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
Yesterday I was invited to speak on “Living and Thinking Out of the Box”, one of the foundations of Life Coaching. It is fair to say that most of us have a box or boxes that we choose to live in, retreat in, create in. It can vary from a house space, to an office space, to a mental space.
In Life Coaching, we use a lot of visualisation. I asked all the participants to take a moment and to visualise their box and to describe a feeling, in one word. Mixed reactions; “safe, happy, familiar, prison, mine, limiting, boring, peaceful, predictable, grounding, suffocating.” I then asked to describe the feeling of stepping out of the comfort zone and the reactions were also mixed; “freedom, risk, uncomfortable, adventure, inexperience, uncertainty, fear, anxiety, scary, butterflies in stomach, unknown.”
Leaving one’s comfort zone is not always easy and for some it simply is daunting and a huge challenge. Others, may not even be aware they are in a box. How many colleagues do you know who seem stagnate or stuck and have difficulties moving forward at work? How can you encourage them? Sometimes that is simply what they need, encouragement, another foundation in Life Coaching.
Five Tips to Empower Your Colleagues:
Curiosity: visualisation is a great tool to understand emotions and thoughts, become curious about their box and listen to their reactions.
Transparency: by sharing with them the big picture and goals, you provide encouragement and energy for them to take the first steps out.
Practice Risk: instead of them focusing on the outcomes, highlight their awareness of working in THIS moment, now.
Creativity: allow your colleagues to be creative and find new ways of solving problems. This will give them a sense of ownership, confidence and they will feel value.
Authenticity: set the example by doing it, not just saying it. Be yourself.
Ask yourself, what is it to be encouraging?
I have just stepped out of my comfort zone BIG TIME, by being photographed professionally and making a video for the launching of my website. I felt a sense of excitement and great vulnerability as I reached my challenge and goal.
“Do you have a make-up artist or shall we arrange one?” asked the photographer. Make-up artist??? The only time I have worn make-up, in my life, was the day of our wedding, where the photographer begged me to at least have the “bare minimum”put on – I understood the impact of the wedding photos and so I agreed to…the “bare minimum.”
This time round, my choice and perspective was to stay natural. I have defined wrinkles, my skin complexion is far from perfect and I could have used a haircut, but that is who I am and that is the impact I want to have. I have nothing to hide, plus seeing that I had another hurdle in front of me after the photo session (the video), I needed to be bien dans ma peau (feel well about myself).
Public speaking is something I am familiar with, but to speak in front of a camera is not at all. My mentors and coaches all encouraged me to make a video so that viewers can “see who you are, feel your energy and connect with you.” Practically speaking, I thought with a name like mine (full version Anna Jankovich de Jeszenice – Troubetzkoi) it may be good for viewers to hear that I do speak English with a neutral accent!
Vulnerability is a value that I have come to appreciate lately. Luckily, it is never too late to make changes in one’s life and no one is perfect. So here I am in “black and white.”
(c) 2017 Anna Jankovich, all rights reserved.