It’s Black History Month! I’ve written before about the intersection of Black History and the untapped potential of Black Americans. What ingenuity are we missing out on right now because Black thinkers, inventors and technologists are simply not getting funding to pursue their ideas.  So as I write about unlocking potential this month, it’s with an eye toward not only what we are missing, but we have to gain from unleashing the creativity of our best resources – people.

What does Play have to do with Potential?

I started the month in Arizona with my cousins in Sedona.  I mentioned last month that my word for the year was stretch and this trip definitely fit into that theme.

Known for its energy vortexes, Sedona has long been a haven for those seeking spiritual rejuvenation and creative inspiration.  Some go there to seek aliens; some to feel one with the universe.

The Power of Potential

For us, the trip was a stretch because it was unlike our previous trips. We did yoga, meditated, and walked a labyrinth. We also trekked to 3 vortexes, star-gazed, hiked, rode ATVS and traveled to the Grand Canyon.  At the Grand Canyon, one of the helpful historical markers pointed out the Kaibab Bridge which I would definitely have missed. I’ve added an arrow to my picture above so you can sort of get a sense of it. As those of you who have visited the Grand Canyon know, photographs just can’t do it justice.

From the marker: The 440 feet long bridge was designed to carry foot traffic, horses and mules and was made of components that could be carried down into the Grand Canyon by man or mule, 42 men, mostly members of the Havasupai tribe, carried each 550 feet long, 2,300 pound, suspension cable 7 miles down the twisting and tortuous South Kaibab Trail.

Potential Unlocked

The whole landscape there is awesome, which I mean in the old sense of awe-inspiring.  I was also inspired by these men who build that suspension bridge in 1928.  I was nervous about stepping too close to the edge of the manicured paved trail the park service provided for us on the South Rim of the canyon. But about 100 years ago, members of the Havasupai tribe carried the tools to build a bridge, without OSHA safeguards, and that bridge remains there today.

I couldn’t help but think about what humans can accomplish. We can do the seemingly impossible.  It was hard not feel hopeful there. Small and insignificant maybe. But also, with a power we have yet to tap into.

The Potential of Teams

On a somewhat different but related note, last month I completed Barometer XP’s Play Facilitator Certification as one of the ways that I’m stretching myself in 2024.  I completed the certification which not only expanded my understanding of play in the professional setting but also equipped me with the tools to design, deliver, and measure meaningful play engagements to unlock a team’s potential.

Adults tend not to play that much, missing some of the benefits of play. I like the idea of being able to provide clients a fresh perspective, offering a structured approach to leverage the power of play for better team dynamics and productivity.

Tools and Tricks

Barometer XP’s Play Facilitator Certification explores the psychology of play and  practical facilitation techniques, while providing extensive resources for facilitators who want to bring play into their engagements.  From icebreaker activities to immersive team-building exercises, the program provided a toolkit for creating engaging and purposeful play experiences.

My certification group was incredibly talented and I learned a lot from them. My co-facilitators emphasized the role of the facilitator in creating a safe and supportive environment that encourages team members to unleash their creativity and collaborate more effectively. The hands-on practice sessions during the certification further enhanced my facilitation skills, preparing me for real-world implementation.

If you’re looking to unlock creativity, potential and foster collaboration, Barometer XP’s Play Facilitator Certification is a great way to do it and more convenient than a trip to the Grand Canyon if you live in DC like me (they’re offering an in-person cohort starting next month).

For me, I look forward to continuing to stretch into Spring incorporating play and tapping into my own and my clients’ potential to do something new, something great.