The connection between the gifts you receive and the success of your team
My birthday is right before Christmas sooooo … (lucky me!) I get lots of gifts in December. And over the last couple of years, I have been noticing a big difference in the gifts I have been receiving – they’re soooo me.
It made me start to wonder … have ALL of the people in my life gotten better at gift giving? Chances are … no! LOL.
In a very surprising development, I think I’m the one who has gotten a lot better at showing up as who I really am … every day.
Revealing Your True Self
See, in the past I’ve spent most of my day consumed in a public persona at work. And I had been hiding deep within the caverns of my soul who I really am.
There are lots of experts who talk about this – one of my favorites is Martha Beck who calls it the essential self and the social self.
- The essential self is who we really are – our innate talents, tastes, and desires. It’s our purpose in life.
- The social self is who we think we should be, based on the customs and cultural norms of our environment and key individuals in our life. The social self is how most of us operate until we wake up!
This whole gift ah-ha moment made me start thinking about teams.
What I know for sure is teams work so much better when there is a safe environment where we can get vulnerable, be who we really are and really connect as humans.
The success of the team actually is not only based on excel spreadsheets, collaboration and deadlines – it is based on relationships, vulnerability and trust. Basically, how well we are integrating our essential selves at work impacts the whole team dynamic.
An Authenticity-Testing, Team-Building Exercise
And then I thought about a great, fun exercise for teams to check-in on their authenticity, relating and probable success – have a gift giving exercise. Ummm, but please be sure to adhere to all compliance and ethics guidelines your company has in place!
Here’s how it works.
- First, get permission from everyone on the team that they are on-board and open to being vulnerable.
- Throw everyone’s name in a bag and each person picks one name.
- The assignment is to buy a gift for your colleague based on their essential self only. If gift-giving isn’t allowed or too complicated, switch it up by creating a mini-vision board or just share something like a photo or phrase from a magazine.
- Have some fun with it and also remember to be compassionate – it’s not always easy to come face-to-face with or embrace our essential selves, but it’s so necessary.
I think this is a great exercise because I can almost guarantee that if I did this exercise any time in the last 10 years, someone would’ve bought me a Starbucks gift card … because one thing I ALWAYS had in my hand at work was a coffee and usually Starbucks.
Funny part is today I barely drink coffee – now that I have the proper amount of sleep, my body has totally rejected caffeine and coffee for the most part!
But that’s another blog post entirely lol …
So was coffee a part of my essential self – nope, but it sure would’ve seemed that way.