At the beginning of this July, the last of a series of workshops took place at Kloster Bronnbach. All of them were part of a pilot project called Creative Complexity and brought to life by Matthias Catón, Program Director at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. During these workshops, various facilitators focused on teaching the students the kind of things that can’t be learned during class due to a lack of time, concentration and motivation. This is a short insight on what we learned during those memorable five days:
Someday, I will stop procrastinating!
Don’t we all have this one thing that we would really like to change about ourselves? For me, it is the constant procrastination. And I’m really good at it. I tell myself all sorts of things in order to make myself believe that I still have time to do it later or not at all. I’ve often heard advice like “You must really want it!” or “Just force yourself to do it!” and while those are in some way true, they paint the picture that it is just a lack of character or willpower that keeps us from improving. And I often felt bad about myself, since I apparently didn’t have enough of these traits. In the session about something that is called Immunity to Change, we questioned that point of view. Maybe we can’t get rid of a certain behavior just by trying not to do it. Instead, we have to dig much deeper and see what fears and views on how the world works stand in our way. I realized that due to the repeated experience of everything working out fine eventually, I had developed an assumption that even if I procrastinate, everything will be fine. Now I understood why, subconsciously, it made no sense for me to change! Knowing what the problem really was, I felt relieved. And I think, being at ease with yourself is the key premise to any successful relationship, not only in our personal lives but also in the workplace!
But in order to be and stay at ease with ourselves, we have to do exactly this kind of self-reflection, because understanding ourselves also helps us understanding others better. The combined abilities of Perceiving, Using, Understanding and Managing others or your own emotions are called Emotional Intelligence and can be measured. We all took that test prior to the workshop and the results were more than interesting! There were amazing discussions on how these traits have affected our lives. Stories were shared and we began to see each other as complex individuals rather than just fellow participants. I think this is exactly what is needed to build a successful team. Being able to treat your colleagues the way they want to be treated and avoid hitting soft spots is crucial and working on your Emotional Intelligence can help you achieve that.
On our last day, we talked about how to present yourself in the modern working environment. That includes social media just as much as communication skills or having a blog and a business card. Do you already have an elevator pitch? Can you describe who you are and what you want in 30 seconds? I couldn’t. And these are things you need time and concentration for that you usually don’t have.
I learned a lot in those five days, but the most important lesson is to take time for things like self-reflection, personal presentation and for evaluating your colleague’s feelings and emotions.
I recently heard that the two regions in our brains that are responsible for analytic (task positive network) and social tasks (social network) suppress each other! That means if we are too focused on managing our everyday problems or solving the analytic problem at hand, we are increasingly unable to detect other people’s emotions and make poor social decisions. Being aware of that has already helped me in many situations, because self-awareness gives us the possibility to step back and think about what we do.
After all, the two Creative Complexity workshops that I’ve participated in were two of the most salutary experiences in my life and I would love to do it again.
Thanks for reading