Someone walked out before we started

October 8, 2017

Recently I had someone walk out of a workshop before we got into the main content. I use picture cards to check in with participants at the beginning of the session – everyone chooses a card to describe how they are at the moment. Often descriptions such as ‘I am just hanging on’ ‘I am drowning’ ‘I am empty’ ‘its all bit of a rollercoaster’ reveal the reality of where people are at. Someone leaving at that point in a staff wellbeing workshop is not an ideal scenario but it highlights something really important.
Just because you are at work doesn’t mean the rest of your life is put on hold. Stress at work can be carried home and what is happening in personal lives is part of who we are at work. It isn’t black and white – leave work at work and leave home at home. In our workshops acknowledging where we are at leads to gaining insight in how to maintain wellness, understand complexities and take steps to express life with all its ups and downs.
Choosing a card and acknowledging where life is at can be overwhelming. It can be the fact there is something major happening in their life, they are stressed, burnt out and finding it challenging to hold it all together.
Have you ever had that feeling that you are just holding on and that you try and keep a low profile as you know that you can hold it all together unless someone genuinely asks how you are. It feels like the flood gates could open anytime and you try and avoid everyone so that the whole scenario of ‘Well I was ok til you asked me if I was okay’ doesn’t play out. The picture presented the mirror of life and even though they could choose another card (and don’t have to share) there is something that has been reflected that can be difficult to accept.
It is not a bad thing that they feel like they had to leave the session – they were keeping themselves safe. It also pinpointed that we are human and the reality of life can be challenging. Thankfully the organisation hired me to come in obviously care about their staff (why we did the workshop in the first place) and this scenario has lead to further support and understanding. It is wonderful that something that felt uncomfortable at the time has bought awareness and reiterated the culture of assisting staff with whatever is happening for them in life, whether it be at work or personal.
Wouldn’t it be brilliant if this support was the norm in all organisations – the investment in employee wellness increases morale and feeling supported is paramount to having an efficient, team filled culture.
We love creating tailor made experiential workshops, If you would like to explore some options for your team, please reach out. Our programs help with wellness, morale, planning, dreaming and the flow of this thing called life.