Tag Archives: challenges

Getting out of the box

For a long time I’ve had the terrible habit of putting myself, and others, into boxes.  Not physical boxes, but mental boxes, boxes that carry labels.  Oh I’m just a techie.  Or, he’s just a teller at the checkout counter.  Perhaps you have done the same at some point or another in life and can relate.  Recently I became acutely aware of this rather disappointing habit.

What happens when we put ourselves, or others, into boxes?  I have come to understand that by labelling, by putting into boxes, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to get to know and understand each person, including ourselves, as individuals.  Each of us has hopes and dreams.  I believe we all have hidden and uncovered talents.  I believe that labelling ourselves, and others, puts us at a distinct disadvantage in our interpersonal relationships.  It doesn’t matter if we are applying this to the relationship we have with ourselves, or the casual encounter we have with the person at the checkout counter.

We can take this one step further.  Have you ever had somebody introduce themselves using this as the opening part of their introduction:  “I’m just a…..”  Now how’s that for a label?  “I’m just a….” do we even hear what comes next or do we subconsciously place that person into the insignificant or unimportant box?  Can we honestly say that we take the rest of the conversation with that person seriously, or do they remain in our mental box?

Perhaps it’s time we start dismantling the boxes, removing the labels along with their negative connotations, and get to know each other as people, as individuals, and see the incredible wealth of talent in each other.  We all bring something unique to the table.  I firmly believe that the only way to do this is by removing our own labels first.  To label is to hold onto pre-conceived ideas.

I recently victimised myself and sabotaged my own performance by placing myself in a box and assuming a label – I am a technical support engineer.  I fix technical issues, that’s what I do.  The challenge facing me was a training workshop for sales people.  I wore my label and lived in my box, subconsciously telling myself that I would not pass the final grading let alone excel at it.  I wore my label so stubbornly that other delegates put me into the same box with the same label.   To my surprise I got more than just a passing grade.  It surprised the course facilitators too as I had let them subconsciously accept the box I’d placed myself so firmly in.  What if I had kept a more open mind going into the workshop?  What if I had more readily embraced the opportunity to learn and grow in uncharted territory?  Instead I trapped myself and hampered my own growth.  All my own doing.

So this brings me full-circle in this article.  I start with myself.  I need to consciously step outside of any box I may want place myself in.  I need to break down those mental labels I apply to myself.  If I don’t do this I will forever hold myself back and hamper my own growth.  If I don’t stop labelling myself how can I expect others to stop?

Getting out of the box

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

The End of an Era

Today I write about something not so philosophical or perhaps profound as I have done in the past.  I write about the end of an era, the closing of a chapter in my life and, indeed, the beginning of a new one.  After twelve years I have resigned from my current place of employment.   The past twelve years have been a tremendous journey of opportunity and growth.

So why would I make this change now after such a long period of time, time that has been happy and joyful?  Sometimes in life opportunity comes knocking at your door totally unexpectedly.  Out the blue a potential new chapter in life presents itself.

Let’s take a step back here for a moment and look at some of the history behind this.  I’ve been working with email and email systems since 1994.  Essentially from the birth of email as a communication and collaboration tool in businesses.  I’m passionate about email systems, fascinated by how they work.  This passion of mine led to extensive participation in community forums – answering questions, assisting with resolving issues experienced by folk all over the globe.  I’ve written technical articles, published [amateur] training videos all in my quest to share knowledge.  Some call this my hobby, I call it my passion.

My contributions in this area appear to have been noticed.  Suddenly I get a phone call from a global company asking me to come work for them doing just this, supporting and assisting email administrators globally.  My hobby, my passion, has now turned into a new job!  I will be in a position to continue sharing knowledge whilst remaining a lifelong learner.

I’ve spent some time reading my own previous posts and realise, yet again, just how much they apply to my life – how I have prepared for this day, how I’ve prepared for new opportunities, how I can approach this massive change by starting with that first single step.

So where to from here?  We are relocating to Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in a few short weeks.  A new country, a new job, new opportunities to learn and grow.  I am excited and nervous simultaneously.  This is a huge step, a massive change.  But I remind myself of taking that first step and how I plan my journey in small stages.  So here I am walking along an untrodden path and climbing a new mountain one step at a time.

 

The end of an era

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura

 

Passion – Turning Challenges into Success

I am passionate about sharing knowledge.  I love investing in the training and development of people from all walks of life.  To see another person grow whether personally or professionally is incredibly rewarding for me.

I am blessed to work for a company that recognised this in me.  They tailor-made a position for me within their structures to afford me the opportunity to follow my passion.  As the old saying goes:  “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work another day in your life.”  I don’t have a job, I have a calling.

The challenge I face is often this role requires me to present training programmes to a wide audience and that involves public speaking.  How many of us are comfortable with public speaking, standing in front of an audience and doing a presentation?  I find it downright nerve wracking.  Performance anxiety and I are old friends.

As a youngster I attended speech therapy lessons for a few years.  I had a speech impediment to overcome.  Something I never quite mastered.  When saying the word “Rubbish” it still sounds like “Wubbish”.  The “K” sound sometimes comes out as “Kkkk…”

Added to that reading aloud is somewhat of a challenge too.  Words and letters move around and run into one another on the page.  The result – I can’t read my presentation or my notes to my audience.

So why on earth am I in a vocation that involves public speaking?  The odds seem stacked against me.  Short answer – I’m passionate about sharing knowledge.

How can one share knowledge without speaking about it?

I was determined not to let the challenges facing me stand in the way of me fulfilling my passion. I learnt to compensate and turn these challenges into my favour.  Nothing worse than sitting through a presentation where the presenter reads the slides to you.  Since I cannot do this I find my audience less bored and glassy-eyed as I actively engage with them.  To compensate for challenges in speech I slow down just a little and pronounce my words a little more carefully.  I find myself better understood.  Am I saying that I am an outstanding presenter?  Far from it.  I am, however, saying that I am fulfilling my passion.  I believe I am successfully sharing knowledge.

Every one of us face challenges in our lives.  No one is excluded from this on our journey through life.  It is what we do with the challenges we face.  We can use them as excuses for not conquering what life throws at us, or we can use them as opportunities to grow. I choose growth.

Passion is what I have.  Challenges are what I seek.  Success is what I deliver.

 

passion challenges success

 

Yours in lifelong learning,

Laura