Courage is personal

It has been almost 5 months since I wrote a reflective piece. I did write two poems and a few more unfinished attempts. It was just enough to let the steam out. Today I am inspired to write a bit more, a bit deeper, a bit more personally. 

I want to talk about courage. About my vision und understanding of what courage means. 

Courage is facing adversity, doing things others wouldn’t dare doing, doing something you didn’t think you could do. 

Being courageous is facing your fears. Standing up when your legs are shaking. Keeping your eyes open when a blow is coming at you.

Jumping off 3 m height into the pool. For me courageous, for you not. Getting rid of the spider crawling on the bathroom floor, courageous for you, not for me. Speaking up when no one else does. Courageous for me, for you too?

Courage is looking at what you know, what you hear, what you see and acting with your conscience/gut/brain/beliefs. Pick your driving force and be courageous. Make choices when there is no win-win; and pull them through. Courage is about stopping. About starting. About keeping at it. 

Except for generally accepted heroic deeds, courage is intimely personal. 
Never let anyone tell you, you are not courageous. Because your fears are only yours. Because facing them is your own heroic deed.

Think about it for a moment: you have been courageous today, haven’t you? Give yourself a clap on the shoulder and keep going, do not give up. The world gets better one tiny courageous step at a time. 


La vague

Le sommeil se faufile et s’évade

La vie aujourd’hui a un goût fade

Je me languis, je m’ennuie,

Je me soucie, c’est fini.

La vague de béton s’abat

Sur ma poitrine en émoi.

J’étouffe, aidez-moi,

Ecoutez ce cœur qui bat.

Voile noir, pensées embrumées

Refluent, lentement poussés

Au loin par le calme retrouvé.

Au coin de quelle rue,

Au détour de quel parfum

Me surprendras-tu

De bon matin, ce soir, demain?

5. Juillet 2017

Intermezzo “life is life”

Maybe you came for MOOC udate or a fun learning fact. This week is a bit different. It is a low. So the theme will be deeper.

I lost a loved one recently.

I found my way through the very first wave of grieving. Not easy. Using my favorite methods of self-reflection and awareness:  I made it through!

Now comes the second wave. Intense. Misleading. Wave after wave of gibberish emotions. Lost in translation. I am running on 50% energy. Exhausting. 

So I set priorities day after day, one day at a time. Patience, resilience, I know it will get better: time cures everything. One step at a time. 

Yet. Darn. Mille milliards de mille sabord! “Why does it have to be so painful?”, I ask myself. No one answers. Well I didn’t really want an answer anyway.

I debatted whether I wanted to share these reflections on my blog. Maybe it shows I am weak, maybe it will upset people, maybe they will laugh at me, maybe they will stop reading and never come again. 

And yet, maybe one person will stay. One person will find something in this blog post that helps them deal with their own sorrow or stress or conundrum today. Then it is all worth it.

Because helping you helps me too.

Thanks for sharing this moment and reading thus far. Stay put… the MOOC reflections will be back soon.

My third week at #cl2025

The third week at #cl2025 started with our first session as a wol circle. Pretty cool experience.

I had put some thoughts over the week-end into the kinds of goals I could imagine pursuing. In the course of the circle discussion I realised that there was one goal that really was motivating me and at the same time was challenging enough that I needed a different approach to get it going : learning to draw…

And the “Continental” week gave me my first challenge: tagging. Harald Schirmer challenged us with elaborating on what tagging is and is not, what it should be and how to use it ( I am a fan of tagging and thought I would pick up the challenge and get to the drawing board (or drawing app in this case!)

So in short, to generate tags you need a tag factory:

And to use tags you need to go and fish for them as your thinking develops and ideas unfold:

What do you think tagging can be otherwise used for? How do you use it? Do you create tags yourself?

My second week at #cl2025

Well well well… week 2 started with a high point: our first #cl2025ch learning team call. Active, intensive, good conversations around our common challenges in learning. One topic got me thinking: what makes an organisation ready to move from the traditional “calling an expert when I have a question”, to “posting a question” or looking for an answer on the company social tech plattform?

And then in the last 5 minutes of our learning team call we covered “one more thing” (raincoat…old Peugeot…smile). We decided to turn ourselves into a Working out loud circle. Just like that. I am quite stunned by the speed at which we made that decision given the fact we had connected for the first time ever merely 60 min before. And I feel comfortable with our decision. Go figure…

And that was it really. Life took over, I saw the email notifications of the Merck blog posts pile up in my mailbox and did nothing about it… until yesterday. I read it all in one go, the posts, the comments, the summary tweet page (here) . I only consumed this week. I didn’t feel engaged enough to contribute. Cannot explain why. Mental note: reflect on this in the next few weeks as I engage in the learning journeys of Continental, Viessmann and the likes. 
Today I prepared week 3.  I watched the Continental video to get in the mood. I also watched John Stepper’s TedX talk and read the introductory documents to #wol circles. 

I am ready for what’s coming in week 3. Bring it on!!

My first week in #CL2025

In the first week of the MOOC Corporate Learning 2025 #cl2025 I was able to gather quite a few experiences. I have also read what many people have posted in the blogs, especially about the Infrastructure of this MOOC (or the lack of it, or its complexity, lack of efficiency…)

I have a different opinion than most of what I have read so far. The sprawl, the confusion, the diversity and multiplication of the data, streams and information are exactly what our era is about. For this reason, information literacy, cognitive load management skills or computational thinking are so important to us and to the upcoming generations to be successful in the new order of things.

Until now, the job of the L & D function was to bundle, structure and even simplify the existing information streams, and then pass them on to the learner as a “training / module /  case”.

Today, information flows so quickly and from so many different corners that it makes no sense to manage and structure them. They are already “out-of-date” before we are done designing and delivering. In order to develop the above-mentioned competencies, we should help people learn: 1) how to tap these streams exactly at the moment they need the input (eg follow a hashtag in Twitter, peak into the relevant company internal Yammer group), 2) how to extract something useful and learnable from this huge quantity of information.

And I was able to practice  exactly these 2 skills this week, in an intense and steep learning curve. I have made 5 registrations on 5 different sites, have downloaded too many apps and deleted them again, posted wrongly and then correctly on, published a couple of successful tweets … all this in 3 days, with zero risk. Sounds like a practice lab …

My conclusion: I am very grateful for the fact that I was able to practice these skills on my own, without manual or structure. I collected valuable insights that I won’t forget any time soon.

I am glad I invested this time upfront and am ready to accelerate and deepen my learning in week 2 with Merck.

Corporate Learning community on Youtube:


Overcoming learning challenges

This is a short essay I wrote as an assignment for the MOOC “Learning how to learn” on Coursera. (Edited for clarity outside of the course content).

I am in my early forties and have been learning my entire life. Typically I explore topics that interest me by googling them or reading big picture articles. Then I decide to dig in when the topic leaves me hungry for more. I have been fairly successful learning things I need and want for my job until now.

Having moved from the construction industry to the banking sector I want to gain a basic understanding of financial activities. I have been successful getting to grip with financing and credit so far. My next step is to focus on investment management.

I have tried three different ways of learning about investment management so far. Registering to a newsletter for people interested in managing their investment better: it is ok but doesn’t give the explanations I need. I have attended an internal investment class, it required some basic knowkedge I don’t have. I started a mooc on Coursera but dropped out in week two because I couldn’t follow anymore. 
All in all these 3 trials made me feel under pressure because I obviously miss some basics. I am frustrated because I don’t know where to start.

In the MOOC “Learning how to learn” I discovered methods that resonate with me. This in turn reminded me of other methods I have used successfully in the past. 

Diffuse mode: I can relate to this mode and could use it to sort out the big picture of what I want to learn. I think I imagined I could dig straight into focused mode not realising the topic of investment management was newer than it looked like.

Chunking: I haven’t quite understood how to apply it to my issue but I have this gut feeling that I should give it a try…

Grit, the power of passion and perseverance, A. Duckworth. This book is my inspiration to stick to it and give myself the time AND drive to learn anything I want.

Mindmaps: Reflecting on what works best for learning reminded me that I am very keen on visualising the connections between the chunks I am learning. So I will definitely have mindmaps in my learning mix. 
What’s next?

I have decided to use the diffuse mode while googling investment and related terms. I will visualise my big picture in a mind map and keep populating it until I find an area that triggers my curiosity more than the others. That sounds like a good strategy for my “investment management” learning challenge. 

How I will stick to it?

Well if learning and development (aka me) is going to sit at the business table, the last thing I want is not being able to distinguish important from bagatelle comments. So “serving my customers” by speaking their language is what motivates me and always will!

How do you tackle your learning challenges? Any tips you’d like to share with me?