Facilitator Notes for Session 1: Being Wrong
Instead of an Epiphanies section, you should spend the first part of the first session with introductions, the creation of a covenant, and discussing dialog versus debate. Please let your participants know up-front that this is not a ‘typical’ session.
Ask each participant to introduce themselves; why they are here; and what they hope to get out of the course. Make a concerted effort to address each person by name as soon as you are able, and to remember those names as best as you can. (Encouraging name tag use really helps!)
Creating a Covenant
It will be important to establish a trust relationship among the participants right from the start. This will enable people to talk openly and be vulnerable within the group. Toward this end, you will need to create a Group Covenant that will set the ‘ground rules’ for interactions. Allow your group to generate its own list. As suggestions are made, and agreed upon, write them on a whiteboard or easel pad where everyone can see them. Below are some suggested items for consideration, but your group should create its own covenant.
We will, to the best of our abilities…
- Be committed to this group: Try to attend all sessions.
- Be present while here: Turn off cell phones and disconnect from outside world.
- Be open and trustworthy: What is said in the group, stays in the group.
- Be our authentic selves: Speak from personal experience and not from what we’ve heard.
- Be respectful of others: Listen more than talk.
- Be respectful of ourselves: Let others know if we are hurt or offended by something they have said – not to make others defensive, but to make them aware.
- Be a friend not a therapist: No attempts to ‘fix’ other people’s problems (including others outside the group).
Once the covenant seems complete, ask the participants if anyone has any objections or confusion about anything written. Only once everyone is comfortable, should you move on past this step.
Dialogue versus Debate
After the covenant, but before the first discussion, please review the Dialog versus Debate document with the group. Affirm and confirm with the group that, within this course, dialog is expected but debate is not allowed.
On Being Wrong, Kathryn Schulz, 18 minutes
The first response to this video is likely to be, “What does this video have to do with Humility, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness?” and it’s a valid point. We start this course with this video in order to challenge the participants to leave the safety of what they believe they already ‘know’. Any growth requires each of us to be willing to admit that… not only do we not have all the ‘answers’, but that some of the ‘answers’ we do have may require reconsideration. Giving up one’s role as the holder of the singular ‘truth’ is the first step toward Humility.
It does feel like something to be wrong. It feels like being right. -– Kathryn Schulz
Facilitator Notes for Session 2: Being Vulnerable
This will be your first opportunity to have an Epiphanies session. A great way to start is to simply ask if anyone has anything they have been wanting to share based upon the previous week’s video, Questions for Discernment, or the Exercises.
There is no need to cover every question, or every homework exercise. Some questions will be very thought provoking for your participants, some will be duds. Some exercises will be very growth-promoting, some will simply be exercise. It is important that everyone remember that the Questions for Discernment and the Exercises are a set of suggestions from which to pick, not a checklist to complete.
The power of vulnerability, Brene Brown, 21 minutes
Please feel free to participate in the Epiphanies and Discussions with your group. You are on the same path as the group, and you have much to contribute to the discussions. But remember that your primary role is as a facilitator and assisting others along the path. In that role, please keep these two things in the forefront of your thoughts:
- You are all on the path toward Humility, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness. Your discussions should model these behaviors. You may need to occasionally break the group away from the topic being discussed in order to talk about the nature of the discussion happening in front of you. Keep the group on the path.
- Sometimes the path in front of you gets very steep and difficult. Do not reflexively lead the team away from difficult subjects, instead encourage them to push themselves and assist each other through the difficult parts. People have a strong need to share that with which they are passionate about and we should honor that. On the other hand, there may be discussion topics that are totally unmanageable by a participant, even with full support of the group. If you find yourself in one of those places, lead the group in another direction and go around the obstacle.
Connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. – Brene Brown
Facilitator Notes for Session 3: Being Rejected
I found that people who really change the world, who change the way we live and the way we think, are the people who were met with initial and often violent rejections. — Jia Jiang
Facilitator Notes for Session 4: Being Grateful
It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy. — David Steindl
Facilitator Notes for Session 5: Being Broken
As you may have noted from the title, this session is about our own brokenness and the two TED Talks selected for this session are quite emotional. The subjects are bullying and cancer – two diseases from which a number of your participants have likely suffered. You may find it helpful to pause silently for a minute or two after the videos for the group to compose themselves.
Please make your group aware that there is some profanity in the first video of this session.
This is session is a great opportunity to encourage everyone to speak from their own experience, and not about the experiences of people they know.
We are graduating members from the class of We Made It, not the faded echoes of voices crying out, “Names will never hurt me.” Of course they did. — Shane Koyczan
Facilitator Notes for Session 6: Being Self-Aware
Living a meaningful life takes work. It’s an ongoing process. As each day goes by, we’re constantly creating our lives, adding to our story. And sometimes we can get off track. — Emily Espahani Smith
Facilitator Notes for Session 7: Being Authentic
What if, in these heated moments, we chose dialogue over debate? When we engage in dialogue, we flip the script. We replace our ego and our desire to win with curiosity, empathy and a desire to learn. Instead of coming from a place of judgment, we are genuinely interested in the other person’s experiences, their values and their concerns. — Lauran Arledge
Facilitator Notes for Session 8: Being the Change
The world will say to you, “Be a better person.” Do not be afraid to say, “Yes.” — Cleo Wade