Today was dedicated to Insights Discovery System training for our team. We had all taken an online evaluation that took about 15-20 minutes about two weeks ago that would be the focus of our training today. Insights enables companies to bring self-awareness to their people and teams; it’s sort of like Myers-Briggs but with an adjusted interpretation of Carl Jung’s theories. The goal is to ultimately increase self-awareness, which would then allow us to better form relationships and become more effective at our jobs. I’d taken a Myers-Briggs test years ago but didn’t remember my letter-combination; I find that the Insights approach of using colors is so much easier to remember.
One of the exercises we did was to have each person in the group answer four simple questions about their childhood: 1) Where were you born and raised? 2) If you have siblings, how many and who are they relative to you in age? 3) What was your “role” in your family? and 4) What was your biggest challenge growing up, and what did you learn from it?
I heard the questions and realized how vulnerable this was going to make a lot of us. What were we each going to share and how “revealing” would we be? How authentic to our childhood would the shared thoughts be? It ended up being this extremely emotional and intense setting, as so many facts about my colleagues came out that, if this exercise never happened, I likely never would have learned any of these details… things ranging from parenting a parent at the age of five, multiple instances of alcoholism of dads, dealing with the death of a sibling when a colleague was only 5, and being left alone regularly at the age of 4.
What you realize in exercises like this is how those childhood experiences shape you for the rest of your life. It may not always be obvious, but those experiences can come out at the most unanticipated moments. When I think about it, I can see in these colleagues who were so open to sharing and being vulnerable how those experiences at a young age manifested in the ways they lead their lives today, even in something as simple as everyday conversations or how or when to speak up in group meetings.
We had a room full of people crying and blowing their noses. Somehow, I managed to stay dry-eyed and only blew my nose when I was too congested from this stupid cold I’ve somehow caught. I never thought I’d ever be in a room full of work colleagues like that in my life. It honestly for me was an enlightening experience and one that I know I’ll probably be contemplating for the next several days.