I really, really love the electives I'm taking this semester. Being a business major at Cal, we're required to have 8 credits of business electives to complete our degree requirements. I'm taking UGBA 152 - Negotiations and Conflict Resolution and UGBA 191I - Improvisational Leadership. Both classes teach very valuable skills that can be used in everyday life and with any and every relationship.
The Improv Leadership course is essentially a personal development course disguised as a Leadership course. We learn improv techniques, but we do a lot of sharing and are often put in vulnerable scenarios.
I had somewhat of an idea that it was when I signed up. Two friends I was fortunate to make in my Business Communications class during my first semester (Ryan and Idris) took the other class that Professor Worthington teaches in the spring. They never shared what was said, but always talked about how good they felt after the class. How they actually liked the self reflection and sharing they did in that class.
For the past two lessons, we've been focusing on listening and awareness. We're learning techniques to become better listeners in situations as well as responses we can use to show and demonstrate that we are attentively listening instead of just hearing what was said.
Last week, we did a listening exercise that required you to be more vulnerable with each prompt. One person would go first and have one whole minute to answer the prompt up on the slide. The other person could not interject or speak for the entire time. Once that minute was up, the roles would reverse. At the end, we'd talk about how that felt. There were four different prompts and we had to switch partners for each prompt. As you might've guess, they became a bit more reflective as we went along and we had to dig deeper with each answer. I don't remember the exact wording, but the four prompts were:
1. What do you appreciate about being alive?
2. Name a place that was wonderful or important for you as a child.
3. Someone who believes in you.
4. Name one thing that you appreciate about yourself.
With the first one being so general, it was easy to start going off on tangents and talking about random things that make you appreciate being alive everyday as well as what makes you happy in life. When it came time for my partner and I to talk about how it felt, it was pretty straight forward--it was nice hearing what other people appreciate in life, especially if they were things you don't always think about.
The second prompt was nice since it brought some nostalgia to the game. I naturally talked about Disneyland and what it meant to my childhood and how I try to do the same for my children. My partner for this prompt shared an unexpected place that you wouldn't expect someone to share as their important place. It was interesting and cool at the same time. :p
The third prompt and the person I was partnered up with brought the water works.
I was paired up with someone I'm finally able to get to know this semester. He's one of the beautiful souls I've encountered since I've been at Cal and I'm so glad that I have classes with him and to actually have conversations with him (last semester was all just hi and bye when seeing each other with mutual friends around). He sat down in front of me and wanted to hold Malachi (I had my sons with me this day). Professor Worthington introduced the prompt after we all settled down, and as soon as we saw what it was, we know that shit was about to get deep really quick.
We shared, we cried, we held hands... we were just there for each other. When we talked about it afterwards, we both mentioned how we felt safe with each other. It was almost like "right place, right time" for that prompt. He was the perfect partner for me for that particular prompt, and vice versa. I'm so thankful for him and the start of what I believe will be an amazing friendship.
The last prompt wasn't as intense, but did call for humility and
self reflection. I did find myself struggling because I don't really
like talking about myself, but thankfully my partner's body language
helped make me feel at ease sharing with him.
I learned that I really dislike being caught off guard or being thrown into situations where I have no choice but to let my guard down and bare part of my soul without preparation. However, in situations like those when you just happen to be with the right company, I appreciate how freeing and therapeutic it can be.