Our management team did an exercise at work for our corporate culture training. Yes, I know, corporate rhetoric for brainwashing, thanks.
I found out something enlightening about my colleagues, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The trainer gave us a sheet of paper with somewhere around 100 words printed on it. These words could be mostly described as positive traits if you didn’t pay attention to the form of the word in some cases. Suspend the grammar nazi beliefs for a moment and embrace the spirit of this “team-building” exercise.
Words on this list included things like “happy, kind, friendly, trustworthy, adventurous, responsibility…”
I already knew what was coming. The trainer asked us to circle the five that meant the most to us. Everyone complained at how hard this was.
I just chuckled.
“Just wait, then she’s going to tell you to eliminate one of those, then again, then again until you only have one left.”
The trainer looked at me baffled, like I had just given the formula to transmute gold to the masses.
Just to be contrary she left us each with three words. Everyone took this as three words to sum up the entirety of their existence; and the world was ending because a twitter post isn’t long enough to give credit to who they are as a human being.
I took it as a matter of priorities.
Now, this is what I was surprised to find.
As we went around the table revealing the words we chose that were so meaningful to us, my colleagues chose things like: loving, kind, happy, comedy, friendly, success, giving…
All admirable traits, don’t get me wrong.
I simply needed one… self-respect.
If I have self-respect, all of these other things that are meaningful to me follow. In order to have self-respect I have to follow my own ethical and behavioral codes. I cannot respect myself if I am not kind, or giving, or hard working, or any number of other words on that page.
I thought this the most obvious choice, not a single person in that room even considered that option.