Monthly Archives: June 2014
Don't believe everything they tell you online.
Don’t believe everything they tell you online.

Confession #2: I will never forget the shame and embarrassment when I had to collect my first ever payment summons from the “Betreibungsamt” (collection office).

You have to know that I am trying to be a “good” person in the roman-catholic sense of the word. I often disappoint myself. While I am doing a lot of the right work, serve my clients, help them improve their lives and run my own “charity” on the side, I sometimes get lost and slightly over-confident.

I tend to overspend. I learnt this the hard way. I never, ever in my life was really short of money. My life was always filled with luxury as long as I had a corporate role. Since I started my own business being short of money is the default.

I reached a point in year 2 of my business where I thought I had to “discipline” myself and ensure that all my expenditure is paid out of the income of my business account. In an effort to have it all I invested more than planned in office style and running costs. Some of my clients (large multinationals) suddenly adopted a policy of paying small business owners like me as late as possible and I had hired a few part-time consultant to work on “non-billable” work (so that I make faster progress on my work).

The cash slowdown and moments of Shame with a capital S

I ended up in this bottleneck of cash slowdown. (You have probably only heard of cash flow…so imagine a roaring, wild winter river that suddenly becomes a small trickle of water in a hot summer. Yes. That’s cash slowdown).

Do you feel embarrassed as a business owner? You do not have money to buy new clothes, you do not have money to go to the hairdresser? You avoid doctor appointments as your health insurance won’t cover those standard procedures? You have cut down on presents for your children, nephews and parents?

I know, it’s sad. You feel you need to justify and they look at you and ask “Why did you quit your job?”

I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and my monthly rent is the same as the money I make running a four months career coaching programme. I work with dedication but I never seem to make “enough” and my pride forbids that I am asking husband or mother or friends (Oh the horror) for support. So I struggle on.. .

We do not like to hear these stories because the Internet is full of “success” stories. I believe though that people do not learn anything from success. We learn from failure. I never want to feel ashamed like this again. So I need to find a way to be able to pay my bills on time even if my clients are late with their payments. I can accept a certain level of embarrassment but there is a line. This line I will define for the future. As a business owner you need to juggle many balls.

  • You will face embarrassing situations.
  • You have to negotiate for good solutions.
  • You will work for “free” to win a client’s heart.
  • You will “volunteer” even though you do not have enough money to pay your rent.
  • You will meet potential clients for lunch or a coffee even if you cannot get cash from the bank machine.
  • You will stretch the limit of your credit card and get into a fight with your bank.
  • You will get angry and close your account and move to a different bank.
  • You will spend more time managing invoices than you ever did in your life.
  • You will pay an accountant more money than you can make in month just to make sure that you are not breaking a law.

Face it: That’s what it’s like to run a business (in the real world).

It’s part of the process. It’s also part of being a “good person”. It’s a part of growing up, of taking charge, of being independent and free.

You might think now: “I am not made for this.” And many people will tell you 1001 other reasons why you should not start a business and quit your well-paid corporate job for it. I tell you though that all the embarrassment is worth it. Freedom has a price. The price is that you will have moments of shame, moments of tears and moments of anger. What you win though is worth more than money can ever buy: You are free. You are creative. You change other people’s lives. You can spend time with your loved ones. You will have a smile on your face when you “go to work.”

Sometimes I am embarrassed to say that I work as a "Coach"!
Sometimes I am embarrassed to say that I work as a “Coach”!

Confession #1: There are a number of associations with “coaching” that make me feel embarrassed to call myself “coach”.

According to the ICF (International Coach Federation) coaching has many benefits. Amongst them increased productivity, positive people and return on investment. It is important to understand the benefits of coaching but also how coaching works. Many of my clients possess the knowledge, skills and attitude to move forward in their careers. When they come to see me they are either feeling “stuck” or go through a (cultural) transition where suddenly whatever they had learnt in the past does not really have meaning or feels worthless. In working with my clients I see my role as a tour guide through

1) a learning process

2) a self-experience.

What do I mean by that?

Guided learning is where we support our clients to go through certain steps in a process in order to be more effective in how they approach a topic. An example is finding a job in a new country or dealing with intercultural challenges as a global leader.

Guided self-experience is when we throw our clients in situations where they have to deal with a topic or go through an experience in order to learn something new about themselves. An example for that is a case study, an interview practice or a salary negotiation.

Why do we believe in being a Tour Guide rather than a Drill Master?

Our society is built on performance and discipline. Most of my clients do not need to learn performance and discipline. Often it is the least they need. Often they need to learn to relax a bit more and see the tree in front of the woods again or to focus more on what they have already achieved instead of their faults and failures. That’s why I take a “softer” approach to coaching. My clients often achieve their targets but sometimes they find out they need to give themselves a bit more time to enjoy the ride.

For a tour guide this is the best that can happen.

If you want to know how I could help you achieve your professional goals please contact me directly via angela (at) globalpeopletransitions.com.

Cheers

Angela

PS: Don’t forget we have a special packaged deal during the world championship on our “Rock Me!” Programme.

 

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night.  Usually around 3 or 4 am. And then I am awake for two hours. And then what happens in your head? At such a time of night?

Coaching helps!
Coaching helps!

 

Exactly. You worry. You worry about anything and everything: your financial resources, the lump on your head, something that turns in your stomach. You know, you are pretty sure that you are going to die soon. In these moments I try everything: Relaxation Methods, Positive Self-Talk.

I try to talk myself out of it but usually the worry remains and I cannot go back to sleep. Often the issue is gone the morning or looks less severe once I had a shower. So now I am wondering: Maybe this is our way of dealing with fear. Maybe it is really important that we allow this fear to happen.

Think about a situation you like to worry about.

I think one way to deal with it is to write it down or tape it on your phone and then think about: “What would be an alternative way of looking at this issue?”

You are probably not going to come up with good solutions. My latest worry was about cash flow. In the morning I thought “OK. Yes, this is an annoying situation. Two of my most important clients have been delaying payments for the past three months and I had a lot of invoices to pay. I do not have extra cash in my account and my company is too small to get credit so there is a bottleneck situation. The situation is embarrassing towards the suppliers and consultants working for me who now also have to wait for their payments.”

However, I know that I have already implemented the right steps to grow. And the situation already looks sustainable for the coming month (i.e. constant inflow of cash). So giving up now would be like feeding the worry monster and let it get so big that it can actually eat you up. Giving up when you have already achieved 80% because of a future that you cannot control anyway is weak.

We do not believe enough in ourselves and let the worry monster grow into a teenager

Maybe this is one of these “female” issues. It’s an issue I see with female business owners and executives. Deep down inside we do not believe we deserve success and prosperity (or is this just because I am ridden by catholic guilt?). Deep down inside we take actions to corrupt ourselves the whole freakin’ time. We believe we still have not earned our credentials. I believe I am a fraud and that I have to sit my university math exam again (which funnily was the best exam in my whole studies). I cannot tell you how often I had the “imposture” dream and how relieved I was when I found out that this is a researched phenomenon many women seem to experience (but obviously we do not talk about it.)

Speak to the worry monster...but don't let it grow up to be an adult!
Worries can make you lose focus at work!

So sisters (and sensitive brothers) it is not too late to caress the worry monster and to give it a few cookies once in a while. You can even allow it to sleep in the same bed with you as long as it is still a child. You can nurture it and leave with it.

If your monster becomes a teenager and starts to rebel against you it might be time to change your behaviour towards it.

Here are five ways of dealing with a teenage worry monster:

1)   Join a support group of like-minded professionals and openly talk about your monster.

2)   Find a coach and work on your fear and imposture syndrome.

3)   Find a mentor who thinks you are the most talented individual in the world and let her or him help you to tackle your next goal.

4)   Practice a technique such as ZEN meditation to learn to be more in the here and now.

5)   Read the book “Now” by Eckard Tolle.

Or to say it with this beautiful song: “Don’t give up coz you have friends.”

Let us know in the comments how you speak to your monster and what it replied to you.

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Rock Me!
Leaders are not born. We can work with you to become a global leader.

As a global leader (executive or opinion leader) you might ask yourself how you can stop wasting your energy on less important tasks and less helpful thoughts. For me it all boils down to your leadership vision for making the world a better place and your purpose in this life.

Step One: Visualise your leadership vision

Have you thought about your vision already? Great. Then visualise it. Put it in a painting, collage, video or write an essay about it. The most important strategy is that you put it on a paper instead of churning and turning it in your head and heard. For example our leadership vision at GPT is “We aspire a world of peace and prosperity for all people.”

Step Two: Define your purpose in this life

Your purpose in this life might not be as “grand” and honourable as your leadership vision but it is helpful if you put in words, an image or a fotograph. We decided that our purpose is this “Through our global mobility expertise, executive coaching and intercultural training we help our clients to build better relationships across the world.” Your purpose can also relate to your personal life. You could say “I want to be a trusted companion for all my friends. I want to be a nurturing parent. I want to support younger colleagues and friends as a good mentor.”

Step Three: Say it in an easy tagline

Once you understand your leadership vision and purpose in life you need to be able to say it in a way that common people will understand why you get up in the morning. For GPT we used this sentence “We help global people get better – every day!” This is our “tagline” and our motto. It is the reason for our team to contribute to the company.

Step Four: Check your diary

Is your professional time and personal time aligned with your leadership vision, purpose in life and tagline. If you do not work with a diary you might want to write one and at the end of each day give yourself credit for the interactions you had that were actually aligned with your leadership vision, purpose in life and tagline.

Please let us know your tagline in the comment section.

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