Here I am to…?

WonderWalking to become intentional about your professional journey!

Here I am to…?

Long lines of basic string taped to the carpeted floor, chairs along the side of the room, colourful post-its being filled in and placed between feet. Puzzled looks. A room filled with eager conversations in a number of languages – voices of ideas and clarity – voices of doubt and uncertainty. A room full of contemplative thoughts: Where am I at right now? Where would I like to go? – What steps does that require?

Here we are – to grow professionally!

We are at the 25th meeting of here we are Kenya. In a large meeting room at the Tribe Hotel. 30 people from across the world. Some have just arrived 2 weeks ago – others have been here for several years. “Here we are – to grow professionally!” is the title and the meeting is in full swing. 
The focus is on welcoming new and old networkers and initiate an intentional train of thoughts on where to focus, prioritise and take steps the coming weeks, months, years in Kenya. 

I have co-founded the local chapter in Kenya. I have introduced and facilitated the majority of the 25 meetings held in Kenya. I have been in contact with a large part of the 400+ people who have attended our meetings over the years. I have heard their stories, seen their joys and struggles to figure out what, where and how to do something meaningful whilst in Kenya – and I have related to the interchanging feeling of lost and re-found identity that comes with the role of being the one without a contract when moving abroad. 
Today, for the 25th time (Hey, that’s a lot of meetings!) the introduction of the network therefore again involves a snap version of my own story and a reminder that we are here to explore new “business cards” for ourselves – here to explore and grow professional identities (plural), connections and gain inspiration, even if or when work permits, logistics, family situation, language or cultural barriers, etc makes it hard to get a formal job. 

If I can – you can too!

I share my journey as an example – a journey of competency building, experience gathering, connections, fails and successes. Over 4 years I have revisited the experience from prior to us arriving in Kenya, added new skills, learned from and with great connections and have taken many deep breaths, shed a few tears and walked numerous intentional small and big steps alone and with others. I have explored new paths, created at least 4 new business cards and set up My message being; If I can do it – you can too!

WonderWalk takes your mind for a walk…literally. Often in the forest, in groups or alone – always aware of space, connections and perspectives. Today the here we are Kenya participants are taken their minds on a walk through the Here we are Competency Matrix. The Matrix is a framework developed by here we are Global – it includes 7 columns or development paths/learning tracks and four stages of competency within these. It is used to help you create your own path by taking an intentional look at your competencies now – and where you’d like them to be. Ideally you are coached through the Matrix before you relocate and then revisit it at intervals during your posting.

The seven columns represent areas in your life:

  • Here to grow – Life & health
  • Here to build – Hard skills
  • Here to learn – Global mindset
  • Here to lead – Personal impact
  • Here to contribute – Social impact
  • Here to share – Communication
  • Here to explore – Creativity
Fun and frustrations on the floor!

The WonderWalk model offers curiosity, differing perspectives and insights in an untraditional way – all with the aim to explore the steps that define your journey. Questions, reflections, exercises, connection and movement are the DNA of the WonderWalk way. The aim for this meeting is for participants to walk away with freshly pollinated thoughts about the competencies in their life, shared perspectives and insights, new connections and (maybe unexpected) ideas about which areas of their lives they would like to explore and build on in the time to come.  

“Brief meeting questions” had people connecting and gain perspective on their own competencies and path. We walked the Matrix – reflecting with ourselves and each other; Where am I at right now? Where would I like to go? Which areas do I prioritise right now? – and, What would be my first step in walking that path? – realising that adding physical movement, conversation and pollination from other perspectives to your thought processes, assist in anchoring the insights and learning you derive from them. And finally, we reflected in silence and shared our: Here I am to…. statements. Fun and frustration hand in hand on the floor.

Being a global professional – whether the one with a contract/job or the one coming along for the learning, the adventure, the possibilities and the fun – is a journey on several levels! 
Not only a geographical journey into a new continent, country and culture. It is also a mental journey – a journey of stepping up with joy and courage when needed, stepping down to rewind and re-think when hit by differences or missing home, stepping on the spot whilst listening and learning, getting ready for new steps. Sometimes our steps are short and slow – at other times we take leaps in seconds. 
Wherever you are in the world, the possibility is there to grow professionally and personally – as expats, we often do it without even acknowledging the new competencies or skills gained through the juggles of everyday encounters.

Being intentional in the process and the steps we walk, helps us transforming worries to wonder. To live a life that is meaningful to us – is not limited to one business card/professional identity – and which have us feel part of a community. 

Sit down, or even better, take your mind – and maybe your partner or friend – for a walk. Have an intentional think/conversation; …What would be a meaningful way to end the statement: Here I am – to….? 

Hanne Fink Ferdinand

Founder, Coach and Facilitator at
Stress Coach, MINDstrain
Cross-cultural Coach, CARTUS
Co-founder & Country Manager, here we are Kenya

Find the post-event article, with links to the presentation slides, generated material from the event, and more resources here:

Spouse, trail-blazing or accompanying, global professional on the move?
Wondering how to best brand yourself professionally?
Seeking opportunities to connect with interesting people?
It is time for here we are, Kenya’s monthly meeting #26
– and you’re invited!

Don’t miss our next event, Here we are – to soulfully brand!

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