Connecting, reconnecting – and a valuable lesson learned

This week I was on Twitter, Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. I spoke with a schoolfriend I hadn´t seen for 30 odd years, exchanged photos with someone in Jerez, reconnected with a friend of 22 years with whom I shared a life changing experience. It all was rather special via the channels that I now now how to use. And then there was Pinterest. It didn´t really do it for me. I thought it would be a place where I could exchange thoughts and ideas with friends and business connections. But when I tried it I found only pictures, not a way to share text or weblinks. I was a little disappointed and decided to abandon it.

But then I found @alvaropareja on Pinterest. I follow him on Twitter. I saw what he did with Pinterest and how interesting he makes it. It reminded me of a valuable lesson I learned a long time ago.

It was 1999 or 2000. I had been a secretary for quite some time. The department I worked for at that time wanted everyone to go outside of the company for a course of their own choice. I chose a management assistant course in Brussels. 3 days out of the office. I didn´t really expect to learn anything.  On the 2nd day we had to work in a team and make a bridal outfit. I was team lead and we won. Of course we won. I hadn´t expected any less. If I make an effort I am always the best. In the afternoon I was allocated to a different team to make a paper chain. I wasn´t the team lead. If I remember correctly we had to make it in 5 mnutes with many boundaries, x amount of colours, no colour repeated, blue not next to yellow, etc. I was looking at the team lead and the other team members and wondering how in heaven´s name were we going to get this done. They went about it all wrong. They were faffing about and not getting anywhere. I decided to stop participating as it obviously was going nowhere. And 30 seconds before the 5 minutes were up they delivered the paper chain, exactly according to the rules. And they won (they, as I had not participated). The only ones who got it right.

This taught me so much. There are many different ways of doing things and doing them right. There is no one right way. There are many. The other lesson was how I am not a team member. I was obstructive as soon as things didn´t go my way. I was a hinder, not a help. It took a while for me to understand that lesson as it isn´t always easy to see yourself for who you are.

It is good to be reminded sometimes about life´s lessons. And @alvaropareja and Pinterest reminded me of this. I will give Pinterest another go.


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