Lisa: Hello! First of all, tell me your name and something about yourself.
Giovanni: My name is Giovanni. I am half-Italian and half-German, I have been living in Berlin for the last 12 years, I like to travel, I’m a training facilitator and story teller. I explore new things and currently I see myself as a modern Marco Polo, going out and finding the spices of life and sharing them with other people.
L: During the training, you talked about discovering your own skills. How did the process go, how did you discover your own skills?
G: Life, I guess. It was a process that started 4 years ago when I had my first Train The Trainers, when I thought training was about telling other people how to do it right. Then I had a seminar about Group Dynamics and that was the first time when I realized I had this emotional intelligence thing, I was more sensitive than others maybe. Then I realized that everyone has them but they’re not as developed, but could be developed. I got interested in communication between each other and the next step was going even further. What’s next, what’s behind that? I was always trying to find the ultimate truth in training, the universal theory. It’s only recently I realized that it doesn’t exist.
L: Did you study this in a formal environment (University)?
G: No I didn’t. I used to study Law and I was active in ELSA (European Law Students Association) and that’s where I got my first Train The Trainers but I did study a bit of Psychology. I never graduated from either Faculty. All the things I do now are autodidactic and I’ve learned by doing and experiencing them.
L: Do you think a degree is important in this field of work?
G: It depends on what you do. In Coaching – more than a diploma – a supervision is important for someone you have the possibility to reflect with on what’s happening. Diplomas and certificates are mostly for people to come to you and they want to trust you, they put their trust in a piece of paper. Nowadays education is kind of outdated because if you look at Psychology students when they come out of University they go to an extra training on coaching or for Train The Trainers. So everything that I do I would never have learned in Psychology classes. Then again the educational system is from an industrial age; it is adapted for times when school needed to produce workers, but we’re past that stage and school hasn’t caught up. I believe in non-formal education and we live in a time when there is more information available freely than at any other time. You can go to Harvard and have free online Harvard courses. For example, I enrolled in a class on Emotional Leadership that’s starting on May 1st.
L: You mentioned the word “worthiness”. How does it manifest in you?
G: It manifests in me by accepting who I am and that I am worthy of love, belonging, of everything that is happening to me.
L: You strive to be perfect. What does “perfect” mean and what does “imperfect” mean to you?
G: Perfect at that time meant a perfect surface: being the perfect student, perfect husband, perfect boyfriend, eventually maybe a perfect father. Being something that the TV sold us or that we believe is perfect and today imperfect is the real perfect because that’s life, life is imperfect.
L: What about your experience hitting “rock bottom”? How did it change you? Do you see it as a blessing in disguise?
G: I don’t think it is a blessing in disguise, I see it as a blessing but I think we only realize our blessings some years later. When I hit rock bottom it wasn’t about not having a degree, but also about having pissed away about 150.000 Euros that my grandmother and my mother had left to me. They had envisioned for me to be able to study freely without having to work and to spend some time abroad. In their world that meant happiness, a good or better life because they had that. In their view of the world those were the prerequisites to have a successful and happy life. It’s only recently I realized they wanted me to have a happy life, that’s the core, and I am living that so I don’t need to feel ashamed. Having hit rock bottom, having been broke has taught me a lot that life does go on and there’s a beautiful sentence quoted in Batman: the night is darkest before the day. To me, this has been one of the most important lessons that I learned – not just then but also recently – that I love myself in both happy days and sad days because they are both part of my life experience.
L: How would you describe it In only one word?
L: Now, for the bonus question: “A jug fills drop by drop.” – what do you think about this mindset?
G: I would say it depends on how fast you want it filled. Of course it fills drop by drop but then again if it’s full what are you going to do then? If the drops keep coming, you need to empty it. I believe that in order to refill a cup or a jug you need to let go of some drops first.
L: Do you have a personal experience you can relate to this quote?
G: Mmhm, I do actually. I’m happy to share it. In February this year I took the final decision for me to stop working as a driver altogether. I had taken it before but I had never sort of communicated it and this time I told every single agency or partner I used to work with that I’m done driving. That to me felt exactly like I had to let go of some things in order to make room for new ones. Ever since I took that decision a lot of other things have happened, beautiful ones.
L: To end on a positive note, how do you feel about Hipocampus and this project?
G: I think they’re doing an amazing job. They have a long way to go and they are ambitious. From what I’ve experienced they have very large hearts and that is a quality missing in a lot of people these days or that has been forgotten about. The quest for connection, the core quests of today’s society when we seemingly are disconnected by internet and SMS but we suddenly realize there is so much more connection possible with these things. I wish them the best of luck, I think they will do an awesome job and I am looking forward to seeing what’s gonna happen.
L: If you could give them the perfect gift, what would it be and why?
G: Lots of love.