This lesson covers... four of my favorite ways to kick off a great workshop.
By the end you should... feel more connected to yourself and those around you--in just a few minutes.
Time 5 minutes
Two options for you as you guide this part:

a. Watch the four videos below before your workshop and pick whichever you think your students will resonate with most (or whichever you like best).

b. Let your students pick for themselves.

The main thing you need to do while they’re watching the videos is basically keep them on task, which means doing the exercises. I like to roam the room and just listen to the conversations they’re having.

To keep things moving, be sure to remind them they have just about 2 minutes for this whole exercise (but give them three, since they’ll need to watch the minute-long how-to videos first).

I call this part “vulnerability training,” because I find it’s more specific than “warm-up exercise." Also, “warm-up exercises" are expendable, while I believe these exercises are essential.

A Quick Word on Vulnerability:
Why am I asking you to be vulnerable? A few reasons: 

  1. Vulnerability is one (of four) qualities of an excellent personal statement (in fact, it’s the “personal” part). I’ll share the other three qualities as we go…
  2. Vulnerability is a great life-skill to learn, and
  3. It’s one you can get better at as you practice.

If you’re in a workshop, your facilitator (teacher/counselor) will let you know which one to do. If you’re working alone, pick one of those below. If you’re bad at making decisions, do the first one.

Option #1: “If you really knew me…”
This one is simple: Begin with the phrase “If you really knew me…” and share something with your partner that you wouldn’t normally share with someone. Be brave! Go as deep as you’re willing to go. 

Here’s a video of me doing this one:

Working alone? Open a blank doc and type “If you really knew me…” then finish the sentence. 

Bonus points: Record a video of yourself and send it to a friend or post it on social media (#vulnerability). If sharing with a friend, try sharing something that this person really doesn’t know about you. 

The point of this exercise is to allow yourself to be really known.

Option #2: “I love...”
This one’s fun too. And simple: Set a timer for one minute and make a list out loud of things you love by finishing the phrase “I love…” repeatedly until the minute is up. If with a partner, or in a group, take turns.

Here’s a video of me doing this one:

Two rules for this game:

  • Don’t think ahead to what you’re going to say while your partner is going. Focus on the person doing the “I loves…”. In other words, be interested.
  • If you run out of things to say, just keep going, stream-of-consciousness style (see 0:20 in video when I just repeat "love" because I can't think of what to say), even if you’re worried you’ll say the wrong thing. There is no wrong thing. In other words, be brave.

Option #3: Gratitude check-in
For this one, take turns with a partner sharing something you’re grateful for. Get as specific and as personal as you can. Again, remember that the goal is to help your partner get to know you better. 

Here’s a video of me doing this one:

If you’re working on your own, you might choose to record a video of yourself and share with a friend or on social media with #gratitude (inspire the world!).

Option #4: Celebrations
This is like the “Gratitude check-in” above, but you’re sharing something that you’re celebrating instead.

Here’s a video of me doing this one:

15-Second Vulnerability Test: How’d you do?
On a scale of 1-10, how vulnerable were you in the last exercise? Take a few seconds to think about it. 

It’s fun to do this “15-Second Vulnerability Test” together, by show of hands (it takes just a few seconds) as students get a chance to see that some students were willing to be more vulnerable, while others were less.

Important: If you do decide to do this, be sure to let them know that wherever they are it's okay. No vulnerability shaming here, please. The point is to begin helping them develop their own awareness.

Many of my favorite personal statements are in the 5-7 range of vulnerability. (And by the way, this is totally not scientific, obviously, just a chance for you to develop your own awareness.) 

Okay, on to the next exercise.

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