October 17, 2007

Ask a Facilitator: Self-incrimination Using The Work at Work?

A fellow facilitator of The Work writes:

"Hi Carol,

I've been given the opportunity to introduce The Work to a department of our local council. One of the considerations they have is that it might be dificult to do it 'for real' because of the possibility of staff 'incriminating' themselves with their bosses and colleagues.

"I have introduced The Work to groups locally before but never had to consider anything like the above scenario, because the people the clients were doing The Work on were not physically present at the introduction.

"As I'm typing this, I'm thinking, 'Steer clear of work-related issues at the workshop and just use examples from participants' lives.' However, any tips would be appreciated."


Dear T.,

The issue of self-incrimination is so pervasive for so many people, I would address precisely that fear with your group!

You could have participants work on hypothetical scenarios like, "What's the worst that could happen if you told your boss/colleague/employee the truth?" Provide the group with a list of "universal work beliefs" like "My staff doesn't respect me," "I could lose my job," "My boss/colleague/assistant should listen to me," "There's not enough time," or "I need to earn more money." I'd give them a list of basic universal beliefs as well (thoughts like, "The world is a terrible place," or "Parents should love their children"), so that they will see the crossover applications of The Work to "real life." And they may feel safer to work publicly with those thoughts, as you suggest.

However, this need not even be public work. Invite participants to write down their answers, and then see what happens. I always like to model my own work as an ice-breaker. If no one volunteers to share, have them facilitate you on your beliefs. Afterwards, see if anyone wishes to share what they've written. When people see how candid I am (I might direct my thought at them: for instance, "I want you to like me."), and that there has been no terrible consequence for doing so, you open a door for others to do the same.

Who knows? They may relish the opportunity to work on someone present, or to be worked on by someone else. I've seen it happen many times; it is healing. If it's worrisome, you might ask group members to respect the 12-step suggestion, "What happens here stays here."

When we as facilitators have a concern like this for our groups, it's great to work on our own beliefs. "It's not going to go well." "The Work isn't safe to use in business." "I can do it wrong."

Warm regards,

P.S. The price of my very popular eBook, Transformational Inquiry: Working on Your Work goes up in two weeks, on November 1. Order it before the deadline for just $14.95 and I will send you a heretofore unpublished report, "The Top 10 Erroneous Business Beliefs: Are They Holding You Back?" as an early holiday gift.

©2007 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.

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