Being Curious
/ Author: CLAC Staff
/ Categories: Guide magazine /
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Being Curious

A keen interest in what others are going through can help you gain perspective, both in life and in the workplace

By Jayson Bueckert, Regional Director

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE THE ENERGY of a sold-out hockey game or a concert with standing-room only. You sense that you are part of something bigger than yourself. It is a feeling of being alive that is hard to put into words—it must be experienced to understand. My guess is that you have had that feeling at some point in your life. 

For all of us, these sorts of experiences were put on hold during the pandemic. Now, they are a bit more commonplace, and they feel so fresh and full of life! It’s like breathing crisp, clean air after holding your breath for too long. 

This was the case when in November 2022 CLAC stewards from across the country came together for a few days in Alberta. Nearly 600 stewards, guests, and staff, including myself, gathered to learn through workshops and plenary sessions and to spend time talking with each other about their workplaces and how to contribute to a positive culture. We dove into some thick conversations about how to become more inclusive in our workplaces. And we had fun along the way! 

A common theme that bubbled up in conversation was how polarized everything feels in our world and our workplaces. Just imagine your workplace when someone starts talking about a sensitive topic in the lunchroom. There’s a good chance that a coworker will be triggered and go off on a rant. Suddenly, you’re in the midst of a heated argument, and it has only been 30 seconds! What the heck is going on? 

Stewards are leaders in our workplaces, and they want to be a part of creating a healthy space where we all feel safe. The question is how to do that, considering we all have opinions on how best to organize our society. 

This was one of the topics we tackled during a session with guest speaker Tim Arnold. For about an hour, Tim spoke to us through stories and fun interactive activities. Tim’s main point was to teach us that we all live with the tension of opposing realities. For instance, there is the tension between working safely and working productively. In many cases, people see these as mutually exclusive. Tim reminded us that if we approach this with an attitude of “we can do both, and . . .” we start to open up the possibility of balancing that tension. The key to doing this, according to Tim, is to do it with curiosity. 

Something he said that blew me away is that our brains can’t be both curious and judgmental at the same time. Think about it. If we are curious about someone’s point of view, we shed our judging mentality. They are incompatible! 

We gathered into smaller groups and talked about ideas like this for three days. Picture a large hall with hundreds of stewards and representatives sitting at about eight to a table. There was a buzz in the room. There was an energy of optimism and hope. It was a feeling of being part of something bigger than ourselves. 

I have many fond memories from the conference. Laughing together, sharing meals, talking about important issues. What is clear to me is that we have different views from time to time, but we have more in common than in difference. A spirit of curiosity is what will bridge the divide. 

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