noun; lack of restriction; accessibility; lack of secrecy or concealment; frankness.
Openness to experience is one of the domains which are used to describe human personality in the Five Factor Model. Openness involves six facets, or dimensions, including active imagination, aesthetic sensitivity, attentiveness to inner feelings, preference for variety, and intellectual curiosity.
I am naturally a very open person. I have an open mind, an open heart and I am quite open in what I say. My body language is usually very open too.
I was brought up in a home where doors and windows were always open. Conversations were very open too. Becoming a teacher, open door policies did thus not bother me.
My happy place is an open space, I love being at the top of the mountain looking out over the open vista or on a beach looking out at the open sea and the open sky.
The ability to be open relies on a number of things. Firstly, internally openness comes from a place of authenticity, a place of confidence and a place of courage. Externally openness comes from a place of truth, a place of honesty and a place of respect. Openness needs these conditions to exist and to thrive.
Being brought up in an open home, with open relationships and the value of openness being instilled in us has shaped who I am, how I am and what I do.
As a school leader I had an open-door policy for staff and students. My openness meant I was approachable and welcoming to my community and openness was part of our culture and our ethos.
As an educator on social media I am open to new ideas, people, connections, collaborations and opportunities. My openness means that people reach out to me and share things with me.
As a human being I am open to different people, different cultures and different experiences. My openness means that people feel connected to me, trust me and often confide in me and disclose in me.
Openness also leads to the ability to be, and to embrace being, vulnerable. At a Big Education
event earlier in the year I was asked to speak about vulnerable leadership and I blogged about it here
. I quoted Brene Brown who talks about openness, and specifically open-heartedness, in her work:
“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people,
but we’re afraid to let them see it in us”.
This quote makes me think about the space we created with #WomenEd for women in education to be open and honest. The stories are often raw and painful as we share our journeys. Similarly in the #IamRemarkable workshops I facilitate, it is about creating a safe space where we can be open about our fears, our personal and professional barriers and become more open in celebrating our accomplishments and what makes us proud.
For me, being open, means that people see me and understand me. My openness encourages acceptance and creates a sense of belonging. By being open I give myself permission to be me.
For me, being open also means that I can heal by talking out my experiences and sharing my feelings. By modelling this to others, it also gives them permission to be open too. Through openness we heal from the hurts of the past, we become comfortable in the present and hopeful for the future.
Openness is inclusive as it reflects our reach and our relationships.
“The openness of our hearts and minds can be measured by how wide we draw the circle of what we call family”.
Openness is insightful through the conversations that evolve.
“Honesty and openness is always foundation of insightful dialogue”.
Openness is revealing through the journey we begin.
“Openness isn’t the end: it’s the beginning”.
Openness is liberating through the lens of transparency.
“…approach change with an understanding of the process
and an openness to the pain”.
Openness is empowering through the inner work we commit to.
“Openness doesn’t come from resisting our fears
but rather from getting to know them well”.
Openness is enlightening as it is a way of being.
“There is just some magic in truth and honesty and openness”.