This photo was taken last week during our family vacation in Barcelona. We had just entered the impressive Sagrada Familia. I lead the family inside and walked directly to a side wall, so as to not stand in the middle of the crowds. Turning around, I found myself alone, as the four of them stood together near the crowds, each facing a different direction and taking their own pictures. I waved to them to come over, as to get a more panoramic view, which from my angle was stunning. No one paid attention, nor moved from their positions. Feeling a moment of frustration, I walked towards them and looked up at each of their perspectives observing details and colors that I could not see from my viewpoint. We showed and shared each other’s pictures and discussed what we liked about them. We then decided together, where to walk too next and how we would go about the tour. We all agreed and enjoyed the rest of our breathtaking visit soaking in Gaudi’s work and vision.
When we take a perspective on something, we have beliefs and opinions. A perspective is like a powerful filter that allows us to see only certain things and makes predictions based on these assumptions that belong to that perspective. If something is not part of that perspective, then it is invisible or not valid and this becomes limiting.
Ever had an email exchange with someone when you thought it was written in a good tone and the other person got upset or offended by it? Know anyone whose mindsets are so fixed that seeking solutions together seems impossible? What impact has a destructive relationship had on you due to a lack of other perspectives?
Perspectives open our eyes and minds, they put us in other people’s shoes. We are taught, among many things, to suspend judgement, to listen, to be curious and to self-manage ourselves. We work as a team, build and together move forward to reach goals. Without the ability to shift perspectives, we don’t grow and we don’t learn. Without such shifts, we remain in the status quo and can feel frustrated, bitter, stuck and lonely.
Another year begins and “new year’s resolutions” become again a topic of conversation. Some of us have a few in mind and some of us don’t bother because we already know it won’t last.
Change is never easy and as my grandfather used to say “things always work out for the better at the end”, whether the change was easy or difficult.
How about monthly resolutions? Thirty days is enough to make a change in your life, if you are consistent everyday. In fact, it may become so routine that it will be natural and part of your life.
Below are some personal development traits that I blogged about in the last year and a half, which may inspire you for your monthly resolutions.
1) Multitasking: There are 24 hours in a day to do what you want. So what do you need to do to reach this fulfilment? http://annajankovich.com/2015/01/lifecoaching-and-multitask/
2) Smile: You don’t need to be happy or cheerful to smile. You can be happy and smile for others in their lives, for an article you just read, a meal you just ate, a song you just heard, a pet you just crossed, a view, a comfortable chair, a clean desk…anything! http://annajankovich.com/2015/01/smile-you-not-on-camera/
3) Slow Down: What keeps you from slowing down and what is that risk to you? http://annajankovich.com/2015/04/can-you-slow-down/
4) Asking: Asking powerful questions is a talent like curiosity, intuition and listening. http://annajankovich.com/2015/02/asking-powerful-questions/
5) Acknowledgement: What is the impact you want to have on others? http://annajankovich.com/2015/06/the-impact-of-acknowledgement/
6) Listening: What do you need to do to be a good listener? http://annajankovich.com/2015/05/listening-prison/
7) Feedback or Feedfoward: Which do you prefer to choose? http://annajankovich.com/2015/12/feedback-or-feedforward/
8) Courage: Stepping Out Into The Unknown. http://annajankovich.com/2015/09/stepping-out-into-the-unknown/
So what are you waiting for?
Always nice to hear from followers who share their thoughts. Keep them coming at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me for weekly inspirations on https://www.facebook.com/lifecoachannajankovich/. Wishing everyone HAPPY NEW YEAR!
One evening last week, I decided to go to the Keleti train station, in Budapest, with 13 pairs of sports shoes for the migrants who were stranded outside the barricaded station heavily guarded by an army of police. What could I expect? I was feeling tense, excited, anxious and curious. Driving up to the station, the crowds were astounding.
Before coming out with my bags, I tried to scout out the Aid desk where volunteers were welcome with their supplies. There was such a mass of bodies that it was not easy to find the spot and the feeling became overwhelming. Distribution would have to be done myself. Was this a good idea? Is it safe to do this alone? Would I feel or cause any tension? The unknown was waiting.
Having walked back to the car, taken a deep breath, I hoisted my large bag over my shoulder. A group of families lying on the pavement with many children caught my attention and I asked if anyone spoke English and wanted some shoes. Their looks were skeptical. Another breath, bent down and opened my plastic bag gesturing to them that they could try them on. Within a minute, about 20 people surrounded me and together, we tried to match the correct pairs and sizes. There was no pushing, no grabbing, no yelling and as individuals found their sizes, it was all smiles and thank you.
I spoke with several of the migrants, all of whom were Syrians. They spoke good English, were kind, polite and educated. Although they were stuck at the station without any hints of what could happen next, they seemed ‘happy’ that they made it this far with their families and that the nights were ‘quiet’ without any bombings or fire shots around them. That perspective had an instant impact and again, a reminder how fortunate many of us are.
Without stepping out into the unknown, I would have continued to read or hear about the migrant’s challenges. I would have stayed with my assumptions, focused on my own perspectives, wondered who these migrants really are and maybe be influenced by what others say or judge. Having taken the initiative to go to the station, to share, to communicate, to ask and to listen, my feelings were happy, proud, and grateful for the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and get clarity. Every volunteer has that same opportunity and there are hundreds of them in Budapest, who all commit more of their time to help and they should be acknowledged.
Feel free to share your own thoughts or experiences by contacting me at email@example.com
Last week was an incredibly busy week and felt like I was speeding everywhere to get things done (I even wonder if that caused my flat tire). I was making some quick decisions and taking some risks as I ticked off the boxes from my list. “Slow down,” I heard a little voice inside me say.
This Easter long weekend, my daily pace slowed down by 80% and I found myself yawning, staring into space, empty thoughts, lounging and simply enjoying being with my family in our house in the countryside. As I opened the curtains one morning, three deers grazed close by and for a few minutes, my world went into slow-motion and it was simply lovely. Actually, I then noticed that many hours during the weekend simply went into slow motion. My curiosity turned to speed and I wondered is it worth the risks, the stress, the exhaustion?
With speed and risk, we get things done, we build, we achieve, we fail and we learn. We feel the adrenaline, excitement, anxiety, confidence and fear and with this, we seem to gain even more speed and want more.
As we speed from one thing to the next, how much are we living “in the moment?” How can slowing down influence our lives, our health, our careers, our relationships and our risks? Most times, we don’t even realise how many opportunities we missed or how many people we have hurt unintentionally because we are speeding. Doing, doing, doing and what about being, being being NOW? Awareness, laughing, smiling, breathing, listening, noticing, sharing, loving, crying, smelling.
Imagine your life just 10% slower, what would that look like? Now imagine your life 50% slower.
After a long weekend, I challenge you to be “now, in the moment” for 20 minutes and watch one of my favorite TED talks by Carl Honore’s “In Praise of Slowness.” A good reminder for us all and goal to aim for.
What keeps you from slowing down and what is that risk to you?
Two weeks ago, my husband and I took the opportunity to sign up for an Indian meal cooked by a travelling Indian chef, who was in Budapest for a few days. Hmmm…looked good, something different, we are curious. We both arrived to the venue, from different locations and plunged into a very cool indoor covered courtyard with long tables, dim lights, hanging heaters and 2 long tables. The dinner was seated and we found our places across from each other surrounded by new faces. Within minutes, the first course arrived and we were each having conversations with our neighbours. We talked left of us, right, across and diagonally and everyone was asking questions. There was lots of laughter and exchanges of cards, including some business leads. A stimulating dinner.
Last week, I had another opportunity to return to the same venue with the same set-up but a Literary Dinner with two authors/journalists from Moscow invited to talk about “Where is Russia going?” Being of Russian origin and having lived and worked in Moscow for most of the 90’s, I was really looking forward to hearing their views and I did not want to miss this event at all.
The two authors began by each reading a passage from their recently published books, both on Russia and Putin. A couple of questions were asked and we were told that a moderated discussion would take place after dinner. To my surprise, they both took their seats across from me and I felt honoured to have an opportunity for a more intimate conversation before they returned to the podium.
I chose to speak English, as my neighbours on either side of me did not speak Russian. I began asking the Russians some questions, and little reaction from either. Immediately I was aware that my neighbours turned to their other neighbours. I asked again some questions and little reaction. Odd, I thought to myself. Maybe they are tired but then again, this is their job and this event was arranged through their Publisher. So once more, I engaged in conversation, shared with them that I lived in Moscow, thought I would switch into Russian, mentioned that my cousin, a well known journalist, was shot dead in Moscow in 2004…hardly a blink from them. Not a stimulating dinner.
Curiosity is what made the difference between my two dinners. The Indian dinner was filled with curious minds, questions, exchanging thoughts, laughs and sharing opinions, which lead to a fun, animated dinner. The Russian dinner was monotone, little expressions or emotions, limited questions, little reactions, which led to zero interest from any of my neighbours and discreet dismissals from the table, including myself.
How did I feel? At first disappointed as I had expectations, then frustrated that I was not getting anywhere in the conversation and finally calm, as I knew that my curiosity and I did not miss an opportunity.
Curiosity is a talent, like intuition and listening. Not everyone has that gift, however, through awareness and practice, curiosity can grow, both at home and at work.
How do you value curiosity? What impact does curiosity or lack of curiosity have on you?
(c) 2017 Anna Jankovich, all rights reserved.