The impact of a cheer: the intention behind welcoming someone to a space

I missed an opportunity last night to make a point with my students so I’m going to be vulnerable and share it here in the hopes that it helps someone…

An RA from another community who is also a peer educator in another office was about to co-present to our area during in-service. When she introduced herself as an RA I loudly cheered for her from the back of the room and instead of being joined by my staff I realize now that I was shamed. They looked at me with quizative expressions like, “what are you doing?! You are embarrassing us!”

In that moment I missed an opportunity to challenge my staff to explain that my intent was to welcome this person to our group, to celebrate that we are peers and understand the passion and the work it takes to do the work of an RA, and to acknowledge that it is not easy to stand in front of your peers and present.

I have recognized that at times I act goofy to create a space / opportunity for others to let down their guard. For a moment last night I questioned my #positivity StrengthFinder™ talent theme and wondered if it was a weakness, somehow unprofessional, or something that would make my staff no longer see me as credible. However after watching a Dr. Brene Brown talk and reflecting on it I realize that I need to not only keep being my goofy self (within reason) I can also do more to explain my intent to help put it in context and explain the impact I hope to have.

 

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