What being On-Team at Rapport (re)taught me

By Sonja Johnson


“We are here not to see through people, but to see people through”¬†Author Unknown

What a powerful statement. Simple. Yet true. A couple of weeks ago, I had my first “On Team” experience. The class? Rapport Leadership’s Leadership Breakthrough One.

I found myself at the end of the two-and-a-half days and little did I realize, those short days, the time spent with 21 strangers, would be life changing and those strangers became friends with a bond that seemed surreal. Now, I was on the other side of the table. Mind you, having to play such a serious face I found challenging. I would have to look over at my “team partner in crime”, just to get re-focused! I then looked at the faces as they arrived into the room. The look in their faces, I knew too well, for them, it was also the unknown of what was to lie ahead.

However, I sat quietly (hard for me to do I know; another challenge overcome!), stoic, and knew that I would again, through the eyes of others, become instantaneously reminded of the fact that this would be a rejuvenation. I knew that everything I had gone through would again come full speed. However, this time, I would merely be an observer. Nonetheless, it would impact me the same.

As I sat and listened to a class who became a team, they were so full of energy, passion and most of all enthusiasm! Sitting there silently watching, often up at the ceiling and down to the floor, as they began to share stories, tears, laughs and giggles, I was immediately captivated by the fact that I was feeling that same energy, that same passion and the same enthusiasm that for one reason or another, I may have let fall by the wayside … if even an inkling of a moment, I realized being back on Team that I had. Commitments I had made I found falling to the left and right of me.

Yet, this team, so inspirational and they didn’t even realize how they impacted me, opened up my eyes once again to what I had begun to close them too. What I found so amazing though, was although I did not talk, join in, become emotional and the ceilings seemed to become a more familiar focal point, I found myself indirectly being that individual seeing them through these processes. Simply by being there. They would smile at me, would stare at me, and sometimes it was when they wanted to most likely concentrate or focus on something or someone else other than what they were being faced with. I felt that I truly did have an impact, and that I was part of a team that saw them through.

I was reminded, as subtle as could be -¬†my career is what I DO, it is NOT who I AM. Who I am is first, a mother, to a beautiful son who needs his mom home; a woman in a loving relationship, a daughter to an amazing woman who has done so much for me throughout my life. I had that passion in having the ability to differentiate the two; then somehow, I could feel myself twisting it back around … until being On-Team. And I have since untwisted that back to where it needs to be. I have realized that commitments made are commitments kept and yet, avoid overcommiting – otherwise said, don’t let promises sit empty, fill them if you are going to commit to promise to keep them.

I gained back that passion, enthusiasm and energy in a short time. I was reminded just how this class impacted my life, not only through the eyes of others, also by having the opportunity to be a part of something so powerful, so amazing – and most importantly, I was reminded of just how powerful, strong and independent I am as a woman, as a mother, a loved one, a daughter – and with those amazing abilities, to do the best in my career. In that order.