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Three tips for HAPPY life

“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

I love this quote, and it also crystallises my thoughts from this documentary I watched last night. I really enjoy watching documentaries and yesterday I watched one called “I Am Not Your Guru” from Netflix, it’s about “Date with Destiny” seminars run by Tony Robbins. I really admire Tony and I think he is very inspirational, so I was really looking forward to this. When I started the film I was a bit sceptical, as it had lots of American hype (which doesn’t go down that well with a Finnish audience) so I wasn’t sure if it would be too much, and another thing that annoyed me a bit was his language. Why so much swearing? But to be honest, when the film started, I forgot about it quickly and in the end, it was a really powerful film and I would recommend it to you all.

The film aroused a lot of thoughts but also many questions. The most important question was about happiness. So what really makes us happy?

1. Design your own life

I believe there are still lots of people who are just taking it how it comes and not really designing their lives. Brian Tracy actually believes that only 3% have made a written plan about their lives. It might be because people have never tried it or maybe they just don’t believe that it could work.

But why not to give it a try? As there is nothing to lose. At least for me it works, so why not write down your clear goals (where do you want to get to) and how you could get there, could reading books help, maybe finding a mentor who has already achieved those things, just write them down, so simple. Some people are more visual and prefer vision boards, so printing out pictures of the things you would like to achieve and then hanging them somewhere where you can see them on a daily basis.

But it’s important to remember that it does not happen overnight. Your mind is like a muscle, you need to train it everyday. By doing these things your mind will start unconsciously working towards your goals and soon you will start noticing all the small opportunities around you that will create the steps you need to execute your plans. When you are living the life you have planned and that you have dreamed about, there is definitely a bigger chance for you to be happy.

2. How to turn your biggest challenges into superpowers?

What things have you gone through? What challenges have you experienced? How can you turn those into superpowers?

For example, I have dyslexia, which is really annoying as it slows me down when I need to read, write or for example learn a language. But that has allowed me to learn how to be more creative, like how can I learn in a different way. This has also helped me to understand that we are all different, we all have our own challenges and we just need to find a way that suits for us. I also believe that this realisation is one of the reasons I have discovered my passion towards changing the world of education.

Without the problems and challenges we have experienced we wouldn’t be who we are today. We wouldn’t be as strong or as clear about the direction we have chosen. So let’s be grateful for all those things as those problems have helped us to create superpowers that we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

3. Be grateful

We all have lots of things we should be grateful for, but we don’t often think about those things. There are many ways do this,  some people have gratitude rocks, they carry a small rock with them and every time they touch it, they will think about something they are grateful for. Personally, before I go to sleep I always think about three things that I am grateful for, it just makes me so calm and happy, a perfect way to put you in the right mood before falling asleep.

Or why not to write them down? Like I have done.

I am so grateful…

  • for having parents and a family that have always loved and cared for me unconditionally no matter what
  • to have an amazing boyfriend who teaches me everyday how to love and be loved
  • for having friends who I have always been able to share my wildest dreams, friends who have believed in me and supported me in achieving those dreams
  • for all the opportunities I have got in my life that has allowed me to grow and to shape me into who I am today and to people who have seen potential in me and supported me along the way

After thinking about all these amazing things that I am grateful for, how couldn’t I be happy? Please give them a try and let me know how they work out for you!

So what really-2

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Cultural Intelligence on leading a multicultural team

In November 2015 we organised an International Team Learning event on behalf of Team4Learning association. I was leading the project but I had an amazing project team with me who were all from different cultures, one was from Finland, another from Spain and third from UK. So what did I learn from leading a multicultural team?

Cultural Intelligence

Cultural intelligence (CQ) is a capability to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organizational cultures. People with CQ have confidence, motivation, interest and drive to adapt cross-culturally, they also understands intercultural issues and differences. They  make sense of culturally diverse experiences and they are good at planning accordingly, bu also good at changing verbal and nonverbal actions appropriately when interacting cross-culturally.

But it’s important to keep in mind that there is a risk if you try to adapt the culture too strongly. You might lose your authenticity, which again is a key for forging relationships in any culture. Like some people find it awkward, inauthentic or even resentful when trying to adapt behaviour overseas. And when you have such strong internal reactions to adapting cultural behaviour, your external performance can suffer. The negative feelings can leak into your performance and make you look awkward or unnatural and that’s something you don’t want to happen.

“Leaders who behave consistently with their own cultural values will engender more positive ratings of effectiveness than leaders who behave inconsistently with their own cultural values”

And it’s important to understand your own limits and how much you are willing to adapt, as example I am more than happy change the way I dress or how I speak, but I wouldn’t be comfortable in the situations where I would be really unequal with man just because I am a woman. As a conclusion you’ll have to break out of your comfort zone to some degree, but make sure you still retain who you are.

How far you would be comfortable to go?

My biggest learnings

I wanted to learn more about my Cultural Intelligence, so I did a Self-Assessment Questionnaire and that revealed some good development points for me, like the importance of planning and preparing on international interactions as at the moment I might be a bit too spontaneous on those situations.

One the biggest learnings for me in this project was when the Spanish member from my team told me how I could have been tougher and more demanding on my leadership. That was interesting as in North European countries like United Kingdom and Finland prefers coaching leaders and when compared to preferences from South European countries like Spain, they prefer directing leaders. I also know that my leading style is quite coaching and participative, and I involve others in decision-making, however this style is viewed as a weakness in many other countries. This is important learning for me, as when leading people from different countries I have to research for what kind of leadership they are used to and then use my cultural intelligence to find the best way to adapt to the situation.

As mentioned earlier, I could be better on strategy and planning and maybe that is some of yours challenge as well. That’s why I want to share these four questions with you, which at least I am definitely going to use when leading an international projects in future:

  • Drive: What’s your motivation for engaging with the cultural dimensions of this project?
  • Knowledge: What cultural differences will most influence this project?
  • Strategy: How will you plan in light of the cultural differences?
  • Action: How do you need to adapt your behaviour to function effectively on this project?

It’s important to remember that everyone will make mistakes when experimenting with cultural adaptation and you shouldn’t punish yourself for them. You can go long way by just signalling to others that you’re trying to learn their cultural rules and that you actually care and respect their traditions, even though you haven’t mastered them yet.

Here a little video of our International Team Learning Event:

 

References:

  • Livermore, D., Van Dyne, L., and Ang, S. (2012). Cultural Intelligence: Why every leader needs it. Intercultural Management Quarterly, 12, (2), 18-21.
  • Livermore, D. A., Ang, S., & Van Dyne, L. (2015). Leading with cultural intelligence: The Real Secret to Success. New York: AMACOM American Management Association.
  • Molinsky, A. (2013). When Crossing Cultures, Use Global Dexterity. Harvard Business Review.
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How do we really learn?

For ages people have been going to schools where teachers teach and “people learn”. World has changed a lot but the schools have not, how is that possible? Teachers use to have all the knowledge which they kindly shared to students who didn’t know that much, but nowadays we can just google and learn the same things from internet, so they are not really needed anymore or at least not for the same purpose. And even more interesting is that there is a lot of recearch about how do we actually learn and really little comes from listening the lectures.

learningpyramid

Learning Pyramid

I really love this video from Charles Jennings & Fuse about model called 70:20:10. It tells how 70% of the learning comes from experience and practise, 20% of the learning comes from networks and conversations we have with other people and only 10% of learning comes from learning formally. And from that 10% we forget 50% in one hour unless we put it into practice. Quite fascinating model I think.

But in real life there is the pressure from the education system “we have to make sure people learn”, so how can we manage that? And the answer is you can’t. It is important to realize that we can’t manage this process, we can facilitate it, support and help to make it happen, but everyone individually has to manage their own learning.

If we want to create learning organisations we have to stop pushing content at people and let the people have right recources to be able to pull the information when they really need it. That way the learning will be more effective, faster and efficient.

What if we would have schools where people could take responsibility of their own learning, coaches supporting them on their path and guiding them to set goals and make plans how to achieve them. Networks around them to help realize they don’t have to know everything, but they will learn how to find the right people and teams to work with. I really believe we can give everyone opportunity to learn this way, it might take some time, but that’s my goal and I will work hard to make that happen.