When Your Big Plans Don’t Work Out

Dear reader,

I visited Ljubljana today for a change. Had to go to the doctors for some check-up, pick up some books, buy some things, meet some people and do many other small things. I also briefly visited my faculty where I studied and where my husband works.

This faculty used to be like my home. It gave me opportunities to discover what I truly wanted to do in my life, was an umbrella of many student associations, a place where I met some very nice people. I gave it my soul, my skills, lots of my free time and my passion. It was a place I felt truly loyal to. I think I contributed a whole lot and for quite some time I viewed this institution as an integral part of my life. It was also a part of my big plan – to work there in a position for which I seemed a good fit, so that I could be in contact with students who loved me and also close to my husband. It seemed a perfect plan and a perfect life.

As I returned back home from the UK in late 2014, skilled, packed with knowledge and ready to pass it on, I was certain that my offers would be welcomed. I was wrong. I got a slap in my face, my offers were received with icy cold attitude I couldn’t have imagined in my worst nightmare. In a meeting with the dean and a couple of other people I literally had to defend myself, while my intentions were nothing but good. Some people that I considered friends turned their back upon me. I could not believe it. As the dean’s committee couldn’t reject my offer completely, they tried to turn me down by collecting some professional expert opinion. It took several months and I was on my toes all the time. Even acquired myself an expert opinion from international community (thank you EBTA!!!) but the bottom line, to make a long story short was, that the dean decided my proposal didn’t get a pass by positive expert opinion, which I later on discovered was not true. Anyhow, my “big plan” collapsed.

What to do when that happens? What to do when you spend so much of your time and place all your hopes, working on one specific goal and then you lose it all? Of course you’ll need some time to accept the fact that it won’t work out the way you imagined it. Of course if you can, you’ll probably look out for ways how you could fix what could be fixed. In my case the notice from the faculty I loved, was final, delivered to me in a cold and rude tone. So I left.

Only a few months later, this rejection turned out to be one of the best things that happened to me. I opened my own company. Started doing things on my own, outside the system, its people and procedures. It paid off. In only three years I’ve grown to be one of the international lead trainers under Erasmus+ in certain topics. I am the Queen of Solution Focused Approach in Slovenia with international reputation of teaching and practise. I get to work with whom I want under my own conditions. I can work across sectors and in different countries. In other words: I am as free as a bird and people pay me to do what I love. My work also matters: I make a difference, because people and organisations do better when I do my job well. Which makes me more than happy.

Today at the faculty, I ran across a cleaning lady who used to see me every day while I was still at the faculty. She barely recognised me. As we had a friendly relationship back then, I knew she was telling the truth when she said I look so much better and younger now than I did couple of years ago. And when I looked myself in a mirror in the bathroom I realised she was absolutely right.

Leaving this faculty was one of the best things I have ever done.

Not to get me wrong, there are still things I like about that institution and by no means want to underestimate its culture. But now I know who my friends were and who was a wolf in sheep’s skin. I also know now that I left being a winner and am so so so very grateful for whoever stabbed me in my back three or four years ago. They have done me such a big favour.

Your turn: Now think about it for yourself: have you ever had an experience when your big plan crashed? Where are you now? What would you have missed, had your plan worked out? What has your “failure” taught you – what was its gift?

The bottom line: When life gives you lemons, surely, make a lemonade. You’ve heard this one before. But I don’t believe life ever gives you lemons. It has something WAY better planned for you. All you have to do is trust it and act accordingly. In other words: manifest to recognise opportunities or create them and trust it will happen in the way that is absolutely right for you. 

Wanna learn how to manifest? I’ve done it all my life, not knowingly. Now I know how to do it so that I can create opportunities for myself. And I’d be very happy to pass this wisdom on to you. Visit this page on Facebook and express your interest.



Walking down the streets of Ljubljana – sunny on the outside and on the inside


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!




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!!!

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 …


Mandala of trust, understanding, respect and love.

A Word About Trust

Dear reader,

Is it easy to trust? Do you sometimes feel that you should and could trust someone or something, but under certain conditions, like be aware even though you trust and at the same time make your own assumptions, just in case something unexpected might happen? You know – not to be disappointed if it doesn’t work out?

Trust is simple. And because it is simple in theory, it is tremendously difficult in practice. I’ve seen several clients this week and some of them were already in their following sessions. It was only natural of course that a question of effect has come in sight. I always try to do a good job, believing if you decide to do it, do it well or if you cannot do it the best way it can be done, drop it or don’t even go there if you are not going to do it properly. Perfectionism?

Since I’m a beginner, I do not have many reference points to take refuge in, so I’m working in the dark. I have several clients whose best hopes are finding motivation and energy to finish their studies or prepare for their exams (it is currently the exam period at our university). So we do “At your best” scenarios in order to create possible context and hence add to possible behaviour patterns. I had no idea whether what we did has been useful for them, and one day, sitting in front of my laptop, I so much wished I could read/watch some similar session from experienced SF therapist so I could see if I’m moving in the right direction. It was only a brief thought and then I had other stuff to do.

Also later that day, I did some reflection and wondered whether others doing Brief Therapy encounter the same dilemmas as I do or am I just wandering in a fog, because I’m alone in this. Quietly asked for some sign that would tell me where I was and whether I’m moving or just standing. The sign came to me in a form of transcribed “At your best” session I accidentally found when browsing the internet. And another one, an interview with a well-respected therapist confirming I was not alone. The article in a book The Art of Solution Focused Therapy (2009) confirmed that others had similar or same dilemmas as I currently have and that this is part of making progress. It may sound banal, but it’s not, because I found it now, not before, and I needed it now. I realized I had to give up the struggle and all the stress fearing something might go wrong. Instead I had to let go of worries and welcome the signs, trusting they will come. And they did.

Then I remembered I’ve done this before – let go and trust. By letting go I don’t mean that you don’t have to do anything, quite the opposite, you are very active! What you let go is the worry of HOW you are going to make/do it. You trust that the path will emerge itself. And it does if you trust. I’m not sure if this can be learned, but it certainly is possible (even though I still constantly fall out of this state and begin to struggle and doubt again and again). Several years ago as my husband and I were considering getting a new car, because our old one was in its last bits of being alive. I don’t care much about cars, but I’ve always favoured Peugeot 206 (old model). I trusted this will be my dream car one day, it was just the fact. I was not bothered why and how at all. We got an orange one and didn’t even look for it very much, so I’m proudly driving my dream car now and it is indeed a really nice car. Silly I know, but let a child have some fun.

Another story, happened about one year later in 2011: I was in the last stage of writing my diploma thesis. Those of you who’ve done it know, it is hard work and takes much time and efforts. I was no different. I was writing my thesis for 9 months, and it was a fine piece of work that was later awarded with the highest prize for academic achievements at my university. But during the process of writing of course I thought it is going nowhere and it is taking forever and I just want this to be over … blabla. Then, realising I was almost there and finishing it will mean a certain breaking point in my life, as it will mean that the period of my student life will come to an end (I didn’t even think about continuing studying on doctoral level), I should reward myself with something I’ll remember for good. And since the reward will be meaningful, I should put myself together and finish my work in a way that it will justify the award. As a child I wanted to play a piano and even learned to play it myself, but my family couldn’t afford it and I refused to have the electric one, because it’s just not real sound, so I played violin, as I’ve told you before. But the dream remained, and as a child I promised myself that one day I’ll have a piano, a grand piano.

So maybe the time was right for this dream to come true. But you know, these things cost a fortune and it is really difficult to find the right one (the instrument finds you, not any instrument will do, but it has to be “yours” and has to feel like a part of you – to complete you. I trusted it will be there when I finish my thesis. How and what and when exactly was left to the process. So when the time was right we found a maestro who had it custom made for me. I can remember as if it were yesterday when I first played it, it was still in maestro’s workshop and the piano didn’t even have the cover and all. I knew he was mine the moment my fingers touched his keyboard. It has a really warm and gentle sound, I wouldn’t trade it for any other piano in the world. The thing is, by sharing these two stories I remembered I’ve trusted before and sort of miracles have happened.

Guess when you make a wish and the wish is right for you and you really want this with pure intentions, it will happen in the way that is right for you. I know this may sound like a pink fairy tale, I’m sorry for that. It may be so, but the ugly truth is, that this moments are rare and it is really difficult to let go. But it can be done. So today I trust my work that it will do good, because my intentions are pure and I’m really curious about the solutions my clients will come up with. But I have absolutely no intention to do this instead of them or to have any doubts in their abilities, because they can do it way better than anyone else.


The photo was taken on the day the piano came to us and moved in. I remember playing till 3 o’clock in that morning.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Dear reader,

Hope you are doing well. I feel really calm today. This week has been super exciting, as many imaginative plans have come down to concrete agreements.

After the movie I travelled to Germany for a week and had a conference in Stockholm, where I presented some theoretical research findings from my dissertation thesis. It was very well received. At the conference I’ve met a few wonderful new friends and I’m seeing some very soon again. Meanwhile, parallel to my journeys, I continued my research about SFBT and have done a lot of reading about it. For quite some time I’ve been thinking about how to propose what I do to my faculty and people in my environment. The idea is, while I’m still at the faculty and while I’m still learning, to run some sessions for our faculty students. My first attempt, proposing this idea to student council, was not very well received. Soon I realized it was my mistake and I didn’t propose the suggestion in a proper manner. It sounded too much like a psychological counselling, but SFBT is in fact not about that. Felt quite disappointed and down for a few days, but then again, it was only the first step and one closed doors doesn’t mean the end, perhaps there’s a window somewhere that’s opened. So I kept going – talking to people what has happened to me, what I do now and in what way we could all benefit enjoying solution focused practice.

The second step was the faculty leadership and president of our faculty tutor system. They were both pleased with the idea of Brief Coaching for the students. I talked to the student coordinators as well and they were also interested and cooperative. I also made some connections at other faculties of our university and youth syndicate. All successful. At the faculty commission for tutorship meeting (me being part of it) we discussed the idea and the members suggested I should make some contact to the head of the psychological counselling services at our faculty. Was this irony? No, but it made me realize that my first attempt was not denied because of the idea, but because of my rather poor approach.

So I improved 🙂 but was pretty nervous about the meeting. Not that my idea wasn’t good enough, but because I’m not a part of the psychological professional community. I can understand the “battle” about who counts as a competent therapist, counsellor, psychotherapist, there are also frequent arguments between psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.. (This doesn’t have much to do with our topic, but just to illustrate the situation where sometimes opposite interests meet or view each other as a thread, but in fact they could often complement each other!). However I was nervous that he might see me as a “quasi” professional and might not be willing to listen to my suggestion, same as people in my first attempt weren’t.

But he was. In fact not just that, but he briefly already knew the approach, so I didn’t have to explain much. Very soon we found common language and began to talk about possibilities and strategies in order to launch Brief Coaching in collaboration with psychological counselling in autumn. He invited me to prepare a presentation about SFBT in his class. I was flattered. I’ve never given a presentation to psychology students and my confidence was way too low for something like that. But on the other hand, I believed in my idea and more than the fear, the wish for introducing it to more people was present.

So I started putting the presentation together. Really wanted to tell as much as I can and be as persuasive as possible. Also wanted to give real examples and do some exercises, as pure presentations are often being rather boring. So I’ve put it together. Didn’t feel quite right. I wrote to C. and told him about my progress and also about the presentation. Asked him for advice on the exercises. As always, his reply was immediate, as if he knew I would need him. His comments were that I wanted too much and should not try to squeeze the whole training day into half an hour. I needed to hear that, because he was right. Also the exercises I’ve chosen were too advanced and complicated. He suggested I run only two very basic ones. In order to do my best I wanted too much…

His words (cited) were: “The most difficult part of this will be to hold yourself back from being evangelistic – trying too hard to persuade. The XX exercise is an exercise in persuasion so don’t make too much of it – for most people Coca cola has a much better taste than carrot juice – it doesn’t mean that it is a better drink!”

I went out of the house to the garden and picked some weed. Went through his words again and again. Also did the exercise “imagine you were at your best on the day of presentation”, what will be the first thing to notice? Then suddenly, I realized it’s ok. It was one of these illumination moments. Ran back into the house and turned my presentation upside down. Had a goodnight sleep afterwards.

The next day was the presentation day (yesterday). It was a group of 1st year students at MA level of psychology. A really nice group. They were collaborative and showed interest. As the exercises part came, something weird happened. I gave the instructions and described the exercise. They looked at me, quietly. I looked back, saying nothing. Felt like this lasted for ages. My mind went wild, guessing what is going on and why are they just looking at me and not doing the exercise?? Was I not clear enough? Did I say something they didn’t understand?

C. advised me to trust the process. That it will do its job. I realized it was me who was on the test, whether I could do it or not. Well, didn’t have much choice anyway, so I relaxed and trusted. At the same time I figured that the quiet was because the students were thinking about what I’ve just said. Seconds went by, nothing happened. But then, some started talking to each other, really quietly at first. And after 20 seconds the whole classroom was loud, people were smiling and were full of ideas. It was a moment of bliss. And a lesson at the same time. Trusting the process, keeping myself uninvolved and keeping the situation as simple as possible, turned out to be the keys to solution.

The professor sent me an email afterwards and thanked me for the presentation (at the end it lasted for an hour and a half, instead of half an hour). He said he liked it and the students as well. So did I. Hope you did too, reading this post. I’m off to England now looking forward to another training. Can’t wait to see what will happen next.

Again, if someone asked me to imagine what my most vivid picture for the best future hopes would look like, I’d reply that reality turned out so much better… and I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible!

A word about simplicity to conclude with. I’ve always sympathized with the idea of minimalism and the idea that less is more. This is also one of the core principles of Solution Focused Brief Therapy. By the way, this blog is designed in a very simplistic and minimalistic style and I intend to keep it like that. But I don’t know why it is often the case that to put things simple requires more work than making things complicated. Maybe it’s a mind-set thing, Da Vinci should give some nice thoughts on that (see the title) and Einstein did as well, as he said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.