Trustworthy & Dependable

In case you didn’t know, I work with individuals who have been convicted of felonies and served time in prison at an organization focused on reducing the recidivism rate. We take a holistic-approach and begin working with our participants while they are still incarcerated. One of the things we do is offer participants employment with one of our employment partners. A job is not guaranteed because we expect participants to meet certain goals and to be in classes post-release for a minimum of six weeks before they are considered for employment; however, when they are approved we do try to set participants up for success. In order to do this, participants take part in a workplace simulation for two weeks. (Basically, a two week job interview/training.) During Simulation, participants learn both hard and soft skills, and we celebrate and recognize their hard work and accomplishments because for so many they had never had a job.

Sometimes, not always, at the recognition participants are asked to share a take away, a skill they learned, or something of that nature. This past Friday was one of these recognition celebrations. Participants had just worked on their “brand” and were asked to share the three words they wanted to be known for. (Keep in mind some participants do not make it to Simulation for various reasons and others do not finish Simulation. This group started with eight participants (our second largest) and finished with eight, which is INCREDIBLE.) Two words were used by most, if not all, the participants — trustworthy and dependable.

I believe these words are true of every single one of them because they’ve all been that since day one and they will be that for an employer. The difficulty for them isn’t being trustworthy or dependable, but rather to give trust to and depend on others. To give trust and to depend on others is a something completely different. For a lot of humans, myself included, the trust given is often times broken and the people who should be dependable fall flat so people close off. Rather than being us against the world, it becomes me against the world.

This mindset can only take a person so far. It limits growth. It limits emotions. It limits relationships. It limits opportunities. It limits joy. Why? Because anything else would require vulnerability. Vulnerability is scary…

…but vulnerability is what allows us to experience life wholeheartedly. One can gain so much by giving some of oneself to others and opening ourselves to an outcome that is out of our control.