On my trip home from Telluride, I kept asking myself what would have been different if the session on respect and humiliation was covered earlier in the conference? These two concepts and processes are so central to the work we do and the work we want to achieve.
Throughout the week we saw, heard and felt what stories can do for the way we think, act and make decisions. But telling stories demands trust and it also demands humiliation because it exposes our natural limits as human beings which can be incredibly uncomfortable. However, these moments of discomfort are often some of our most powerful learning tools because we open ourselves up temporarily to the possibility of change and transformation, whether we are the story teller or the listener.
During the negotiation session, for instance, what would have been different if we underscored the importance of respect and humiliation during any and all negotiations?
What it is like to be in a negotiation? What does it look like? What does it sound like? And what does it feel like to have to let go of some of your own values and goals for the benefit of the collective, in this case, the patient and family? I think it would have been interesting to role-play during the negotiation session to take this concept from theory to practice in order to “try on” some of these skills in order to feel and talk about how difficult and uncomfortable this process can be, yet how important and empowering it can be.
This move requires a lot of respect and a lot humiliation in recognizing the heart part of this type of work, and even the heart part of talking about it with colleagues in the same room. But in doing so, it allows communication to be productive, meaning it allows us to achieve something new and different together that we normally couldn’t have done on our own. And this begins to shift away from a more reproductive model of communication that essentially reproduces old and outdated skills, patterns and habits that simply aren’t conducive to our current health care situation.
Last week was without a doubt the most stimulating and enlightening learning experience I have ever had, so many thanks to all!!