Arne Reis [Germany]: Soul-seeker. Traveller. Motivator. Arne is one of The Arc Trainers and has been with us since the birth of the project. Following a long history of European youth leadership training Arne became a professional trainer at a multinational company based in Germany. In early 2014 his passion for social entrepreneurship drew him towards a road less travelled: as a Co-Director of Training, Facilitation and Coaching he is now in the leadership Team of euforia, a visionary social startup in Switzerland. – interview by ASTRID SCHRADER
The Arc: Arne, you have been involved with The Arc ever since and you have been an incredible nurturer of the team since the beginning of the project. How would you describe what The Arc does in your own words?
The Arc takes you to places you might not imagine possible for yourself. Places far outside your comfort zone, where it may be tough going initially, but where each step rewards you with more inspiration, confidence and conviction. It gives you a totally new level of insight into who are you are, where you want to go, and most importantly, how you can get there.
The Arc: One thing we have been desperate to know: Many people say that you radiate some inexplicable gentle kindness, that you set an example of how to feel strong by showing vulnerability. You make virtually everyone feel safe and comfortable around you. How on earth do you do that?
I am a distant relative of Mahatma Gandhi? No, just kidding… I don’t really think there is a secret to what I do. I have always been inspired by people who are humble, authentic and compassionate. I am grateful that I have had mentors and trainers who helped me understand myself better. Sometimes, all it takes to do that is someone who really listens to you, without any form of judgment. I try to apply that in my work as a trainer and coach, and I am happy I can help people this way.
I am a distant relative of Mahatma Gandhi? No, just kidding… I don’t really think there is a secret to what I do.
The Arc: Talking about that: What is your personal mission as a trainer on The Arc? And how do your experience, values and beliefs play into it?
I have been a trainer at many different events over the past few years. I have seen that true empowerment does not happen by acquiring new knowledge or by learning new skills, but by changing your attitude about yourself and your life. I believe in the transformative powers of feedback, challenge and support, and all of these things are deeply engrained into The Arc’s DNA. My personal mission in The Arc is to help participants face and overcome their fears and self-limiting beliefs. When they tune into the self-talk going on in their heads, most participants realize they are putting themselves down for no reason. Once you’ve realized that, you can completely reframe your mindset and start using your full potential.
The Arc: What did you find hardest about the event? What has challenged you the most?
Probably the realization that I can only do so much as a trainer. Ultimately, every participant has to face their fears by themselves. The good thing about this is that their final success is then also fully theirs. What I find great about The Arc is that it is a tremendous learning experience for everyone involved, participants and trainers alike. And even though we have been mostly talking about challenges, The Arc is a also a great deal of fun, because you will get the feeling that you’ve known the people around you for your whole life by the time you leave.
My personal mission in The Arc is to help participants face and overcome their fears and self-limiting beliefs.
The Arc: Any tip you can give us on how to leave our comfort zone ourselves and how to … not completely get stranded after all?
I think the best tip I can give on this one is to be relaxed, and to not blow things out of proportion. If you want to change your life, don’t scare yourself by imagining all the catastrophic scenarios that might happen when you leave your job, your country, or your partner. How about focusing on the benefits instead? If you decide to make a change, you can never get stranded, because you have already shown that you have what it takes to move on to new, exciting shores.
If you decide to make a change, you can never get stranded, because you have already shown that you have what it takes to move on to new, exciting shores.
The Arc: Haha. Good Point. So here is one more for you: You openly claim to be an introvert! Many introverts feel like their extraverted counterparts dominate the scene when it comes to leading groups or organisations. What would you say: How does inspiring introverted leadership look like? And: Maybe you can give a tip to our more introverted fellows.
This is an intriguing question. I was very relieved when I realized I do a lot of things I do because I am an introvert. The most important thing to know for all introverts is that they make up half of the world’s population. So they are not a just a marginal and peculiar minority. Most importantly, being introvert does not mean that you lack social skills – quite the contrary. Most introverts can relate very well with other individuals, especially one on one and in familiar settings. Introvert leaders are often excellent listeners and thus inspire great loyalty and trust in their people. So if you’re an introvert, remember you’re not inferior to extraverts – in fact you just have different and very valuable skills.
The most important thing to know for all introverts is that they make up half of the world’s population.
The Arc: Ok, last but not least: Arne, what is your big dream for 2015 and beyond? What scares you about it the most, and what is your first baby step? You have 10 seconds to answer! 🙂
Haha, you like to finish it with a bang! Challenge accepted. My big dream for 2015 and beyond is to scale my organization euforia all over Europe, and to postively impact the lives of thousands of young people. As an introvert, I am totally scared of all the networking and promoting I will have to engage in to make this happen. But as we say at The Arc, “You only grow by expanding your comfort zone.” So the first thing I will do is visit a conference with 100 trainers from all over Europe in December. Let the networking madness begin!
The Arc: Thanks Arne! For the interview. For your dedication and for all the vision you brought to the project. We really mean it! (Seriously!!!!!)