learn

Thanks for the learnings

Thanks for the learnings

October 20, 2020
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The bottom line:
No matter who I come across, whether a professional or a hack, there’s an opportunity to learn. Being conscious of this, and expressing gratitude for the possible learning, might help me stop judging the hacks I meet. 

I am enamored with professionals.
The way T asked me a gazillion questions during our Zoom-call the other week, question after relevant question, trying to tease out of me what it is I envision for tankespjärn. What a pro! She’s done this many times, that much is apparent, but sometimes that actually turns into a disadvantage, if it also means you go through the motions rather than actually still engage, fully, with the process.

Needless to say, T engaged fully, as the pro she is.
I was quite impressed by myself as well, able to reply to almost all of the questions, something I would only have been able to do half-assed six months ago, and basically not at all a year ago. The idea and vision I have for tankespjärn is getting clearer and clearer, that much is apparent, and a result of letting things take the time they need. The value of not rushing things is obvious to me, it’s something I truly believe in, and at the same time, it’s not always easy to live by.

However.
When I am met by someone who is supposedly a professional, a hack who doesn’t even go through the motion of pretending to do his/her work properly, cutting corners to the extent that the end result will be far from the agreed-upon, that I do not like. And even worse, I have very little patience with it. This is one of my remaining Achilles heels, where I can get very judgmental and with that, possibly a bit mean as well?!

I am not proud of that.

I do try to conduct myself in such a way that my professionalism is not compromised, biting my tongue to stop from blurting out any one of a number of thoughts running through my head…
Come on, do the work I’ve paid you to do!
Are you insane, how on earth…?
For crying out loud, snap to attention!

Instead, I clarify, when clarification is needed.
I explain, when understanding is lacking.
I point to reference documents, refer to praxis, ask for clarification, as appropriate.
Do my best, to help the process along, but inside… it’s hard not to get resentful. People who so clearly are done, spent, should not do what they do anymore. Or even don’t want to be and do what they are being and doing. As if serving the final years of a prison sentence, biding their time, before escaping, released from their responsibilities, their position, their work.

Possibly… what triggers me is my fear of becoming like that?
Or the discomfort I receive when picking up on the energy exuded?
Whatever it is, there’s both a physical and a mental rejection within me, informing me this is not a road I want to head down. Quite the opposite.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
This gives me a choice.
If I don’t find it worth doing, either I get to find something else to do, or I get to shift my approach, to find the worth of doing within me.

Easier said than done?
Sure.
But that’s life, isn’t it?
And I for one would not want a life of easy, honestly.
I want to butt up against the edges of my capacity, my capability, my comfort.

Perhaps that’s why, now and again, I come across a full-fledged professional, right after having met a hack? Both of them challenge me. Both of them have me up against the edges of my capacity, capability, comfort zone. In totally different ways, but still. I learn and grow from the experience.

What if, from now on, when I come across the pro, I say thanks for the learnings?
What if, from now on, when I come across the hack, I say thanks for the learnings?
Might that make it easier for me to refrain from the judgment? Worth a try!


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Learn as you go along

January 30, 2019
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in Tip
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Plan. Do. Check. Act.

Repeat.

Is it as simple as that?

Well. Yes.
I mean, why not? Keeping it simple is an art, and continuous improvement doesn’t have to be much harder than this.

This is called the PDCA-cycle and it is useful for many a person, organization and business. Having been around for approximately 60 years, it’s been tried and tested many a time.

A newer way to phrase it, that I find fairly similar, is in the format of the Design Thinking Process:
Empathize. Define. Ideate. Prototype. Test.

It is possible to make it even simpler though, getting it down to three steps:
Plan. Do. Evaluate.

Repeat.

Try to keep short cycle times, iterating over and over again, learning as you go along. Trying to work things out in advance, without interacting with the people you are trying to engage, you run the risk of creating something nobody is interested in. Plan – do – evaluate, and iterate, over and over again, tweaking and refining as you go along. Combine it with deep practice, and you’ve really got one serious learning curve to look forward to!

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Yes. And No.

January 15, 2019
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I’ve gotten good at saying yes.
Perhaps a bit too good at it?

I mean… it’s great fun to say Yes. And what I say Yes to are things that are thrilling, exciting, challenging and will definitely cause me to both expand and learn.

And honestly, saying No isn’t half as fun as saying Yes.
Still, of course, I say No when that’s what’s needed. If nothing else, Noes can make room for me to say a wholehearted Yes. If my calendar is completely full, saying Yes might be harder, or even impossible.

Lindy Hop, a definitive a Yes for 2019!

But… really? I m p o s s i b l e?

No. Not impossible. Wrong choice of word.
Harder is enough.

If my calendar is full, I might have to reschedule stuff, and/or say No to things I’ve already said Yes to, or… say No to things I would love to say Yes to because I have too many half-hearted yeses in my agenda.

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Advent Calendar 20 – Time and patience

December 20, 2018
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My youngest cooked dinner tonight. I had asked him and added the extra challenge that I wanted him to make a new dish, which he did. Once he was finished, and we were eating, astonished he realized a full hour had gone by.

And yes. Of course. Cooking from scratch takes time in and of itself for me as well, but I’ve practiced chopping onion way more than he has. So I told him as much, telling him that’s one of the reasons why I want him to help with cooking dinner. It will give him the necessary practice, and in time, he will get more and more skilled at it. All of it. Deciding what to cook, checking to see that all the ingredients are available, planning what do do when while cooking, and finally the joy of sitting down to eat a homecooked meal.

And yes. Of course. If I had taken over the onion-chopping chore, it would have gone a bit quicker. But that’s where patience comes in. For me. Because if I had taken over, impatient and hungry, he wouldn’t be learning, would he? Things take time. And sometimes those things take patience to endure.

Being gentle has me being patient with myself. And those around me. It’s a vital ingredient of growing, of learning. Letting time work in my favor, allowing skills to get honed. My lindy hop-dancing is another example. I attended a beginners weekend a month ago, and have since attended four social dance events, held Wednesdays in my hometown. Have signed up for the B-level class in the spring, and so look forward to it. Because I know, that with a gentle mind, time and patience, I will get better at it. I mean, I am already better than I was a month ago, because practice makes if-not-perfect, then at least better. Without the two factors of time and patience (and curiosity, a willingness to learn, to try, to learn from mistakes and many other factors of learning!) learning would not happen, as I wouldn’t be giving myself a chance to learn.

And I want to. I love learning new stuff! (You too?)


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 20 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 15 – It’s on me!

December 15, 2018
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I screwed up.

The screw up has consequences, for me as well as others, involving time, effort and money.

And it’s on me. I take full responsibility for it because I screwed up.
Of course, I could blame other people. For not being more observant. For not informing me. For whatever…

But I don’t. It’s on me.
I wasn’t observant enough. I didn’t ensure I was informed enough.
It’s. On. Me.

And guess what?
That feels good.
Taking responsibility for what I did, feels great, actually.

And it also helps me to accept what has happened. Thereby I avoid wasting my energy on banging myself over the head for what I did. Thoughts like You dumb idiot, Helena, how stupid you are? Why on earth didn’t you stop this from happening? pop into my head, sure. But why waste time and energy entertaining this and similar thoughts? Thoughts that don’t serve me or anyone else, in any way, what so ever. Because it has happened. I cannot undo it, however much I try.

I can learn from it though. Take steps to ensure it will not happen again. Cast a wider net on the screw up; perhaps my learnings from today can be utilized in other types of situations?

All in all, accepting and taking responsibility for what happened, it is the most gentle thing I can do.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 15 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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How to get good at anything!

June 25, 2017
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in Tip
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How, you ask, would it be possible to get good at a n y t h i n g in twenty hours? guitarThat’s the topic of this Good Life Project-rif with Jonathan Fields in conversation with Josh Kaufman, author of a book entitled The first 20 hours: How to learn anything… fast! 

I haven’t read the book, but so far have listened to the podcast three times, and right now, I am moving my hands off my computer keyboard and onto to my guitar, because I’ve just made myself a promise: I will practice playing my guitar for twenty minutes every day (aiming for late afternoon/evening to maximize learning while sleeping – yup, that’s what I wrote, learning while sleeping, however weird that might sound. Listen to the show and you’ll get why!) for the next two months, giving me twenty hours of practice before my guitar lessons start again in the fall.

In 2015 I ran a series on herothecoach.com with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts, mixing them up with new podcast recommendations, such as this one. 

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What my children learn watching me?

June 17, 2017
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propped up in bedToday is my birthday, and as I sit here, still propped up against the pillows in bed, getting ready for the day – which will be spent preparing for and having people over in the afternoon and evening – I come across this phrase:

”What are your children learning
as they watch you?”

I could ask them. Actually, that’s a good idea, I think I will, one day in the not too distant future.

I can also look within, and reflect upon what I wish and hope that the learn while watching me.

I hope my children learn (in no specific order)…
– to be gentle towards themselves.
– to laugh at all things possible to laugh at (and with).
– to be generous, both in spirit and with physical means that can grant relief to a fellow human.
– that it’s ok to experience all emotions possible to experience; to not be afraid of feeling whatever comes in the moment.
– to dream wildly and to do the work that will take them one step closer towards fulfilling that dream, and then another step, and another…
– to be kind in heart, helpful and openminded.
– to open their homes to those in need.
– that thoughts aren’t Truth, but rather a suggestion, that they, in each given moment, can ask How does this serve me?. And if the answer is It doesn’t, to know that they can let go of that thought, to let the next one come.
– the importance of thinking one step further – that the choices we make has implications down the line, not simply for us as individuals, but for all of us, for flora and fauna and the Earth itself.
– to enjoy life! The richness of it, the textures, smells and flavors, the vistas and thrills, the high’s and low’s of the eternal rollercoaster we call life!
– to love. Wholeheartedly. With all they’ve got.
– to dance through life, and especially, to dance with whom- och whatever comes knowing at the door.
the importance to look after ones Self, in spirit and body alike.
– to read! All the worlds available to us in the form of books is such a treasure.
– to ask questions and be forever curious.
– to be open to what wants to happen next.
– to grace life with beauty and tenderness as well as lots of hugs and kisses! You can never get too many hugs, that’s for sure.

I believe I could go on and on, listing all the things I wish my children learn from watching me; all the while knowing that I am not all of this at all times – far from it. It is my intention though, to live life wholeheartedly with these aims top of mind. And when I slip or forget, to get back on track and above all, to be gentle with myself at all times.

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book “The parents Tao Te Ching” by William Martin.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection August ’16

August 27, 2016
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In my daily Headspace meditation, this morning I heard Andy Puddicombe say, in the first out of thirty sessions on the topic of stress, that stress is wanting things to be different, from how they are right now. Little did I know that shortly thereafter I would get the perfect opportunity to practice this lesson.

Reacting. Or not. Falling into the abyss of a reactive emotion. Or not.
Anger. Irritation. Frustration.

I reacted. And fell. Deep and hard.
Made good use of the angry energy though, digging for hours on end in the front yard. But at a price.

And yeah, sure, I would have liked to have been a person, earlier today, who responded with grace and humility, rather than irritation and annoyance. I didn’t though. And as I sit here reflecting, here my second training opportunity for the day arrives, served on a silver platter.

React. Or not? Fall into the abyss of a reactive emotion. Or not?
Shame. Regret. Self-contempt.

No. This time, I gently, but firmly, bid those emotions to leave by the door that I leave open for then. And as they make their way over there – slowly, going in circles, hoping I will let up and start to engage with them despite having bid them good bye – I take the opportunity instead to reflect with a gentle perspective upon the day. On the choices I made, and the consequences those choices led to. Accepting. Fully. The outcomes that serves me – having done a really good day’s work in the front yard at the top of the list – as well as the ones that clearly doesn’t serve me – relationships bruised by me falling into the abyss, dragging others down there with me in the fall.cooling summer evening

A stressful situation? Well. I guess that’s the thing. It could be. But I don’t choose to want things to be different, from how they are right now. Because what was, is past. And I cannot turn back time, and retrace my steps, making other choices that those I did. So no, I sit here, in the cooling summer evening, accepting what is. Accepting what was. The only thing I can do, is apologize for my behavior, and learn from the happenings of the day. When a similar situation arise in the future, I might be able to make a different choice from the get-go, one with fewer non-serving outcomes. Or not. Regardless, I chose to be gentle to me. Because the opposite, being harsh and judgmental towards myself, doesn’t make life better for anyone.

This is what being gentle to me means in the month of August 2016. What does it mean to you?

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. I will be reflecting on a monthly basis on what that means to me, in the moment, and this is one of those reflections. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future reflections.

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