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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, coaching, effective communication and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free food and good movies.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

The kind of questions that can leave you speechless, make you smile and force you to grow

"Who do you feel would benefit least from your work?"

The question that coach Travis L. Wilson has kindly thrown at me, as we are talking about which kind of change I want to make, as an intercultural consultant on her way for getting certified as a coach and willing to work as a coach for diversity management, leaves me puzzled and a little bit speechless. Speechless, moi!?

Being speechless never occurred to me, if we keep out the first 18 months of me learning German after moving to Berlin without speaking (back then!) a single word of German and a (back then!) incredibly broken English that soon became an even worse Denglisch
But this would be another story, even if one with a linguistic double happy ending, and I digress. ;)

[Speechless, moi!? No way!
I do speak up if I need to. No problem there.
One of my personal issues is...
having often closed eyes in pictures. 

Pics: Me, November 2017 
at Berlin's street art museum
Urban Nation © Radoslaw Kosiada]


And suddenly, I smile, because I realize that I am in the right place and that giving myself Seth Godin's The Marketing Seminar as a Christmas present - even if I don't celebrate Christmas at all and I was just looking for a good excuse for enrolling in the workshop - has been a very good decision.

I don't know about you, but to me, if someone is asking difficult and unusual questions that stand out from the questions jam I have to hear day in and day out, questions that actually will force me to think about what I should reply, I know that I am in the right place.
Like many people, I share the belief that the quality of your ideas - and therefore of your actions and of your life - will depend on the quality of the questions you ask, both yourself and others. 
So a good question is a big present, something to be thankful for.

And oh boy, am I!
Because nobody asked such a question in a long time.
Usually, people ask "Who could get the most value out of it?" and I notice that I go on auto-pilot on that one, that I can reply without hesitating not even for a second: I am, I live, I breathe diversity, I always have. Of course, I know who could get value out of it!

But thinking about who would not benefit from it, or at least not so much?
Do you hear the crickets over there? Yes, me too. 

What do I need the question for, you could ask? Good question! (you guys learn fast ^^)
As a first assignment, I have to explain what change I am trying to make and I am sure about my mission:
Creating a different kind of awareness about diversity. 
So I reply like a very good schoolgirl that learned her lesson and did her homework:

Diversity has become a buzzword lately, and yet most people have no real clue about it.
They are not bad people, they just don’t know better and their take on diversity is well-meant.
Through my coaching, my consulting and my blogging activities, I want to change this and to shed a light and create more awareness.

And... bam! Travis' question is like a cold shower.
I am flying solo now. No safety net. No clue. No auto-pilot. Just me, and my big smile.

[The most famous smile
of the whole history of Western art, reloaded:
Mona Lisa VS Marge Simpson]

I joined  The Marketing Seminar for growing, learning and gaining insight, so I am in. And willing to take a risk. I reply:
A first guess could be: people that would use the interaction in order to reinforce their bias, but it is still just a guess.
It’s hard for me to think about someone who could not get value from it.

Overall, I was referring to diversity and the fact that most people feel compelled to talk about it because it’s a popular topic now, even if sometimes they don’t have a real clue about it.
I think that it’s not mandatory to have a clue at any cost, as long as someone doesn’t pretend to know or to get something they don’t.
It’s more about awareness, to me, because usually there’s no “right” answer for this.

A very recent example of how south things can go south:
In this unthinkable faux pas and the controversy related to it, H&M (which made also very beautiful ads, like the one by Baz Luhrmann) immediately reacted to the backlash while saying: “We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues”.

Thinking that something is important and being able to see the repercussions is not always the same.

While writing these lines I keep smiling, and I am already looking forward to the next assignments.
If you want to level up and be on top of your marketing game, be sure to check  The Marketing Seminar, and to say Hi!

Tags: Seth Godin, The Marketing Seminar, Good coaching questions, Diversity

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