INTEGRATE Principles series: #1 Not Knowing

By Anthony Meyer, Product Development Coordinator at The INTEGRATE Movement

Hi, my name is Anthony and I started working for The INTEGRATE Movement in September 2015, having volunteered one day a week of my time during the final year of my BA in French and Spanish. As a fresh-faced, foolish and often floundering graduate, there was one INTEGRATE principle that I clung to more as a lifeline than a guideline: Not Knowing.

My role involves working alongside clinical psychologists and experts by experience to help coordinate the design, delivery and evaluation of TIM’s workshops. At first, I assumed that not knowing would be my responsibility, and that the experts around me didn’t need to bother with this principle.

However, I quickly realised that the INTEGRATE principle of not knowing isn’t about the expertise that you do or don’t have, but rather taking a not-knowing, curious and reflective stance to your work. It’s a principle that recognises the need to be aware of the assumptions that we are making based on what we ‘know’, to ask others for their input, to question the decisions we make, and to seek opportunities for individual and group reflection on our work… or so I assume.

Feeling confident to take a not-knowing stance can be a challenge. At first, it felt like a vulnerable and unsatisfying stance to take; am I doing my job properly if I don’t have all of the answers that people ask of me all of the time? This is where an open and equitable company culture and being able to reflect with my team or supervisor were important to create the right environment for not knowing to be safe rather than dangerous.

On the other hand, embracing a not-knowing stance has been very rewarding in my work. It has enabled me to change the way that I think about the process of designing workshops and to actively seek the input from the participant group. That’s because I am now convinced that the only way I could hope to do my job properly is to consider both what I know and what I don’t know.

So here I am now, still painfully fresh-faced, definitely still foolish but now confident that if I’m floundering, it probably means I’m heading in the right direction!

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