So, You Want to Talk About Safety

I have been following this idea of physiological safety. I have been listening to different speakers and learning as well as unlearning and exchanging my ideas. I have decided to do this to build a better environment for myself. And what does that mean? What is psychological safety?
It’s a climate. It’s a mindset. It’s the allowance for a safe dialogue between us to help us with our interpersonal fears and create a sense of competency between one another. More closely, this is the ability to communicate freely without the fears of backlash, punishment or pushback.

I had to face myself in the mirror today. I had to ask myself if I allow for this — or, do I find myself guilty of the opposite? Am I open to criticism? Do I invite discussions on new possibilities — or, do I allow my ego to intercept constructive conversations, simply because I don’t want to be wrong or seem as if I’ve lost my spot.

I admit that in the beginning, my ideas of psychological safety were slightly inaccurate. I thought this meant being nice and kind or respectful, which I’m sure it is to some degree—but more, in the case of leadership and leadership skills, physiological safety allows for a safe dialogue between colleagues, coworkers, managers and supervisors. The idea is to develop an essential flow of teamwork in which people can openly discuss their mistakes and needs for improvement. This allows for ideas to be shared freely opens the pathway for a stronger, united team. And this is me. This is what I want for myself, both inside and outside the professional arenas. I want to be the best me possible but this takes work.

I have been following ideas of both anabolic and catabolic energy in the workplace as well as in my personal life. I think about the difference between the two.  Anabolic is building, open and supportive. Meanwhile, catabolic is the opposite. Anabolic energy is supportive and catabolic energy is intimidating.
And I wonder; which one am I?
I suppose that I am both. I am both flawed and equally talented. I have good days and bad ones. I have moments when I find myself in tune with my surroundings and moments when I am anything but.
But I am safe? Am I the contributor to my stress or the stress of others around me — or do I take this away and promote a mutual safety between me and my surroundings.

These questions are valid and important. In the plans of personal growth and transformation, I have to be clear. I have to be vigil and fearless. In the steps to both personal and professional improvement, I have to create the safety of my environment by understanding my participation. I have to understand my team and my surroundings. I have to understand my tasks and objectives—and of course, I have to understand my audience and the people I speak with.

The idea is to allow for an open discourse, and yet, the importance of personal growth is to understand that if I do not allow for this, then why? What is it that is so threatening about the truth? What it is so wrong about making a mistake, which, after all—the idea of allowing for psychological safety is to examine our mistakes so that we can improve. And this is a great idea. This has proven to be helpful in the business world—but wait; what about in our personal life?
Who are we in this case?
Are we open?
Are we closed off?
Do we invite others in?
Or do we exclude our closest relationships?

I believe in the benefits of an honest and personal assessment. I believe that to improve, we have to work on our areas where improvement is needed. And so, by allowing myself this brief, but personal inventory; I allow for the safety of an open discourse.

So, here it goes.

The one thing I learned about myself is that I have the need to be heard. I find that I have an unhelpful attachment to the ideas that hinge between right or wrong. I find the ideas of being “Wrong” lead me towards anxiety and rejective thinking. Admittedly, I understand this thinking is not rational—then again, anxiety is irrational. However, by exposing this, I find the weight of my stress is relieved because I’ve called this out and therefore, the ideas cannot weigh as heavy when I sound them out. This is ego, by the way. This is fear. This is also personal and perhaps immature but this is also honest and forthcoming., which allows me to improve.

I have found that my emotional attachments are often inaccurate and misleading. I find that when I allow myself to be caught in the undertow of emotional thinking, I find that it is easy to drown in the emotional quicksand that keeps me from reaching my best. Being overly critical and overthinking is a theft of services. This steals my ability to safely navigate through my day. I find myself lost or angry or irritable and not at my best potential. Why is this? It’s because I know that I am capable. I know that I can do, build, create and be.

When I find myself trapped in my thinking, I see that I am not productive. I have found myself in unnecessary arguments and stuck with a draining, catabolic mindset that leaves me tired and ineffective.

So, why do I expose this?
My answer is simple.

Psychological safety is a climate where people can speak openly about their needs for improvement. This welcomes a healthier bond between teammates. But more, in personal settings, this opens an important level of intimacy with the people we love. This shows that hey, I have some things to work on. I have areas that I’m looking to improve. This tells the people in my life that I am open and aware of my settings but more, this lets them know that they are important to me, and that because of them being important to me, I want to improve. I want to be better. I want to improve upon our communication—to build together, to create, and of course to enjoy our time together. Otherwise, life would be no fun at all

So, good morning, Monday.
They told me you’d be coming around.
Well, I’m ready for you.
Faults and all, this is me.
And here we go.

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