I experienced this exercise by Denise Jacobs in the Agile2017 closing keynote.  She asked everyone to write down something that their inner self-critic is loud (these were not her exact words but what has stuck with me as the gist).  Then she asked people to pass the note someone else (don’t even look at it – actually, I think she even had us fold the paper so you couldn’t see what was written). Then pass the note quickly again to someone else.  Continue passing the notes around to random people for what felt like 30 seconds or so. At this point, you have no idea who has your note and whose note you have.  She asked us to read the one you have today.

The reactions were very amazing to observe and learn about.  Some were surprised by what they read.  Some could have guessed what they were about to read.  Some realized that they faced something others face too.  Some realized that what they faced didn’t seem as challenging as what others face.  Some realized that what they faced was challenging but maybe they should cut themselves some slack because of how challenging their item is.

Personally, the value I found from this exercise could be summarized down to…everyone has a inner self critic, everyone has something that causes them challenges, and everyone could find someone that could relate. My inner critic is quieted down is connecting to others and their abilities to push themselves out of their comfort zone…so this exercise spoke directly to me.

How would this exercise be valuable?

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.


  • Sabrine Serikawa says:

    Wow, I was at the closing talk and it really touched me! Now accidentally I found this and just realized I can use as an exercise in a team to improve their connection. Thanks for this sweet reminder!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.