How to Prepare for the Unknown: a Word About an EU Project

Dear reader,

so much has happened since the last post and it’s overwhelming. This is how my office looks like and it first started with a laptop and a notebook. Then there was a laptop and an iPad (for skype) and a notebook and a cup of tea. Today I’m working on two laptops, one iPad, two cups of tea (and I won’t be showing you the trash bin with remaining snacks), one notebook and a bunch of sheets torn out of that notebook. There are 15 people working together on an EU project, a mobility project for youth workers that will bring together about 25 participants from 11 different countries, 7 expert facilitators who use Solution Focused Coaching in their line of work and they will be working together in three connected but separate activities through May 2016 until February 2017.

project work.jpg

I’m the project coordinator and I’ve never done such a thing before. With zero experience I’m now hosting a huge partnership and a very demanding and high quality project, totally innovative and pioneering in the field, as it is gathering and linking together highly efficient expertise and social inclusion within the youth field.

I had no idea how to start this, nor how to navigate through the activities we should do. I only knew one thing – I was absolutely confident that partners, who were invited to join this initiative, have endless resoruces and skills and all I have to do is to find and address their skills as well as find out what they are passionate about and let them express it in that area. Since I’m good at finding these skills, I was completely okay with not knowing what will happen. So this whole process is one huge Solution Focused Approach in action.

Right now we are somewhere halfway through. It is a lot of work and my brain capacities are 95% occupied for more than 12 hours/day. When I sleep I reminisce about new ideas. When I cook I think about what next steps to take and whether I’ve forgotten something. While writing this post I’m already thinking about what will happen in the skype meeting we have this evening and the things I shouldn’t forget to ask. But there is one thing that constantly worries me: whether I will be capable to provide enough space for everybody to be included and heard and at the same time be the engine that pushes the whole thing forward. It would be much much easier to simply present the partners the application form and ask them to sign it. However that’s not a partnership project. Ours aspires to be. And yet I have no idea whether the path we are going is optimal or we could (or should) have done something different. I have absolutely no idea what will happen by the end of next week, yet I’m supposed to be a coordinator who knows these kind of things. The only thing I know is what the next step will be and then it is a question of addressing the partners’ needs and opinion to provide us with a glimpse of a next chapter.

And you know what? I’m super comfortable with this discomfort, because I trust the next step will appear right when we need to take it. What I’m a little less comfortable is that this is clearly a school for life and it will provide evidence of how much all my professional training and my theorizing to act in complex situations have been worthwhile, meaning whether I would be able to coordinate this huge piece of work in a solution focused way or not.

Let’s wait, hope, work and see …


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