There are no rules in life. There are only roles in life

Dear reader,

my hands are shaking from excitement as I’m writing this. Finished a videoconference call with a client from Germany in the morning and she pulled the trigger for this post.

She was diagnosed with pathological shyness in the past, as she was unable develop or keep normal relationships. She lived with this diagnosis her entire teenage life and is currently in the final year of her undergraduate studies. She sought my help because she asked for a coaching conversation with someone unknown, unbiased, who is keen on student population, their concerns and problems and would help her find a way forward.

As we talked, it turned out she is thinking about moving out of her country and continuing her studies on the masters level somewhere abroad. She was struggling with her indecisiveness, her fear that she would be unable to cope with unknown people and situations, as well as feeling frightened what would happen in case she doesn’t succeed.  It was pretty much a story that takes place quite often with young people at that age. Then something beautiful happened and I’m copying a section from our conversation (with her approval). Let’s call her Anna and I leave it up to you to decide whether this girl is truly pathologically shy:

Anna: … you know, it’s like first you have to go to school. Then you have to go to university. You have to perform with top scores, otherwise you won’t feel like you’re worth anything. Be the top of your class. Lend notes to your colleagues. Go to parties you don’t like. Get a boyfriend. Have sex because it’s embarrassing if you don’t at the age of 20. Then think about your masters. Get into the top schools, because this is how you’ll get an offer in a company. I’m trapped, I don’t think I can manage all that. And I can’t tell anybody, these thoughts are not good thoughts to have. It’s embarrassing.

Biba: what would the situation you could manage look like?

Anna: I couldn’t. I never could manage. You know I was diagnosed with being antisocial. I can’t cope because of that.

Biba: and if you somehow could? Suppose you could imagine a situation where you could manage, how might that look like?

Anna (long pause): I don’t know if I get your question. It’s a fact I can’t manage.

Biba: and if you could, how would you know you are managing?

Anna: this would be a totally different situation then!

Biba: like?

Anna (again long pause): first of all I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I wouldn’t be the person I am.

Biba: what might you be?

Anna: I would be simply … enough being me, being as I am. I would do what I like to do. At the moment I don’t really think there’s much I actually like to do. I’ve even forgotten what is it that I really like!

Biba: and what do you like?

Anna: I like to read. I like to cook. I hate numbers [note: she was enrolled in a course that contained a lot of numbers]. I hate staying up late, just because my roomate does. I actually don’t even want to go to masters.

Biba: so you’re very clear about what you don’t want.

Anna: it’s quite a surprise really. I think I hate my entire life! This is not me! I’m not shy, I just don’t like to talk to people! I don’t want to be a good quiet girl anymore either!

Biba: so if you could define it brand new …?

Anna: I would love to, but I can’t … [long pause] I can’t do it because the picture that I like doesn’t fit with what I’m supposed to do right now. And it’s already too late. You know, I don’t mean to hurt anybody or cause anybody problems, nor my parents, teachers, nobody. I was always told to be a good girl and so I was. Trying to please everybody. And I thought they would like me for doing so. But it seems like I can never be enough, just being me. I will never be enough. So I have to do the masters to achieve something. Then get a decent job to earn enough money to be independent. That’s what I would like.

Biba: that’s what you would like, is this how your preferred situation might look like that you could manage?

Anna: no! That’s my current reality and it’s overwhelming! It’s like I’m choking here.

Biba: okay. So if we keep it where you are now, you get the masters, get the job that pays your bills, where do you hope this would lead to?

Anna: I don’t know. I might wake up one day and say my life was … meaningless. Even though I might achieve everything that is expected from me to achieve … Why do we do that, why do I do that, is this normal?

Biba: I think we all try to more or less fit within the rules of our society. What do you think?

Anna: Not sure. It seems like everybody I know is pretty happy with that. They like where they are and where they go. And I’m torn inside.

Biba: I meet many people that are unhappy with that.

Anna: You know what? I actually think there are no rules in life. We invented them just because everybody does it. It doesn’t mean that everybody SHOULD do it.

Biba: it doesn’t, no.

Anna: but I am afraid to do anything about it. I could probably still turn it around when I was younger. You know, before I enrolled to this stupid class. It’s too late for me now, I can’t reverse it.

Biba: imagine we would have your 15 year old and your 30 year old arguing about who is more right to be too late, what sort of arguments might they both use to convince you?

Anna: they would both have pretty strong arguments!

Biba: so what might be their strongest anti-arguments to convince you that it is the perfect time to start over?

Anna: well I could as well be 60. I could just kill myself then.

Biba: you could as well be 23 [she was currently 22].

Anna: I know. I don’t want to waste another year. I want something better, this time for me. But it scares me, you know, it really scares me, because if I do it, I won’t have any support. Nobody knows me like that, nobody is interested in what do I want. Nobody will like who I really am.

Biba: good, it is supposed to be scary! It means it is worth it.

She was perfectly right. There are no rules in life. Sure, you are born, you go to school, you find a decent job when you are 25, you find a partner, have kids by 30, get a dog by 35, buy a house and a family car, go on vacation, pay for children’s schooling, go into menopause, possibly divorce, maybe get grandchildren, retire by 65 and hopefully, have someone to grow old with. Life has a certain natural cycle, we all get older and so far no one has survived yet. But the rules of when you should do what and how were invented because the majority does it that way, not because it should be done that way. You are supposed to eat breakfast. Exercise. Not take drugs. Learn how to drive. Sleep at night. Be faithful. Be on time. Make money. Consume a lot. Park on marked places. All these are the rules that were invented and some of them indeed make most of our lives easier to manage. It is easier if you sleep at night and if you try to follow the principles of a healthy diet. But you don’t HAVE TO do it, if you found something different that works for you. Especially if you found something that is more beneficial for you and others around you.

You don’t have to force yourself to wake up early in the morning if you are more of a night type. You don’t have to get married if you don’t believe in marriage. You don’t have to do the masters or go to university just because everybody does it. You don’t have to eat bananas because they are rich in potassium, if you hate it. You don’t have to run if you prefer swimming. Also don’t have to watch the news if it doesn’t interest you. You don’t have to participate in conversations that you find meaningless or boring.

There are no rules. There are only roles and even the roles change. If you are a parent, you are in a role of a caregiver. Once your children are adults, they might become caregivers and your role will change. If you are a spouse, you are in a role of giving and receiving love and affection. If you are 60, your body probably isn’t the same as it was when you were 20. That doesn’t mean it has to hurt or that you are unable to have regular walks if you like to.

Everything is fluid. Everything constantly changes. You don’t have to be obedient in life just because you were told you should be when you were little. It might help though in certain contexts, but there is no one out there, to whom you should kneel because they are superior. Nobody is better or worse than you are. Nobody is allowed to take the leading part of your life, as this is YOUR part and YOUR life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. So don’t take the part of a victim and don’t bend down. It is your responsibility to discover what you like, what fits you and find your passion to share and express yourself in this world.

Sure, not everybody will like you because of that and you might disappoint quite some number of people. But those who will like you for who you are and how you are, will support you. Someone I love deeply said once to me that he’s been stupid nearly all of his life. And he doesn’t mind being stupid with me as well. There is nearly 9 billion people on this planet. You will find people that share similar interests and who are happy to be your kind of stupid. Even if it’s just a few, these few can support you in your authentic happiness that comes from within your true self when you find your integrity to dare being you.

DARE to be who you are and who want to be! You have nothing to loose, you might only get rid of certain clutter you don’t need in life. There are no rules, only roles, and roles change. Constantly.

Biba

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I’ve chosen my kind of people – Solution Focused community. Together we create miracles.

Unleashed Potential

Dear reader,

you haven’t heard from me for quite a while. The statistics still shows you keep coming back and I’m grateful for your patience.

After a period of stress and unbalance, I’m back, brand new and shiny. I feel energized, thrilled and powerful. In May we had our last Solution Focused Professional Training and with this act, Slovenia got her first generation of future Solution Focused practitioners. I’m so proud of them and so happy not to be alone anymore but to be a foundation and meeting point for a thriving community.

I’ve been very busy as well. In May and June I’ve hosted several workshops at the Faculty of Economics for English speaking students. I’ve also done some presentations and a workshop for a conference on advanced business approaches for business analysts. And I’ve delivered a training for experienced trainers who work in the youth field. Quite a dynamo!

Not spending much time online, I’ve been thinking of you, dear reader, as well, realizing that I somehow miss you, even though I don’t know you. Both of us, we form a community by inspiring and supporting each other mutually. I’m happy to have you and as Ribalon is thriving, I realized you play an integral part in it. So thank you very much for following this blog, for your presence, your engagement.

It has happened several times that I got messages from people saying they follow my work and are really happy to see me actually do things and make a difference. They often say how wonderful it is to see someone pursuing their dreams and really enjoying what they do.

Yes, this is truly such a privilege. To be born in a continent that is somewhat safe and has rather good estate regulations and public instititutions that care about its people. You might complain they suck, but hey, try travelling round the Globe a bit and you’ll see that what we have is far from being taken for granted. Women rights for example. Clean water. Public education. Democracy. You name it.

The second privilege is to be born with capacities that allow you to evolve and develop in what you aspire to be. You know – the things you want to do and you’re good at. Not necessarily parallel. So if you are able to do what you like to do and you are good at what you do, this is a winning combinaton! Most of the people I know have jobs they go to. Very few actually belong to the profession and call it passion.

The third, and not unimportant thing, is that you are able to do what you like and love to do, you are good in doing that and it brings you enough money so that you can live from this. Ribalon is a bit less than a year and a half old. And it is self sustainable already. Not really making profits yet, but certainly capable to take baby steps forward. And I don’t know anything about marketing, business plan, strategy, sales or entrepreneurship (not even know whether the spelling is right!). I just do my thing and I do a lot of it. I engage in conversations with people and use every opportunity to let them experience useful and meaningful conversations. People love it and they keep coming back and asking for more. And I don’t use any marketing or google adwords to make that happen.

This is a jewel, a true gem. And I feel alive and thriving! And happy to share it with you – there is enough light for all of us and it only multiplies by sharing!

Biba

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Our first Slovenian Solution Focused reunion. 

Downsize This: Offline is the New Luxury (Notes about a Simple Life)

Dear reader,

can you imagine life without your cell phone? Do you wish your day had at least 30 hours so you could manage your TO-DO lists? Are you craving for more and have many future plans of what needs to happen before you can finally be free/happy/fulfilled? Are you feeling guilty because you don’t visit fitness too often or because you don’t always eat like you are supposed to? Is your closet full of clothes yet you’ve got nothing to wear?

You are not alone in this. Most of us are facing these challenges. Especially the younger generation is overwhelmed with plans, speed and cravings. Thought you might like to join my little experiment, if you’ve reached the point where you want to make some change. During the next couple of months there will be a series of blogs titled

Downsize this: … … (Notes about a Simple Life)

You will be invited to go on a journey of downsizing and eliminating things and habits that make our lives complicated. In each blog I’ll share with you a story on a certain topic and you are welcome to add your own stories to it. Life doesn’t have to be hard, that’s the lesson I’ve already learned. But in practice, as said 3516865161 times already, there’s a huge difference between simple and easy. Downsizing and simplifying is far from easy. And yet I believe it can be done.

Throughout the following months I’ll share with you some ideas about what I might do to make my life simpler, what the effects were after trying it out and whether it has been worth it. Today I’ll start with eliminating online presence.

Internet is a great tool. So is a computer and a smart phone. About half of my clients have found me over internet and I work with people from many different continents. My online presence is therefore crucial. Further, internet enables me to be in contacts with my distant friends. That’s a great thing and I appreciate having this option. However I noticed I spend way too much time online, sometimes just clicking between Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Gmail, Outlook, Instagram, Ebay, Guardian, Academia, and many time consuming popular science articles I don’t even remember the title the next second closing the tab. I’m even beginning to notice that my attention can’t stick to more than two paragraphs. I’m not even sure I can manage to read a paper book for more than 20 minutes and not get distracted, especially when I hear a notification on my phone. Sometimes the first thing I do in the morning is checking my phone and the last thing before I go to bed. I have 5 mail accounts, two websites, two Skype accounts, a Whatsapp, Snapchat, Messenger, iMessage GTalk and even Doximity though I never use it. Not to mention that I would probably feel more naked if I left my phone at home than to forget to put my shoes on.

So I have to admit that it’s not me anymore who is in control and uses technology as a tool, but it’s become vice versa. And I don’t like it, so something has to change. It’s clutter and it’s consuming too much of my time and energy. Can somebody who works online manage to stay offline? I believe it is possible, but I’m not sure I can do it. But I’ll try.

Downsize this to:

  • two email accounts: one business and one private. Shut down gmail and other accounts and activate forward options
  • checking emails when I want to, not when they want to be read (resisting the urge, I’ll turn off the push option on my phone, but do that gradually)
  • using common software to share updates from one spot to all the social media
  • taking time for Facebook once a day and this will NOT be while I’m having a snack or a cup of tea. Turn off Facebook notifications on my phone and post updates only to Ribalon Facebook page, meaning slowly reducing the amount of info I put on my personal profile. Only accept friend request from people I call friends in real life
  • eliminating all the apps and accounts I’m not using weekly
  • working online on Skype days fully, but other days stay mostly offline. Working means working, not browsing.

Downsizing will be replaced by:

  • reading books and printed articles (or maybe on iPad if printing means waste of forrests – but iPad has to be without wifi)
  • fostering personal contacts (calling or meeting people or schedule a Skype)
  • handwriting innovative ideas, project outlines, passing thoughts that might need further investigation. I should buy a special book for this very purpose
  • learning a new language
  • playing piano more often
  • spending more time outside (even without phone)

This might sound unrealistic, however fortune favours the bold, doesn’t it?

So let’s see what I’m already doing that makes me confident I can do more?

  • I already don’t watch any TV
  • I’m using newsfeed eradicator on Facebook on my working computer, so I don’t see any newsfeeds (recommend it!)
  • I don’t pick up the phone calls if I’m in the middle of work
  • I try not to do other things while on computer, like eating or listening to radio.

I read somewhere that offline is the new luxury. Let’s see whether that’s true.

Are you on board with me? Thanks in advance for your thoughts 🙂

Biba

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Found this photo on the internet. Can’t even remember where. This definitely calls for a change (sorry I don’t know the source!)

We reached over 1,000 Facebook Likes: a Word About What Really Matters

Dear reader,

on my bday which was yesterday, our Ribalon Facebook page turned over 1,000 likes. A milestone to celebrate and a great gift! While I’m really pleased and honoured, that’s not the story I want to share with you today.

A week ago I attended an international Training for Trainers in youth field that was taking place in Estonia. We were 4 trainers sent there by Slovenian National Agency among a group of 26 people from all over Europe. The aim of the training was to strengthen our international dimension and deepen our skills through participative peer to peer learning. My expectations towards the training were rather high, because it was a training course organized by several European National Agencies and because I do strive towards working internationally and am curious to work in a team on a topic I haven’t worked before. But on this training I didn’t learn any new skills, nor did I strengthen my practice. Something else happened and I did not see it coming at all.

I trained some Estonian participants in the past and some of them have later on grown to become my friends. I told them I was coming and though our venue was far from Tallinn, though it was in the middle of the week and though I was only free for a couple of hours (but even then not alone), it was enough for one girl to come to visit me. It took her 6 hours one way to come. And yet there she was, like I remember her the last time I saw her. Her beautiful eyes and smile, a gentle and kind soul and such a warm personality. She’d recently been to India and brought me a scarf and some shells from the Indian Ocean for my birthday. She made extra efforts (she calls it pleasure) to call me yesterday and sing happy bday song for me over the phone. She says my blog posts are inspiring, but it is her who is a true inspiration. I know right now she’s blushing while reading this, so I won’t expose her any further but to say a huge thank you for having you in my life and I appreciate dearly your&our friendship.

Describing her visit has a deeper purpose. It is an essential part of my learning journey as an international trainer. During our training I’ve got to know people in our group and connect with them. With some you click more, with some less. I had two amazing roomies. With S. I learned how to make my own wallet. With P. I created new french words. With J. I played chess in the airport. With K. I designed new projects and made up a crime story. With M. and S. I had meaningful coaching conversations. On the last day, we were doing one simple nonverbal exercise. As we were moving along the room, I got an idea that I’ll say goodbye to everyone individually, because some of us were leaving earlier and might not have the chance to do it later. I looked into the first person’s eyes. Then the second one. Then a third one. Someone was wiping their eyes and I thought “oh come on, why so sensitive?” and moved on. And at some point something broke inside of me. As I was progressing to meet more and more eyes and people looking back in such a warm and supportive manner, I couldn’t proceed. I stopped and began to cry. Tears were pouring out and my roommate gave me a hug because she saw I broke. I thought I’ll calm down, but it only got more intense, these feelings of being deeply touched and a sense of joy, belonging and genuine happiness. So I withdrew and stepped aside in the corner not to disturb others. But then something beautiful happened. People I felt most connected to somehow sensed what was going on and they came to me and created a row. Shoulder by shoulder we were just standing there in silence and enjoyed our presence. There was a moment that the whole group embraced my emotion and collectivized it. We were a community. We belonged to each other. It was a community of support, love, patience, empathy, compassion. I felt so connected and close to them and was so happy to be a part of this and this was the moment I realized I don’t need 1,000 Facebook likes or any professional recommendations. Because I have so many people in my life who constitute my community or tribe, if you prefer to call it that.

Later that evening, as we got to Tallinn, we met a friend from K. and stayed with him, his girlfriend and friends in a bar. At 2 o’clock in the morning as we were getting really tired, we decided it’s time to go to this friends place. He didn’t know us, yet he invited us to come under his roof. As we arrived there, he offered us some food he cooked before and prepared us improvised beds. His appartment was very modest, yet he gave his best efforts to make us feel welcomed and comfortable. Although he was working in the morning, he took half an hour to prepare us simple, yet comfortable beds. When we said it’s not necessary to have a blanket and a pillow for only 2 hours, he said that he wants us to feel good and he’ll give his best to make it happen. I felt really important and appreciated his efforts to make our stay pleasant, despite he didn’t invite us, we just met and will probably never meet again. Then I realized this is what life is all about. To make other people feel accepted, appreciated and happy. All that really matters are other people. And I know I could do much better than I did until now. This was my learning outcome of this incredible learning journey.

I am vulnerable. I am only a human being. I don’t have superpowers. I’m not always in a good mood. I make mistakes. But I have people in my life who are completely fine with this. And I will try to give what I have to make a difference. My best efforts and intention.

This is my professional identity as an international trainer.

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A bunch of us – EU trainers, future generation. Thanks K. for taking the picture!

People don’t want to be taught, people want to be inspired!

Dear reader,

our first chapter of Slovenian Professional Solution Focused Training is behind us. Two amazing days full of joy, newly discovered passion and constructing new knowledge together.

In solution focused conversations, one of the important skills is to stay on the surface and not try to read between the lines. Because there might be nothing there actually. This is harder to do than to say, but hey, talking about solution focus is very different to doing solution focus.

People are tempted to give advice and teach others how they are supposed to live their lives. We like to offer our suggestions and share our wisdom. And what we like even more is to pressupose what’s happening in another person’s mind. And then analyze, discuss and conclude on their behalf. And be content with our so called “expertise” a tap on the shoulder and thinking “well done”, I did such a great job and helped that person immensely.

Did you?

From my experience, I hate it when people try to give me an advice I didn’t ask for (and they do it daily). I get goose bumps when people begin to explain to me what’s happening with me and why I’m feeling or thinking in a certain way. I get allergic when somebody discusses another one’s behaviour with a third person and nodding their heads as if they were true experts. Just because I don’t say anything doesn’t mean I want you to say something instead of me on my behalf. My husband told me he used to be with somebody who always interpreted for him what he was thinking, why he was or wasn’t doing something and how he should change. So what he did or what he didn’t do, why and how this was wrong. He said it was a nightmare (who wouldn’t?). However occasionally I notice I’m no better though 🙂

Staying on the surface means that you let the other person be the expert of their lives. It was never meant to be your position. We talk way too much and we think others ask for our opinion. In most cases they don’t really. There are so many people who talk about themselves all the time and think others appreciate it. They are most probably bored or annoyed. The world isn’t spinning around you and it’s not about you all the time, when you’re talking to another person.

My experience is that people don’t like to be taught. One of the worst things you could say to another person is: “I told you so” or “I knew this was gonna happen” (now let me fix you …). It’s such a pity to close the space by forcing and pushing people with your opinion and values. A pity because you don’t let the other’s resources come to the surface. So you don’t learn anything new, but merely repeat what you already know. And this is not how new knowledge is created.

These blogs I write are far away from lessons. I hope my readers perceive it more as invitations to think about their own behaviour and practice. I can only offer what I’ve learned. But I can’t teach others, because I don’t know how to teach them and also don’t want to teach them. They know how they like to be addressed, so it’s more of a self service and not a compulsory menu.

People don’t like to be taught. But we do like to get inspired by stories, by invitations to co-create, to connect, to listen to each other. To let others come to our personal space and to step into theirs. To be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say and to build on their previous wisdom. This is how ideas are born, this is how meaningful conversations happen. It takes two to have a conversation in pairs. Two listeners and two talkers. Two way conversation can’t be done if there’s only one talking and taking. Especially if he or she dares to speak in another person’s name. This is disrespectful and rude. No wonder people don’t behave the way you want them to. You’re not the one to tell them what to do. And you’re not the one to translate and interpret their thoughts. Because they know better. In fact, they are the only ones who know anything.

Told you Solution Focus was easy to learn and hard to do 🙂

Happy conversations!

Biba

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First generation of Slovenian Solution Focused People!

Your Wish is My Command – Skype meetings available for the international clients

Dear reader,

recently, I’ve been super busy with workshops and getting the programme ready for our Slovenian SF Training. I’m getting more and more requests to organise something for people outside Slovenia as well – from other bloggers, my followers, fellow coaches, potential clients, people who appreciate future focused approaches, people who want to learn soft skills, people who hold demanding positions in big organisations, people who want to change their lives, people who want to find happiness, freedom, joy, bliss, a new job, a new partner; and also people who don’t want to be where they currently are, people who are in trouble, debt, lost, miserable, depressed, hurt, abandoned, lonely, etc.

Great news for all of you: your wish is my command, so if you ask, you shall be answered. One on one sessions are from this day officially available also for international clients through Skype. Until now there has been this option available, but not regularly and as the number of requests and testimonials grew, I now have two days a week reserved for coaching and therapy sessions for international clients. All you have to do is send me an inquiry and request to Skype at info@ribalon.org with your preferred time to start working and any questions you may have. I’ll try to answer a few in advance:

Here’s a brief description of me in five words: Integrity, minimalism, simplicity, humour and professionalism. I can adjust to your language, so we can talk in English, German and Slovenian (Croatian, Serbian). Also Spanish and French might work with a little practice. You’ll let me know when it’s best for you to talk online, regardless your time zone and I will do my best to adjust to you.

Here’s an example of what a Solution Focused session might look like. I’m well trained by World’s best trainers and teachers and have more than 10 years of experience working with people, recently also organisations, who find themselves in complex situations and want an immediate way forward. I put working from my heart, compassion and care, before my professionalism (see my signature for a story on that).

Payments are made through bank transfer or on site. Your investment in return varies according to the service you choose. If your current financial situation might limit your cooperation, come to me anyway and we’ll find a solution.

I’m very much looking forward to be working with you and to meet you. It’s amazing how distance nowadays doesn’t matter anymore and how easy it’s become to meet likeminded people. Who knows – this might be just the perfect moment for you to start something big for yourself. I’m very happy to partly go through this journey with you!

Biba

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How Solution Focused Approach Changed My Life

Dear reader,

just finished a Skype session with a rather long term client (seeing her over 2 years), who likes to check in once in a while to see whether she’s still “on track”. She is also interested to learn how to use Solution Focused Approach in her own line of work, but since she’s from another continent, she won’t be able to make it to our Slovenian Solution Focused Training. By the way – hurry, early bird registrations will close tomorrow, so make sure you’ve secured your place!

She stated that the main reason she wanted to learn SF (Solution Focused) was, because she had noticed how different my life became, since I encountered this approach. And she would like to make a similar difference in and for her life. I wouldn’t pay much attention to her words personally (of course professionally yes), if it weren’t that same morning, that a friend wrote to me on Facebook how much she appreciates my work and what an inspiration I am for others, especially younger ones, who are at the beginning of their professional career paths.

Maybe I can point out some benefits on how Solution Focused approach changed me, my life and those around me. I want nothing but the best for you, so maybe you might find this useful and can make Solution Focused approach work for you as well:

  • I’m not afraid. Action kills fear. If I’m unsure into something, I do it anyway. Before I was always scared what would happen if things go wrong. I had to make sure it was a “perfect moment”. Often that moment never came and I gave up before doing anything.
  • I travel. I’ve travelled round the Globe, but not as a tourist. I travel to learn, to explore, to expand, to increase tolerance and acceptance of diversity. See the post about a fierce journey for example.
  • I’m no longer setting goals. Goals don’t work. Instead I’m looking for signs. And since that changed, I managed to put together quite some pieces of work, like the Ribalon Institute, my first international scientific article and an EU project.
  • I’m not alone. I belong to a strong international network of professionals who help me grow. I’ve got the world’s best supervisors. Amazing partners, intervision coaches and worldwide friends. I’m not scared to ask for support. And I’m not reluctant to offer some if needed.
  • I’ve learned how to say NO. Managed to say goodbye to (fortunately very few) toxic people. I don’t tolerate disrespect and oppression. Also, I don’t tolerate gossip. Have much more important things to do.
  • I can change others. Until now, probably I’ve had like 500 workshops or trainings. Sometimes my contractors say I have to deal with a conflict/uncooperative/unmotivated group/individual. Never ever have I had a problem to inspire them.
  • My work matters. I see clients who say they’ve really messed up. I’ve worked with clients thinking about suicide, clients who were struggling with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, I’ve worked with parents who had “unbearable” teenagers. I worked with many many young people who were stuck and wanted to quit. Some might say I’m not qualified to solve their problems. They are right. I’m not quailfied – but the clients are! Also, I’m not solving their problems – they are!
  • I’m genuinely happy. It’s not a state of euphory that goes up and down. It’s a constant state of integrity, joy and passion to do what I like to do, what I’m good at and what matters to others. Plus, I am surrounded by people who take my energy and give it back.
  • I want to pay it forward. This was the main call that got us into organizing this very first SLOVEnian SF training. Because I want to offer an opportunity to others to have a possible life changing experience. Who knows – sometimes a word said at a right time, can change someone’s life forever. I hope I’m spreading good words.

Though Solution Focused approach might not be responsible or triggering all of the above, I know that if I wouldn’t come accross it, my life would be a life from someone I used to be and am not anymore. People change. Be the change you want to see, Gandhi said. Wise man.

Biba

IMG_3606

Your life. Your choice.

It’s Never Too Late to have a Happy Childhood

Dear reader,

often clients and others ask me whether they will ever be able to recover from what’s happened to them in the past. Some of them have experienced severe abuse, some of them have been hurt by their parents or siblings, others have been exposed to bullying or harassment. It so often happens that when we become older, we gradually resemble our parents, whether we like it or not. We might even catch ourselves demonstrating the same behaviour that we so much hated when our mother did it, yet now we’re performing the same reaction. We are spinning in patterns we adopted long before we were aware of our own being and though at times it looks good, we fail to change or escape them.

Can it be done? Can the past stop messing up with our future? Can we take over and live our life without being stigmatized by our past and can we finally start to breathe? Or is it hopeless, because it’s in our DNA or inacessible, because we were too young to remember or it’s simply too late?

Ben Furman, a well known Solution Focused therapist wrote a book titled “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood”. It’s never too late to define yourself brand new. You are not trapped in old patterns, relationships, habits for good, always and forever ever. This doesn’t have to be. You are able to construct yourself in a different way, so that your past stops messing up with your future. In order to achieve this, it is not so important to have the right answers. It is much more important to be asking yourself the right questions. Remember: the same thinking that got you into the situation you want to escape from, is very unlikely to get you out of there. So you need new questions that will bring you to new, useful answers. And that’s mostly what we do in our coaching or therapy sessions.

If you want to learn how to ask useful questions, stay tuned. A very first Slovenian Solution Focused Training is well on its way and on this training you can learn how to ask useful questions and which questions are important to draw a different path for you or for those around you.

Good luck defininig yourself brand new!

Biba

tunis cat

It’s never too late to play and to experience joy.

 

Everybody wants to be a coach, but not for everybody

Dear reader,

I’m somehow reluctant about this post, because I can’t foresee whether it will be received well. It might be insulting to some, however I’m not really sorry for that.

So much has happened within the last couple of weeks. It started out as a common experiment that we tried in our closed fb group. The premise was not to get annoyed, no matter what happens. It was a resolution, a decision and the prospects looked promising.

I failed the next day already. Shame, for someone who proposed the whole idea. I couldn’t do it, and here’s why. I talked to a friend who works in similar field than I do. She was just about to organize some of her events and I wished her luck and lots of participants. We discussed a bit about the apathy and how people are sometimes unwilling to respond to your calls and offers. I mentioned that it happens sometimes that I get low attendance, even though it’s really cool stuff going on there. She commented I’ve got a wrong target group and actually wasn’t the first to say that. There were some colleagues who advised me to only do things for public that pays well. Free or voluntary work is no good, because people don’t value it. This is true, I suppose and they were right. But I felt really uncomfortable to “pick” the target group according to what they can afford to pay me.

I recall a situation several months ago, when I got a call from someone who wanted to hire me as a personal coach. We met once through skype, as he wasn’t from my country. To make a long story short – he was a very influential man and held a demanding position in a multinational company. He told me about his job and it turned out he was making money by selling companies in crisis. He was literally making profit out of other people’s misery. The more misery, the better, because he could buy it cheaper and make profits afterwards by selling. He was really proud of his reputation. From our work together, he wanted to be even more efficient at what he did. And my name came accross as a recommendation that my work produces effective results. I felt trapped and like a prostitute, because I’m obliged to follow the client’s hopes and help the client in whatever it is that they want to achieve. But I couldn’t work with this person, so even though I was promised the highest wage I got ever since, I couldn’t do it, because of our value dissonance.

Slovenia is currently undergoing a migration crisis as masses of immigrants from Syria enter EU. Since our country is so small, we can’t handle hordes coming in. People are scared, confused, which reflects in hatred speech, hostility, etc. Though there are many volunteers helping out, still the situation is quite chaotic. And I’ve just been there, talking to a coach colleague and we discussed how little interest sometimes people show to attend events, workshops etc. Like there was nothing else more serious to talk about.

While thinking about all this, I figured: “Hey, it’s so easy to be a “business or a life coach”, have rich clients who pay loads of money and who deal with not-life-threatening problems. It’s cosy to have clients like that. But who cares about people at the bottoms of society? Who cares about those who cannot pay, who are forgotten and viewed faulty for their situation? Like Roma people, drop-outs, junkies (word used intentionally), women who had an abortion, those who cannot find a job because they are too old or don’t have enough skills? Who cares about these?”

Are we professionals meant to share our knowledge to improve people’s lives who are already privileged and who can AFFORD to be even more priviliged? It feels like a sort of pornography to me. And it hurts me, knowing I’m no better. And it annoys me that I cannot do much to make things better. And I’m angry with humanity who has failed so many times. Today so few people care about philosophy, but so many about finance. And it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that I have no idea how to break, because I’m an integral part of it. And this sucks.

So I applied to be a volunteer in the field, working in direct contact with migrants. I’ve spent yesterday with them among other volunteers. It’s so much different than what you are told in the media. It’s not at all like “people talk” about. I loved spending time there. I loved offering help where it was needed. So I guess I will never be able to choose my target group according to current marketing and entrepreneurial standards. Because I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m just a simple human being who is lucky enough to have the knowledge and skills to help another human being achieve the change they want to see in their lives. And I can’t use this gift and opportunity just because somebody can afford to pay me. They are not for sale.

So I’ve failed not to be annoyed. And I’m not sorry.

they left

This is how everyday reality looks like for some. And all of this because they were born in a wrong place. Does that make us accountable for not caring and taking our privileges as granted?

Get over yourself: You’re Not Special

Dear reader,

I see quite some number of students in one-on-one sessions. Many of them are quite miserable, especially freshmen and fresh graduates. They have problems in decision making, with procrastination, concentration, problems with relationships, bad habits or problems related to their socio-economic situation. But most of them are quite unhappy, they feel trapped, disappointed, sometimes even bored and sick of everything. They want something big to happen in their life, they are waiting for their breakthrough and somehow nothing happens. They want to dream and achieve big, but someting goes wrong. Why does everybody have a better life than I have? Everybody travels, everybody has 500 likes on facebook, everybody has better times than I have. I hate my life, my body, my friends, nothing really matters to me, they say sometimes.

Of course most of them are doing great in sessions eventually, but before the change can happen, they need to swallow a huge piece of fact most of them did not see coming. The fact that they are not special.

It hurts knowing that you actually don’t stand out of the crowd. It hurts like hell to confess that you might actually be “just” the average. The thing is that many of these young people were brought up by permissive parenting, without borders and with self esteem boosters, which was a mantra through the last 20 or 30 years. It’s neither their fault, nor their parent’s.  It was Zeitgeist. But what happens with youngsters who were told that they were perfect?  That they were special? First, they have hard time to learn respect for others. Second, they  are waiting to be served, because that’s what they are used to. Third, eventually they grow up. And as they do, they become miserable, because the big breakthrough they were waiting for, doesn’t happen. They start getting bad grades and blame their professors. They drop out of university and they blame their parents or the school system. They don’t get jobs and they blame the employers. I’m not saying it isn’t partly on other stakeholder’s shoulders, just want to illustrate that it’s always somebody else’s fault and never theirs.

In the crowd where everybody was told to be perfect and special, suddenly there isn’t anything special about being special. Realising this hurts. So what happens is that they wait, thinking “Sure, we’re not that perfect and not everybody can be”, but secretly they think: “but I am an exception.” Sorry, sadly, you’re 99% not. No, you’re not that 1 percent.

Neither am I, or is your neighbour, a friend, your boss, our president, that popstar on youtube. Most of us are just average. And there’s nothing bad about that, because that binds us; that unites us. In the world imbued with individualism and competition it is long forgotten what collectivity looks like. This might be one tiny reminder that we’re all in this together. And that’s okay. Others are miserable too. So don’t make their life even more miserable. When you suffer, look in the eyes of others. They are suffering too. We all want to be accepted, appreciated, loved. And we all deserve this. That’s actually the slogan of our fb page. We deserve this. But we are nothing special.

So as soon as you realize the bigger picture and forget about yourself a little bit, you are awarded immensely. You are able to breathe. You no longer feel pressured to perform. No longer have to compare to others. No longer have to worry whether you’ll manage. Because you can trust that you will, somehow. You have done it before and you can do it again. Only this time without this overwhelming feeling of self-care, self confidence, self image, self pride and stupid self-help industry products and inventions.

You are great. And so are others. Stop comparing, because you’re no better than they are. Or worse. We’re in this together.

frzol

None of these beans were anything special. But together they made a perfect salad.