(3 minute read.)
Romana Štokelj is a woman on a mission. She’s here to help you confidently rise to any challenge at work and in life. She wants you to know that challenges are a normal part of life and that nothing is wrong with you if you struggle to figure out the solution. That’s very human.
Join us as Romana shares a number of courageous actions she has fulfilled in different parts of the world.
How would you describe workplace courage?
For me, courage in the workplace is being vulnerable and asking additional questions when you don’t understand given instructions (especially when it might seem that everyone else understands, except you); speaking your mind and setting healthy boundaries. So much bullying is happening at corporate jobs these days, that setting boundaries is essential for creating respectful relationships.
Courage is also being willing to listen to other people’s points of view with curiosity, even though you may not agree with them. Courage is asking, “Help me understand why do you think …”, in the middle of a difficult conversation; instead of wanting to be right and dismissing other people opinions.
What does courage look like in your workplace?
I work for myself. I often encounter clients’ objections or unwillingness to change their perception; therefore, I want to be compassionate enough to place myself in their shoes so that I can meet them where they are, at that point and time. Boundaries are a huge part for me, because, otherwise, I would work 24/7.
Please describe 1-2 examples in which you have been courageous? What did you do? Who/what enabled you to be courageous? What was the outcome?
The first example of unshakable courage was changing my profession. I was working as a nurse in a hospital when I graduated from sociology and statistics. I was 32 years old at that time, recently divorced with a mortgage and no financial backup if I lost my job. I truly wanted to start working in a new profession; therefore, I was looking for a new job and went to job interviews. My co-workers were telling me that no one would hire me as a statistician because I was too old to start in a new profession. Their comments didn’t sway my faith because I believed in myself.
I got a job offer as a statistician in only two months after graduation; however, the role was for four months only, with no guarantee of a permanent position. I took that job because it felt right. Everything worked out well, and I stayed there for five years until I moved to Australia.
Courage is asking, “Help me understand why do you think …”, in the middle of a difficult conversation.
The second example of unshakable courage was moving to Australia. When I met my husband, he was in the process of getting a permanent residency visa for Australia. It was never my dream to live in Australia or anywhere else outside of Europe. For me, Europe is pretty amazing.
In 2012 we got our visas and had less than a year to move to Australia. I was 36 years old at the time. Preparing to move overseas is a monumental task. Getting a job in Australia before you are living there is hard. It’s hard to get a job even when you live there, especially if you don’t have Australian working experience. So, we moved to Perth with no job to go to, no friends, no family, no place to live in, and we hadn’t been in Perth before.
You can imagine the expression on my family, friends, and co-workers faces when I announced that I was moving to Perth. I was told that this time I went completely crazy. I was told that I would never succeed in Australia because I’m too old.
Long story short, my husband and I got good jobs. I was climbing the corporate ladder very fast; we received Australian citizenship and life in Australia was very good for us until my husband lost his job and got a job offer in the USA. At that point, we decided to move to the USA for a few years (just because it’s an adventure) and this year we are moving back to Australia.
I took that job because it felt right.
From your point of view, to what extent are our world leaders leading with courage?
From my point of view, they don’t. However, Marianne Williams, who is running for the Presidency of the USA, is a fabulous example of leading with courage. She talks about values and integrity. She’s not afraid of being different from other politicians. For me, risking to be criticized, rejected, and hated, just because your political point of view is different from the majority, is unshakable courage.
As a Professional Resilience Coach, Romana is here to tell you:
- You don’t need to be perfect to be successful and
- It’s okay to be who you are
If you would like to get in touch with Romana, she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to meet your confident, resilient, and courageous future self, find the Resilience Crystal Ball here: https://romanastokelj.com
I met Romana through social media and as a result asked her to contribute her perspectives on courage. I look forward to meeting her when she returns to Australia.