Talking about your feelings, at work
Sanctus monthly reflection groups
One of the most unique things that we do at Sanctus is a monthly group reflection where we get together as a team, sit in a circle and talk about our feelings.
Yep, that’s no exaggeration, we do it every month.
It started last year when it was just me, George and 3 coaches (Ben, Victoria and Shayan) — we realised that when we got together as a group to talk business, everyone just wanted to talk feelings.
Since then it’s evolved into one of the most special things we do as a business and it’s probably the most unique thing that we do in terms of a culture.
For example, last week, we had our reflection group and there were 10 of us (the biggest group ever).
Some faces were new, like Georgey for example — 2 months into his new job.
Some people were joining the group for the first time, like our two newest coaches Allegra and Alejandra.
Yet, whilst the group morphs each month in size and shape, depending on who can make it, the essence remains the same.
We start off, in the Sanctus room — no phones, laptops or distractions.
There’s no table, so we’re in comfy seats, basically in a circle — so it does look like group therapy.
Some people even have their shoes off (Ben) and there are dogs (Trigger).
We then start with a one word check in each and go around the room.
“Calm, nervous, excited, dream, frazzled, emotion, stable, calibrating.”
From that point, we’re off.
Things develop organically and naturally with people sharing more, others sharing back on what they’ve heard, offering suggestions, but more than anything just holding the space and listening.
We’ve had tears, sadness, grief, anger, laughter, joy and the whole range of human emotion in the group.
We’re vulnerable in front of each other, in front of a group and we really do bring our full self into the space.
I’m sure we’ve all held certain things back from the group, but in general openness levels are high. Very high for a workplace.
To many this might sound absurd, to do this with your “colleagues”.
Yet, it is hands down the most amazing thing we do as part of our working life at Sanctus.
For me, it makes me feel extremely connected to the people I work with, it allows me to really know them, get them and understand everyone.
It helps me to empathise, to listen and to know the true version of everyone I get the pleasure of working with.
For me, it also allows me to relieve my own anxieties in a contained space, I get to share what’s on my mind or what’s been bugging me.
That might sound utter madness for a “leader” to do that in front of their team, and I feel nervous every single time, but I feel miles better every single time, because I feel understood and listened to.
I don’t feel judged, as I don’t judge others in the group when they share.
We’ve created a space at work for us all to just show up as humans.
Some groups can feel quite heavy, because sometimes life is quite heavy.
Others can be light and fun, as can life.
This is one space I can truly say that we live to our values. We actually bring our full selves to work.
I’m not writing this to tell everyone to do it, we’re very lucky that we have a team who are trained, experienced and qualified to do so.
We also have the desire to do it too, we’ve made a conscious decision to want to work in this type of way and I appreciate that’s not for everyone.
We also kind of have to do it, we work in mental health so to look after our own mental health is fundamentally important.
However, I am writing this to touch on the value of bringing vulnerability, honesty and openness into the workplace.
It brings you closer to people, it develops trust and all in all it makes work a far more enjoyable place to be.
Originally posted in my weekly newsletter on mental health and building Sanctus. You can sign up here