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Feeling Accepted

Have you ever felt alone in crowded place? Have you ever felt not fitting or being not welcomed in a group of people? I know that feeling way too well…

When I was one year old I almost died. Doctor made a mistake. Things happen. After I recovered, I needed to learn to eat, to walk etc again. As you can probably imagine my parents went paranoid and overprotective. For example, I did not attend kindergarten, which was something unheard that time.

Time ago I had disagreement with my brother-in-law. My statement was: do not judge people because you don’t know what you don’t know. His was: everyone is judging everyone and it is very naive to pretend that it is not happening. I know that he is right, but still, I dream of living in the world where people will be accepted and not judged by others.

When I stand before group of people, ready to give a talk, training or workshop, they expect specific behaviour from me. Everybody knows how trainer should look like, talk and walk. Some very quickly notice the difference between me and their image of me. Sometimes people are positively surprised and happy, sometimes very disappointed.

You may ask – what my childhoods trauma has to do with me as professional. The answer is – everything. Only at age of 36 I realised how much my life has been affected by incident at the beginning of my life. It shaped the way how I see the world, it shaped the way how I react on people and situations, it shaped how I build relationships with people and it made me so sensitive and vulnerable. All that I use in my daily work as a tester or as a trainer.

To be vulnerable and to live in society sometimes seams as mission impossible. I am protecting myself by wearing my scars on the inside and cool mask on the outside. I am not ready to share my story from the stage or in even in a classroom, I am so thankful that others are braver then me:

We need to share more stories like this. We need to learn not to be afraid and not to hide the scars. We need to learn to accept others with and without scars.

Two weeks ago one student came to me after the training and said: “I was worried upfront about the course, but then I saw you and immediately knew that I will make it.” And I thought – it was worth it to lift up my mask.

I Know Everything

– Hey, listen to me! I am the trainer/big name/white middle-aged man – I know everything!
– emm… no, you don’t. And neither do I.

I have arrived in phase where I know nothing, but I have enough confidence to teach others that little knowledge I have.

Since I was little I was very good middle man. I was reading a lot and used to observe things from different perspectives. Later at university my speciality was to explain something my study mates knew much better than I did, but struggled to understand some aspects of it. How can I do that? Very simple – I listen. Not just words what people say, but words which they do not say as well.

I work as a trainer not because I know everything, but because I like to help people. Training and coaching for me, in first place is about empathy.  I need to be able to connect with trainee and to understand her/his journey, to understand their challenges and problems. Only then I will be able to guide them to their next step. Not to my next step in that situation, but their next step.

My trainer moto is:

docendo discimus,

which means: by teaching, we learn.

I really learn while teaching. Listening to people and empathising with them I learn to know their stories. Based on my trainees questions, I start to explore new topics or dig deeper in domains I knew superficially. In my last training I learned a lot about Ireland – did not expect that, but wow – it was so interesting!

Lisa Crispin is excellent role model for learning attitude. She is three book author, has 20+ years of experience in agile teams, international speaker and, and, and… But I never heard another person then Lisa to say so many times phrases like: “I learned today…”, “that’s interesting!”, “I learned it from …”. Lisa helped me to understand that learning is not something what we do. Open mind to people, situations and new ideas is a mindset.

To know Lisa also showed me that it is easy to ask Lisa for a help. Because you know she will not judge you that you don’t know something. I try to use it in trainings I give. I talk about my mistakes, I say that I do not know everything, but I know material very well and I will do my best to help them to find their answers.

 

 

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