TLR’s moto is “Sharing, thriving, and laughing together.” That last word is a crucial part of the culture in both coworking spaces in Malaga. When I first arrived here, I didn’t understand why everybody was addressing the community as a family – I hadn’t seen that in other coworking spaces before. But the longer I am a part of TLR, the more I realize that people here really do become like a family and it’s a great inspiration. And that everyone supports each other, even in the strange times of COVID-19, is beautiful proof.
There are several monthly events organized at the TLR coworking spaces, and while all of those have now continued online, April had a welcomed addition. Challenged by the quarantine and all of the rich emotions that we have been experiencing over nearly 2 months, we looked to our community for inspiration. Naturally, there is something to learn from everyone, especially when you cowork in such a diverse, interesting, and open family as TLR’s. Yet for the event called “Inspiration Session”, 4 amazing women stepped up and decided to share their best advice and experience.
If you’re a TLR coworking family member who was not able to attend the online “Inspiration Session” or in case you’re not currently a part of the coworking, we’ve summarized the best parts of the “Inspiration Session.” Of course, “best” is always highly subjective, so if there is anything you’d like to add, any comment, question, or anything else at all you might want to communicate with us – please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are always so happy to hear from you either in the comments below or on social media.
Dedicate a bit of time to becoming a better global citizen
Brenda is a professional in intercultural training with rich experience – she’s been doing this for almost 30 years. Now she has a website, where she shares all of her knowledge, and at the “Inspiration Session” she gave us a summary.
A client of Brenda’s, who works with exchange students, was hit hard by the COVID-19 safety precautions, and while Brenda was helping them work out the problem, she got her own bit of inspiration. It made her realize that this pandemic is teaching us how interconnected we all are, one big global family, riding on the same boat. And that’s precisely why we need – to learn how to work together better. The way Brenda sees it, every country is trying to be their own little island right now, handling the pandemic differently. But if we collaborate and communicate better, not only inspiration but also tangible solutions in all directions could sprout from our mutual willingness to understand, empathize, and sympathize.
That’s how Brenda got the inspiration to formulate 3 ideas that can help you achieve a more powerful, and meaningful interactions with people from around the world:
- Learning more about cultural diversity:
We need to get beyond our cultural differences to “understand the values that we share and don’t share underneath the surface”.
- Intercultural communication:
As Brenda reminded us, language is a minuscule part of communication. We in the Western world are accustomed to placing a lot of emphasis on words, often believing that everything must be said or explained. However, many other cultures use a rich pallet of communication, which has very little to do with verbal messages. Brenda drew inspiration from the Japanese phrase for “reading the air” – respecting the value of those subtleties which are not spoken.
- Managing and understanding conflict
Brenda’s experience has taught her that intercultural conflict can be a difficult topic. And although a lucky few have been taught this as children, we all have an opportunity to learn, including through the resources on Brenda’s website.
Some of the things you can do right now?
– Challenge your perceptions and learn 3 things about another culture that you might be prejudiced towards.
– Reach out to someone from a different culture and ask them to help you understand what it is like to be in their shoes.
“One of my daughters was adopted from China and I really wanted to learn more about the country but never found materials that were captivating to me. Then, through an online platform, I found a woman in China my age who taught me so much about what it means to be Chinese. We became good friends and are in touch on a regular basis,” shared Brenda.
She also recommends the book “The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer.
Nothing happens until something moves
Where do you usually draw the most inspiration from? For me, and for many others, it is personal stories. When someone has the courage, confidence, and kindness to reveal intimate moments of their lives so that others might gain inspiration. This is what one of our most active coworking family members – Amani, who is a career coach for scientists, did during the “Inspiration Session”.
She shared with us that dancing has been a life-saver throughout her life. It all began in her childhood when she had to share a home with an abusive parent. Whenever he had one of his bad moods, Amani would find comfort in going to her room and dancing “like a maniac”, as she jokingly put it, for hours.
The impressive dancing skills that she now has are not the result of dance classes, but rather inspiration drawn from the moves of Madonna, Michael Jackson and other MTV stars at the time.
“Don’t wait for the lockdown to be over so that you can go to a party or a club. Just put on your favorite music and dance. This is a great relief for whatever emotional charge you might be experiencing at the moment,” Amani told us. And indeed, in times of change, uncertainty, when all of us are going through a roller-coaster of emotions on a daily basis, we could all use Amani’s inspiration to dance and release whatever doesn’t serve us right now.
If you are a part of the TLR coworking family, you probably already know that Amani organizes dancing classes every day at 11 AM for 30 minutes. Don’t hesitate to join!
Welcome to the magic zone!
Unless you’re a super-human who has achieved all of their big and small goal in life (in which case please get in touch and let us draw inspiration from you!), there’s probably a little habit or 10 that you’d like to change.
Mari Carmen, who is an adviser to creative and art professionals, told us that she understands how easy it is to postpone change; the path can sometimes seem long and overwhelming. But the key is to use these little situations that can become the vessel to positive change. For her, one of them was talking at the “Inspiration Session”, as it got her out of her comfort zone.
“If we look carefully, this time of crisis can be a time of opportunity. The first week I was overfilling my schedule because I was trying to go back to my comfort zone and feel safe. But I forgot an important question “Do you know how to eat an elephant?” Well of course – bite by bite. I am teaching that and I had forgotten it! We don’t have control over what’s happening but we have control over our reactions to the opportunity. And then the panic zone becomes a magic zone. So together we are going to do some magic!”
During her talk, the inspiration for magic was to focus on what we want to achieve within the next 3 months, rather than a long period, such as a year. Here’s what she suggested we try:
- Find songs you love and dance to them like a madman/woman. That’s going to help you clear your head and feel, instead of overthinking.
- Get a pen and paper.
- Imagine that 3 months of your life have already passed and ask yourself: “What are some of the small changes I made during that time to have 3 wonderful months?”
- Through this process, you will gain inspiration for goals and will discover how much depends just on you, regardless of the circumstances.
Mari Carmen left us with a quote by one of the most inspirational human beings:
Mari Carmen wrote a full blog article on her website about the self-experiment she suggested to us during the “Inspiration Session”.
No mud, no lotus – how to benefit from the lockdown?
Overthinking, in the form of ruminations, worries, replaying past events, etc. can have a hugely negative effect on our bodies, minds, and spirits. Right now, this unprecedented worldwide situation is giving us a lot of emotions to draw inspiration from, if we let ourselves learn from them.
Laura’s advice, as an experienced yoga teacher, is to start by closing your eyes, taking a few deep breaths, and experiencing how you feel. Take account of the sensations in your body and mind. Don’t fight them and try not to attach yourself to them – simply observe them as you would observe clouds in the sky.
Then she suggests that we ask ourselves a few questions:
“What have you done in the past 24 hours? Have you been keeping yourself busy, have you been chatting with friends, have you felt bored or lazy, engaged? Where do you put your energy during your days? Are you giving too much of it to news or social media?“
From that point of understanding, from inner and outer observation, we can draw inspiration for an intention that we set each morning. It could be anything at all, as long as it makes sense to us.
“You are the master of your heart, your mind, and your wisdom”, says Laura and elicits how this is a great time to contemplate our own minds. It can help us discover thought patterns, which we never noticed before, and therefore a life of more inspiration and contentment.
You can find out more about Laura and her yoga center Zena Studio Málaga here.
As difficult as it is to summarize the knowledge of extensive experience in just a few minutes, our four fabulous ladies did a great job at the “Inspiration Session” and we are very thankful for the time and effort they put into this. We hope that you too have gained something valuable from this and are excited to hear about your thoughts, inspiration, goals, worries – everything! Share with us in the comments below.