Only for people with low self esteem

Dear reader,

if you are one of those who consider themselves not being self confident, not having very high self esteem and who are experiencing doubts about your skills, abilities, etc., ..

.. this post is for you. If you are fully confident you are one of the best, this post is not for you, so do not keep going.

I’m seeing enormous numbers of clients since September. Men, women, various age, different ethnical groups, social class and definitely different abilities. Before starting to work as a coach and more recently, as a therapist, I worked as a head of tutors for students with disabilities. Hence I met many students. I trained several hundreds of people in numerous groups. Let me tell you a secret.

People I met who were the most capable, special, most skilled, gifted and promising were people, whose self esteem was rather low or very low. These people were full of doubts and very often pretty insecure, quiet and shy.

Their bright minds prohibited them to see their own brilliance, which was probably the reason why others could see and recognise it.

Mass media persuade us high self esteem and self confidence is the key to success. By this we are targeting the belief that we should believe we are something special and that we can do whatever we opt to, no matter what. I think high self esteem is not the key to success and growth. Here’s why.

  • If we believe we are something special and unstoppable, but without moral values concerning the wellbeing of others, we can easily become brutal, heartless and without any internal boundaries. Some of the gangster leaders, brokers, bankers, owners of multinationals are very high in self esteem. Yet only look at what they are doing to our community.
  • Thinking we are special does not necessarily make us special. If you think you can sing, doesn’t necessarily mean you really can.
  • Being content too quickly leads to sloppiness and shallowness. If you are happy with your achievements and inputs of average quality, you are not likely to be heading down the masterpiece route.
  • Yes, it is more likely you will be noticed and yes it is more likely you will have more doors open if you are high in self esteem. Yet if that’s about it for you, people will notice soon enough. And on the long run it doesn’t pay off. You need to demonstrate some real skills then. And they do not develop through nourishing your self esteem.
  • Even if you do have the skills and are truly gifted, having high self esteem can easily drag you into the zone of comfort. This is where you stop being modest and from there you won’t be able to grow any further.

Here’s on the other hand how having low self esteem works for you:

  • You are your worst enemy and no.1 critique. If you do something that you consider good, it is probably a masterpiece.
  • People like spending time in your company, because you can actually listen and are interested in what they have to say, others than talking about yourself
  • You don’t mind being and working alone, because you do not rely on others opinion.
  • When people criticise you, you take their opinion seriously. It might paralyse you for a moment or two, but once you recover, you will improve and get better.
  • The Pareto principle is not for you. Once you go into something, you strive towards perfection. Imagine what a gem you are for the team and to your boss … Imagine having someone like you as a help. Invaluable!

The bottom line: it is much easier to climb a step up and admit to yourself that you actually deserve some of the glory when you truly worked hard for it, than to step down from the pedestal of fake successes you ascribe to yourself. So I am really concerned by this mantra of being super confident, self assured, etc. It leads us to a society of narcissistic, self-reliant individuals. And yet I’m hopeful. Because I see many people. I met and am meeting many people. Many of them are not confident, some not confident at all and have very low self esteem. And this post is a tribute to them – thank you so much for letting me be with you on your remarkable journey and for teaching me this valuable lesson I’m sharing in today’s post! You are and will make this world bright again!




May I Present to You …

A Certified Solution Focused Practitioner! I recently came back from England and brought an important paper in my pocket. My first part of solution focused training is behind me and I’m now officially fully qualified to pursue Solution Focused Practice.

The difference for me is rather minor, but it makes huge difference when I present my work and qualification to others. Clients usually don’t mind as well, they are more interested in the outcomes. However other practitioners of all kinds are VERY interested. And I think this is a good sign, they should be, because it does matter where you’ve been trained, by whom, how long and what the structure of your training was. You don’t want to be coached by someone who has only pursued a brief training on a weekend seminar, do you?

So for you dear fellow workers, who are in the helping professions and others who are interested, here’s what my training so far looked like:

Prior to entering the Solution Focused training, I was already engaged in working with students. Counselling and help has been offered through the university tutor system and I was the head of tutors for students with disabilities. I’ve been doing it for 8 years and have been granted two faculty awards for my work.

As I’ve told you in a past post, a miracle has happened and SF found me. My training at BRIEF (London, United Kingdom) has lasted from March 2014 until April 2015. Though I haven’t been in London the whole time, meanwhile I’ve participated in European Brief Therapy Association Conference 2014 in the Netherlands, Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association of America’s 2014 conference and additional training (not included in my primary training at BRIEF) and SOL CEE Conference 2015 in Hungary. And I was at home, working with my clients.

In total, so far I’ve experienced more than 150 hours of intensive training in Solution Focused Practice, about 30 hours of supervision and more than 120 hours with clients (only individual clients are included in the number, not the workshops). I’ve been really lucky to be trained or coached by the world’s famous Solution Focused Therapists and Coaches: Chris Iveson (my number one consultant and supervisor), Harvey Ratner, Evan George, dr. Peter De Jong, dr. Heather Fiske, dr. Harry Korman, dr. Janet Beavin Bavelas, Katalin Hankovszky Christiansen, Marco Matera, dr. Susanne Burgstaller, Hannes Couvreur and have sought consultation and guidance from dr. John Wheeler, dr. Mark Beyebach, Randa Fent, dr. Alasdair J. MacDonald, dr. Lance Taylor and Anne-Marie Wulf. I’m omitting the official titles other than PhD’s, because there are so many and I will probably make a mistake listing all of it. And because they made a difference to my life as people, not as doctors and specialists. What’s consisted a huge amount of my professional development was the EBTA, SFBTA and SOL World Community’s support. I had constant access to resources and immediate feedback from Solution Focused Practitioners whenever I needed one. My work has been recognized as meaningful, so the communities have enabled me to participate in training and conference in the US and in Hungary. I cannot find the right gratitude words to express what difference this has made to my professional standing, so I didn’t say it in words, but have showed it in action by opening the Ribalon Institute. All the above named and unnamed people have contributed to it.

What is coming next, is another year of extensive training for a Solution Focused Therapist and attendance in other Solution Focused events that currently I can’t tell how many will be. Anyhow, I believe I’ll be learning for life and in the end, my best teachers will be my clients. If things continue this way, you’ll be able to read about it as it happens.

It has been a long and arduous time and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

So my dear readers, proudly to present a marvellous journey that has escalated in a certificate paper. In case you’d ask.


Good and lasting results don’t come overnight. It takes time to be able to perform and produce something meaningful. Like a good porridge for example.

A Word About Modesty

Dear reader,

When I was in England, I ran across the expression “blowing your own horn/trumpet”. The phrase was used in training courses as a chance for a client to say it out loud what they were good at and what their strong points were. For many people this was an extremely difficult task.

This statement has caused me lots of troubles, as I’m confused about its helpfulness. In my experience, people who would blow their own trumpets easily and without embarrassment, often turned out to be shallow, as there wasn’t much to blow about, really. On the opposite, people who had it difficult to blow their own horns, had in fact very much they could use as a melody. For example, sometimes I read all sorts of students CV’s and as I see them live in an interview, many times it turns out there is so much bullshit written and is not actually true. Or is presented in a glorious way, where in reality is just average stuff and in my opinion not even relevant to mention. On the other hand, I know students who are really modest about their achievements and don’t see it as a “big deal”.

That’s all fine somewhat, except that the “quiet” students may be missed or overlooked because of the “loud” ones who are better at persuasion. Also, it may be unjust to have two students of each kind competing for one position. You can do the math who has better chances of winning. But to understand the two opposite spectrums, it is useful to know where you’re at.

I must confess, I’ve never been a very modest person, I had to be the best, the quickest, had to be right and so on, but at the same time I was really quiet and shy and sometimes even a true coward when it comes to expressing your opinion in front of the others or raise your voice or even just talk about what you did well when others asked. I always thought others had much more to say and I don’t. And others were right, so if I speak up, I’ll make a fool of myself. It happened so many times that I didn’t say anything, but someone else did, and he had similar ideas I did, so consequently I felt sorry for not speaking up, because it would get us where we wanted to go quicker. At first glance, you may take this as a gesture of modesty, but it’s not, It is plain raw low confidence. I realized that, because on the other hand, when I really had to do something and it was expected from me that I do it well (like lead a project, make a presentation, negotiate a meeting and so on) I sought comfort in some external factors that would grant me confidence. For example persuading myself that Mensa proved my IQ was higher than 96% of the world population (hence probaby higher than most people’s in the room as well) and I’ll be fine. That may be all right, if it wouldn’t be used to put the others in a lower position (placing myself higher, because my IQ is over 140). That’s narcissism, even though my IQ is a fact, but is used as a means of exclusion. From that superior position, I could even be rude to someone who “didn’t get” it or couldn’t do it the way I wanted them to or just didn’t understand what I was talking about. Sometimes this is very frustrating for both sides – one being angry and disappointed by the incompetence of the other and the other frustrated or rampant because he’s been treated poorly. Either or, the work cannot be done this way, nor can the knowledge be spread. Not to mention satisfaction. I wasn’t happy about that.

So how to manage blowing your own trumpet when you should and be modest about it at the same time? For me, the key was self-withdrawal. Making it less personal in terms of “what will that say about me and how will others judge me” and focusing towards “what difference will this idea/suggestion/whatever action I did, make that we could all have benefit from”. So it was about being focused towards the task, not my performance. Thus trusting my abilities in terms of having the tools at disposal for doing something and not tools to comfort my low confidence. And the shy part was replaced by curiosity. I don’t have to be loud if I don’t feel comfortable this way. But I can step out of my shell and show interest in others. That includes asking questions, sharing viewpoints, opinions, beliefs, values, etc. Again self-withdrawal. Maybe to be modest about your achievements actually means great strength in terms that others will eventually recognize it anyway and you don’t have to advertise it. If it’s there, people will notice the results, not the words. If it’s not there, the words won’t be very helpful by making an impression in a long run.

So guess blowing a trumpet is good and helpful. Very good indeed, as long as it’s used for noticing illuminating what qualities you have. Not what other’s don’t and you do, hence you’ll feel better because you are superior. I really like the statement “we’re only humans”. Mostly, this is used to pinpoint it’s all right to make mistakes. I like to add “we’re nothing less than humans”. It means we’re all in this together and no one is worth more than you are. Or less.