“Creative mentorship” affirms mentoring as a tool of personal and professional development, strengthens the capacities of the cultural sector and provides support to prospective professionals interested in developing, networking and sharing knowledge and experience. We want to build, gather and support a community of motivated and socially responsible individuals that will contribute to the development of a society based on creativity, culture, knowledge and mutual cooperation.


Regional Youth Cooperation Project: How to stay motivated in difficult times?

Understanding that staying focused and motivated during the global crisis is one of the biggest tasks, we organized a workshop about this topic for the participants of our regional project “Transforming the Region One Conversation at A Time – Inspiring Youth Cultural Cooperation”, supported by Regional Youth Cooperation Office – RYCO and in collaboration with Rruga me Pisha from Albania and OKC ABrašević from Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

For this occasion, Larisa Halilović, an international expert, speaker, and consultant in management, leadership, and professional development engaged in a discussion with participants and inspired them to recall all the good and inspiring things that bring us joy and motivate us. 

The starting point for this workshop was the exchange about our passions, the things that kindle us, and, as Larisa says, “brighten our faces and make our eyes shine”. Touching this delicate topic at the very beginning set the mood for the rest of the exchange. Sharing that we are passionate about learning, activism, nature or philosophy and politics also set a common ground and helped us recognize people similar to us. Naturally, the participants felt more at ease talking about other, rather personal things.

The next topic we discussed, was emotional intelligence – one thing Larisa especially pointed out as important for leaders. Being a multidimensional awareness of our emotions, triggers, and reactions, as well as emotions, triggers, and reactions of other people, makes emotional intelligence one of the key competencies for finding motivation and keeping it even in the most challenging situations. Once we know what makes us react in a certain way, we can take a moment and distance ourselves from the situation and chose or even change our reactions. This can be a skill of crucial importance while facing daily changes and overall turbulent times of uncertainty. 

Another aspect connected to our emotional intelligence is our core values. I find ourselves in a situation where something makes us mad without any apparent reason, there is a high chance that our core values were shaken. But, what is interesting about this is the fact that we may have some values without even thinking about them – we internalize our core values at a very early age, and we do so by watching examples, not by simply listening to orders or definitions. However, once we understand that we do have core values and that we feel triggered when they are disrespected, we learn a lot about ourselves. Thinking about, defining, and re-evaluating our values can help us know ourselves more as well as develop emotional intelligence. If we do not know where to start in order to (re)define our values, we can use some tools, for example, a list of most common values, and think for a moment which ones resonate with us. 

In addition to this, in order to get to know other people better and understand their core values, we can ask them to define a good person or a good friend. The characteristics we give, reflect the values we respect. 

An additional dimension of our motivation is the source of it – are we motivated by external or internal factors? Are we eager to prove someone wrong when they underestimate us and tell us “we cannot do it” or is the awareness of the benefits of a good diet and exercise enough for us to be motivated? This is another aspect of motivation we should think over, but we should not forget that there is no good or bad motivation. As long as it keeps us giving our best and going towards the goal – it’s fine. Whether it is a piece of our favorite chocolate cake, arts and crafts, or stargazing, if it helps us stay energized, to cool off and gather our thoughts, or increases our feeling of pride, we should not give up on it.  

Altogether – thinking about our reactions, emotions, and core values; questioning them, and, above all, giving ourselves time and space to gather thoughts and emotions when we feel overwhelmed, surely leads to a more fulfilled and truthful life. Once we start learning about ourselves and personal boundaries, we can handle better any other, external challenges.

You can find the video for this workshop below.