February 14, 2018
Reflecting on Relationships
Written by L. Egan
Valentine’s Day can be a divisive holiday. To some, it is a reminder to pause and celebrate the love that exists in our lives whether from parents, partners, or pets. To others, it is a shallow holiday built from capitalism and commercialism to sell flowers and chocolates.
Regardless of how you feel about the ways in which Valentine’s Day is celebrated, the holiday offers a chance to reflect on all relationships and how we care for them and for ourselves within them.
Last week I was unexpectedly reminded of the importance of positive work relationships, a strong team, and cohesion, and no— not just because of that amazing Eagles Super Bowl win! January 31st-February 2nd was the launch of our new CATS training curriculum, complete with a new tool to guide practice back on campus once the training is over. As with any training, there were many moving parts to manage before, during, and after, but these logistics were intensified because of the excitement and expectation that comes with launching a new product. I was admittedly nervous and tense leading up to that week – simultaneously anxious to get going and aware of how much still needed to be accomplished. For over a year the entire Clery Center team revised curriculum, proofed new layouts, trained instructors, ordered supplies, and developed new marketing to promote this training. We posed questions, challenged and celebrated new ideas, and revised language over and over again. Without the dedication and open communication of each team member, it all just could not have been completed.
Once at the training, with materials laid out, registration complete, and instruction in full swing I could see and hear how much participants were enjoying the experience. Folks continued to express their happiness with having more time to process the information, the value of the new Workbook, and their overall satisfaction with the training. Coincidentally, a large focus of the curriculum itself is teaching campus professionals the importance of institutionalizing Clery compliance through developing a multi-disciplinary team to support that work from various viewpoints. The Workbook even walks through steps to develop and execute a Clery Compliance Team. I was so proud to see that our organization was furthering that message through exemplifying that work ourselves: coming together from our varying roles to bring our unique skill set to a multi-faceted project.
As the three days came to a close and I returned home, I found myself reflecting on how the training itself was improved because of the work put in ahead of time by each person at Clery Center. The training would not have been the same if not for the focus and participation of each person involved. I was struck by our team’s commitment, not just to the work, but to each other. This feeling was so encouraging and positive, particularly at a time when current events might be causing a lot of folks to not feel as connected to, or trusting of, their co-workers.
I learned about the value of teamwork from my high school theater teacher who always stressed that the show literally could not go on without the effort of each person: from the spotlight operator to the leading role. Everyone was valuable and purposeful and needed. Now I know what you’re thinking—that this is a metaphor for how everyone at Clery Center played such a pivotal role in the new training and that’s what makes this story great. Yes and no.
Clery Center’s cohesion around our new training launch reminded me how each of the relationships we have in our lives are integral to who we are and how we function as people. Your co-workers, friends, family, romantic partners, neighbors, pets, and religious community members are all different roles of relationships in your life and their presence is meaningful and supports your well-being as a person in a very specific way—that’s why they’re all a part of your life. You might forget one day how important it is to have a healthy relationship with your coworkers until that big project rolls around (Clery Act Training!) and it goes really well or really wrong. Without the established trust we had with each other we wouldn’t have had such open communication in the planning phase or the ability to challenge or ask questions when pieces of the puzzle didn’t seem to be fitting so well. Without those tools, the training could easily have been okay but not great. Because the relationships were built over time, the training itself soared.
It is a privilege to work at any organization where you feel seen and heard every day. How much do you think about whether that set of relationships in your life is serving you? Are you putting in the work to cultivate healthy communication and openness in each of your relationships—specifically your work ones? Do you take the time out to think about whether your role at work could be better served or cared for or whether you could provide more care for colleagues?
Whether or not Valentines’ Day is a holiday you celebrate, perhaps take this Wednesday to reflect on how much value you place on yourself and all your relationships. After all, without each of them the show, your show, could not go on.