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  • Lauren

    Lauren 1:35 am on November 7, 2013 Permalink |  

    This is a long awaited post for me! Hello fellow bootcampers!

    My name is Lauren Rodriguez and I was part of the Changemaker bootcamp training earlier this year with the fabulous @renee, @natalie and @anna341bc. Over the last couple of weeks,@anna341bc and I have been practicing changemaker bootcamp exercises on our own at the lovely Jazz Café in Downtown Berkeley (sometimes there live music!). We practice on Fridays- a great day for the both of us and meet half way between our homes in El Cerrito and Oakland. We decided to practice together for various reasons. For me, it was that I had reached my yearly professional development training budget at my org, having recently gone through Rockwood’s Art of Leadership.

    My bootcamp project is geared around a research publication project for my organization, having been tasked with conducting the initial research and analysis. And my goals are to practice my critical thinking, synthesis and interview skills. Having this project in mind, practicing with Anna has been a great experience. Anna and I are both women of color and our workouts have been a very safe space for me to open up about parts of my professional growth aspects that I want to work on. Elements of our bootcamp sessions have been tailored to discussing issues that are particularly relevant and challenging for us as we work out such as identifying power/group dynamics in the room. We have also created the space to share stories about some similar struggles and have practiced having difficult conversations throughout our work-outs.

    One of the biggest learning edges during our initial work outs with Anna has been to practice and weighing the pros and cons of having a difficult conversation with my management team at work. Anna and I both bring a racial lens to our work and this has been incredibly empowering for me. I am having this difficult conversation on Friday. Thanks @marie for sharing your difficult conversation since the theme is overlapping and it was helpful to read what works for you to build up that courage!

    A reflection so far is realizing how much more confident in my work I have grown since the last bootcamp round. In the first bootcamp round, I voiced a concern about being the “youngest person is the room”. Working with Anna has really helped me understand the value that I bring to the table and become more confident in my skills as a researcher- and having faith that I AM capable! For me, working together in a pair has a deep value since you get to dig deep earlier.

    I hope to post every week of our work ours from here on out! Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences and tools! Reading these have been very beneficial to me!

     
    • Jessica 2:32 am on November 7, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lauren, my name is @jessausinheiler & I’m part of the latest class of bootcampers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the blog — at our last bootcamp (was it just yesterday??!!) we talked about wanting to connect with previous bootcampers, so it was fortuitous to see your post pop up in my mailbox.

      I can certainly identify with being young and being colorful. I too have appreciated being in an environment (bootcamp) where both of those things — but particularly the former — are valued. And I’ve also appreciated speaking openly of power dynamics, as it’s made me more aware of the power that we all have.

      Anyways, post on and keep us posted on Friday’s conversation

    • Renee Fazzari

      Renee 12:51 am on November 8, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It is so awesome that you and Anna are practicing together, Lauren! I’m impressed with both of your follow through and its really fun to come back to this space and realize how much it has grown! Congratulations on building that courage. I’m so curious about your experience with Rockwood after our discussions about it. Feel free to ping me offline if you don’t want to post here.

  • Lauren

    Lauren 4:34 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink |  

    I really enjoyed last week’s bootcamp about having difficult conversations, but I was left feeling a little lost. How can I sound as sophisticated as Natalie, Anna and Renee during a highly awkward/ charged conversation? I am wondering if it would help to have some sort of framework to help sort out and organize my thoughts or do I just need more practice… Does anyone want to be my difficult conversation buddy??

     
    • Eugene Eric Kim 5:13 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lauren, I’m sure others will volunteer to be your difficult conversation buddy, but I’ll go ahead and be the first in line. Anytime you want to practice, let me know.

      You’re also dangerously close to breaking ground rule #1. 🙂 You didn’t get a chance to practice this past week, unfortunately, so let’s see if we can find ways to get you some practice, and you can report back and let us know how you’re feeling then. When you do get the chance to practice, I’m sure it will feel awkward and charged and uncomfortable… and it will be just fine, which was what happened with Renee and Anna.

      Remember, difficult conversations are, by definition, difficult, even with lots of practice! If they don’t end up that way, then you’re probably doing something wrong!

      • Lauren

        Lauren 6:08 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thank you so much for offering to be my buddy Eugene! I will definitely be taking you up on that offer! And most of all, I am looking forward to practicing a difficult conversation tomorrow and very excited about the opportunity! 🙂

    • Anna Castro 6:05 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I would be happy to be your difficult conversation buddy as well!! A few things that Bootcamp has helped me practice this time around has been to push myself to volunteer an opinion, speak first (or earlier in a conversation) and be participatory in a way that I am not used to or am comfortable doing. I had to participate and share during Bootcamp #1 because there were only two of us. I didn’t have much of a choice *insert smiley emoticon* (Eugene – how do I drop one into my comment?)

      I’ve been thinking a lot about how I participate in group settings and am discovering/learning quite a bit about when I’m comfortable and when I’m not. Our Bootcamp conversations about power and power dynamics sort of gave me permission to begin to analyze the kind of person I am or have been in different work settings. I have some interesting examples that I think are worthy of some sociocultural anthropology study. I have been afraid to unpack some of that stuff and the emotions that they bring up. Lately, and I think Bootcamp helps, I am confronting these issues and feelings head on. I am more comfortable thinking about how as a woman of color my various experiences have been shaped by other people’s perceptions of me based on these identities and how I have reacted to them.

      My participation in Bootcamp #1 had a lot to do with pushing myself to send Eugene an email. I drafted a response to his initial call out to changemakers in the Bay Area but it sat in my draft box for days until I read his blog post called Advice for Female Changemakers. Here is a link to it:
      http://eekim.com/blog/2011/07/advice-for-female-changemakers/
      Reading that post was the extra push I needed to hit the send button and act more boldly. I highly recommend it to you and all female changemakers.

      I think you are amazing, Lauren. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from you and your very well written posts. I am so looking forward to staying connected with you after we complete Bootcamp #2 next week.

      • Eugene Eric Kim 4:58 pm on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Love hearing the fruits of your self-reflection, Anna, and I’m looking forward to hearing more.

        As for smileys, WordPress automatically converts the standard colon-dash-parenthesis combination. Try it!

      • Lauren

        Lauren 6:25 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Anna, I want to thank you very much for your post and for offering to be my difficult conversation buddy! I can’t tell you how much I appreciated reading your honest reflections. Secondly, thank you SO MUCH for posting the link to Eugene’s 2011 blog article. I think this was something I really needed to read right now, especially the part about finding your voice!! This is something I definitely struggle with especially, as @rapetzel shared, with my own writing and journey. I have really learned so much from your thoughtful listening and communication skills, Anna. And I definitely hope we can continue to have the conversations we started on the watercooler/blog after bootcamp is complete. Until tomorrow..Buenas noches 🙂

    • Rebecca 4:44 pm on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi Lauren! Your statement “How can I sound sophisticated as….” resonated with me a bit. It reminded me of a time a few years ago I took a huge risk, and wrote a public blog about the trials and tribulations of being professionally unattached. I did this with my best friend, which gave me strength, courage, and a strong writer to learn from. However the downside was when I was feeling my most vulnerable, I would look at her writing and use it to tear myself down. How could I ever compare! I remember having tortured conversations with friends about not feeling worthy to write alongside her.

      In retrospect, when I go back and read my writing at this time, it was delightful. I’m so proud, I’ll even share it here to prove it! http://professionallyunattached.wordpress.com/

      So I guess this is my friendly reminder to try and take the best of what learning and working with others can offer, but don’t undersell yourself in the process. I’m sure your style in difficult conversations will be different than Renee’s and Natalie’s but I doubt it will be worse. Try, as hard as it can be when we are our most vulnerable, to see the uniqueness and strength of your own approach alongside that of your peers!

      And finally, thanks for sharing your honest fears and concerns here! That takes courage, and it helps us all get better to see the vulnerability in our peers.

      • Lauren

        Lauren 6:47 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I LOVED your blog Rebecca! And Wow, your inner monologue, sounded a lot like mine does sometimes! But I would have never guessed by your very creative and individualized writing style! Thanks so much for sharing! I will definitely try to remember your advice- to see my own uniqueness and strength along side my peers especially during difficult conversations. Like you said, it can be hard sometimes. But I think, like Euegene says it takes practice and self awareness to begin to re-wire your thinking. Thank you Rebecca so much for your honest sharing and refection with me!

  • Lauren

    Lauren 6:00 am on July 10, 2013 Permalink |  

    Last week’s bootcamp was an interesting one for me. I really struggled through the exercise of designing a collaborative. At the end of the boot camp, I realized that part of the reason I struggled was that I didn’t ask the right questions to get clarity of thought. In the beginning I realized that I had failed to ask basic questions which lead to a lot of confusion in the end. This sounds silly, but this is something that I struggle with. Asking clarifying questions and clearing up assumptions are very important. And although they take time up front, they save a lot of time in the end. Lesson learned: I will continue to practice the art of questions!

     
    • Eugene Eric Kim 6:11 am on July 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I hate the word “failed” in this situation, Lauren. Remember ground rule #1. Asking these fundamental questions is a huge part of the practice. Very few people do it well, not because they’re not capable, but because they get distracted by other things.

      I think one of the reasons the workout last week didn’t work so well was that it was very multilayered. I wanted all of you to be paying attention to many things at once, too many things as it turned out. It’s a good reminder to me to keep things simple and focused.

      • Lauren

        lauren 4:21 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree Eugene- I don’t like the word failed (because I know I didn’t fail!). Are there any tools or exercises you can share about asking good questions that you could share with me and the group? I would really like to work on asking good questions in the moment.

    • rapetzel 7:56 pm on July 10, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi Lauren! I’ve struggled with this as well. Particularly in professional contexts, there is a stigma against asking clarifying questions because we don’t want to seem dumb! I was just recalling an instance when one client was “surprised” by how well I did in a meeting because all my questions up front left them concerned I didn’t really get it. But, it was worth it! Because those questions also resulted in me designing an effective experience for the client. Often the act of asking those questions helps the group align and uncover trouble they didn’t even know was there. So long story short, this isn’t silly at all. I completely relate, and recognizing that puts you light years ahead of so many others.

      • Natalie

        Natalie 4:03 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yup. Many a time I’ve been thought an idiot for asking “obvious” questions, only to uncover that people were 1) talking about different problems, or 2) using terminology differently, or 3) pursuing completely different goals during the conversation. People can be far too quick to judge those who ask clarifying questions.

        • Lauren

          lauren 4:23 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Thank you Natalie and Rebecca. I feel SO much better! I will continue to ask clarifying questions! Do you have any tips you can share with me for asking good questions in the moment? This is something I would really like to work on.

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