By Taylor Snelling, a member of the SkillCorps Indonesia July 2017 team
Arriving in New York for orientation was out of my comfort zone. Being put on a team of 8 strangers was out of my comfort zone. Flying to Indonesia was out of my comfort zone. Coming from a suburban area in Ohio, traveling to Indonesia seemed nearly impossible, but something that I knew would be a life changing experience. As I began the seemingly unknown process of SkillCorps, I realized that these seemingly nearly impossible things weren’t so impossible.
Welcomed by a team of leaders and professionals, your comfort level suddenly went from a 5 to a 4. Although still new, I was able to relax and get to know my team. When discussing comfort zones with my team, I found that I was very unfamiliar with many things that my teammates had experienced such as a daunting idea of having to fly to your destination without your team. For me, that was way out of my comfort zone, but my team became aware of this. They discussed ideas, experiences, and shared their own comfort levels of each topic.
With this discussion, they were able to support me through every step of this trip. Whether it was explaining how exactly to check-in a bag for international flights (and the benefits to it), encouraging me to try new foods, or knowing when to let me take a step back and observe rather than jumping into new things. My team was able to meet me at my comfort zone while still pushing me to grow.
Like my team supports me, I found that we support our partner sites similarly. When we arrive, we have no plans, ideas, or instructions. We don’t know what they have experienced, what they are working on, or what they want to accomplish. We listen to them, discuss where they are in their progress, and what they want to do over the few weeks we are there. We meet them at their place.
We have been able to create sustainable systems for our partners, by meeting them at their place and building on what they have. We ask questions, guide discussions, and support their goals. We created trainings on what they wanted to know more about, answered questions about their clients, dove into their language.
If my team hadn’t met me at my place and encouraged me in small steps, I would not have felt comfortable. Their support, understanding, and assurance helped me grow as a person. By being able to meet Rumah Tiara where they are along with finding their needs and their priorities, we have been able to help them grow, expand, and continue to do that even when we leave. Meeting someone at their place rather than than coming in with your own ideas or expectations leaves the team their own accomplishments, not just yours.