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!

You were born to count the stars PART 1

A Touch of sLOVEnia broadcasting internationally.

A youth exchange in an organic farm, somewhere far away from factories and shopping malls. About 25 people from all over Europe. And my very first time as a trainer in a setting as such.

Dear reader,

all you really need is not a great pair of shoes. I just came back from the above event and as I’m going through the photos and am trying to organize memories. I feel the time is right to share with you what’s up.

This youth exchange was something beyond special. It was an opportunity to stop time, unplug wifi, forget the phone charger and throw makeup into a trash. As always, at the beginning when I have a group to lead and a message to deliver, I get a bit nervous. But not this negative nervousness, but more of an excited one. I was worried whether the group members would understand the message and whether they would have it difficult adapting and simplifying their way of life for the time being at this exchange. Besides solar showers and compost toilets, there was also very strict non alcohol and drug policy as well as vegetarian food.  Not everybody is able adapt to this, yet alone to understand what to do and how to spend the time instead of browsing and tweeting. Will the group of people who don’t know most of the others and are aged between 16-25 be able to manage?

This group managed and they managed the first day already. The energy we created was so inspiring and I think they (and hope) learned soooo much in such a short period of time. For example, take an exercise: you get a certain social role assigned and you have to place yourself up the scale according to what the facilitator asks. Questions like “can you vote, are you able to bring your friends over for dinner, are your children going to be safe in the future, can you afford to buy new clothes every 3 months”, etc. etc. Each member had a different role. And as we climbed up the scale, many were left behind and some were progressing forward. In the debriefing phase we discussed about this. And people who were way in front (privileged) noticed that none of them was there because of their own efforts. Maybe it was a rich daddy’s influence, maybe a political party they belonged to or maybe they were children of successful traders. But none of them was privileged because of their own work.

It touched us deeply. As we shared the emotions in the end, a girl who was among “well off” members said, she was disappointed. And she was right. Society isn’t just. And the position we are in, has most of the time nothing to do with our work or efforts. Equal opportunities suddenly gain importance and at the same time become a vague concept.

Anyhow, this was just to illustrate about the group’s maturity.

I’m sitting in front of this stupidd screen now. And am going through what has happened in the 3 days we’ve been together. The exchange isn’t over yet, just I had to leave because I have some other obligations to fulfill. So I think right now the group is having dinner and is hopefully checking their “gossip box”. I hope they will find something nice in there.

More to follow …

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Mandala of trust, understanding, respect and love.

Good life is not just the absence of negative things

Dear reader,

I promised  you to say something about how come we are sometimes better “trained” to respond to negative than to positive feedback. Also, I promised you to introduce a possible way to unlearn old patterns and invite new ones come in.

Back in 2000, my ballet teacher told the class at the beginning of our ballet course that he follows two rules in providing feedback about our performance:

1. what we do right and well, is normal and how it should be done. Therefore he will not say it.

2. what we don’t do right, he’ll emphasize and correct so that we could improve.

After four years of training we felt like we couldn’t do anything right. Out of 18 students in the first year, only myself and another girl have completed the studies in due time. We didn’t celebrate it.

If you do receive a lot of criticism and negative feedback, you are very likely to be doing something really important and perhaps something meaningful, that only a few are willing to try. If you are coping with criticism and can handle it more or less one way or another, you have probably developed a very precious skill: resilience. Further, you might be expressing great courage if you keep going inspite of the criticism. I think this deserves a deep bow. It also demonstrates you are a fighter and survivor.

However, life is much more than that. I bet sometimes you get positive feedback as well. What do you do with it? Do you even notice it? Do you celebrate it or do you accredit less importance to it than to the negative feedback? Maybe because positive feedback is ok, but negative should be considered more seriously, so that you can improve? Close resemblance to my teacher?

Here’s an exercise: try to remember the last compliment, a positive feedback or comment you’ve received about your work. What abilities and skills did you have to demonstrate in order to receive this compliment? What did the compliment giver see in you that she/he decided to delivier it to you the way they did? Why do you think they considered bothering making a compliment or a positive feedback to you? They could do otherwise, but they didn’t. And I guess they were not forced into making this compliment, so they probably gave it freely and out of their own intention.

Going one step further: how did you respond to the feedback? Were you able to take it seriously and accept it? How did you express that? How did receiving the compliment feel inside? What might the other person who gave you the feedback notice about you as you responded? And how did they respond back?

Sometimes we might think that it is good enough not to receive negative feedback and criticism. However life is much more than just the absence of negative. Good feedback is not just the absence of negative feedback. Good feedback is about appreciation, respect, gratitude, kindness, good handshake, a shoulder to lean on, a supportive company, good health, smiling, to be loved and to be able to love. It may feel like a lot. But you deserve this. All of this. And not just sometimes. You deserve it regularly, just as much as you deserve to breathe clean air.

To conclude, here is some experiment you might want to try: you might be waiting for your next compliment and embrace it fully. And how about while waiting, you make a genuine compliment to someone? How about you use the next opportunity you meet someone that is important to you and tell them something about them that you appreciate? Try and observe the difference you will make.

As William Makepeace Thackeray said:

Never loose a chance to say a kind word.

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