A few days ago I had the opportunity to run a presentation as a trainer and expert of one of my tools. Based on my background as a psychologist and PCM Trainer, I’m quite used to stand in front of my audience and keep my mind focused. And this time I needed it, even more, knowing that both parts aren’t native English speakers.
On the other hand, my audience presented herself as a high level one, with clear needs and with a real hunger of new, various and useful elements.
Did this impact me? Yes, of course, it did. Every event is about me and them as equals. Was I nervous? Yes, of course. Did they seem anxious? Just the same, they did. Precisely at the moment when I’d seen all that audience, I realized the cultural gap between us.
Example: what is perceived as bragging in my culture, my audience perceived as ”being aware” of your abilities and expertise.
But if both parts are OK, is there any room for a gap? And if there is, how can we stay compassionate?
To be compassionate is not only about showing empathy and care for the other one, it’s about being open, revealing your feelings and approaching the distance between what I’m ready to share and what others are willing to receive not by avoiding or minimizing cultural differences, but as an opportunity to learn, build great things and harness energy for constructive outcomes.
A second from that thought and I started to live what I was there to teach. So I began with that, sharing my fears as a feeling and inviting them to be aware of their own, so as to join me in this new experience for all of us. And you know what? It was a new, interesting, intense experience for all of us because from that gap we could start discovering what was similar in our countries…. In another few seconds, we realized that we were enjoying the same ‘çay’, ‘çorba’ and ‘sarma’.
So how do you build compassion in various cultural environments? You open your mind to understand what strikes you as different and, then, you start building bridges of similarity. How does that work for you?
If you have a similar story to share, leave a comment below. I would love to hear more from you.
If you want to learn more about the power of “Compassion Accountability“ and apply it to your life, click here for more details and feel free to contact me.

Dana Ciobotar