Power: a.k.a. ability, potential, talent and gift
Em-power-ment: a.k.a. permission, green light, go ahead, consent and OK.
It’s not possible to empower someone else – each and every one of us is already empowered.
No one, especially not people “in power” have this power or hold over others.
Real empowerment only happens when people are doing something because they WANT to. Empowerment comes from within and you get to see it when people are doing something to the best of their ability – in any given situation.
Empowerment is unleashed human desire and potential. That is power-full!
And they will only make that decision – give themselves the “green light” – when they feel good, feel safe and when they know what’s in it for them.
Happy people are empowered people.
And only then can knowledge become power!
When was the last time you went out of your way to make someone you work (or play) with, happy?
Have you ever wondered how you can, on demand, tap into your intuition and super-ness?
The answers lie in here…
After 2.5 years of being in India, I finally went for a Shirodhara massage.
‘What’s this?’ some of you may ask. I didn’t know either until very recently, so I thought I would suss it out for myself. I’m in India. I can. I should, shouldn’t I?
In Sanskrit “Shiro” means head or forehead and “dhara” means flow and the technique is the continuous flow of lukewarm liquids onto your forehead. This ancient massage therapy promises to relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), tiredness, insomnia (remember “pineal gland”), jet lag (again that pineal gland) and hypertension. It renews energy, creates calm, clarity of thought, reduces worry and excessive thought – reducing worry lines and keeps you looking young. Dream therapy for a woman!
At first I focussed on the steady flow of oil onto my forehead and then, as if transported in time – I awoke. In the hands of others, my time had flown.
Fast forward a few days, after getting up before sparrows fart with startling clarity and useful ideas for writing (I do this) I discover a free 90minute online course hosted by Judith Glaser about C-IQ – conversational intelligence. You all know I am totally into conversational stuff so I register and log in, bushy tailed and bright eyed with my sleep rhythms totally messed up because of the time difference between India and USA. Sometime into the webinar Judith spoke about the workings of our brains, the primitive brain, the limbic brain and the neo- or prefrontal cortex – which also happens to the area of your “third eye” and, which Judith says is the bridge between what you intend doing and the impact you have on those around you.
And I get thinking that my Shirodhara massage was all about stimulating my “third eye” and here’s me with my index finger hovering over my mouse with a “should I, shouldn’t I?” quiver.
My intuition tells me to follow my “should I” route and I discovered (even though I might be preaching to the converted) some fascinating facts and findings – pure science – to share with you.
I visited Varanasi a few weeks ago. As promised it proved to be 3.5 days filled with fascinating fables, informative insights, metaphors and myths and what really preoccupied me afterwards was the mindset, or philosophy around dying – before and after death. It was a deeply introspective experience that, even without actually thinking about it, forced me to reflect on my own attitude and beliefs about life, and death. My more pragmatic self did some research and found facts relating to the business of burning bodies.
Among other things, I read that this custom and practice has almost depleted India’s own forests and they are now importing the wood from neighboring countries like Nepal. Considering the pyres are burning 24/7 and an average of 50 bodies get burnt a day, that is some business! And a huge, weighty demand for wood!
An environmental activist’s nightmare and, quite frankly, a matter of life, over death! Now!
Fast forward a week or two and I am talking to one of my clients in the EU which is expanding their business borders further East mentioning Nepal as one of their new sources of wood. And I think to myself…
I get the “machinery” of business. I get what is needed to make a business run, well-oiled, efficiently and effectively to maximize profits. I personally thrive on other businesses expanding their business borders because it calls for cultural collaboration which can only be achieved through cultural understanding and clarity in communication – my business. I get that everyone wants their share (fair or not) of the economic and consumer pie and when the local market gets too small or the region has run out of resources and stock, then businesses have to move on up and out – otherwise it is death to the business! I get that.
But, how much of all of this is done in the true wisdom and understanding that some ideas, traditions and customs need to be burnt, for the benefit our children’s futures? And their children?
And, just how much of all of this is as “sustainable” as businesses envisage, intend and promise?
Let’s face it. Business is a violent business. Success can be cut throat. Does it have to be this way? Do we even have choices?
Why No One Answer Is Ever Right
Two men had an argument so they went to a Sufi judge to settle the dispute. The one made his case and was very persuasive in his reasoning. The judge nodded approval and said: “that’s right!”
The other man jumped up and said, “Wait a minute, you haven’t heard my side of the story!” The judge told him to make his case which he did, also with sound persuasive reasoning. The judge nodded approval and said: “that’s right!”
When the clerk of the court heard this he jumped up and said “Judge! They cannot both be right!” to which the judge replied, “That’s right”.
Just like truth is all around you there is no one answer that is right; what matters is where you put your energy and focus. And remember, the answers you get depend on the questions you ask.
So, what does this have to do with cross-cultural competence?
You tell me!
Wishing you an awesome week of finding alternative truths and new answers!
It’s never too late to come in with my kick-butt how-to-achieve-everything-you-want-to-achieve-in-2018 tips! So, here’s a Poem, a Parable, some to do’s and tips. Grab a pencil and let’s do this!
My advice? #ratherlatethannever
Make a list of what you think you should or think you’re supposed to be doing.
Now think about what you would rather be doing. Remember energy flows where your attention goes.
Make a list of the things you dream of and the things you want to be doing.
And now think about what you really should be doing.
Somewhere between what you want to be doing and what you really should be doing lies your magic (happiness, fulfilment, sexy-ness). You’ve got to get your butt out of your “what you think you should be doing” zone.
Really. No amount of life hacks, planning, setting goals or other such exercises are going to prove useful if you base them on imperatives like should, must, have to and ought to. You don’t like it when others tell you what to do, so why are you using the same tone of voice on yourself? The only thing that is going to happen is your sub-conscious kicking into resistance mode!
I get that there will always be things which we are absolutely obliged to do but, for example, staying in a job that makes you lose color and drag your feet to work in the morning just because it feeds the family is not one of those things. You think you might be providing the best for your loved ones but what is your compliance, conformity, bad mood, passivity, frustration and complaining really putting on the table?
The sweet things in life?
Really? I don’t think so. Watch this.
Be warned: It’s heartbreaking.
Life hacks and goals don’t work if you haven’t got you own shit sorted first. Time to think about undoing some of the stuff you’ve been attempting. Year after year. Year after every New Year.
Start the great un-do-ing! Do it now – you are never (really) going to feel like it and I get you, overwhelm is scary, but it is also normal, so get going with the undoing.
Drop your idea of “s.m.a.r.t.” goals. (Only) Use the acronym as a guideline – if you must.
Stop producing clean straight timelines.
Quit drawing upward arrows with nowhere to go at the end of the page.
Life is neither a “smart” goal, nor a straight line, nor a single upward arrow.
And, the end of the page is the end of the page.
Life is messy, scrambled, circular, confusing and connected to other humans who make it even more messy and complex. Life also gets interrupted by a host of unplanned, unscheduled, un-asked for events and people – and then – it ends.
And, life, with its crises and failures is much like a desert. The winds of change are forever reshaping the soft landscape and if you were to ever find yourself in the proverbial desert only your inner voice – or compass – will guide you to your next oasis. No straight line or mountain peak will get you out of there, no external “should’s” and no-one else’s tips either – this is your walk. You’ve got to learn to listen to your gut and admit you’re on the wrong course, change direction, and sometimes walk sideways before taking on the next dune. And know that you are going to get sand in your eyes and mouth. #anotheronebitesthedust
Think of your own deserts you have had to cross and think of the things that guided you to where you are now. You are a whole lot braver than you think you are! You’ve done stuff that needed serious guts. Like getting married, or changing jobs, or leaving home and studying far away from friends and family. We can all recount experiences that demanded personal bravery and you can draw on those resources when thinking about what you want to be doing.
For every shift that happens in your understanding of happiness and living a full-er life, power is taken from one area and given to another because two truths (or thoughts) cannot coexist or be valid at the same time. Just like you can either make money doing what you love doing or you can make complaints and excuses. You can’t do both. And the beauty of this is you get to choose. Choose wisely or else you might get to the end of your arrow on the page wishing you had another clean sheet of paper – or an eraser.
And. You going to the drawing board is only good when you know what it is you want, decide to do it and take your first step in that direction. Remember to draw dotted lines, fill the gaps with what you already have, what you need, how you think you can get them, who can help you, by when you would like to get them done, and, how you’re going to keep the momentum going – especially when life interferes. Oh, and remember to do this in pencil and to carry an eraser around with you. You’re going to need both. Often.
Finally my advice: tune in to your inner voice or “compass”. It is showing you the way, and I know this; it isn’t pointing to what you think you should be doing. The needle is pointing to what you want to be doing because that, when the sand-storm is over and the dust-clouds have settled, is what you really should be doing.
When in doubt ask yourself this: Is what I am doing right now, bringing me closer to my goals?
And remember you are braver and way more brilliant than you think!
I wish you a colorful, sweet sounding, healthy, safe 2018 filled with the promise of fulfilled promises and goals and remember: it is never too late to start anything!
, your no-buts kick-butt cross-cultural competence coach!
* one way to inter- and personal mastery *
Titles, entitlement and the sweet success of serving!
Discovering more about ourselves, our values, cultures and how to contribute to a better world through the sweet success of serving others. Written by Hester Bergh-Appoyer. Published in Business Goa Magazine, April 2017
Sweet success. Have you ever asked yourself why success is referred to as sweet? The sweet taste or smell of success? Here’s a thought. Some of us have stronger sensory filters than others, we can see, hear, feel, taste and smell success and there is the linguistic idea that sweet has been used metaphorically to refer to something pleasing since 888 CE. The earliest mention of it being used with success is 1684.
I started my career in an American company well known for its baby products and less known for its enormous global market share in surgical and optical products. But I’m not sure those “formative” years of my professional life, which have been the foundation of all my business interactions, were always to my benefit. Sometimes it served me sweetly, other times not.
So what was it that made such a big impact on my rookie mind?
It was the sweet sound of being called by my name. (Not the tone my mother used to use when she was less than pleased with me – but that is another read!)
On my first day at Johnson & Johnson I was welcomed at reception, shown around and taken to meet lots of people. Important people. I met truck drivers, warehouse packers and managers, kitchen staff, accountants, telesales staff and some of the big shots sitting in plush floored offices (bigger than my newly rented flat) as well as the CEO who was introduced to me by his first name. He already knew mine.
The embodiment of J&J’s company culture and credo is consistently demonstrated by the way they extend value to their patients, clients and employees. Click on “credo” above. Enduring mutual success is a spirit of serving that smiled and smiles through the offices and corridors in the sweet absence of titles and entitlement.
It was with this spirit to serve and eagerness to sample my own sweet success that I later went into the big wide world of international business.
Fast forward to Kuala Lumpur and I have joined an international educational institute as lecturer in charge and head of department for the business and marketing department. Sounds grand doesn’t it?
When it comes to some tasks and to dos there are some you are never going to feel like doing and you have to force yourself to do them. Do them anyway.
Some may even feel like you need your own task-force. Do them like you own one.
Get out of your autopilot mode and quit pulling up your emergency brake. Do that stuff.
Your problem is not that you don’t have ideas, that you don’t know how to or that you can’t figure out how to. Your problem is that you don’t act on the deeds and it’s high time you fall in love with the idea of marrying your ideas with action. No time better than now.
Here’s how to in 5 seconds and in 5 easy steps:
Whatever you do. Do it. This isn’t about you, it’s about what you do.
Honor the deed and celebrate your integrity.
Let’s do this. All year long.
May the force be with you! Hester
Your no-buts kick-butt sparkplug keynote speaker and coach. If you’re interested contact me!
Lines and ideas taken from my book: “Being Nice Isn’t Enough – How to communicate for cross-cultural collaboration!”
Welcome to 2015 with SALT!
Remember the days when it was easy to fall in love with everything and everyone? Remember when you used to get really excited…like jump up and down excited…wave your arms in the air excited…grin from ear to ear and laugh out loud excited…like on the day you got your first valentine’s card or your first car or the yes to that “dream” job you so badly wanted?
Remember how you wouldn’t listen to any “words of warning” or have any place for negativity? How present you were? How curious, open and spontaneous you were? How you washed the car weekly and walked around at work with a spring in your stride and your shoulders high? And how it all changed over time?
As we approach every New Year we do mental scans over the year done as well as mentally project into the year ahead with the eager anticipation of personally designed changes – just like a new English vocabulary book with 365 pages for your new SALT course or seminar. Did you enthusiastically set yourself some NYRs on the 1st of Jan? Or have you already given up because, despite the fact that you have set them SMART-ly or according to other expert models, they (still) don’t work…the vocabulary book’s somewhere at home or in the office…the short and tragic life of a new year’s resolution…RIP!
Here are some interesting stats on NYRs (seems the Europeans aren’t particularly keen on being transparent about things like this). Not exactly an impressive success rate for the millions of people that kick off each January 1st with the best of intentions.
You know why? There are really good expert explanations like…
– Scientific studies have shown that you’re not attending enough SALT skills seminars and communication courses
– You’re being too vague
– You fear failure,
– You procrastinate
– You’re not hanging in there long enough, 21 days to be exact, to reap the rewards of the new habit(s) AND
– You’re formulating your goal or New Year’s resolution with modal verbs e.g. must, should, have to, ought to, need to etc. You seriously rebelled against a parent part or others telling you what you should or must not do so why do you think your own “instructions” are going to work?
…but the one that is never mentioned is that falling in love is also the secret to success. That’s right. Fall in love and feel it with all your senses. I realise it sounds crazy to tell a business person to fall in love but you know as well as I do that if half the managers had to fall in love with goals and plans what a wonderful place our working world would be! Close your eyes and imagine a person freshly “in love” (frisch verliebt) – they are delightfully energising and carefree and they swoop us up with all that feel good stuff they’re feeling!
Fall in love with your goals. Fall in love with the things you want to achieve because, just like your first love, your first car and that dream job you got, you will be prepared to put that little bit of “extra” into whatever it takes to make it happen. Fall in love like in the beginning.
But, before you do that, do this little check. Ask yourself these questions:
– What do I really want? Start your answer with “I want……”
– What does that mean for me? Is it the beginning or the end? Think about this carefully. If you think something (your marriage / relationship / job) is over, finished, the end you’ll treat it like that, but if you treat it like it is a new beginning you will put the spark of passion back into success. All around you “new” things are filled with a different kind of energy to things thought of as point- and useless!
– What am I prepared to do for it i.o.w how badly do I want it?
– What will be different/better if I achieve it, and what will happen if I don’t?
If you clarify these points, you’ll either make and succeed in your goals…or you won’t.
In my next newsletter I’ll be telling you more on the “neuro-science” of why resolutions and some goals fail, why we hinder ourselves from achieving our goals, why we procrastinate (self- and time management) and I’ll give you good tips on how to integrate new habits so that they stay – for as long as you want them to! Science it is but you don’t have to be rocket scientist to succeed!
I wish you lots of falling in love in 2015 beCOS it matters. Remember to be curious, be open and spontaneous. Also to be present and to look out for our skills and language offers – beCOS it really matters.
Good things are going to happen!
PS: So where does this all new year resolution stuff come from anyway? This tradition is woven deep into our heritage going back to the Babylonians who promised their gods that they would return borrowed items and pay their debts at the first of the year, the knights of the Medieval period renewed their vows to chivalry and the Romans made their promises to the god Janus for whom January is named.