Monthly Archives: January 2016
1I have clients telling me that they do not make enough money. In one conversation I recently suggested to consider to turn around the perspective: Put aside what you would like to save and see how much you have left to spend. Will you still struggle? Or is your need to consume just a valve for stress release? Find out what your poverty story loop is and learn five ways to find back into reality.
1) Observe your poverty story loop and write it down when you recognize it.
A poverty story loop is a recurring theme that you tell yourself about what will happen to you. It is usually negative and involves that you will live under a bridge, lose all your possessions and similar scenarios. Without going into the deep psychology of the why, I would like to encourage you to write down your poverty story loop when you recognize it.
I will just always have enough money to get by. I will not be hungry but never live in luxury. This is a story I was told when I was around 22 years old. Somehow it made sense to me then. I often notice that the story becomes stronger in my head when I spend time with my mother. She has a theme that must be related to being the oldest child of a large family after the 2nd world war in Germany. My mother is very good at saving money. I am not but I used to spend a lot more when I earned more. So here’s the catch: I have never been poor but I worry about money a lot since I started a company. Other people worry about health but I am not too concerned here. What is your poverty story loop? Write it down.
2) Run a reality check by writing down the counter-theory
Have you got a favorite crime story where you notice that the suspect is not the real murderer? Think about this as you write your counter-theory. Note down all the luxury you have in this world such as a big car, beautiful inner city apartment, five weeks of holiday time, trips to St. Anton and NYC. I think you understand my point, now go and jot down your counter theory. After you completed this exercise check if you still believe the story. Check all your bank accounts, count your cash and bring all the pennies and foreign currency to the bank. Cash all your cheques. Are you still poor?
3) Note down a list of wishes and take a break from impulse shopping
It might be possible to have all that we wish for. You just need to become clearer on what you wish for. It helps to write your wishes down. When your story is about money you could consider everything you need to have versus what you just want to have. For example: When you already have five suits: Do you really need one more or you just want one more? When you already have a functioning car: Do you really need a Porsche?
I have a lot of wishes on my wish list that I don’t really need. They are luxury items. Since I started to write them down I have less desire to buy them. Try it out and force yourself to wait for a month before you are allowed to buy anything that you just want. Do you still want it?
If you spend too much money when you go out you can use a simple trick we used as students: Only take as much cash with you as you are allowing yourself to spend that night. You can also check out my tricks for less affluent entrepreneurs.
4) Listen to the story voice again and tell me who this voice belongs to.
Is this really your story? Did you suck this one up with your mother’s milk or did you see your father struggling with this theme too? If you recognize the story as someone else’s write down the name of the person who owns the story. If it is you than you might understand that you can change the story into a wealth story. If you notice that it is someone else’s story keep it there.
5) Focus on other important aspects in life
Money and financial security are nice to have but too much money is also a stress factor. We have had a bit of money and lost a lot Provided you have enough money to survive and feed yourself and your loved ones ask yourself if you really need and want more money. Living in a safe place where you can voice your opinion is priceless. Being healthy is god-given and having family and friends who love you is amazing. Having healthy children is a miracle. Focus on other

by Angie Weinberger

Multinational companies in Switzerland promote an “inclusive” culture. All people regardless of their religious or cultural background should have the same opportunities within the company. While I often hear that Switzerland is so intercultural as it has four different language regions and lies in the middle of Europe I experience a different reality. In public discussions we speak about differences but we hardly touch pragmatic solutions for helping each other to get along. Here are 13 easy to implement ideas to make your Muslim employees feel more included in your workforce.

At the bottom of inclusiveness is intercultural competence or as I call it “Global Leadership Competency”. Last year, one of my Muslim clients was attacked in the tram (local train) because she was wearing a headscarf. She and her husband had just moved into Basel from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She then decided not to wear a headscarf and to speak German in public. She is fluent as she grew up in Germany. One of my colleagues told me about an African-American who is scared to leave his house because he is constantly asked for his papers and stared at. He wears a beard and his religious background is not Muslim but he feels treated like a terrorist here.

Another one of my US clients who is of Malaysian decent asked me why he is constantly asked for his residence permit these days. And I heard many other stories from friends who just happen to have a Pakistani, Indian or Tunisian background. Most of them are well-educated professionals who could work anywhere in the world.

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We help our clients to gain their confidence back. We point out that Switzerland is an open country with a long history of religious freedom. That includes the freedom to not believe in anything at all. We raise the intercultural competence of the employees in the companies we work with but we cannot reach every single person in the country. I am embarrassed when I hear such stories.

We wish for our clients to be received with open arms in everyday life and in the companies they work for irrespective of their cultural and religious background.

Since 2000, I observed that many global companies develop intercultural competence of their staff and managers mainly through training and legislative minimum standards. While this is better than nothing it is not enough. In Switzerland, the current trend in diversity training is to uncover our “unconscious bias”, i.e how our unconscious stereotypes affect our hiring and promotion decisions. We tend to like people who look like us, think like us, behave like us come from backgrounds similar to ours. This is also called the Mini-Me syndrome.

I don’t see many discussions in corporations around intercultural, interracial and inter-religious differences and commonalities. The main reason is that outside of intercultural training these differences tend to be seen as personal differences more often than cultural differences. Once there is a conflict it is often attributed to the individual rather than cultural background. Or the other way round: Negative judgements are attributed to the cultural background rather than the individual behavior. Hardly anyone I know has enough knowledge to even distinguish between a stereotype and a cultural tendency.

We should encourage intercultural discussions more often. Awareness creates acceptance in a multicultural environment. In Tourism, we tackle customers differently according to their cultural background. In companies we can provide a discrimination-free environment and welcome everyone with open arms by considering a few minor but effective adjustments.

1) Religion is a private matter of every employee which should not have to do anything with her or his work performance. If we focus our assessments on performance rather than person we are on a good track.

2) Muslims might need short breaks to pray. If we use a trust-based time management system rather than strict time control we can ensure that the religious minorities get the prayer time during the day.

3) In hospitals physician must learn rules which have to be observed by Muslims especially when a man treats a women. In case of doubt ask the patient.

4) In tourism we need to learn what is important to client from the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia for example as with the ban of burqas we might not be able to serve those clients in Switzerland any longer.

5) In the police we need to ensure that we are moving away from stereotyping and get a clear understanding of why many young man feel overburdened with the life in another culture while their families at home depend on their financial support.

6) As therapists and other health care professionals we need to learn how trauma of war and being alone when you come from a collectivist cultural background might affect your psyche. We also need to understand that counseling might not be a concept in many of the home cultures of Muslim employees (assuming they did not grow up in Europe or the US).

7) We need to differentiate the social classes of the person we speak to. If you have an Islamic banker or a writer who had fled from Afghanistan, then you are likely to have no misunderstandings because you can communicate with both in German or English. But if you talk to a less educated colleague who has just arrived in Switzerland and does not yet speak the language well, then of course you will need to simplify your language and use techniques to check in if he or she understands you. Avoid to speak in child language and use proper German or English when speaking.

8) We need to train our staff members at authorities, medical assistants, personal assistants and company receptionists to deal with cultural differences better.

9) We can get the basics for inclusion right. It is also important for Jews, Hindus, Jains and many other religious minorities to know what they eat and drink. You can install signs in the canteen and explain what is in the food. You can offer one halal meat dish. At cocktail parties you can show which drinks contain alcohol and explain that everyone is welcome even if they don’t like wine.

10) We can approve extended holidays over Muslim festivals to fly or drive home. Adapt your company’s HR policy to provide more flexibility for different religious holidays.

11) We can congratulate Muslims on their holidays. In the fasting month of Ramadan allow shorter working hours.

12) We can provide prayer and meditation rooms to our staff. It helps all staff members to have quite zones where they can contemplate, pray or simply meditate in these hectic times.

13) We can provide more vocational training and internship opportunities to refugees and asylum seekers. Many refugees do not have formal qualifications and will fall through the roster of our recruitment processes but we could see how they work if we provide more internships and vocational training to them.

I hope that these 13 pragmatic ideas will help you to build an environment in which your Muslim employees feel more included. If you would like more customized advice please contact me at angela@globalpeopletransitions.com.

 

 

by Teresa Marie

I thought I would write an article about a personal transition that took place this year. It was one of the biggest transitions that took place in my life and I have been wanting to share the experience ever since it happened. It came at the nudging of a friend of mine. He explained to me that what was going on with my spiritual life would reflect in the rest of my life and that if my spiritual life was in order the rest of my life would fall into order as well. He asked me if I had a special place where I practiced spiritual modalities.

The Mom Cave Chair

I explained that I had no such place but that I had a room I could convert into a place for that purpose. I realize I was fortunate to have an extra room sitting around, but he explained to me it could be as simple as just a specific chair where all I did was partake in my spiritual exercises, whatever the beliefs may be. The important aspect was that it be a place only for those special times. I set out to make my room, my “special place”. I also affectionately call it my “mom cave”. It’s a place where mom goes off to do her spiritual activities, one of which is writing, since I believe my writing is a spiritual gift. Whatever the gift, whatever the practice, I have discovered having that “one place” to do it is very important.

 

I started by putting up a life sized decal of a tree up on the wall. To me it signified a bible verse about being planted like a tree by streams of living water. I wanted to have living streams flowing from the inside of me to the outside of me. I then crocheted a quilt and put it on a chair in the room. It made it look real comfy and inviting in the room. Then came the desk, the office chair, the printer, computer, stereo, special clock with my dad’s ashes in them, filing system, special lighting, my zero gravity chair for meditation, my favorite picture (a gift drawn for me) and lastly I signed up for a writing course. I was on my way to my new spiritual haven.

This has been the best outer transition I have made in my life for years as it has caused an inner transformation in my life the likes of which cannot be measured. I have a purpose in my life now that I didn’t have a few months ago. I have also met very many wonderful, encouraging, supportive people who are also in this same craft. I feel part of a community now where I never had before. My favorite genre is poetry and I have met many poets. That is a real treat for me. The exposure to other forms of poetry have been an eye opening experience for me as well.

All in all, I would say I have my friend to thank for making the suggestion to me that I find a “special place” for the spiritual aspect of my life. I must also remember, as with all transformations that come to our lives, that we have to be able to take advice and do the hard things that come our way. Transition and transformation are sometimes interchangeable words but not interchangeable concepts. Transition has to do with the process we go through as we are transforming our lives.

What transition are you consider making at this time in your life? What kind of a transformation will it bring in your life? Are you the type that maps it all out in front of you step by step? Or are you like me, do you just take one step at a time and see where those steps lead you?

 

Teresa Marie

I am a poet and writer first of all. My favorite subject has to do with spirituality, but I am not talking about religion. In my opinion, religion ruins a lot of people’s lives. I am talking about spirituality defined as a walk with God that far surpasses anything you could find “in church” for it is a very personal endeavor. I believe spirituality, in its truest sense, happens every day in every aspect of life. I have, in my life, attended almost every denomination of church that there is out there. Even some that were “out there” (if you catch my drift). Those experiences in themselves helped me learn to discern the spirits and see if they were from God. Unfortunately, sometimes the real churches looked too much like them. There is only one right way and that is Jesus Christ. HE is the way, the truth and the light. No one gets to the Father but through HIM. I have a degree in Theology as well as diplomas in Business and Office Management. I recently published the book “How To Get Near God’s Heart” in its entirety on kindle. Just click on the link and it will take you right to it. It is priced low enough for any budget at just $4.99.

My blog can be found at www.telepublishingink.com.

Teresa Marie


Walking has a positive effect on your brain and helps you to relax. When your life is stuck and you feel like you are not moving ahead running in a rat race it might be time to walk. It could be that your professional life is where you strive and feel happy but your personal life just does not feel right. One of the reasons is that you might be a victim of “time management” and optimization. We often do not get the results we aspire because we are running after them. We are trying to achieve too many goals at the same time. We’ve learnt how to set SMART goals and we push these on everything we do. We have learnt to optimize our time, to prioritize and to tick of tasks from our To-Do list. All in the name of “productivity”. This worked well in the past but is “efficiency” really the best way to handle your life overall? When we push all those ideas from management by objectives on to our personal lives we might face resistance sooner or later.

“People in our lives don’t function like subordinates in business.” via @angieweinberger 

 

The best way to deal with this in my view is to take time out to review what we really want for our life. We also need to challenge our own expectations and judgements of others. Do they stem from real observation and listening? Or are we projecting our own wishes and judgements into another person?

“Take A Walk” is an experiment in mindful leadership where you learn methods for self-reflection, peer consulting and also creative writing. You learn to challenge your past thinking and start to work on a vision for your future. If you are interested in working with us please email to angela@globalpeopletransitions.com.

Angie

PS: From 2018 we will offer an 8-day retreat as well. Watch out for our offer by subscribing to the weekly “Global People Club Sandwich”