In most of my teaching and coaching assignments, I emphasize lifelong learning as an important habit to cultivate. I have a plaque in my office directly across from my desk that says “Better than Yesterday, Not as Good as Tomorrow”, which reminds me to learn something new every day.
In my corporate role as Global Vice President before I retired and started my consulting practice, one of my responsibilities was the management of Science and Technology operations in Geneva and Sardinia, and a business office in Rome. I never felt satisfied with the contribution that I was making due to my limited skills in the Italian language. More recently, I have met with my former colleagues in Italy and have identified several business opportunities to expand my practice in Italy. The time was right to increase my skill levels in Italian language and culture.
I have spent the last two months at the Babilonia Italian language and culture school (www.babilonia.it) located in Taormina Sicily. In addition to obtaining beginners competence in understanding and speaking the language, I had the opportunity to live the life of a native Italian; shopping, cooking, attending Italian lectures and watching Italian movies. This has given me a broader and deeper understanding of the Italian culture and appreciation of the Italian mindset. It is a shame that the Italian stereotype only congers up images of the Mafia and food, because the Italian culture is diverse and rich and the people most generous.
I am now in a better position to respond to consulting opportunities in Italy and will continue on my own to move up on the Italian learning curve.