#thIMPULSE - 02.2020 - Xin Nian Kuai Le
Thought about my Fear!!
As I wrote in EDITION 01.2020: “I was afraid of launching www.theunschooler.org “.
Before launching thIMPULSE, I went through the same.
The two biggest challenges I would like to share with you.
Both, as most things in life, are linked to the emotion that predominantly influences our behaviour “fear”:
Challenge #1: What to write about?
What is my topic? What do I really stand for? What are my convictions to share? Do I have valuable content?
Over this I was stuck for a very long time (maybe I still am, to some extend). I was crazy about the idea to find the perfect content, the perfect fit to what I am standing for, what the market wants…
Then my thoughts shifted and I tried to focus on: What am I really passionate about?
The first thing that came to my mind: football.
I have a huge history of playing football, following football and also supporting FC Bayern😊. On the other hand, I also realized that this period is over. Although still having a lot of interest in football, it does not make me stay up at night anymore (maybe apart from having watched the champions league finals in China when kick-off was around 3am!:-).
Finally I remembered a rant of Gary Vaynerchuk (social media guru and very interesting character I am following and only recommend to listen to: https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com/):
“I’ll give you the biggest tip when it comes to content creation: Document. Don’t create.”
This stuck with me.
His approach seemed practical and easy to implement. For me it meant an authentic, content-rich (my life:-) and straight-forward approach of starting.
So here we go:
All I have been caring about in the past years until today is integrated in the chapters of thIMPULSE: change, progress, culture, business ideas, business tools, thoughts, impulses, questions and quotations.
So in hindsight – I was afraid of not having a topic, not standing for something…
…now I am standing for what is happening in my life and topics I am concerned about every single day.
Challenge #2: Exposing myself
I think this was the biggest challenge. My fear of exposing myself!
My life-pattern is to please and to be liked at any cost - Not to offend, not to take too strong of a position.
So the thoughts circling in my head were: What others might think? How I will be perceived? I was contemplating over: my writing is bad, my content sucks,…
But then after August 2019 a lot of changes happened in my life.
These lead to one crucial element: I had to face my deepest fear - to be on my own.
In November 2019 I reached a slightly depressive state which I really did not enjoy and it made me realize, I had to do something. And my biggest aha-effect: no one will come and save me.
So I was forced to execute on probably one of the most important personal development lessons:
If you really want to progress, the magical formula is simple but tough – look your deepest fears into the eyes and start confronting them.
While pondering I stumbled over a great quote of Master Yoda:
“No! Try not! Do or do not, there is no try.”
So I wrote my first lines…
Happy change and progress!
新 年 快 乐
Xīn nián kuài lè!
Although being close to the first release date, as an extreme Sinophile I could not leave this date out.
Chinese New Year is equally known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. This year it starts on the 25th of January and lasts for 10 days. It is the most important holiday for Chinese world-wide. It is based on the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar whose dates indicate both the phase of the moon as well as the time of the solar year.
Chinese new year and its celebration is a family festival, time for eating, drinking and celebrating together with the family (of course also doing fireworks like crazy).
In 2020 it is the Year of the White Male Metal Rat. It is the 4717th Chinese year. Theoretically, people with Metal or Water as characteristic elements will have a fortunate year in 2020.
The history of the rat as first of all zodiac animals is a funny one. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor decided that the order of the zodiac animals will be decided by the order by which they will arrive to his party. The rat asked the ambitious ox to carry him on his head. Then just in front of the finishing line, the rat jumped off the ox’s head and finished as the first animal.
As it is the first year of the cycle, it marks a new beginning. It usually indicates a great opportunity for growth but also a risk for instability. Approaching it with optimism can lead to positive changes in work, love and life.
Famous people born under this zodiac sign: George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Wolfgang Mozart, William Shakespeare, Prince Harry, Prince Charles…
Do’s and don’ts I gathered:
Put a strong emphasis on efficiency
Be straight and honest, do not cut corners
Be precis in your effort and success will follow
Favor structure, order and precision
On the day of Chinese new year: do not sweep or clean, do not shower, do not use scissors, knives and other sharp objects, do not argue or swear, do not brake things, avoid fighting and crying, avoid taking medicine, do not demand debt repayment, do not borrow money.
Business tools < 50 EUR
May I introduce to you Udemy, an online learning platform aimed at professionals and students, https://www.udemy.com/ .
Two of the biggest challenges I realized in my personal and professional context:
How to assure competence?
What are state-of-the-art ways and tools to improve competence?
Of course there are books.
Certainly one of the greatest learning tools. However I realized that for me the retention rate of the content is quite low (estimated around 10% *).
What Udemy offers are on demand tutorials, trainings and courses well prepared and delivered by experienced professionals, rated and reviewed by students. As it is visual and auditive content and you can make notes, the retention rate of information increases up to five times*.
I appreciate the flexibility, where, when and how to consumer the content. I like the possibility to have a real seminar in front of me, I can pause, rewind and watch again.
They run constant promotions (at least I caught two). I am currently on an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic-Programming) course and have signed up for a further systemic coaching and REBT (rational emotive behavior theory) course (the three of them costed me 11.99 EUR each).
Business Idea for free
Automatic meeting calendar.
Problem: People spend way too much time trying to organize meetings where all participants are available. Changing then the appointment takes even more time. This is a massive waste of resources.
Solution: Creating a software calendar which automates and updates meetings according to fixed and given premises. The principle: everybody who uses the calendar has to fix basic assumptions: e.g. no meetings before 9 am, time blocker between 11:00 am – 13:00 pm, meeting slots every Tuesday between 19:00 – 21:00 o’clock,…Based on this, the participants and other appointments, the calendar will fix a date and time. The program will even shift other meetings in order to assure participation (and of course meeting rooms). Even when plans change, the program will automatically update the meeting and inform the participants by email.
Based on this a lot of time, hassle, missing participants could be avoided. Additionally, the participation could be monitored specifically for invited participants not responding or not participating although having accepted the meeting.
If I calculate the hours I spent at Bosch arranging meetings, I think this program would be definitely worth it.
A story about Culture
Yin and Yang, the concept of dualism of the Taoist philosophy.
A way of life I am truly inspired by.
Yin and Yang are visible everywhere, especially its round black-and-white-symbol : logos, tattoos, banners, articles…
„In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is a concept…describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. “ (wiki on Yin and Yang)
I got attracted to this concept, of course, during my time in Asia.
However, during that time, I got predominantly acquainted with its practical aspects, how it is applied in the daily life:
Choosing the right food combinations to eat (no watermelon in winter).
Considering negation with customers or supplier (the tea ceremony to smoothen the relationship).
By only observing the old women and men gathering early in the mornings in the park performing their Tai-Chi to find strength in the calmness and tranquillity.
This always brought me a lot of joy and resonated with me.
However I did not get too much in touch with its philosophical aspects, particularly how to create a culture of “Yin and Yang”.
The impact on its personal development aspects I got to experience through a self-development seminar “Globaldetox” with the amazing coach Marc Yossifov (http://globaldetox.eu/). It was the first time that the notion of living between your Yin and Yang was mentioned.
There was an exercise which was mind-blowing for me:
How to experience what it means to live in between your own personal Yin (comfort) and Yang (stressors). The target was to feel in your body what was necessary to comfortably stand / live in the middle of the two of them and what happens when you tilt towards the one or the other.
Another person who conceptualizes this very well is the clinical psychologist, author and university professor Jordan B. Peterson*.
His position is that Yin and Yang is the balance of things, there is no good without bad, there is no order without chaos. This duality is something which is imperative to approach life.
So how to create a culture of Yin and Yang:
When we focus on things that are in “order” there will be a little spike in the feeling of joy and a moderate happiness overall. This is comfortable, relaxing and safe but when it lasts for too long we get lazy, complacent and finally lethargic.
Whereas when “chaos” hits, things get out of order. Depending on the capacity for adaptation of each individual, it is not sustainable over the long-run before seriously causing damage.
However it is exactly in these moments, when things go south, that our quality of life is decided.
Not being afraid of “chaos”, seeing “chaos” as an integral part of life, an opportunity and a great teacher, even traversing chaos – to establish such kind of culture (AND self-culture) is a great lever to move ahead (although being very tough!).
Peterson describes this concept of Yin and Yang very elaborately in a video and concludes rightly:
„Only the one who is willing to risk chaos, will be blessed with reaping the optimal path.“ Jordan B. Peterson
He illustrates this theory by a gymnast analogy, which I find fabulous. Somebody who is capable and willing to perform an excellent performance versus somebody who is capable and willing to perform on the edge of failure (Gymnast analogy starting min 3:52).
I came across a real life example in another interview between the snowboarder Shaun White and Tony Robbins.
Shaun is describing his last run at the Olympic Games in PyeongChang 2018. He walks Tony through his story of never having performed a certain trick combination (back to back 1440°) but seeing himself forced to try in order to win the gold medal. He risks chaos (he got terribly injured the only time he tried it before) in order to push his boundaries and finally reach his objective.
Most of us live in a very comfortable environment (by global standards) and avoid discomfort like the plague.
However in order to live a life in its fullest and brightest I am convinced that it is paramount to establish a culture (self-culture) of being able to face discomfort and chaos.
Impulse about leadership
Recently I was invited to give a talk to a class of future coaches at the BBK in Munich.
(https://bbk-muc.de/ - Coaching and Training Institute - where I also did my business coach and trainer certification).
The talk was embedded in the topic: leadership.
As always when preparing for a talk or presentation I was looking for a guiding theme, an existing concept or an anchor to build my talk around.
Unfortunately, until the morning of the talk I did not find anything that stuck. So I packed my bag and walked to the train station.
Miraculously, or better obviously (thanks to synchronicities), I was listening to a podcast with Simon Sinek (author, speaker and leadership-guru), and his first words were: start with why (how great leaders inspire action)!
So I found my thread.
Initially I got to know the usefulness of the questions „why“ in a completely different but highly effective context, the automotive industry. The industry is known for absolute precision, extremely high quality and flawless product development.
In order to do so, they need tools that support these extremely high demands. One method which is frequently used in the quality management area is the “5-times why method” (developed by Sakichi Toyoda*). A very simple but effective tool to find the root cause of a failure by understanding the cause-effect relationship. It is a method of persistently digging deeper (asking 5-times why) until the error causing reason is found and the process can be improved to run flawless.
I never thought this might be an effective tool for other contexts.
When doing my coaching training and when working with clients, I realised these are extremely powerful questions to ask. It is an effective question technique to lead people to the bottom of any problem, of certain believes or patterns which seem to be impossible to give up or change (e.g. I am not good at…).
However my real deep dive into the power of the question “why” I got by reading the amazing book „man’s search for meaning“ by Victor Frankl*.
By analysing his own history of surviving the Nazi’s concentration camps, he asked himself the questions:
What made peolpe survive this atrocious experience?
What did the survivors have in common that made them sustain?
His conclusion is not simplistic nor universal but is linked to his core believe and the basis of his “Logotherapy”:
Life is a quest for meaning, not pleasure, not power. He stresses that the magnitude of accountability you bring to the decisions you make, regardless the environment, will have a direct correlation to your sense of meaning in life.
As it is also precisely pointed out in the book via this quotation:
“He who has a why can bear almost any how.” (Friedrich Nietzche)
Here my conclusion:
If we lead ourselves and others by:
starting with “why” (what is my core believe, why should people follow me),
focus on “why” (authentically and persistently following one’s why),
and if things go south ask 5-times “why” (assuring to get to the root of the problem),
we will inspire and people will follow us (employees, co-worker, bosses, wife, husband, kids…).
I am sure this will also put us on a trajectory that is meaningful and will produce a desirable quality of life.
I think Simon Sinek, Sakichi Toyoda,Victor Frankl, Friedrich Nietzche would agree.
Thought about change
When it gets uncomfortable, you are just about right!
“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Brian Tracy
Digitalization, internationalization, generation XYZ,…all these hot topics create this famous VUCA environment (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity). This puts pressure on organizations and consequently on management and employees to push forward, to adapt, to get used to and ultimately to change and transform.
When working with individuals and organizations one thing is very remarkable.
Everybody talks about change, the necessity to change, change programs, change strategies, change initiatives, change management… Usually we are discussing about “them”, “the organization”, “the team”, “the management”. Sometimes we talk about “our company”, “our department”, “our team” and “we”. Very seldom we talk about “me” and “I“.
From my point of view it does not really matter which method to use, which tool to incorporate or which process to follow. In order to make an organization, area, department, team, company focus on change we have to get in touch with – “us” – OUR mindset is key:
Why is change important for me?
What are we willing to change?
What we need to change?
How we can accept a different opinion?
How we can try something new?
How we can try to do things not the way we used to do them?
How we can support people that have new ideas?
How we can create new ideas?
Everything is linked to getting used to leaving our own comfortable, cosy and familiar comfort zone.
The earlier we move out of our comfort zone, the quicker change will happen. It is not a matter of taking a pill (now or yesterday or tomorrow) but rather a mindset, a continuous process, a thought, we are all creating day in and day out!
We have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable!
This should never stop, it is THE infinite game.
And if it stops, it is probably too late.
So let us make one step out of our comfort zone today – maybe only a little one – and we will see magic will happen…(and let’s repeat it everyday😊).
“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.” Mark Manson (explaining the “backwards law” by Alan Watts)
For the beginning of the year we tackle the topic target setting – here comes part #2:
What would you like to have / create / experience / give / change / accomplish / … in the near future?
This step should be done in 15-20 minutes.
Have a look at your list (you have created based on last EDITION’s Step 1 & 2) and define your top four short-term (1-3 years) goals. These goals should be the most important, attractive and valuable ones for you personally.
Write each goal on the top of a single page. Write a paragraph about: why this goal is so important to you, why you will absolutely achieve this goal. Then make a short plan of what are important sub-goals, linked to the big goal (e.g. run a marathon as a big goal, sub-goal: racing 10k by xx.xx.xxxx,…).
Final touch: Have a look on each page, the one single goal you have noted. Now take 3 minutes to visualize the achievement of this goal, really imagine how it will look like, feel like to achieve this goal.
Thanks for reading until the end...I feel humbled and grateful!
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Thank you so much.