When we exercise, we warm up and stretch. If we watch a rugby player taking a penalty, there is a ritual as they envisage the path of the ball they are about to kick. If we’re racing, we walk the track first to understand the cambers, the surface, and the landmarks we may need. We introduce ourselves to our environment.
Often though, we just attend meetings. Turn up as our role, not who we are.
The African greeting, “Sawubona” carries a deep message - “I see the whole of you—your experiences, your passions, your pain, your strengths and weaknesses, and your future. You are valuable to me.” The appropriate response is “Yebo, Sawubona”—translated to “Yes, I see you.”
When we walk in as our role, we are enormously replaceable, either by someone else or increasingly, something else. When we walk in as ourselves, we are unique in all of time. Nobody else carries our history, our understanding or our aspirations.
As we start the week, the least we can do is introduce ourselves to ourself, and take a moment to remember why we’re here.