How to deal with success is as important as of how to deal with failure

Dear reader,

Easter here. Hope you’ve used this opportunity to visit some family or friends or at least to have some time off. We visited my grandma (the one I told you about already) as we had a family reunion. Not to mention that my grandma’s doing great and is celebrating her 90th Birthday in 3 weeks, she’s had an accident with her water heating system just the day before we arrived, which caused her corridor to be covered in mud and she’ll be without hot water until somebody delivers and installs her a new one. So she made me wash the salad in the ice cold water and as strict as she is, I had to do it at least five times until the water was crystal clear. I don’t consider myself spoiled, but I really felt like that as I started whining and imagined how she will manage to cope with this for days, if I had trouble to cope for only 10 minutes.

Anyways. As we all get together, everybody has lots of news and I always enjoy these conversations. I don’t usually add much to the conversation, as on the outside I’m not a very loud person, or if I do speak up, I ask questions. And usually others appreciate this, because I’m often regarded as “a nice person to talk to.”

Being a family (everybody being interested in everybody) my cousin asked about what am I up to and how I am doing. Everybody knows I’ve opened an institute and that I’m traveling a lot, but no details, so there was much to tell. But I was not prepared for this, so I didn’t know where to start. I just said I’m in the process of going and it’s a beginning only. I was unable to take my “five minutes of fame”.

Then on the way back, as I had time to think, because it’s a rather long journey and I was driving, I realized I failed to answer that question completely. That I was totally unprepared to be asked a question where I would tell something about what I’ve accomplished and how I’m doing. I’m too much used to defend my actions in terms of giving the arguments supporting why I did or didn’t do something or to fight back when I’m being criticised. And I got used to these kind of questions. How about when somebody asked about my successes? Glp …

I’m interested how you respond to criticism and how you respond to admiration. Can you handle both? Do you accept praise easily and are you capable to say thank you? And does that make you proud or confused?

How come we are sometimes better “trained” to respond to negative than to positive feedback? Is there a way to unlearn old patterns and invite new ones?

There is. I’ll tell you about it before long. Keep in touch and observe your own responses in the meanwhile 🙂

easter breakfast

Easter breakfast. Helps you think.

Never Stop Making Wishes …

Dear reader,

Gandhi was supposed to say something like

live as if you are to die tomorrow. Learn as if you are to live forever.

Today I’ll tell you a story about someone special, someone who I hope, I’ve inherited my brain from (and looks, hopefully?). My aunt. She’s one of the Ribalon’s main supporters and she has been in my life since I remember. Always encouraging me to reach one more star, take one step further and follow my dreams, no matter what others said.

She was totally eligible to say and do so. Here’s why.

She’s retired now and used to be a medical doctor of stomatology. She finished faculty od stomatology in Slovenia, then moved to a foreign country (Italy) and had to start over, as back then, her Slovenian degree didn’t count, even though she had all the knowledge she needed (today thanks to the Bologna system, this is no longer an issue, at least some Bologna benefits!).

So she started over. Entered a medical faculty in Italy (general medicine). Got divorced and re-married again to someone who valued her more. While still studying, she got pregnant and had my cousin. Taking care of a baby, learning foreign language, trying to make a living and adjusting to the new environment, forced her to dedicate the nights to her studies. Long nights with loads of coffee and cigarettes, she says.

After graduating, she tried to learn as much as she could in as many best places she could find. Eventually, this got her to open her own practice. That was only the beginning. She collected all her strengths as well as resources and arranged an internship with one of the best doctors in the United States. There she’s learned a new technique and was among the first, who introduced the dental implants to Italy. Apart from that, she regularly visited various conferences and trainings. I remember as I was 11 and we were skiing together, she would teach me how to ski (I was a hopeless pupil), then as we came home she cooked dinner for all of us (there were at least 5 hungry people) and as we were chatting or went to bed, she returned to her books. I still hold a picture of her holding a marker pen and working late into the night.

When I left the National theater, because I was sick, she picked me up by encouraging me to go to the university even though my first attempt was not successful. She called me as I won my Prešeren’s prize for my final thesis and congratulated the first. She was on skype as I was abroad.

Back to her. Imagine, you’ve spent so many years studying and after finishing one very difficult faculty, you find the motivation to start all over? Imagine you’ve managed to be the top of the best doctors in one of the biggest cities of Italy and yet still you never rest on your past successes? Imagine you live your life in continuous growth and improvement and somehow you never lose track even though you are all alone and everybody depends on you? That was her. She was the big leader, the strongest, the smartest and most persistent. With the downside that she was not allowed to fail, to feel down or to be fragile. We were. She was not, because if we would lose her, we would have no one to turn to. So she had to stand tall.

Now the best part. When she was 17, she had to leave the love of her life. Then life happened. After 40 years they accidentally found each other again. Today they are a very happy loving couple, full of life and joy. Up until today she had faith. Faith into knowledge. Faith into love. She is a lifelong seeker. A lifelong warrior. A lifelong believer that she can do better. And she always did the best. The second great person that I proudly call my relative. And selfishly I imagine that I might be somewhat, at least tiny bit lucky to share some of her passion to learn. And to never stop making wishes.

What to say to a new-born

Dear reader,

you haven’t heard from me for a while. If you browse the blog’s pages, you might have figured out the reason why yourself. If not, I’ll tell you now.

Ribalon has been born. First Slovenian Solution Focused Institute. I’m sure you’re not surprised, because I told you in the past posts that something similar is coming up. Well I AM surprised, because I can’t believe how I managed that. And yet it’s here, conceived with help of many many wonderful people which I’m dedicating this post to:

– C.I. It’s one year now since I first met you in London. You encouraged and pushed me to practice what I’ve learned as soon as I returned home. You gave me tips about preparing my first workshops. You helped me with proposals for the research funds. You were always there when I needed you, replying to my doubts about whether I’m going in the right direction, answering my questions about SFBT, spending a day with me in the EBTA conference afternoon … and finally you agreed to be Ribalon’s consulting body. Many say you are one of the best SFBT therapists in the world. I think so too. But I find it hard to believe that you’ve decided to dedicate so much of your time to me.

– SFBTA. I can’t even list all the wonderful people who have prepared me such a warm welcome in America. Thank you for the opportunity to visit you, participate on training and conference and to stay in touch. Ribalon is the result from it.

– EBTA. The national representative’s members, who invited me to join even though it was only me (100% Slovenian presence ha). The research committee who pointed me to a direction I can explore further. Thank you J. W. for your prompt replies and your willingness to help Ribalon to be born and for your future help for it to learn to stand up.

– SOL CEE. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. I love you guys.

– M. M. from Italy. Thank you for your peer coaching just before the Ribalon’s opening.

– R. F. from Canada. I’m still embarrassed because I don’t know how to properly thank you for your efforts in making it easier for me to obtain the top SFBT literature.

– E.d.J. from the Netherlands. You saw in me what I didn’t. Now I do. You were among the first who’ve set Ribalon’s foundation.

– all my fb Solution Focused friends around the world. For your best wishes you’ve sent, the support you’ve expressed. I feel close to you even though we see each other once a year.

– My faculty and university. You gave me the opportunity to try and practice. We launched Solution Focused Coaching together. Thank you for your trust and willingness to let me do what I feel that I have to do. Here’s the outcomes.

– last, but not least, my clients. First my friends, who were the first to experience SFBT. You were the ones that helped me improve. I’ve earned so much from you. And you from me. As I saw you thrive, I knew I picked the right road. All the future clients will benefit from our past work.

So dear reader, thank you for being around. For being with me on this fabulous journey. This is not the end, it’s another beginning. This blog has become a webpage http://ribalon.org. You can check what we’ve accomplished together in one year.

My dear Ribalon, you were born to lift others up. I hope I can provide you with wings you need to do so. As C. I. once said to me when I asked him what to say to a new-born, he said:

Listen and don’t follow!

Your mom.

  2013-10-29 13.47.16

Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers. ~ Anonymous

Dear reader,

some chinese predicted 2015 to be way calmer than 2014? On which planet exactly, or did I miss something here?

As I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this month, I’m in the middle of opening my own company. It’s a bureaucratic nightmare for someone who finds paperwork boring, annoying and hence complicated. At the top of all, I’ve been absorbed by the idea that I’ll lead a very difficult project on the European level and I’m very excited about it as well as it’s freaking me out. Totally freaking me out.

Sometimes I wonder whether it is really necessary to expose myself to so much trouble and such difficult tasks. Looks like I deliberately put myself through projects that are a bit above my competencies, a bit too hard, complicated, time consuming and out of my league. I strongly suspect there are some masochistic tendencies present.

A famous Soviet psychologist Vygotsky actually recommended this, by saying that a goal should be just slightly above one’s current ability. But sometimes I really ask myself whether I’m being stupid for challenging destinations, that might be out of my reach and domain.

I remember when I first got the opportunity to write an international scientific article. I’ve been invited from some conference organizers that also had their academic publisher and were interested in my topic presented at the conference. I figured why not, but then as I looked into the templates and regulations (from standards, scope, length, sources, citations to spelling and grammar checking) it suddenly looked terrifying. And it was actually, not everyone can do this. Could I?

My first response was closing all the documents and shuting my computer down for quite some time. Then as I returned (the deadline!!), I broke the instructions down into smaller parts. Managed the easy ones first. One task at a time. If it was time consuming, I didn’t stop until it was over. If it was not, I didn’t start the next one immediately, even though I could. It’s good to leave some room and let the unconsciousness  and reminiscence and do its thing. One task at a time. The beginning was the hardest, but as soon as I figured out what I wanted exactly and had a clear sense of what this article’s message was, things sorted out. Slowly. And in the end it was all coming together with remarkable speed, things started making sense, the concepts were smoothly composed into a whole that I was happy with.

So I got my first international scientific article published this January, after 3 months of writing (even though I knew the topic well) and 9 months of review process. If you ask me now, it wasn’t that difficult. But if you’d ask me the same question at the beginning, I’d say impossible.

Hmmm. Could I use some of these in the forthcoming challenges?

DSCN3330

A Word About Happiness

Dear reader,

It’s all about finding happiness, whatever that is, isn’t it? We do things to be happy; buy things that we believe would make us happy; look for relationships to find a person we could be happy with; strive to find a job with a meaning to find happiness, etc. Many times it doesn’t work. None of these forms. So what is it then?

Happiness appears to be universal, yet you get different answers to the question what it means to be happy and how to get there. Most people try at least, some even know what it looks like and how to make it last. Most of us hope we might get a clue, sometimes we get closer, sometimes well … we’re pissed.

Happiness is overrated, yet it is what it’s all about. Some call it meaning, purpose, some call it love, some call it passion or bliss. Same as in paragraph above – 100 people, 100 definitions, all right from their point of view. “To be happy” is the most common best hope I notice about my clients. Ways and shapes come different, but in the end in its core meaning, it comes down to this.

I had a client today, she said she wants to find a goal and meaning in her life. Some straightforward direction, a clear path. She’s about my age, so we are both representatives of the generation Y, which has it difficult these days (high youth unemployment, we are sometimes called “the lost generation” …). So defining a goal as our parents did, is not as effective strategy for us as it was for them. Also the meaning is different. So at the end of a lovely session, she asked why I keep doing this, trying to help other people, giving my time and efforts. For nothing.

I remembered a story I once read somewhere. Don’t remember where, in which language (have a clue might be French?), what the plot was, nothing. What I remember, is that a story was about a boy child, who came home to his mother and was really in a bad mood. He was bored and annoyed, he moaned. “Make me happy!” he shouted to his mother. She turned to him, embraced him and after a while said: “Why don’t you go help someone?”

That was the story. Well I do hope that I’ll make a living on doing this one day, but it’s not for the profit, just to enable me do what makes me “happy”. So now you know. I didn’t tell my client this, because we’ve been talking about other stuff. But this is what I would answer.

Here's to introduce my friend to you, who helped me in Brighton as I was "alone in a foreign country". Is this happiness? Well then I consider myself really lucky!

Here’s to introduce my friend to you, who helped me in Brighton as I was “alone in a foreign country”. Is this happiness? Well then I consider myself really lucky!