Use What You Have

Dear reader,

our EU project has been successfully submitted. We managed with elegance, joy and lots of Skype issues. Luckily I have quite some number of Estonian friends, so there’s hope this too will improve sometimes soon.

It was a very hard task though, especially for someone who’s never done it and is not used to “the language”, “the style”, everything in between and has no clue about “how things are (or get) done”. Hardly a day passed where I managed to do anything else but sit in front of my two laptops and iPad or sleep or cook. Besides working on this project, I had to deliver a 2-day training (with lots of pleasure of course, and yet it had to be designed brand new, which also takes time and intellectual input) and we’ve launched the registration for Slovenian first Professional Solution Focused Training for those who would like to learn the skills and enhance their practice (Slovenians do check the link, it’s well worthwhile and it is published on a brand new Slovenian website. Oh right –  managed to do that as well somehow). No wonder I even abandoned my piano.

Over the last Skype, last Friday as we (our partnership) submitted the proposal, we discussed about our future tasks and ways of moving forward. One of the partners noted, she was really pleased with our strategy, ways of how we communicated, the atmosphere and energy. That is was so straightforward what had to be done, when and how.

There was a moment of my confession: had to admit there was no strategy. I as the coordinator, had absolutely no idea how we’ll make things happen and how we’re going to put a one-year long project together in due time. Honestly, all I knew was the next step. And that somehow got us to submit the project five days before the deadline.

How could that be? Very simple: use what you have. Don’t mourn about what you don’t have (yet or still) and instead utilize what you have at your disposal. It’s much more than what it first appears. And it’s enough to get you to where you need to be – to the next step. And then to the next one. And the next one. And so on. What worked for us and what we can learn from this:

  • We are a huge partnership. This makes it very hard to coordinate, true. And also, that means endless resoruces. If you work alone, you might get there fast. But if you work together, you might get far. Utilize partner’s resources.
  • When things go wrong, it’s probably not the end yet. Things will turn out fine. Trust the process.
  • Ask for help. If somebody offers their help and you need it, go for it. If they wouldn’t want to help, they wouldn’t offer it.
  • Be a voice, not an echo. If you want good results, you have to work harder than anyone else. Your passion will be a great example for others to follow and duplicate it. But if you expect others will do their job instead of you, you won’t get excellent results. And others will notice. Yes, they will.
  • Celebrate success. No matter how small. Celebrate it together with those who contributed to it. No matter the size of their contribution.
  • When somebody doesn’t do their job, trust them they have a good reason to delay or not do it. Don’t assume anything. They probably have a good reason and they will do their job as soon as they can.
  • Go wild! Dream about your project, dare to exaggerate. Be innovative and don’t follow the mainstream. We already have enough followers. We need breakthroughs. And they don’t come packed with instruction.

This is our lesson. It’s not a recipe. You’ll find your own lesson. However you might get inspired by ours. Good luck with your projects, whatever they are!


submitted application

Submitted! Well done team!!!

The greatest ideas you’ll generate when you are alone

Dear reader,

today in a modern world it appears and is advisable that all the work should be teamwork, team-building, connections, networking etc. It is indeed precious to have a circle that supports you and that you support back, that you turn to when you need advice and that you invest into, so that the circle can prosper and grow.

However, teamwork might be somewhat overrated. To generate and develop the best ideas, you need time to be alone. If you dig into this a bit further, you’ll find solid evidence in the social psychology literature that says groupwork has limits in creativity and productiveness (or you can write to me and I’m happy to provide you with the research). It’s great to exchange ideas and to point to some possible overlooked directions, but each member has to work on her/his idea alone, at least  sometimes. Alone doesn’t equal lonely. But in order to truly concentrate, focus and develop something amazing, you need some time in stillness and quiet.

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

I’m beginning to notice that I’m being most creative during my morning runs. Even though I concentrate on running, my brain looks for connections that were not there before, explores and plays with ideas that seem appealing but utopic and I find myself smiling on the inside when the run is over. It doesn’t happen every day and even if it does it needs time to evolve and that can last the whole day or two or a week, sometimes even month. It requires reading, research, consulting with others, but the final shape, the cherry on the top, happens when I’m alone and when my mind is unleashed.

I’ve seen a client from some other faculty (I’m currently working with other faculties and students) the other day. She said she’d like to be more productive, focused and not procrastinate so much. After she told me a bit about her, I made a comment at the end of the session that she might try taking the stairs home instead of the elevator (she lives in the 7th floor). I suggested she might do this once a day and notice if there is any difference. It seemed a totally unrelated comment and honestly, I don’t know where I got the idea to propose this from and it was just a side comment, not a big concluding remark.

She came back after three weeks and said that her life had changed so much, she began to find joy and was really pleased with her ability to do something good for her every day. And the fact that she was able to do this regularly, grew her confidence in the discipline she needed for her studies. If she could do the stairs, she said, she could do the studying. It was our second and last session. I’ve read somewhere on the pinterest a quote that caught my attention and I’m happy to share it with you today as it fits very well into this post. It’s about exercise being the most underutlizied antidepressant. And also a very powerful idea-generator. Certainly works for me. Perhaps it might work for some of you too.