Category Archives: Global Competency
A bird

I lay awake on a Saturday night that I had just enjoyed with my partner and our neighbors and even though it was only Saturday I felt a creeping dissatisfaction about all I wanted to achieve the next working week. I am not sure how you feel, but the fact that I attend most meetings online now creates more anxiety when a topic is really important to me. I feel that in a physical meeting I would be able to show my emotions better and I can be very convincing in such situations and achieve what I would like to achieve. Oftentimes, the point of such a meeting is to bring the other person or persons to an action or a decision.

But then, when I started to think about my week I felt there were so many small and urgent tasks to worry about that I would not be able to adequately prepare for those critical meetings where I would want to be fully present and prepared. And in order not to let anxiety dominate my thinking, I did what I usually do in such situations: I fell asleep. I woke up refreshed, made myself a cup of coffee, and started to work. 

Like a machine, I moved from one minor task to the next to set up my mind for success the next week. Then what happened next was that I was able to take my mind off the small tasks before the end of the weekend and I could focus on the “big wins” again.

And yes, it is easy to worry and action helps me the best to get out of the state of worry. What often blocks my flow is not a lack of motivation, it’s rather a feeling of having too much to do and too little time for fun and play. Here, as an entrepreneur, I developed the habit of allowing myself to not be reachable for anybody on certain days and just work in my pajamas if I feel like it. If I work on weekends, I usually schedule time in the morning so I can still go out and spend time with my loved ones in the afternoon. I even leave my phone in its bed for several hours on the weekend to be more present for my partner and friends.

I know what you are thinking now: “But what if a major client is trying to reach you and you are not responding for hours? Or what if there is an emergency? Or what if you wish to google something quickly? Or what if you forget important tasks because you have so much on your plate?”

(And then, when you think of all that, you stop your activity and decide not to follow your idea of starting a business because it suddenly seems “unrealistic” and “building castles in the skies”, and “it won’t be good for my old-age pension if I don’t get a regular salary…”, and “I don’t have enough experience, money, support to start my own business…”)

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt a major change was about to happen in your career or life but you were too frightened to even start? You might not call it “FEAR”, you will probably think it is “REASON”, but believe me, my friend, all those stories you are telling yourself why it won’t work are based on fear. This fearful voice was created a long time ago when you were a child and you were probably born into a culture where taking risks was not encouraged, where everyone believed in planning, predicting, and pushing through.

I think we all have experienced this issue before and I would like to call it the “mountain of tasks” that leads to a block in activity. It’s similar to sports. Once you stop doing sports it is really hard to be motivated again.

I believe that there are two ways to deal with the Monday Anxiety I am describing above. One is that you engage in your purpose. You clearly define why this task helps you to fulfill your purpose in life and on earth. 

The other trick is to hack the “mountain of tasks” into smaller bits and pieces, make it doable and start with a small baby step. Therefore, it is important to create a system that helps you keep an overview of your tasks. Most of you probably have developed a system over the years to track tasks and projects.

However, what I am noticing and have talked about in the last two blog posts is that we are starting a lot of work and it remains stuck in Work-in-Progress because of various factors. I would like to encourage you to complete your Work-in-Progress before the year-end and see how that makes you feel.

If you cannot fully complete a project, define a new milestone that you would like to have achieved by the end of the year. List all those milestones on a wall where you can see them, either by using post-it notes or a hand-written task list.

 

 

 

 

Read more:

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/getting-projects-completed/

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/the-digital-nomad-part-3/

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/expats-these-days-are-sleep-deprived-heres-how-you-can-break-that-cycle/

 

 

 

 


By Sean Patrick Hopwood

Riddled with quirky traits and poetic descriptions, the German language is a fascinating one. But why is German called “Das Land der Dichter und Denker”? In this article, we take a look at some wonderful and fun facts about one of the world’s most intriguing languages to explore why it’s considered the language of writers and thinkers!

Das Land der Dichter und Denker

The German phrase translates to ‘The Land of Poets and Thinkers,’ and it’s a common nickname for Germany. German culture ran through the veins of many famous minds that influenced the way the rest of the world reads and interacts with each other.

From Goethe and Schiller to Heine, Mozart, Beethoven, Fred, Klimt, and Einstein, German was spoken by many brilliant leaders and continues to stand tall as one of the most important cultural languages in the world. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, for example, the writer of Faust, is considered one of the greatest national treasures of Germany.

Interesting Facts About the German Language

Did you know that German is among the top 15 most widely-spoken languages on earth? It’s estimated that roughly 1.4% of the world’s population are German speakers. Here are some more interesting facts about the German language that prove that it’s the language of writers and thinkers!

German is a Close Relative to the English Language

German is a West Germanic language, just like the English language. This means that the languages share a lot of similarities and are actually closely related. However, there are many words that look and sound the same, but have totally different meanings!

Proverbs in the German Language Can be Bizarre at Times

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei – Everything has an end; only a sausage has two. What it really means, however, is that all good things must come to an end at some point.

Das ist nicht dein Bier! – That’s not your beer. The meaningful translation would be that it is none of your business.

In German, All Nouns are Capitalized

If you’ve ever read a newspaper in a part of the German-speaking world, you’d have noticed how the paragraphs are permeated with extra-long words that are written in capital letters. That is because they write all nouns in capital letters. And it’s also part of the reason why written German is such a captivating language.

German is Full of Unique Words Describing German Philosophy

One notable aspect of the German language is its ability to create new, super-specific words that help to express life much more accurately than the English language could ever dream of. Schadenfreude, for example, literally translates the kind of happiness that is derived from someone else’s misfortune or pain. Then there’s Torschlusspanik, the word used to summarize the fear that creeps in with old age and the realization that one doesn’t have much time left, and this evokes a sense of urgency to do certain things before it’s too late.

Many German Words are Compounded Nouns

Did you know that many of the scarily-long German words can probably be broken down into smaller nouns? The German language is well-known for building new words from existing ones. A good example is Handschuhe. It combines the words Hand and Schue (which means shoes) to form a new word for ‘hand shoes’ and literally translates to ‘gloves’ in the English language.

It’s the European Union’s Most Widely-Spoken Language and the Heart of German Culture

Aside from being the official language of Germany, German is also an official language in Austria and Liechtenstein. It’s also a co-official language of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and thus, it is one of the most widely-spoken languages in the European Union! However, the dialect isn’t the same everywhere across the German-speaking world of the European Union, and depending on where you are in Germany, you’ll encounter various German dialects.

Nouns are Masculine, Feminine, or Gender-Neutral

All German nouns have genders, but the gender doesn’t comply with the gender of the object; it’s purely grammatical. According to Mark Twain, young ladies aren’t classified as a specific sex, but turnips are definitely female.

German was the Proud Owner of the World’s Longest Foreign Language Word

The supercalifragilisticexpialidocious you were thinking about might be the longest word in the English language, but German history used to top that! The 63-letter Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, which means ‘the law concerning the delegation of duties for the supervision of cattle marking and the labeling of beef’ was too much for even the native German speakers. The word was eventually declared obsolete.

Germanic Script only Emerged in the Middle of the 20th Century!

German used to be written with the Fraktur script from the Latin alphabet up until the middle of the twentieth century. Gothic calligraphy was introduced to the language in the 16th century and was in use in German Universities until the end of the Second World War.

Wrapping Up

With all its unique quirks, fascinating words, and captivating phrases, German certainly is a wonderful language that can describe life and all its experiences in a very unique way. It’s no wonder the language is considered the best one that poets and philosophers can use to express their ideas! 

So while a German citizen might call their language the language of poets because that’s what they were taught, there’s a very good reason why the rest of the world also agrees. German is one of the richest languages on earth thanks to its huge variety of words. 

They have words to describe sounds, processes, and even the effects of certain emotional states, and very few other languages can boast of this. And it is in philosophy and poetry where words are armor to keep up the good fight of spreading knowledge!

 Author Bio:

Sean Patrick Hopwood is the President of Day Translations, an academic evaluation services provider. He is also a language polyglot and can speak English, Spanish, French, Arabic, German, Hebrew, and Portuguese with varying levels of fluency. Soccer is one of his many passions. It allows him to socialize with his friends and brings him in close contact with people from other cultures. He loves to dance and salsa is one of his favorite styles.

Peace

We are all deeply saddened by what is happening in Ukraine and our hearts go out to all the people suffering in this conflict, no matter what their passport says.

We stand with Ukraine. We condemn violence. We pray for peace.

Immediate Actions – How You Can Help Right Now

(Status: Tuesday, 8 March 22)

  • Keep yourself informed about the security situation on the ground and in the neighboring countries.
  • Ensure that you are mentally ready to support others and feel free to reach out to Angie if you wish to talk. The best way to reach her right now is through her mobile phone.
  • Provide a shower or room: In Switzerland, organizations such as Campax are looking for accommodation and families who have spare rooms to take in refugees for now. Being able to have a shower and stay for one night is better than nothing. Also, the Swiss cantonal authorities are setting up accommodation and you can check your local migration office if you have families and friends who need a new home or place to stay.
  • Employ a refugee. According to our research Ukrainian refugees will be allowed to work in Switzerland with an S status within 3 months. In the European Union, many countries will allow them to work right away. Check this site for a Q & A on the situation in Switzerland.
  • Hold a fundraiser at your workplace and ask your employer to match donations. The ICRC has great programs your employer can support and financial aid helps fast in this situation.
  • Support grass-roots actions. Our friend Birger Oldorff is providing transportation to vulnerable refugees through Human-Plus, a German non-profit. https://human-plus.de/en/ +4921531397263 info@human-plus.org.
  • Consider what you share on social media right now. We provide guidance on Digital Media Literacy here in this post.
  • Volunteer your time as you have great skills and knowledge to help. We love this resource for example: HRforUkraine
  • Be kind to others who might be going through trauma, anxiety, have to take care of families and friends, even if you don’t know how affected they are.
  • Offer your ears and hearts to people. Some people feel better if they can talk or chat with someone. Offer your support via social media or through your direct contacts.
  • Decorate your house with a peace flag.
  • Share important phone numbers on Twitter and Facebook. Many refugees are confused and not sure who to contact for help. This site by the ICRC is really helpful.

DONATION MATCHING GLOBAL PEOPLE TRANSITIONS

**Global People for Global People**

We will match donations to the ICRC until 20 March 2022. If you aren’t employed right now, you can send us your donation receipt and we will collect all donations and match them up to CHF 10k.

We’re not sure what to do if we raise more, but we will update you. 🙂

Donations and Fundraising

Here are things you should consider: 

  • Does the relief charity meet Better Business Bureau charity standards?
  • Can the charity get to the impacted area?
  • Not all charities have the resources to provide relief to Ukraine as quickly as necessary. It would be wise to check and see if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine or another eastern European country.
  • We advise against sending clothing. They could create logistical challenges to deliver to Ukraine (and bordering countries). They also often create a lot of extra waste if they cannot be used immediately.
  • Check if the charity experienced in providing emergency relief.

Experienced in disaster relief and recommended:

Red Cross (ICRC – and national committees)

UNICEF (and any other UN branch such as the UNHCR or the World Food Programm)

Amnesty International

Doctors Without Borders

Talking

You might be facing a unique set of challenges right now. Acclimatizing to a new locale, new cultural norms and social practices, ever-changing pandemic rules, children with identity issues, an injury, or an elderly relative, who just fell down a third time and needed to be hospitalized. 

These challenges bring with them additional levels of stress and dealing with them every day inevitably results in mental exhaustion, especially if you cannot be there in person and have to support through WhatsApp calls.

You might also downplay your own mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion or worse, ignore them altogether. That’s because as new members of the workplace or community, you don’t want to be seen as the “constant victim”. You might end up overworking and taking on too many responsibilities to show your “worth” and you’re not looking after yourself enough.

This can result in weight fluctuations, feeling drained or listless, and being unable to get out of bed. If any or all of those descriptions apply to you or to a family member, then this discussion would help you understand better what is going on. 

The Expat Experience

The “Expat Experience (XX)” involves working longer hours, adjusting to the rules and culture of the host country, trying to build a new circle of friends, and retaining some semblance of social life. You notice that things that were commonplace in your home country, perhaps easier access to medication or specific types of food, are way harder in the new country and add to the stress that is already near peak levels due to the recent move.

Stress is something we all have to manage but for you, stress is experienced more frequently and from a broader range of sources. It starts with the “small” things – handing over your previous work, clearing your office space out for the move, and saying goodbye to people you love or grew accustomed to.

For you, it only gets more complicated from there. There is a new language and an entire culture built around it that needs to be understood, people to interact with, transport networks to figure out, and more. Remember, all this is happening in conjunction with everyday obligations like cooking and cleaning, spending time with family, calling your relatives or parents in your home country.

You can see why the statistics skew in favor of you facing more burnouts, and the negative impact on personal and professional life that they bring.

Culture Shock 

Early on during an assignment, a large portion of you suffers from “culture shock” or cultural adjustment. The impact of these often manifests as symptoms similar to mild depression – feelings of isolation and helplessness, oversleeping and lethargy (or even the opposite: insomnia and lethargy), mood swings, and unexplained body aches. Homesickness adds to the symptoms, which combined with the fact that you might be new to your role makes things even tougher. It could also be that you don’t have a job or occupation just yet and feel that an important part of your identity is suddenly missing.

In this high-stress, emotional scenario, you often turn to the wrong things for management: substance abuse in the form of drugs or alcohol. 

I usually prescribe these seven easy-to-implement steps for helping your body with cultural adjustment.

  1. Implement a Daily Mission Walk. The focus here is not on high-impact training, but rather on consistency. Go for a short walk and make it a staple of your daily routine. Motivate yourself by small missions such as taking the dog for a walk, recycling the glass bottles, getting bread or flowers, buying groceries without the car, dropping a few items off at the local Brockenhaus (or Salvation Army).
  2. Plan a Digital Detox. This one is not easy, as you end up losing contact with your family and friends back home, but it is well established that overuse of social media and technology has a high impact on stress levels. A weekend of digital detox will help you regain focus and have some time to think and reflect. I usually try to stay away from social media for 24 hours over the weekend. During the RockMeRetreat we are practicing to stay away from media for several days.
  3. Practice PMR or a similar Relaxation Method. Work through Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) every day after lunch or before you go to sleep. Start with videos you can find on YouTube or buy CDs and audios from Medical Doctors such as Dr. Beth Salcedo (English) or Dr. Stephan Frucht (German).
  4. Start Meditating 5 Minutes a Day. Practicing active meditation is also a good idea. I created this video to get you started. There are many more detailed videos on how to do this out there. I’m teaching active meditation at the RockMeRetreat.
  5. Combine your first coffee with a morning meditation. You can also start your day with a short morning meditation such as this one. I try to combine my first coffee with a short meditation.
  6. Start a Journal. Journalling is a great method to deal with your mind and emotions. If it feels like a lot of work, try a bullet journal first.
  7. Join one of our Group Programs. Having a support group to help through any kind of transition is useful. With the current BANI world out there I would advise that you always build a support network fast and have a person you can trust and speak to about your challenges regularly.

Reverse Culture Shock

The hope that you would only experience culture shock once when you start an assignment is dashed by the revelation that by the end of that assignment, particularly if it was several years long, the same people experience a similar shock on returning home.

Also dubbed “re-entry shock”, the scenario is pretty similar to the original culture shock. After 5 or more years, the friend’s group, support networks, and even the workplace have all evolved and changed, while your memories and knowledge stopped at the point where they moved away. You find yourself in a similar boat as when you arrived in the host country all those years ago.

Reverse culture shock has not received the attention it deserves until now, but Vanessa Paisley’s “5-V Repatriation Model” is a great starting point to learn more about it.

When You Need Help From a Therapist

Coaching is not always the best solution, especially if symptoms have been persisting for a long time or were previously undiagnosed, perhaps even in the home country.  Should I identify that your symptoms are beyond what we deem “normal cultural adjustment” I will advise you to seek out professional help. 

The symptoms of depression are complex and vary, but have devastating long-term impacts on a person. 

If you are experiencing changes in sleep patterns, appetite, weight and mood swings, or any combination of symptoms listed on the link, please reach out immediately.

It is not easy to admit, whether to loved ones or even ourselves when things are tough. If you are feeling symptoms of culture shock, the first and by far the most important step is to honestly identify and acknowledge that you are not well. 

Without that acknowledgment, the treatment and healing can not begin. Also, asking for help can be shameful. Start with asking us for help by emailing romee@globalpeopletransitions.com for a first 25-Minute Call with me. 

We would also once again like to invite you to join our preparatory free workshops in advance of the RockMeRetreat and for anyone who would like to get to know our work with Expats, Expat Partners, Global Nomads, and Scientists better.

Darth Vader

Do you know Darth Vader, the dark force of many of the Star Wars movies? Did you know that we all have a bit of Darth Vader in us? We are driven by our fears. The Star Wars movies are full of allusions to deep psychology and how our attachments and fears form our behaviors and life. With this post, I would like to give you an understanding of how we are influenced by our fears and how you can change to become a Jedi. 

Fritz Riemann, a deep psychologist established a theory based on four basic forms of fear (“Grundformen der Angst”). The four basic forms of angst are formed in our early childhood and determine to a large extent how we behave when we are grown up. In the extreme form these fears turn into psychological illnesses.

For Riemann, the Sith are schizoid, depressed, obsessive and hysterical people. You have to be aware that even though these terms have found their way into our everyday language the clinical spectrum of these illnesses is serious and needs treatment through therapy.

Carl Gustav Jung, another deep psychologist discovered the “shadow”. Jung assumed that all of our relationships with other people are based on unconscious projections of our own wishes and expectations into their behavior.

According to Jung, the shadow is the part of us that we have driven into the unconscious as it was unwanted (for example behavior as a child) as opposed to our “Persona” which was the desired (performing) part of us.

Did you ever notice that you don’t like traits in another person and later someone told you that you have this trait too?

To speak in Star Wars terminology: You might have a bit of Darth Vader within you even though you might be a Jedi most of the time.

Like Darth Vader, we were not always bad. Some of us had negative experiences. Other lost trust in the world because of a traumatic experience. Our education system did not help either. We were ruled by authority and we had to perform. If you did not have your homework back in the 70-ies and 80-ies you were punished.

No one told us that we are great because we are creative, or even because we are who we are. We were taught to perform for making it in life. My parents had a different approach to education, but they also were young and idealistic and sometimes forgot their own children over the ones they took care of.

Today when you watch TV or check an ad statement you will see that what is often shown to us is a world full of existential angst or full of gold-coated “happy families”.

We are torn between a world to be afraid in and a world where everyone is on happy pills all the time. It’s like a world where the dark forces rule and were the Sith have won. Everywhere.

Could you still become a Jedi?

What if you decided that you did not want to be ruled by fear and anxiety?

What if you wanted to be the light and show others to stay “good” or to stay on their mission?

What if you could be Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia Organa?

You see that the Jedis confront their fears all the time. They deal with it. They do what they are afraid to do and they fight evil step-by-step. They don’t stop. They sometimes take a break to train or to collect the force. They retreat to be able to focus on their mission again.

Real change happens only through taking action. You start by confronting what you are afraid of. You go into the dark tunnel and the abyss of your soul. You dive deep into the black sea of concern and unconscious. There, you will find the monsters, the Sith, the evil you need to handle. You need to work through those with a light-saber. You tackle one relationship after the next relationship. You go through them all. All your fears, projections, shadows. I’ll stay by your side like Obi Wan Kenobi.

Cherish the people who criticize you, but don’t let their criticism stop you from what you think is right.

Stay on your path.

One day you will look back and only see Jedis around you.

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