With passion and discipline

22.06.2020

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Luciana Urban-Jamnik on lifelong learning and how she masters the balancing act between passion and discipline.

Everyday life without learning is unimaginable for Luciana Urban-Jamnik. For her, lifelong learning is the secret to success in achieving both personal and professional goals. She tells us how passion and willpower go hand in hand in this respect.

Brazilian by birth, she exudes a zest for life. It is obvious that she loves what she does. As a manager, Luciana Urban-Jamnik is responsible for the training of employees at Mercedes-Benz dealerships across the whole of Southeast Asia. She also happens to speak five languages. This is necessary because she works with people from 16 different cultures. For her, a willingness and determination to engage in lifelong learning is the key to her success. And she shares this with the people in the dealerships, every day.

Complete the sentence:
“For me, lifelong learning means…”

…leaving my comfort zone, time after time.

Continuous development is obviously demanding. Nevertheless, I try to see challenging situations as an opportunity to learn. I ask myself: “What are the benefits of this situation? What can I learn from it?” As a result, I welcome challenges too. This does, however, require a certain basic attitude and an open mindset.

 

Everyday life without learning – can you imagine it?

Most certainly not! Both professionally and personally. I really do learn every day. And I like learning! In my opinion, there is no alternative in this day and age. The professional environment changes in a matter of seconds. It’s about keeping at it and adapting. The same applies on a personal level. My great passions are running and cooking. In both cases I’m always trying something new: techniques, equipment, ingredients, recipes. New trends. That is challenging. But I also have so much fun in the process! Without being willing to keep on learning, I would never have got to where I am now. Both personally and as an international training manager for Mercedes-Benz.

Luciana Urban-Jamnik, manager for Mercedes-Benz Global Training, standing by a racetrack and smiling into the camera.

What about skills you must learn? Which aren’t on your personal dessert menu? What motivates you to acquire even these competences and to persevere?

The answer is discipline. Obviously, it’s easier to learn something that I am passionate about. Everything else requires willpower. The reward comes at the end: personal success and your own further development. I always distinguish between things I must learn, things I can learn, things I want to learn and things I’ll learn if I have time. If I must learn something, then self-discipline is the absolute foundation. My focus is always on learning what I need to in that moment. That is the only way to enhance my skills, gain new qualifications and reflect on what I’ve learned so far. This opens up totally new possibilities for self-fulfilment – if the balance between passion and discipline is right.

Why is lifelong learning essential for people at Mercedes-Benz dealerships?

For me, it is true that everything you focus on will grow. This seems to be a kind of natural law. When you nurture something, then it grows. If you turn your attention to something, then it grows. If the manager of a dealership focuses on staff development, then the employees’ capabilities will grow. With skilled, motivated staff the manager will create trust and can inspire their customers. And that is good for business! That’s exactly what I would like to share in my work as a training manager. Simply because it’s also my personal experience. It’s essential to keep learning throughout life to realise objectives and dreams. And it’s important to set an example to your own staff and to facilitate this.

Learning takes time. Often we feel that we simply don’t have enough of it. Do you learn during your work time? And is this also facilitated within the dealerships?

Lifelong learning – with passion and discipline – is, for me, the foundation of my career. And I am proud of and happy about what I’ve achieved. Of course, I’ve invested a lot of time in my personal development. During my time at Mercedes-Benz, I have always had the opportunity to learn during my work time. I am thankful for that. And I also share this experience with my staff. As a manager, it is absolutely vital that I facilitate lifelong learning for my staff – especially during working hours. The better qualified my employees are, the more they, I and the company benefit from that. My personal tip for all managers is therefore to take time to foster the development of your individual team members. Both professionally and personally. It pays off.

Luciana Urban-Jamnik, manager for Mercedes-Benz Global Training, at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

So you need both professional and personal skills?

Absolutely. For me, they both have the same priority. In order to flourish, I need technical and methodological skills alike. I need to have the necessary specialist knowledge and know how to apply it correctly. However, that is not possible without the appropriate social and personal skills. To return to cooking, I can conjure up a sophisticated menu for my guests, but if they aren’t having a good time, then all my cookery skills count for nothing. I must get things right for my guests on a personal level, too. This is a simple example which does, however, show the relevance of both areas of competence.

Lifelong! That’s a bit frightening, isn’t it? Isn’t lifelong learning much too demanding?

No question! It IS demanding. Sometimes it’s irritating. It requires effort. Often I too don’t feel like learning something new. Or I simply don’t have the time. Even if this is sometimes a convenient excuse. But as mentioned above, it is the combination of passion AND discipline that counts! Both are necessary. In my position as a training manager, there are moments when I must acknowledge the gaps in my own knowledge. And then I must roll up my sleeves and stick with it. This includes setting an example of lifelong learning and inspiring others to do the same. My trick is to keep giving myself a wake-up call and to always keep my objective in sight.

What would you advise your younger self today?

Never stop being hungry for knowledge, minha querida! Systematically pursue your goals! Be your own source of inspiration! Find your balance between passion and discipline – over and over again. Get out of your comfort zone more often. Learn throughout your life!

This interview was conducted as a collaborative effort by Mercedes-Benz Global Training and She’s Mercedes.

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