Blog/Vlog Entry 3: Insights from Communication, Collaboration, and Confidence – 7/22/18

The Communication, Collaboration, and Confidence event with Dad’s Garage taught me about being vulnerable as part of a team. When we did the activity where everybody had to dance in the middle of the circle, I was really embarrassed because I’ve never really been much of a dancer and I feel like I look incredibly awkward whenever I do it. However, looking around me I realized that everybody else was doing it without concern for how they looked, and on top of that, they were having fun doing it. It made me realize that I didn’t need to be self conscious about my dancing because everybody else was doing the same thing and looked just as ridiculous as I did. I actually noticed that all of the people who felt awkward (like myself) tended to look more awkward, whereas those who didn’t care and danced however they wanted looked more natural. This was not necessarily related to everyone’s dancing abilities, but it showed me that giving half effort and only being half invested ends up making me look even worse. It taught me that I need to always put my all into everything I do and ignore how I may appear to other people, because my self consciousness can show through if I let it dominate my thoughts. It’s ironic that caring intensely about how others view you actually causes you to act in way that looks worse to others, but this is something I need to keep in mind because I often find myself worrying too much what others might think and allowing this to shape my behavior. I think the dancing activity was an example of what it’s like to be a part of a group effort where everybody is entirely invested in the team and its goal. We reached a point where nobody made fun of anybody else for their dancing because we all knew it was what we had to do. There was nobody sitting off to the side, not participating and judging us for our participation because everybody in the room was invested in the activity. I think this is an important part of a functioning team. Members shouldn’t feel bad or be embarrassed about throwing out ideas and giving 110% to the project because everyone else is doing the same thing–and having fun while they do it. When you’re part of a group like that, whether you succeed or fail, you do it together. Having your peers beside you in the face of failure can make it seem a little less intimidating–which, in turn, can make you more willing to take risks that have the potential to be more beneficial in the long run. Coming to the middle of the circle and sharing a time we failed was also a useful practice in vulnerability. It taught us to be proud of our flaws because none of us are perfect. I think this is a useful skill that can be applied when trying to brainstorm ideas with a team. People must be willing to throw out ideas that are far from perfect in order for the group to make any progress at all–if everybody only stated an idea when they knew it was perfect, then no ideas would ever be given. When I call out an idea, I shouldn’t be afraid of what my teammates are going to think of it or the flaws they might see in it–I should take pride in it because their discovering its flaws creates an opportunity for the team to make progress toward developing a workable plan. This activity also showed me that being genuine and acknowledging and embracing your flaws can foster a deeper connection with your peers and teammates–we all grew a little bit closer as a class after we were each willing to acknowledge a time we made a mistake because we were all able to relate to each other a little bit better. I will try more in the future to acknowledge my flaws rather than pretending that I’m perfect, because portraying myself as perfect would not only cause me to come off as very arrogant, but it would make it harder for people to relate to me and prevent me from making deeper connections with my peers. Sometimes leaders make mistakes, and they will lose the trust of their group if they refuse to acknowledge their mistake. It is better to recognize that you did something wrong so that your team knows you will do everything you can to avoid making the same mistake twice.