More me when abroad

More me when abroad

It´s been a while since I have been working with my international colleagues and I have to admit I really miss working in different countries with different people and using different languages. To be honest my last work trip abroad was in October and it seems like forever ago to me. Even though I work in an international atmosphere every day I miss that certain feeling that I have when working abroad.

I have been thinking why I´m so keen on internationalization and meeting new people who come from different cultures and countries.  It is obvious that travelling and working abroad enables me to develop new skills, languages, cultural awareness, social skills but among those I have realized I´m more alert when abroad. I have to focus on language and different cultural habits, but that alertness takes me there what I believe is the reason why I truly love international work.

I believe when I´m working in different challenging situations I´m taken out of my comfort zone, some people find it awkward and unpleasant, especially when they have to work with another language than their own. Instead I find it rewarding and I find myself more true to myself and others. This only tells my story where I come from, why I feel this way and can´t be generalized.

I believe when I´m working out of my comfort zone I´m more likely to drawing strength and security inside of myself. I´m using basic trust that has been given to me on my early childhood. Basic trust is built in early interaction with a child and their care giver. It is an implicit trust that is optimal will happen and a person believes whatever happens will ultimately be fine. It is the confidence that reality is ultimately good, and all that exists, are by their very nature trustworthy. Basic trust gives an implicit orientation towards all circumstances and that allows people to relax and see situations as learning opportunities. Basic trust can be developed in trustful and respectful relationships. Yes, I´m thankful for my early childhood, it has had a remarkable meaning in my life. It has given me the orientation to my life. But why am I so keen on working abroad and with different languages?

When a child feels good about themselves, it sets them up for success. When you are able to carry on this feeling in your life it takes you there.

You can´t choose the family you are born into. I was born in very board-minded, accepting and international one. My mom was sent abroad when she was 16, of course her family had international connections and they had the experience that travelling and meeting other people from different cultures brought some interesting extra into their lives. My grandfather had lived abroad a great part of his adult life, before he was ready to settle down and start a family. So, I was sent abroad when I turned 16 and so was my daughter. In that age of 16 you are vulnerable, but eager to experience. This allows you to a straight and forthcoming connection to who you are, how will your basic trust take over and carry you trough out your life. I was able to have that experience that whatever will happen will ultimately be fine. I had an experience that reality was ultimately good, I could trust myself and find different circumstances trustworthy, but you must remember that this belief had been built in me already.  I could relax and see situations as learning opportunities and that way I also learned from life among new culture and language.

Later on, when I graduated from college it was obvious to me to start my career abroad and I did. I wanted to be contacted to that feeling of vulnerability and confidence at the same time. I have a feeling that when you are forced to that vulnerability you are more open to who you are, you are more you. This is the reason  I enjoy working abroad, being more me, learning more about myself. At the same time, being vulnerable and having this straight and forthcoming connection to who you are, it gives you all the information about yourself. Positive and negative. How you handle all this information is based on your reflective ability.

Reflective ability is a quintessential human capacity that is needed to be able to successfully navigate the information flood that you have inside of you, all the feelings, actions and their co-operation or disconnections. It is learnable process and can be developed through out your life.

You should ask thoughtful reflective questions from yourself to reflect on your actions. When you are merciful and compassionate towards yourself, even how odd and outrageous your actions can be, you will help yourself probe deeper to your complexity and this will encourage you to better self-reflection. Just always pause and ask, why I´m acting this way. Simple as that…

Thoughtful questions to yourself will help you move forward with focus and intent. Trough out these inner conversations you will gain confidence and become more skilled at working through tough problems without hurting yourself or people around you. You will start to spread an atmosphere that allows you among other people to grow towards more aware and better people.

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In two weeks my longing will be over. I will catch the plane and head towards Köln, Germany, to work, but most of all to be more connected to myself. I know I will have situations that I have no clue how the handle them, but I know I can trust myself. I know that whatever will happen will ultimately be fine.

Text Annele Heikkilä

Photo Lia Heikkilä

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired By a Leader

Inspired By a Leader

I have earlier written about insecure leaders. Now I think I should write about other kind of leaders and about my own experiences of being led. I have to admit I´m quite fascinated about my organizations head leader´s ideas, how he thinks that reflective  interaction requires good self-esteem. He says that we should not hide or forget ourselves under the constant hurry. If we forget ourselves there is a concern that we will loose our contact to ourselves. We become more drifting personalities thinking that if we fill our days with e-mails, social media or other stimulations that make us look busy, people will respect us and we become more valuable. Drift is a choise one does without decision and it may unleash consequences for which one doesn’t take responsibility. Drift might sound small, but once unleashed, drift is a powerful, often almost unstoppable, force. Are we too afraid to ask ourselves, how we are?

Reflection in relationship and in leadership has been described as a process that helps to turn experience into knowledge. To be able to be a reflective person who creates reflective atmosphere is not something we are born with, it is a learnable ability and it develops in discussions with other more advanced minds.

I have found that there are atleast three different kinds of leaderships: motivational, inspiring and reflecting one.

Motivational leader motivates you, pushes you to accomplish the tasks you are expected to do. But you might need motivation to be pushed, maybe you would rather be doing anything else. We can be motivated by result not the journey.

Inspiring leader instead pulls you towards something that stirs your heart and mind. Inspiring leaders know that the most effective way to enroll followers is to clearly articulate what the leaders believe in, why they exist, and where they are going.

A reflective leader supports employees to get the best out of themselves. They allows employees to ‘hear’ their own thoughts and to focus on what they say and feel, they encourag employees to a conversation that leads to brainstorming, changing ideas and growing. Reflective leaders shows the employees that they are trying to perceive the world as employees see it and that they are doing their best to understand their messages. A reflective leader is not afraid of their employee’s wisdom and knowledge vice versa they celebrate the brains that they have in their company, they also give the credit for the ones it belongs to.

We can be inspired by a person, an atmosphere, or surroundings. I think we have different ways to get inspired. When we are filled with inspiration we don´t need external motivation to move forward, we will move forward. People who are lacking clear vision often need external motivation to keep themselves moving forward. Motivation or inspiration is not enough. We also need reflection to be able to grow, learn more from ourselves and our underlying emotions and interpersonal behaviors.

I get inspired by good conversations, (Of course surroundings too, I´m aesthetician.) talks where I can feel comfortable, be visible as who I am. An atmosphere is created where collective aspiration can be set free and somebody is keen to learn from me as I´m from them. This demands trust, believing and respect. Good, respectful relationship engages me to expand my thinking, to increase knowledge of what I might be lacking.

Last week I had a good conversation with my leader. If I exaggerate a bit the main content of our conversation was that he was interested how I felt myself in my team and that I´m free to do what ever I want to. I underline exaggerating, but the message to me was clear: I´m trusted and respected. As a professional I know my limits and they were discussed, but the feeling of freedom inspires me to do my best.

The conversation had reflective point of view. It included self-observation and self-evaluation and as we know this will lead to better self-awareness and confidence. When you are invited to collect information about yourself and your way of working, and by analyzing and evaluating this information, it helps you to identify and explore your own practices and underlying beliefs. This will lead to changes and improvements in working. Reflective leading therefore means professional development which begins in a dialogue with the employee.

Tiny little things to do to get the best out of the employee, but so meaningful and so hard if you are lacking reflective ability. I´m very easygoing person, I´m easy to please and easy to lead, but it must be done in a transparent, honest way. I must be able to trust that purpose is genuine. It is known that low levels of reflective ability have been associated with insensitive and emotionally unresponsive behaviors (e.g., withdrawal, hostility, intrusiveness, and distorted perceptions of affective communication). Reflective ability is a mental process thought to be invoked in the interpretation of human action (i.e., the attribution of personal meaning and intention to others’ behavior).

I must say I have different experiences being lead. Of course I have, I started my career in 90s. One of my bosses on my way has become my dearest friend and an otherone is helping me on my career what ever I have decided to do, he supports me no matter how crazy ideas I get! That I call trusting!

I have also met leaders who have not taken responsibility of their behaviors and actions. When you are lead by a very insecure leader you also become insecure, the reflection tells you, that you are not good enough, not accepted nor trusted. Your purpose is doubted no matter how hard you try. The creativity is killed and you will start to drift, there is no energy to think other options.

Reflective ability reveals unsafe patterns and disrespectful ways of leadership. It helps individuals to understand that emotions influence interactions. Ability of thinking reflectively helps to clarify the cause and effects relations between underlying emotions and interpersonal behaviors. May be, if you are too torn, you have no courage to do anything for the situation. You either defer or give up and resign.

The more reflective and respectful a leader can be, the more reflective and respectful their employes will be. The more reflective  leaders can be the more they can learn from the employees, because they knows they can trust the employees´ reflections. Reflective leaders motivate and inspire employees´ in powerful way because it involves personal growth.

Written by Annele Heikkilä

Photos Lia Heikkilä

Dress code Confidence -What to wear in the Office

Dress code Confidence -What to wear in the Office

How you are perceived by others depends on your first impression. Dressing up helps you build your confidence. Dressing well is often a creative expression of the individual and it can also be one way to boost your confidence. In Icebath we think people dress up to respect other people.

First of all it is important that you will figure out the dress code in the office. I have noticed that in my new job the dress code is confidence with a hint of relaxed humor and academic backgroud gives the well finnished look. Even when you work in the office where the dress code in strictly business attire it is important that you reflect your individual style. How you dress effects how you perform. People tend to perform better in life when they feel that they deserve to perform better. This is important rule when you work at home. If you work with your joggers that has holes in them and your hair finds it own style among your face looks tired with some drool on your cheek, what will you expect form your performance?

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Okey, we have figured out that the company’s dress code is confidence, but how will you reach that? Respecting others is the key to find your confidence. The more you get the other people shine and to do their best the more confident you will be. You don´t need to dress in your most conservative suit, with accessories to match. You can be curios of other people and their skills and competences. You can have an open mind that gives you space to develop yourself and lets you to grow when reflected by other people. People see if you are true with yourself and wheather you are trustworthy or not. You should have a good reflective ability and be keen on evolving in that. Good reflective ability gives you a free pass to better confidence. Collecting information about yourself will help you identify and explore your own practices and underlying beliefs. This will lead to changes and improvements in your own personal growth. People who are confident and selfaware are the people you find it easy to be with. There are no hiding expectations.

What ever the dress code is, if you are able to create an atmosphere where collective aspiration can be set free and people are keen to learn from each other you have nailed it. In every office and workplace the dress code should be based on good mentalizing and reflective ability. There should be good conversations that reveals people capacity to understand themselves and others in terms of intentional mental states, such as feelings, desires, wishes, goals and attitudes. Mentalizing is a quintessential human capacity that is needed to be able to successfully navigate the social world. There should be thoughtful reflective questions that are designed to help teams at the workplaces to reflect on their practice. Using carefully chosen questions will allow people to probe for deeper complexity and encourage them to self reflection. Thoughtful questioning help people to move forward with focus and intent. Trough these kind of conversations people will gain confidence and become more skilled at working through tough problems without hurting each other or themselves. Being able to work in this kind of athmosphere the work community will develop the skills and tools to handle similar issues in the future independently. It allow us to grow towards more aware and a better persons.

No matter how casual the office is, it’s never appropriate to wear primitive defenses in interaction with other people. You always must be responsible of your own reactions among curious why you act the way you do, especially when under a lot of stress or questioned about your choices. Self-observation and self-evaluation are crucial and will lead to better self-awareness and confidence.

Make sure that people always have confident feeling when around you. Minimize sarcastic humor, it can always be miss understood. Keep rude, racist and offensive comments away. Treat people the way you wish they´ll treat you. Be always on time, because being late is a way of using power and disrespecting other people. Bring your smile with you to work, greet your colleagues and be also interested about their personal lives. Be the best version of you.

Save your cologne or perfume for the other occasions, and let your co-workers realize how freshly you want see and think. Let them enjoy how groomed you are and how eager you are to learn and develop yourself with them among the organization. Make excellent impression of you and stick to the dress code.

To boost your confidence spend a few minutes spiffing yourself in the mirrow before you leave home. Reinforces the idea that you deserve success and good treatment in your own mind. When you respect yourself, your respect others. Don’t forget the red lipstick it always makes the day, no matter how strict the dress code is!

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Written by Annele Heikkilä

Photos edited by Mikko Hankaniemi, Photo White Shirt Michael Frattaoli on Unsplash, LipstickSamuel Zeller on Unsplash

Craft your growth by changing a job – 10 reasons why people should change their jobs

Craft your growth by changing a job – 10 reasons why people should change their jobs

Challenching yourself, personal growth and crafting your growth are meaningfull topics in Ice Bath. Starting a new job is one way to craft your growth. It’s not definately most easiest one, but it can be the most effective one especially if you focus on your professional growth.

Since the topic is actual for myself I gathered 10 reasons why people should change their jobs.

1. Adrenalin. You probably never have been called an adrenaline junkie or adrenaline addict, but you might find yourself very attracted to the adrenalin rush you will get by changing your job. You don’t have to be a free fall jumper, skydiver, or another obvious type of danger-seeker to be hooked on the rush that comes from a little stress; adrenaline junkies come in much more subtle forms, even a Master of health sciences can be one. Just don’t get addicted to the feeling, addiction always harms the future.

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2. Colleagues. You will still be attached to your former colleagues, but among them you will get the new ones. I call it networking in big time.

3. They say you should change a job every 7 years. Yes I did go by the book! 7 years and 4 months and I got the urge to learn something new. It is easy to stay in your comfortzone. So easy, too easy.

 

4. You get to challenge yourself. ”If something that you’re doing doesn’t challenge you, then it doesn’t change you.” Unknown

5. You will learn new things about yourself. You have been independent leader of yourself and your work, but Oh boy it feels good that you have to have a mentor who you can follow like a duck. You get the secure feeling when you see your mentor behind their desk in the morning. A mentor doesn’t even have a clue how much they mean to you, but you will enjoy the joy inside of you. You are meaningfull to someone, they give their time to make you feel comfortble. We need that feeling. We need to have moments when we are carried, to be able to carry others when needed.

6. If you are over 40 and a woman you get to know all your fears, especially if you change the city among the work. But well hey, you do want to get familiar with the dark side of yourself!

7. Step out of your comfort zone. Jumping to an ice bath is nothing comparing to a start of a new job. After a day in a new job you might end up having a dream where you find yourself in pyjamas in your former job. It just tells you about your feelings of how bare, exposed and insecure you can be. Luckily it happened in your former job, not the new one!

8. You get to give an expression that you are cleaver and taking all in even though you don’t have no idea what they are saying. You can just look smart and nod. Maybe the only time in your life that it is acceptable.

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9. You get to meet interesting people. Is there anything more interesting than meeting new people and to be able to be reflected by them. They see you in different light.

10.  The most important thing is that you are able to grow bigger than even you knew you had the potential for. When people get familiar with you they don’t always see all the knowledge and potential that you have. They see the good things about you and knowledge that is handy for everyone, but they and you might lose the rest that you have in you.

Changing the job is not a solution for everyone to craft their growth. It is important that you find your own way to craft your personal and professional growth. Just follow your dreams and ambitions!

Written Annele Heikkilä
Photos edited by Mikko Hankaniemi

How to become more reflective teacher?

How to become more reflective teacher?

Reflective teaching means looking at what you do with your students, how you teach, why you do what you do, and thinking about if it works. It is a process of self-observation and self-evaluation and it will lead to better self-awareness and confidence. By collecting information about yourself and your way of teaching, and by analyzing and evaluating this information, it  helps you  identify and explore your own practices and underlying beliefs. This will lead to changes and improvements in teaching. Reflective teaching therefore means professional development which begins in a dialog with students and colleagues.

How to start, how to get a better picture of how you teach and interact with your students?

Invite a colleague to participate to your lesson. Or as we do, do team teaching! We have arranged different learning opportunities for students from different areas in vocational studies, for example we have mixed successfully business, media and healthcare studies.

Team teaching has been very good learning and developing opportunity for us. It has been refreshing to work with colleagues from different areas. Even though the teachable subject might have been out of our comfort zone, we have been able to focus on interaction and atmosphere, and of course we have learned from the subject!

Team teaching and envolving with your reflective ability demands trust, believing and respect between colleagues. It`s very important to create an atmosphere where collective aspiration can be set free and people are keen to learn from each other. Good, respectful relationship can engage teachers  to expand their thinking, to increase knowledge of  what they might be lacking of and to find out the best out of everyone. Envolving with reflective ability is based on loving truthful reflection and rational discourse.

Reflection that will be given needs to be gentle, kind and constructive. When you have good reflective ability you will find success in learning and improving. The truth is, when you open up yourself to a growth it makes yourself more you. The challanges you meet won´t swallow you completely, instead you have the tools to deal with them.

One of our projects that we did, supported by team teaching, was Improving Young People’s Mental Health. Sorry the video is in Finnish, but focus on the feelings!

 

Video Students from Kpedu

Written by Annele Heikkilä