‘Rediscovering Our Worth’, by Nadia Waber

The event started with an ice-breaker exercise

The event started with an ice-breaker exercise – guests were invited to walk around pieces of flipchart on the floor and when the background music stops, to pause at the closest flipchart paper they have reached to take turns answering the questions on the paper, creating a short group-conversation. When the music played again, participants moved to another flipchart paper on the floor, until they had reached three. The questions on the flipchart paper were:

  • Who is your favorite writer or artist? How come?
  • What is the aspect of your job/life that is most important to you?
  • What puts you in a good mood?
  • What are the qualities and knowledge you bring to this room?
  • One thing not many people know about me is…
  • One thing I am looking forward to this evening is…
  • What is the funniest experience you’ve had recently?
  • What new opportunities can this networking event bring?
  • What is your nickname, and how did you get it?

Following the ice-breaker/networking event, Nadia Waber, training leader and former member of the AWIB Executive Committee introduced herself and explained that she has previously facilitated this program at the ECA, at the Hilton and the Jupiter hotel here in Addis Ababa, and in several locations elsewhere in Africa. Nadia explained that Rediscovering Our Worth is a process developed by Deepak Chopra, the renowned physician and spirituality leader, and further developed by Dr. Monica Shalma of UNDP. It is a process that has been implemented all over the world.

Setting the ground-rules for the evening, Nadia asked participants to be open – ‘’the more you put into the process, the more you will get out of it.’’ In terms of language, Nadia asked us to use the language of ‘our hearts’ – the language in which we are most comfortable expressing ourselves. She also said that discomfort often equals learning and that there are no wrong answers in this process. Using intuition rather than thinking and writing fast, instead of dwelling on answers are considered necessary for an authentic experience of the Rediscovering our Worth process.

In the next phase, Nadia asked participants to write down answers for the following seven questions. The questions, as well as a sample of answers shared by participants are presented below.

1)     In three words, how did you feel at your peak moment?

2)     In one sentence, what is your in one sentence life’s purpose?

3)     What’s going to be my contribution, and by when? [with date, numbers, and ‘stretching’ beyond our comfort zone to dream big]

4)     List down three He-Roes or She-Roes from history, religion or tradition?

5)     What three qualities do you look for in your best friend?

6)     What are three qualities or talents unique to you?

7)     What are the three qualities that I express with others?

Participants used adjectives such as grateful, blessed, joyful, confident, privileged, energized, fulfilled, hopeful, free, fear, excited, positive, empowered, thankful, love(d), elated, ecstatic, passion, inspired, smiling, purposeful, tearful to describe their feelings at the best moments of their lives.

Then, Nadia asked participants to share our answers to Questions 2, 3 and 7 with our neighbors in the format of ‘My name is..’,  ‘My purpose in life is…’, ‘my contribution in life is…’ and ‘I can be counted on for…. ’

Participants shared some of their contributions as ‘serving vulnerable women and children’; ‘sharing what I have learnt’, ‘offering advice and support to young people’ and ‘self development.’ One participant, Wz. Assefash, owner of BEZNA Counseling and Training Center that she when she attended Nadia’s facilitation of the Discovering Our Worth session at Jupiter Hotel over a year ago, she had been afraid to proclaim her goals for her planned contribution as providing training for 1000 youth. However, in the last year, the center was able to surpass its goals to provide life- skills training to 2500 returnees from Saudi Arabia.

While participants were sharing their personal reflections, the facilitator, Nadia, offered gentle feedback. Emphasizing the importance of language that reflects our intent, she asked a speaker who said ‘’I like to think that I am kind and dependable’’ to restate her qualities in the form of ‘’you can count on me to be kind and dependable.’’

In response to question four, three women participants all stated that the person they admire most are their mothers, for teaching them to love, and to have compassion. One participant said that she admires her late mother for respecting herself and for not being afraid to tackle work that is traditionally considered to be men’s work.

Forgiveness, kindness, honesty, generosity, reliability, intelligence, humor, loyalty and openness were described as some of the qualities that participants seek in an ideal best friend. Our facilitator, Nadia, observed that the qualities we want in a best friend are the same qualities that are in us, and one participant noticed that her response to questions five and six are the same.

In the next segment, Nadia demonstrated the difference between a professional and social profile by interviewing two participants focusing on the first one’s academic and professional attainments and the second’s social life. She went on to discuss a ‘self profile’ which, beyond, our outer achievements relates to our essence. Nadia also said that qualities relating to our essence should be described as being of us, as in ‘’I am love, I am passion, I am happiness, I am hope, I am courage, I am vision, I am honesty, I am curiosity, I am laughter, I am hard work, I am persistence, I am commitment, I am transparency, I am leadership, I am persistence, and I am creativity.’’

At the end of the session, Nadia asked us to think about what we learnt about ourselves, and about others as a result of participating in the Rediscovering Our Worth program, and what we appreciated about the process. The following highlights were shared by participants:

–        A chance to reflect on ourselves

–        The concept of Ubuntu – ‘’you are, because I am, because we are’’

–        The qualities that we seek in our friends are the qualities that we want to nurture in ourselves

–        A chance to develop a self-profile

–        Getting out of our comfort zones, inspiration to try new things

–        Seeing other participants identify with the same qualities that we possess

–        Good to see so many people reflect together on the same process

–        As we usually focus on our gaps, at first, it was difficult to focus our attention on our own positive qualities.

In wrapping up the session, Nadia asked participants to make an appointment with someone she or he had met this evening, and to plan to have coffee or lunch with that new friend over the course of the month.  Nadia closed the session with a quote, ‘’Love the fact that you were born, that you are here now, and that one day, you will die – failure to do so prevents you from living your real life.’’  Arthur Segal.

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