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As a professional career coach I often advise people to build up and maintain a network as it will help them find a new role or start a new business venture faster. I consider myself an effective networker (online and offline). I really enjoy connecting people and I often bring people together who would not have met otherwise. Even two Twitterfriends in Islamabad suggested I was helping them getting engaged J.
Still recently in a bleak moment of self-doubt I asked myself if I had overrated the power of my network and wasted my time helping others. Then I looked back at my past year and all the wishes that I had sent to the universe:
1) One business contact recommended me internally so I got my first big contract that pays my rent now.
2) One of my best friends introduced me to another friend who rents out an office to me now. My coaching lounge is ideal: quiet, discrete and looking into a green garden. We have our own entrance and I have a „colleague“ I can have a chat with when I feel like taking a break.
3) The same friend sent me an announcement for an apartment that led me to the apartment I moved into in November. A dream place and even though it is Zurich I got it.
4) Through networking I found all the trusted partners and consultants I work with in my company.
5) As part of a women’s network I get to meet wonderful women across the city and these connections inspire further ideas.
The only surprise that did not come through a network was the man of my dreams. He just saw me and said: „I have been waiting for you.“ Seems not everything in life can be done through networks but a great deal of it. In the professional world though I feel it is essential no matter whether you work in a large organisation or run your business. In some cultures such as the Chinese culture the network is even seen as your capital. What I have also learnt is that as your network grows you need to slow down your pace as otherwise you will not be able to keep in touch.
What is your experience with networking? Please like if you agree that networking has helped you a lot in the past.
Anjuna Beach, Goa India
by Vivienne M. Sharma
My heart is open for the first time in months. I sense people’s emotions and I laugh with the receptionist Sajan, the driver and guy at the check-in. One immigration person greets me with “Guten Morgen”. I am amazed and say “Danke”. Tears almost here. I blink and put on the sunglasses. “Don’t cry Vivi. Keep yourself together.”
Ideas are flowing through my head and I feel like I am missing structure. My head is spinning. The reality of the wonderful time with my loved one and once again India has touched me in so many ways. I feel like on cloud nine. Vivi has fallen in love. My love. He reminds me of my father. Why is that? He is so loving, so caring and still so funny.
“In the West we live our lives as if we could plan it.” I said to him.
“…and in the East we wake up in the morning and thank our God(s) for having given us another chance to live a day.” He told me with a big smile.
Once love touches your heart it is difficult to think straight. India does that to me every time. I come back to Switzerland and I am still in analogue-mode* like someone who has been on a ship and the earth still moves for several days after. “My” India is full of color and loving people, full of time and energy, full of buzz and opportunity. It is so different from the India that is in our Western minds.
In my perception of India relationships are in the centre of everything we do. In my own inner world this is the same but for years I have lived in cultures where the task seems more important than the relationship. This creates friction. In India I am at ease. I go with the flow. Most of the time I am even patient with people (which is clearly none of my strengths). In India I am happy to appreciate people for their efforts and I smile at strangers.
Let’s hope I can keep it up for a while in this culture too and see what happens :-). What is your experience with analogue and digital mode?
*analogue-mode is a concept I learnt from a Japanese intercultural researcher. You find more information here: http://web.usm.my/aamj/17.1.2012/AAMJ_17.1.6.pdf
My dear friends,
Most of you know that I have spent the last three weeks in my “home” country India to research and relax. Goa’s beautiful beaches helped immensely. In Dubai I made the last edits of “Double Happiness” (Part 1) and sent the novella to my editor. She will run the final edits this week. Then the book is off to the publisher. It has been a long birth (more than 10 months). My other life came in between. In February I got so busy with the other job that I could not even touch the book. I am really looking forward to seing the final version. I hope you are too?
Looking forward to your comments and feedback.
Café Kashi in Cochin, Kerala, South India – one of my favorite hangouts.
Vivienne M. Sharma
Tom J. has been fired. He still gets up in the morning at 6 am, has a shower, starts dressing and leaves the house in a suit. The embarrassment of telling his wife and kids is so high that he rather spends the whole day at the employment office. He also goes to Starbucks every day for two hours. Tom has a dream: He wants to be writer. Even though he is a bit worried about his finances he buys a new laptop and gathers information about writing workshops.
When you are in the workforce and have a full packed diary there’s nothing you desire more than a day without meetings and conference calls. You would like to have days where you can get into and remain in a creative flow for more than two minutes and where you can freely decide when to take your coffee break or lunch.
Tom found out after a few weeks that job search is a full-time job. Still he has some time now during the day to consider what he really wants to do. He realizes how hard it is to create your own world. Your motivation has to come from within and not from your boss or from your diary that he used to follow like it was the holy bible.
When you decide that you want to lead a self-determined life you need to learn to master yourself and take responsibility for your actions a lot more than in the past. Every success you can attribute to yourself but every failure as well. If you do not manage to understand your readers you might be delivering a result that is mediocre. Tom also realized how much he had to learn. Then he planned to spend about three hours with free flow writing every week. It works for a few weeks and Tom has a manuscript ready.
Then a new day job comes along. The efforts of finding a job have been worth while. Tom needs the income to sustain his family.
Suddenly the three hours are used for operational day to day activities again. On the weekends Tom wants to spend time with his family. He still has his dream but somehow he is not pursuing it the way he wants to. So he puts the manuscripts in a drawer and postpones his dream for another year…
How do you make time for writing?
Without creative space there is no room for your inner voice to submerge from the deep holes of your subconsciousness. For years and years I had been living in a world of target orientation and performance. I was tired constantly and worked my butt off. Then in 2006 I came to India for the first time. The experience changed my views on the world and myself. I knew I had to change something. So I started a long journey to myself. Within a few years my mother was very sick and got healed, I got married and I went through a long self-discovery journey. On 1 January 2011 I re-discovered writing. It was a hobby I had lost. As a 15 year old I did more creative writing than in 15 years of my professional life. I started my first blog: World of Rose – (http://worldofrose-angieweinberger.blogspot.ch/?zx=b8fb61d008200eb8). This is a pure mini-poetry blog. In the meantime I am only opening it to readers. Writing poetry inspired me for short stories.
On a business trip I started to write “A winter’s journey”. When I finally changed my life completely by resigning from my last job, I decided that I needed to go for a long-term dream: I wanted to visit Rajastan and take a longer break in India. I did that and for the first time in two years I travelled without my beloved macbook (yes, we have a true relationship). I left the computer at home. Then many impressions on the journey were hard to capture other than by writing about them. I did not want to write a blog and I did not feel like journalling either. I enjoyed taking bits of the journey and interwove them with my fantasy.
Initially I wanted to write a short story but the nice friends around me thought I was writing quite a lot for a short story. They wanted to know what I was doing and some of them even gave me input (Yes, thank you LARA!!). Others only later realized that they wanted to be in the story (Astrid, Damian, Anna and Sajin). Some were never really asked (Arjun, Samir and Raj). In the end it is all fiction but there might be a hint of a true person or several persons in my characters. Anyway, most of them are good friends. I hope they won’t mind. Those of you who know me well understand that I have a huge imagination and that my fascination for everything Bollywood has an impact on the story. I am now dreaming of a Bollywood Epic of “Double Happiness”. That’s why sometimes I have mentioned my dream cast for the characters already.
You have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment.
Damian is not only my uncle but he will also be my father-in-law soon. As per Indian tradition I shall move to the house of my in-laws soon. Damian is a real Aussie man with tattoos, white skin and blond hair. He loves fishing, motorbikes and loud music. I can imagine him young on a surf board or scuba diving but when I met him he had been a bit more settled already. He came to our house often when I was a kid. Then we moved to Mumbai and we could not hang out so often. What I would say about uncle Damian is that he is a lot deeper than you would think at first sight. He needs a few drinks (kingfishers) before he opens ups but then he can actually be quite chatty and charming. I would say he is a manly man with a soft touch. My sister Leyla told me he cried at my mum’s funeral. Well, that shows how much he valued her friendship and that he missed her.
“Auntie” (and soon-to-be my mother-in-law) Astrid has always been a very strong help in my life. Since I never met my mother, Astrid was the female role model that I needed when growing up. She is strong, intelligent and very warm. Astrid left her family together with her husband Damian in 2012 when they started a world trip from Australia. Who would have thought that they would fall in love with Kerala and return to live there?
If you wonder why she is my soon-to-be mother in law I recommend you start reading the first chapters of Double Happiness. You might find an indication there.
This is the type of song my mother would have loved: