If you want to change, you have to be willing to be uncomfortable.
Anti-oppressive practice and equity “work” is often difficult and uncomfortable for many people. Engaging in self-reflective practice before, during and after the Courageous Leadership Course will help you to grow personally so you can create structural changes within your organizations and your teams. We encourage individuals to be vulnerable and become attuned to their own inner values, beliefs and ideals that are embedded with implicit biases. Without a self-reflective practice, individuals struggle to accept their role in perpetuating systemic oppression and inequity. This push-back leads to an experience of white fragility. The focus turns to managing your difficult emotions and defenses and not on moving forward in equity leadership and engaging in courageous conversations.
Social Service leaders and senior executives attending this course need to be aware of:
Silence moves you closer to your true self
There are moments in the course, where you will become silent and the instructor may create a pause. It is a powerful moment. In our Westernized culture, we struggle in finding moments of silence or peace where there is no noise in the background and we have the opportunity to be one with our true selves. Take advantage of these moments within the course. Allow yourself to examine your attitudes, beliefs and values with a critical lens. Push yourself towards change by becoming uncomfortable. Learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
You may make mistakes, it is okay
Many of us have not experienced “smooth” careers where we did not experience difficulties, or failures or mistakes. You may have had moments where you may have felt like a failure and did not know how to move on. But you did. In equity work, mistakes are inevitable. We don’t always realize that our “good intentions” create damage to the recipient or a community. We hope by stating, “we don’t see colour” that we acknowledge that we are not racist and we are inclusive in our daily lives. We feel we are doing a good job when we reassure our employees from equity-seeking groups that they need to wait another year or two for the promotion they have waited for over the past ten years. But in fact these mistakes perpetuate systemic oppression. As you attend the Courageous Leadership Course, be open to accept that mistakes are part of the journey. Through education, leadership training and understanding you will begin to make changes to create space for courageous conversations in your workplace, to make structural organizational changes in equity and to create a safer equitable and inclusive environment for employees, community members and service users.
Fear is inevitable, frustration is expected… Accept, that pain is part of the process.
Vulnerability is strength
Brene Brown, is a research professor who believes that courage is contagious and as we embrace courage we can make the world a better place. As you attend the Courageous Leadership Course you are invited to embrace your ability to create change through courageous leadership. On the path to becoming courageous, we are encouraged to become vulnerable. This means we embrace silence when we are uncomfortable and we allow ourselves to accept feeling fear, frustration and failure. By becoming vulnerable within the course, we develop meaningful relationships with the Equity Facilitators and fellow participants. Our equity facilitators and Indigenous knowledge leaders are our guides to equity leadership, but also to the emotional journey equity entails. Our fellow participants are on a similar equity journey and can become our allies in equity leadership. To expand your familiarity of vulnerability, check out Brene Brown’s talk: The Power of Vulnerability
I believe that vulnerability- the willingness to be “all in” even when you know it can mean failing and hurting– is brave. I do not believe that cussing and praying are mutually exclusive. And, I absolutely believe that the passing lane is for passing only. Brene Brown
Our Course Instructors had an experiential and emotional learning process which extended over 12 days! They are one of the best equity leaders across the province and have provided equity training for many years. We appreciate your feedback on your experience in the Courageous Leadership Course. Our success is measured by your implementation of the equity principles and strategies within your organization, and the transformation of the social service sectors.
The following articles and resources will help guide you on your equity journey: