Category Archives: Global Mobility

I sometimes just want to feel human. Recently, I stayed in a “special hotel” in Munich. The mission of this seminar hotel is to support young “disadvantaged” adults. I was welcomed and my small requests were all adhered to. I noticed that all my small wishes came true. A glass of red wine here, a sausage salad there, extra coffee, TV and generally a cozy atmosphere. I almost felt like I was at home. I did not feel like I had to go out alone.

What I noticed was that happiness can boil down to simple wishes like an apple pie or meeting friends that you have not seen in a while. You sometimes just need to ask for them and express your wishes.

Often we feel that we do not deserve those little treats. We feel that we have to work harder to be able to afford them or we use them as an incentive to perform better.

Is this one of the ways you make yourself feel undeserving? Do you deny yourself chocolate, carbs or a glass of wine because you need to “earn” it first? Or would you love to spend a weekend away with your loved one but feel it could interfere with work or your routine? Do you sometimes feel like a robot on autopilot?

If you feel like this, it might be time to get out of Switzerland for a while. You probably also enjoy the productivity here and that everything runs like clockwork, but maybe we also need the other side of the world.

I enjoy going abroad because the little faults, the imperfections, the annoying traffic, the lack of structure inspire me. I feel like I’m a prisoner on home leave, someone who was let out of their straightjacket and just floats. I feel that I can get into a slack mode where I don’t check emails and where I don’t have to look immaculate. It’s the miracle of waking up without a plan, without an agenda and with the freedom to experiment. Tell me, when was the last time where you allowed yourself a day without a To-Do List, without an obligation, without a task to perform?

And if I told you that I might have the key to a life of inner freedom would you believe me? Would you believe that the key to a life of fulfillment is probably not in your next career step? Would you believe me when I say that the force is inside you already, you just have to unlock it? (Starwars Fans, the pun is intended)

I will offer a new coaching format to you in 2018. Join us for the eight-day RockMe! Retreat in November 2018 (probably from 2 – 9 November 2018) in Lindau (South Germany) where we will work on your personal key to a life of purpose. If you would like to be included on the potential attendee list or if you have questions please reply to this email. Please also share with your friends and colleagues who could profit from such as a retreat. Details will be shared with those who are interested.

Wishing you a week full of productive energy.

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

PS: Do you know the 31 reasons why Switzerland is the happiest country?

 

Last week, I was in a state of frenzy. I rushed to get everything important done on Friday morning, ate a quick lunch, dropped a few household chores dropped on my partner’s lap and visited the cash machine to ensure an urgent payment.

Then, I breathe out. I sit on that one train I needed to catch. The whole day I have been dreaming about a relaxed weekend with my bestie, long walks, chats and a quiet train ride to catch up on my writing. I comforted myself in the blue seat, let the footrest down, set the alarm,  took off the warm coat and was ready to move into the creative zone. (Writers you all know what I’m talking about…)

Then (Baa – bi – baa) – an announcement.

“Welcome to ….Please note that pickpockets might be working from stations.”

What?
Pickpockets?

They might be in the process of stealing my little red suitcase right now. Not to mention that gypsy woman with black skirts, golden earrings, and a black tooth. She is there – bang. In my head and my inner movie theatre starts. Gypsy woman rips open my (locked) suitcase with a sharp pocket knife. No, a huge sickle worth a pirate. Now, she looks like a pirate too.  Her left eye is made of glass. What will she find? A few clothes and books with piano lessons. To her disappointment, my clothes are boring and old.

My impulse is to get up and take my suitcase to my seat. This would mean that no other passenger can sit there.

(Pause)

I don’t get up. I have travel insurance and all my important belongings are right next to me. Yes, it would be annoying to lose my suitcase but it would not be a catastrophe.  What “gypsy lady” makes me think about is how I was listening to the announcement and this one sentence pushed me into a negative inner movie theatre. Or a momentary state of paranoia.

Did you ever experience anything similar?

As a coach, I am trained to listen to my inner voice and voices and there is one strong voice inside of me that says: “People are good. The other people also want to sit on a seat instead of sharing with a suitcase.” I trust this voice today.

In 2017, we jump mental lanes fast.

Every day, only a small incident can push us over an edge. Not every day this means that we will turn into mass murderers but I never before experienced such an affluence of negative thinking and negative assumptions about human beings. The general level of trust in our affluent society is extremely low. The batteries are flat. Most people have psychological and physical health issues.

We are judging someone in an instance and we do it all the time.

It’s matter of seconds between the “Like” and “Dislike” button. It’s a split moment between feeling needy and feeling resourceful. It’s a small line between mental illness and genius. Our attention span is so short that I need to check twice if I have locked the car.

This is why I encourage you to follow weekly routines to ensure you maintain your mental and physical sanity. This is why I ask you to reflect your achievements once a week. Within the RockMe! program we have now established a regular process to remind you to answer four questions every week. Have you noticed a difference since you started to do this?

Hit reply and let me know.

Angie

PS: I’m happy to report that little red suitcase is still with me. 😉

When you want to drive in the fast lane and get into a traffic jam on the German autobahn on a Friday afternoon it can feel like a bonding experience among a nation dedicated to the speed of travel. On the radio, the announcer only always referred to the “long traffic jams”. They did not even have the time to mention the shorter ones. It took me seven hours to get from Frankfurt to Zurich, including a break, and alternative options such as train and airplane seemed to be even more complicated.

I’m telling you this because I felt that driving on the German autobahn is a metaphor for our current lives. We rush everywhere and try to squeeze more into every small hole of time. When we get a chance to have a zip of water or eat a good dinner we are still driving in our heads. We already think about the next meeting, presentation or client.zip of water or eat a good dinner we are still driving in our heads. We already think about the next meeting, presentation or client.

With all of our tools, apps, and navigation devices we give up control over our lives. We put it into the hands of technology and robots, and most of us lost touch with what really matters to us. During the drive, my colleague and I had rain, a huge rainbow, a sunset in France with dark clouds over Germany. We had a productive conversation and solved issues of work and life together, and we laughed about the craziness of our modern life.

I was tired and just wanted to get home. When I finally arrived, I had a good chat with a client, who just had a successful interview and when I hung up, I went to the kitchen, made a cup of tea and thought about this drive. Was it worth the pain? Am I feeling clogged with my overflowing task list and more and more passwords, email accounts, and queries from left and right? What helped and what can I learn from this?

 

Persistent Patience and Weekly Reflections

Right now we all move from Monday to Sunday, achieve our most important priorities at work, waste a lot of time trying to sort out tech and admin and then we rush into a weekend full of plans and ideas, and around 5 pm on a Saturday we just want to open a bottle of wine but we still have to run to the shops, wash our clothes, iron them, cook dinner, buy presents, support our children, see our families and so on..wine but we still have to run to the shops, wash our clothes, iron them, cook dinner, buy presents, support our children, see our families and so on.

We could get exhausted and burn out. Many managers do.

If you shift your attention to the beauty you will notice that at the end of the day what matters are the relationships you build, the humans you spend your offline time with and that you cherish the fact that you are alive. When you take note of the five or six-layered rainbow, the painted sunset and the colors of a canola field, then you gain hope. When you remember to breathe and drink sips of water, then you stay hydrated and fresh. When you intentionally give 1€ because the toilet cleaner is a woman and not a machine and she wishes you a good journey and a wonderful weekend, then your heart might beat a bit faster.

And when you are thankful for snuggling next to your hubby and when you know that you make a small difference in another person’s life, then you know that the ride is worth it.

Kind regards,

Angie

What we know can get in our way. This is true with intercultural knowledge too. We tend to assume that everything works exactly as it does in our home culture. And then we experience the opposite.

It could be that a train is not running when we expect one. The definition of „morning“ could be different than “roughly between 7 and 10 am”. Machines for petrol, for parking or for payments could be running in another way than what we are used to. Locks could turn the other way round.

It could be common to have a net price for a meal on the menu, a charge for the cover, a charge to open a bottle and the VAT added at the end of invoice. Maybe the tip is a lot higher or lower than what you are used to.

Crossing cultures you could be confused by words, by language, by habits, and by standards. It could be that your expectation of „normal“ is absurd in the other context. It could happen that you drink water from the tab and it is detrimental to your health.

Intercultural crossings have been as old as Europe. We (Europeans) never had to go far to hear a language that we do not understand. We know the feeling of being in a place where you have a different currency, different plugs, and different rules. We enjoy these little challenges as long as we are tourists. We enjoy our incapabilities in the language. When we have crossed many cultures and lived abroad, we tend to overestimate our intercultural competence. We tend to think that we are good at communicating with people from other cultures. This might be easy on holidays but it could be a challenge when we are managing a global and virtual team.

As managers, we then often ask our team members to follow our cultural dominance. We assume that we create the rules because we were chosen to lead. We assume that we can become irritable and impatient with our staff if they do not „get it“ right away. We assume that we don’t have to change, but the others have to.

Think of your last week.

Did you think to yourself „Why don’t they get it?“. Have you been annoyed or even angry with one of your team members from another culture? Have you said „…this process is not efficient“? These could be signs that you are not yet a global leader and that your intercultural competence has not evolved yet. It could be a sign that you still have a lot to learn in interactions with people in general but especially with people from other cultures.

Tell me what you remember.

Kind regards,

Angela

PS: This post is about a related theme on aggression at work and five methods to reduce aggressive and annoying behavior in the workplace.

 

Sometimes we all experiences phases in our lives when everything seems to drag along or harder than usual. In other times we are full of energy and ready to take life by storm. You probably understand already that your energy level and exhaustion does not always correlate to a number of hours you work.

Sometimes you might be drained by other factors. It might even be your personal life that is creating an imbalance. In my experience, most of the issues we face are born in our head. Once we learn to control our thoughts, we can almost control the universe (almost…do not try to challenge me on this one).

Do you remember the last time you almost had a nervous breakdown over a small error you made or the last fight you had with a loved one for something that seemed meaningless in hindsight?

Are you sometimes asking yourself what triggers these emotional reactions when you explode or break into tears out of nowhere? The issue is simpler than you think and at the same time more irrational than you think. It’s probably related to your early childhood. Unless you want to go through a long deep therapeutic process I want to advise you to observe your behavior and your judgment.

There are also a few actions you can take to rid yourself of unnecessary blockages.

Clean up your home and office space

Sometimes we feel blocked because we lost touch with ourselves, with our priorities and our purpose. In that case, it is useless to sit in front of a white sheet of paper ruminating about what we would like to do with our lives. It is better to shift your focus to cleaning up your home and office space. Throw out anything you don’t use or if you feel you will use it again try to put it in your cellar.

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/how-to-get-rid-of-clutter-in-five-steps-spring-cleaning-for-more-productivity/

Use Housework as a Meditation Practice

Create more balance between your head and your body by going through your household tasks with dedicated Zen-like attitude. Focus fully on the task at hand, let your mind enjoy music or listen to a podcast while you iron shirts, clean the bathroom and do the dishes. You might want to take up a regular practice such as meditation, yoga, aikido or golf.
http://www.agility3.com/blog/learning-golf-rememering-rilke-and-the-secret-to-a-perfect-lawn

Battle Stress by Looking at the Root Cause

If you constantly feel anxious, get too little sleep or you seek distractions with medicines, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, work and other additions you might want to seek a therapist. In the long run, you will benefit from going through this rough phase but you probably won’t manage alone or without a support group. Maybe it will also help you to follow our advice on how to get in control again when stress weighs you down.
https://globalpeopletransitions.com/when-stress-weighs-you-down-three-quickies-to-get-in-control-again/

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

PS: If you feel you only need a few small optimizations to claim back your diary you might want to try these seven tips.

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/my-favourite-productivity-hacks-seven-tips-to-claim-back-your-diary/