One of my favorite interview questions to ask is, "Who are you?"
My managers in the room smirk because they know what is coming, and some will chime in and say, "Just be yourself!" to help the applicant relax.
Many people will squirm in their chair, get a red face, and look up in the sky to think about the answer they might give to this question. Without a doubt, 90% of people will answer the question something like this, "I am a mother, a sister, a wife, and a ______________(fill in the blank with some random hobby or identity here)." This isn't a bad answer, but it tells me a lot about the applicant. They are a little hesitant to dig deep, or maybe they don't quite know who they are yet, or possibly they are uncomfortable with having to say it out loud.
I know it's a hard question for someone to answer in a group interview, but for me it's a very important one. If you are going to join a group of women who choose to be vulnerable every day so that they can help women in recovery, or recover themselves, then you need to be the kind of person who knows who you are and isn't scared of saying it out loud.
Vulnerability researcher Brene Brown would tell you,
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.”
“What we know matters but who we are matters more.”
So in that simple question of, "Who are you?" I want to know two things: 1. , Do you choose to be courageous and vulnerable; because those are the kind of people who find their home at Hyde Park. And 2., Do you know who you are?
Granted, professionalism is appreciated and personal boundaries are important. We don't expect someone to tell us their whole life story, but rather if their answer displays some type of honesty, ownership, and confidence in their identity - which leads me to the title of this blog post.
As the leader of Hyde Park, I asked the managers of this program during a meeting, "Who are WE?" While I wouldn't have been upset if the answer was, "A residential program for women in recovery," it was far from the answers I received. What I found was a group of passionate, strong, and wise ladies who truly wanted to create an environment where we could provide a safe place for women to heal and recover from addiction. As a result of this meeting, we identified our, "Who are we?" for Hyde Park. In other words, what are our values! This is what resulted:
These values are what we hold ourselves accountable for personally and as leaders, but also what we desire for our clients. Each client gets a copy of the values, and the clinical team reinforces them as part of our community culture. It's also a good reminder that the expectations we have for our clients are not different than the expectations we have for ourselves. Keeping our hearts and decision making in line with our values will encourage unity and authenticity to our mission:
To help women recover and heal so they can lead daring, healthy and powerful lives.
P.S. My favorite answer to the interview question was given when a women sat up with her soft heart and strong back and proclaimed proudly, "A warrior." (She got the job.)