I have always had a hunger for learning and growth. And I find opportunities to stretch my brain in many different places – sometimes formal learning (Royal Roads University is my favourite), often a webinar, podcast, speaker, conference, online research or white papers, etc….
But the biggest learning of my lifetime was a trip to Kazakhstan for a month-long consulting project with Hydrocarbons (now Petro Kazakhstan). The learning started the moment we (Valerie Cade Lee and I) landed in Almaty and continued as we worked in Kyzylorda. We were fortunate to be working with two Canadian ex-Pats who helped us navigate the organizational culture and the overall environment we were working in.
We learned our fears can either limit or support our growth. We were greeted by an armed guard at the passport wicket. When the young Belgian man in front of us stepped up and passed his passport through the window, he was immediately escorted by the armed guard into a side room. Tensions were high and our hearts were racing….and our fears were unfounded. We stepped out of the airport in Almaty after flying for 21 hours. It was still ‘pitch black’ outside and the pathway was lined with people yelling in a foreign language. We definitely gave a sigh of relief when we saw the ‘Hurricane Hydrocarbons’ driver and made a commitment to a positive learning adventure in that moment.
We learned that our expectations colour our experience. Our expectations of the project were clear, but we had no idea of what to expect of the people or the environment. We learned that people all over the world respond to a smile, a handshake, a kind word. The people were gracious, kind and so helpful; they made our work so much easier and enjoyable.
We learned language does not have to be a barrier. For the work we were doing, we had a translator along-side, but in the evenings and on weekends, we found if we tried to communicate, they too will try – and it worked.
We learned to ‘trust’ others. There was no public transportation or taxis. If we missed the ‘company bus’ we had to flag down a local driver and negotiate a fare to get us back to our accommodation. The first time we successfully did that, we rode in fear until we got to our destination…again unfounded. By the time the month was up, we were professional ‘negotiators’ without any fear
We learned to trust ourselves. Everything was new for us – the customs, the language, the protocols, the food, the translators, etc… However, we quickly learned that we had ‘sound judgement’ and if we just listened to our intuition and watched others around us, we would always make the right decision.
My learning journey has continued as I continue to hone my coaching and leadership skills and take on new projects and opportunities. Life is considerably more interesting and fulfilling when I can step into something new with that wonderful mix of anxiety and confidence that ‘I can do it’.
My challenge to you!
When was the last time you experienced ‘learning’ that changed your life? What are you looking forward to learning in the next short while? Here’s hoping that you plan to attend our 2nd Annual Leadership Series, this year with David Irvine speaking on The Power of Trust. If you haven’t yet registered, now is the time: hope to see you there: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/leadership-workshop-living-leading-accountably-power-of-trust-tickets-59680936287
Linda is a Professional Certified Coach, gifted at building trust, applauded for hearing what ‘is’ and a reputation to disrupt your thinking.
Call Linda today at 780.668.9481 to explore accountability by design through experiential workshops, conversation circles with your team or one-on-one coaching.
She is also proud to be part of the Living & Leading Accountably Team
Check us out at: Accountabilitybydesign.com and Leadingaccountably.com