed Points of You® methodologies of Pause, Expand, Focus and Doing. My highlights of each methodology include:
Pause: Points of You® always start with Pause to music. While we were listening to a song, I had to ask myself “how do I feel physically? “What are my thoughts and emotions?” At first, this was a little uncomfortable because of the silence but it made me realize after a moment that it allowed me to focus on the present and relax my mind.
Expand: We were put into breakout rooms in groups for two activities. As we looked at a set of photos in each round, we are asked to select a face that we are most comfortable with if we were to see the group of people at a networking event versus in the second set selecting a face of who we would least likely approach or have resistance to and share why. The exploration with a partner is an opportunity to explore how we view ourselves and others and uncover unconscious biases as well as to look for ways to overcome them. It allowed me to reflect on why I selected the two faces and understand how that could be perceived.
Focus: We were asked to journal our thoughts in this activity. While looking at the two pictures together-what do we notice about ourselves and how did our life experiences or beliefs influence our choices. It was interesting that I chose someone older both times but different genders, different backgrounds/cultures and distinct facial expression (organs of the face). While looking at one photo, I felt safe and that I could approach my person. She would make me feel comfortable and would share stories and connect with me. In the other photo, I felt uneasy looking at the picture of the man with a cigarette. He looked intimidating and his facial expression in the photo didn’t feel welcoming.
Doing: This activity required us to think about the whole process we did and home in on what the most meaningful insights for us individually was. I found I typically listen to my first instinct, but that first impression can be wrong at times. I tend to overthink and wonder if the situation is worse in my head then it could be. I learned about my own unconscious biases and how to understand where they come from and, most importantlly, how to work through them.
Overall, this event taught me how to become aware of my personal bias both in my personal life and worklife. I’ve attended other webinars that discussed the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and how implicit stereoptypes affect our understanding or acceptance of others, but this event allowed me to actually do the work and share my thoughts with the group! It was important to not just learn what to do but to actually practice implementing what I learned. I’m grateful that we had the opportunity to share with each other. The tools in Points of You® will help me learn how to shift my assumptions about others and to invite inclusivity.
“The Coaching Game” we used in the event can be found on Points of You® website: https://www.points-of-you.com/play/welcome