Category Archives: Profession

How to speak to your brain to solve any issue in three easy steps

This morning it took me a long time to get into work mode. Maybe the whole pizza and bottle of red last night had a bit of influence on my slack-ness. I came to my office later than normal (10 AM) and cheerfully started my day by jotting down a cool idea on my whiteboard. I wiped away small tasks from the To-Do-List in no time (despite the wine).

And then I get a mail which tells me in the typical formal Swiss letter style (that they took over into email writing) that one of my business plans will NOT work out in the way I wanted. The writer gives me the facts only plus a suggestion what I can do. I was disappointed. Then I reflected. Maybe this extra challenge was built in so that I find a better solution.

We Germans (and the Swiss Germans have perfected this art) tend to think and speak in a „this will not work“ manner. We often explain why certain ways will not work but usually fail to offer an alternative or a solution. I have fallen into this trap many times myself and believe it can be frustrating for people with other cultural attitudes.

While it is acceptable to be negative or pessimistic once in a while I learnt that the „this will not work“ manner stops your brain from thinking about solutions.

First step: Ask your brain an open ended question

In other words when you have a problem you would like to solve you need to give your brain a task to work on while you are sleeping, ironing or cleaning. One example would be to ask your brain „How am I going to pay those bills?“ instead of saying „I am never going to be able to pay those bills.“

Second step: Write down all solutions that came to your mind during ironing

The next morning or after ironing your shirts you take a white sheet of paper and jot down all the solutions that came to your mind (Please note. „Suicide is not an acceptable solution.“).

Third step: You forget what you have written and look at it with a fresh eye

After a few hours of working on another task you look at your solutions again. You can highlight the ones that seem easy to achieve and start with those. Then you devise a plan for every week and work off that plan until you have solved your issue.

What if your pessimist breaks through?

The German inside of me sometimes is still hesitant, miserable and wants to ponder on the problems (even though the original problem has disappeared through above mentioned 3-Step-Plan).  I am giving this pessimist a bit of room. I allow it inside my home. I show this pessimist some achievements and I allow the pessimist to write down all of her wishes in a booklet. If that does not help I order pizza and wine. Just like „groundhog day“.

What is your recurring challenge or limitation?

Please share your experience with the 3-Step-Plan.

Mother’s Day 2013: Tame your EGO, woman?

Men helping wife to carry the load.

True love: Men helping wife to carry the load.


 Guest post by @angieweinberger

In light of Sheryl Sandberg’s book „Lean In“ I recently pondered about the question of my ego. I have always been ambitious and had targets in my professional life. I still do. Ms. Sandberg inspired me to write down „I want to be the #1 expert in my field Global Mobility.“ Basically I want the world to think „Angie Weinberger“ when they think of Global Mobility / International Assignments and expat issues.

This is a high ambition. It is almost ridiculous and totally against my values and education BUT I can see a point in telling myself that if I do aspire to be #1 I might have a chance to end up in the Top100.  My area of expertise is a niche and rather specialized. Many HR Professionals avoid Global Mobility as if it was the holy grail of doom.

Well, it is actually because every case is different. With international assignments you get the variety of humankind. Every expat struggles in one way or another but usually they all have a different story. Some patterns are similar, some processes can be aligned but you deal with every single expat at a time.

In my view it is a wonderful profession and it requires a lot of different skills. So assuming I am rather good at this (which is already hard to write) why do I still tame my ego and tell myself: „You will never be #1. There are so many other GM Professionals out there who are a lot better than you are.“ Why do I already limit myself? According to Ms. Sandberg it is because of my gender. So it is a mental or biological barrier that can be overcome through coaching for example.

In a discussion with a friend and other women I currently often hear that they gave up on “being successful” or “managing it all”. So are we going back to 1950 now? Women can have a family and shall be happy with that.

Why are we not allowing ourselves to be successful and at the same time have children? What are we waiting for?

“Like, share, RT” this post if you think women should allow themselves to be ambitious and help each other achieving their professional goals!

Happy Mother’s Day


PS: Thank you Mama for having shown me how to be a mother and still work. Thank you for showing me that even in tough times you can be the breadwinner and educate a daughter to be creative, resourceful and intrinsically motivated. Thank you Grandmother for having worked while raising six children after the war. Thank you Auntie for helping out when Mama was too busy to take care of me.