Mateusz Konieczny: out of my comfort zone with the 30 challenges for my 30th birthday

I have not completed all the challenges yet. Some of the challenges will stay with me for a long time.

Mateusz Konieczny Short Bio

I am a sociologist, coach, career counselor, certified FRIS® Trainer, and Youth Wiki expert. Mentor in adult and youth development programmes. I graduated from the University of Warsaw, SWPS University and Freie Universität in Berlin. As part of my doctoral thesis, I am conducting research into qualifications and employment. I am also the founder of Manufaktura Przyszłości - an organisation supporting the shaping of education.


I specialise in the development of social and professional competences. I make diagnoses of educational and professional potential and provide support to education staff in the scope of preparing young people for entering the labour market. I use the FRIS® tool to support the development of individual clients and their ability to work effectively as part of a team. Being a Visionary (according to FRIS® survey), I like to develop new solutions, both online and offline. I use the EPALE platform. I encourage the recipients of my educational activities to take the lifelong learning approach.

My Story

Last year, I turned 30 and I took up the 30 challenges for my 30th birthday (#30in30). I want to thank the EPALE community, my friends and the people I did not know, who in January 2020 gave me dozens of ideas for interesting, yet challenging activities. Some of these, including going 30 days without mentioning social media and getting into CrossFit, required stepping out of my comfort zone and others had to be modified due to the social situation at the time. When making the list of challenges I wanted to gain new experiences, meet new people, and gain new knowledge about the world and myself.

It was important for me to stimulate others to be active so that they and their communities could benefit from such activity. I have not completed all the challenges yet. Unfortunately, I have not visited 30 new localities and I have not covered 25,000 kilometres to travel the length and breadth of Poland using public transport. But I intend to complete them in the coming months.

Some of the challenges will stay with me for a long time.

Talking about challenges and change, Kurt Lewin's change management model comes to my mind. In this model, two opposing factors - one that enhances and the other that inhibits action - influence the change being made.

To me, one of the inhibiting factors was the pandemic, which prevented me from carrying out the activities I had previously planned, but it also posed new - digital and educational - challenges.

The day before the lockdown was introduced (March 2020), I ran a workshop on volunteering development for one of Warsaw's NGOs. I remember that flip charts, worksheets, metaphor cards and moderated discussion were some of the techniques I used. And a day later there was a change. Our activities were suspended. And the question arose: what next? I have experience in delivering activation webinars, but at the time I was asking myself countless questions, such as, how can I replicate working with metaphors? How can I implement effective team building? How can I improve virtual group work to make it fully effective and creative - for the sake of people involved and the process?

I had used some of the applications, such as Jamboard, Menitmeter, Quizizz, Kahoot! and Google Forms, in my workshops and training or during classes I had taught to students while at the University of Warsaw. Before the pandemic they were used to add variety to our work, and today they are one of the main tools for transferring knowledge. I was also looking for new opportunities for effective virtual flipping. Here, I can recommend Miro, Canva and Piktochart.

Although I am familiar with various tools and their applications, they posed two challenges. One is the fact that some adults are not familiar with some applications and software. The other stems from differences in how individual people receive information. This has become even more apparent in the rapidly developing remote working environment where two devices separate the two people - the device used by the speaker and that used by the audience.

The speaker (trainer/educator) - computer (or other digital device) - computer (or other digital device) - audience. Virtual work calls for more efficient use of tools and devices, but also of other people's knowledge. In this respect, the knowledge provided by the FRIS® tool has proven very useful.

Being aware of individual differences and different ways of sending and receiving messages, which result from the use of the four perspectives; facts, relations, ideas and structures - makes it easier for me to prepare a virtual training or workshop. According to the FRIS® tool, Players, Partners, Visionaries and Researchers will communicate differently about the same problem. Some will focus on short-term goals, while others will look for the right solution over an extended period of time by collecting and analysing more data.

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