Here I am, living in a rural Serbian village, which is not the easiest thing Iíve ever done. Budapest was somewhat of an adjustment from U.S. living, but this is a whole other level. Things I took for granted in Budapest have become glaringly absent, like not having a Starbucks around the block when I need a quick fix on a challenging day.
Just a few weeks ago in the youth hostel, Will and I wondered what weíd do for dinner when our one and only hot plate blew its final fuse. Donít get me wrong, Iím very grateful thereís food in the fridge Ė but I was really hoping for a cooked meal that evening. The choices here in Stara Moravica are a little limitedÖ thereís the Hamburgeria, a kiosk that serves burgers (just burgers Ė thatís it Ė no fries, no drink), the Hunters House (which says it all and is a very long walk), or the bakery for a wiener in a roll. (Now you know your options when you come to visit us!)
You see, in my world, Iím making some big sacrifices to be here for my new school. I mean, itís one thing to visit Stara Moravica for the weekend, but itís a whole different game living here. And, as you may know, teaching isnít my day job. Iím doing this to serve my commitment to make a difference. So when I heard that one of the students was complaining he wasnít getting what he wants from the classes, I was a little ticked (a non-technical term for pissed). My first reaction was to pull the student aside to have a chat about what I was doing for them. I mean, come on, Iím living in rural Serbia, providing free training for them, and the closest Starbucks is over 100 miles awayÖ they should basically be kissing my feet!
Of course I didnít do that, though.
Since the students are at varying levels, Iíd implemented what I thought was a brilliant idea; instead of teaching the traditional (boring) way, I created mock companies, appointed CEOs to each, and divided the students so each companyís skill level was equal. The best way to learn is to teach; so the idea was to give them group assignments to enable the more advanced students to teach the others.
Iíd made my complaining friend a CEO. But he didnít want to teach. What exactly he wants, Iím stillnot sureÖ but stepping back from the situation, I learned a few things:
First, I think we entrepreneurs (like my distressed student) are sometimes guilty of making up our minds about something and not seeing the gifts right under our noses.
Second, we make it all about usÖ what we want, what we need Ė and thatís a sure recipe for suffering.
Itís so easy to see these things in other people.
So my student will continue doing whatever heís doing. But for me Ė instead of complaining about everything I donít have here in the village, Iím going to look for the gifts right under my nose, which means shifting my focus to what truly makes me happy: my school Ė not what Iím eating for dinner.
About the Author:
For 30 years, L. Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world. As the CEO of Wasabi Publicity, lauded by the likes of PR Week and Good Morning America, he sparks ďahaĒ conversations that lead to personal and business success. His PR firm is known for landing clients on Dr. Phil, Oprah, Anderson Cooper, the Wall Street Journal, Inc., Entrepreneur, and other top media outlets. Wasabi Publicity lives to launch conversations that make a difference and change the world. Contact Drew at AskDrew@PublicityResults.com or visit his blog at www.DestinationAha.com.
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