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.
Before adjourning, please read aloud (without discussion) the Questions for Discernment, and the Homework for the coming week. Remind the participants that the Homework is not meant to be a checklist, but an opportunity for them to continue to follow the Path until the next session.
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.
- Keep the group focused on themselves and not others. The discussions should be about our being wrong, not others; about us being vulnerable, not others; etc..
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
This would be a good session to check in with the participants regarding the homework. Are they doing it? If not, why not? Are they finding it helpful?
The homework from this course is meant to provide a bridge from session to session, to encourage participants to actively and intentionally set aside time to concentrate on thinking about HECK, and to re-engage with the ideas presented in the TED talks.
There is no shame in not doing the homework. There is no extra credit for doing all the homework. If your participants are not finding the course provided homework particularly helpful, encourage them to allocate time each day to recognize the HECK around themselves and within themselves each day.
What I learned from 100 days of rejection, Jia Jang, 16 minutes
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
Note that the two videos in this session repeat much of the same message from David Steindl. The first video is much more cerebral, and explains that gratefulness leads to happiness — the opposite of our intuition. The second video is much more experiential. It re-uses David’s words and illustrates them with powerful images.
You may wish to stop after the first video to have a discussion of it, before watching the second video. Please leave enough time for viewing and discussion of both videos. Since they are so closely related, you can pick up any paused discussions after viewing the second video.
Want to be happy? Be grateful, David Steindl, 15 minutes
Nature, beauty, gratitude, Louie Schwartzberg, 10 minutes
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. You should pause after the first video for discussion, before moving on to the second.
To this day for the bullied and beautiful, Shane Koyczan, 12 minutes
The best gift I ever survived, Stacey Kramer, 3 minutes
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 Generous
You’re in the home stretch now. Hopefully, things are getting easier.
Start thinking about what got you enthused about facilitating this course, and what qualities make you a good facilitator. Who in you group shares those same qualities? Is there one or more people in you group that can carry on expanding the reach of this course? In the next few weeks, make it a point to meet one-to-one with them and discuss the possibility of them carrying on your work by facilitating their own group. Many people are eager and willing to “step-up” but they just need to be asked. As always, we are here (firstname.lastname@example.org) to support you and them as necessary.
There’s more to life than being happy, Emily Esfahani Smith, 12 minutes
Why some people are more altruistic than others, Abigail Marsh, 12 minutes
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 Genuine
This session talks directly about politics, which can be a minefield. Depending on your group, you may find it helpful to refresh memories on the Dialogue vs. Debate sheet from the first session.
Note that the title of this session is “Being Genuine.” We live in a society where people are very passionate politics — and other “hot topics” like family, religion, immigration, the environment… It would be disingenuous of us — both in this course and in our lives — to avoid discussing those things about which we are passionate. Instead of avoiding these topics, how can we discuss these hot topics in a HECK-like manner? Can we elevate the dialog above debate?
You may find the group drifting toward discussing specific people other than themselves. Encourage the group to speak about their own personal experiences. When mentioning other people, speak as if those people were in the room as well.
Vulnerable honesty, Yoram Mosenzon, 14 minutes
How our friendship survives our opposing politics, Caitlin Quattromani & Lauran Arledge, 15 minutes
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 last session! We hope you have found facilitating this course both challenging and gratifying. We sincerely thank you for doing your part to ‘raise HECK.’
Want the change the world? Start by being brave enough to care, Cleo Wade, 11 minutes
Since this is the last session, it might be worthwhile to review the Homework Exercises collectively as part of your discussions:
- Keep on the Path. Be as good to as many people as possible.
- Keep with the group. How will you continue to connect with this group? How can this experience grow? Make some concrete plans for how you will continue, individually and together, on the path to HECK.
- Share the journey. Script your own Ted Talk, telling your story. Where are you on the path to HECK? What have you learned in life about Humbleness, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness? Find a way to share your personal story with others. Perhaps with a close friend. Perhaps with this group. Post your story in written or video form on social media.
- Lead the way. Consider becoming a facilitator for your own course of On the Path to HECK. Discuss the experience with your facilitators. Contact us for support and guidance at email@example.com.
The world will say to you, “Be a better person.” Do not be afraid to say, “Yes.” — Cleo Wade