During my twenties, people called me ambitious, and in the post-communist environment in my little country Slovakia, where I grew up in, it felt like a swearword. The word ambition felt loaded with the expectations that I will drop my ethical and moral values, dedicate 24/7 to climbing the hierarchical ladder like a power-hungry vampire, and die alone in a big, cold villa with only my dog noticing that I am missing.
As I write these lines, it is precisely 100 days ago that I officially worked my first day without the backing of a multinational corporation. My choice to start a business, especially during an emerging global crisis when I could have chosen a stable corporate role, has raised eyebrows.
Before you ask, let me share that I am doing well professionally, intellectually, and from the perspective of balance. Yes, every day brings a new challenge. Yet at the same time, every meeting opens the door for new opportunities and potential clients. It is an exciting time!
Despite fears around world events and a change of employment, becoming an independent consultant and coach was the right move for me.
Maybe it could be your path, too?
Although fear is a natural part of any major change, there are things you can do to make the transition feel more natural, and your fear … less fearsome!
Here in Czechia, Europe, we don’t doubt masks. We do what’s needed to protect the vulnerable.
But in the past few days, a particular relaxed manner has been in the air. It goes with the optimism brought about by good numbers and the resulting, lifted restrictions.
As we ease into this new state of living, we must carefully re-enter our social lives. Each family weighs its own options depending on the risk factors they’re dealing with.
It’s exciting! The thought of seeing our friends again, taking our little ones to the playground, and spending a leisurely Saturday afternoon at a coffee house leaves us humming with anticipation.
Still, caution is in order.
I am so excited The Fear Project is LIVE!
Last week, I spoke with German Valencia, Non-Executive Director, Mentor with global, multi-sector human resources, information technology, and transformation experience and one of the most authentic and energetic leaders I met.
He shared his strategy on how to tackle fear with me, and now also with you:
1. Identify the root cause by increasing self-awareness
2. Get out of comfort zone, experiment, learn on experience
3. Start with small steps towards your desired behavior until it becomes a new natural behavior
You can learn more of German’s thoughts and practical tips in our 9-minute-long chat.
Now is the right time for The Fear Project. It’s time to activate our collective ability to manage fears in constructive ways. Our future depends on it.
What works for you when it comes to managing your fears?
These days, you can almost physically feel that the world is changing. A child’s sneeze means something different than it did a few days ago and with that we have become more alert, more intentional and possibly more in tune to the here and now.
Humankind has an amazing ability to adapt. Things and behaviors that were seemingly impossible become the norm within a few days.
Your career is humming along when, suddenly, someone or something slams on the brakes.
Maybe your boss assigns you to a new industry, an area where you have no experience or knowledge. Maybe you or your partner are pregnant—a happy brake slam, but a slam nonetheless. Perhaps your spouse announces one night at dinner that the company is sending him—and therefore you—overseas. Or maybe your company is downsizing, and you just learned that you’ve been deemed part of the “excess weight.”
In any case the effect is similar: suddenly, you find that you can’t rely on what formed a firm foundation in your life up to this point.
There’s a sudden blank.
Suddenly you must redefine yourself.
Christmas carols are playing everywhere you go.
Traffic is a nightmare.
The kiddos are more excited than usual.
Boxes are stacking up instead of presents.
We are relocating.
I feel like my head is so filled with to-do’s related to closing this chapter of our lives and opening a new one, all while balancing the end of year duties, that I don’t seem to have the headspace I need to be in “the zone” for writing. I know that if I write only out of “duty” and commitment, then it won’t be quality stuff and of service to you.
So, what are my choices?
Have you ever wondered how people manage work when they have a serious illness? You may have seen it, someone pushing their career forward, and then a sudden health crisis forces them to the sidelines and perhaps off course forever.
As a peer or manager, you want to be sensitive when speaking with those struggling with health issues. You want to ask just the right amount of questions. You want to allow for flexibility. You want to help.
Shhh…. What’s that I hear?
It’s a voice—someone expressing her thoughts and opinions authentically while interacting with the world.
Though we’re in the 21st century, fewer people than you might think are free to express their opinions.
While I find it deeply disturbing that a substantial part of humankind still lives under some form of a regime that limits personal rights and freedom, I’d like to bring your attention to one segment filled with people who voluntarily remain silent, pushing the mute button on their voices and suffering as a result.
I have recently published a post related to labels used when addressing working parents. Today, I want to applaud to all who are managing the juggle between parenting and professional fulfillment, who don’t forget their priorities no matter what situation they are in.
Watch Pete Poul-Graf, my husband and VP in DHL IT Services, make more than a hundred of his colleagues including the management team sing during a Town Hall in Prague today at the occasion of our daughter’s second birthday. I am grateful that Pete brings the human angle to any situation he is in and also that he is not exploring a career as a cameraman.
What is your trick to make your child’s birthday special while you are on a business trip? When did you last time witness a colleague in the office become creative in solving a family situation? How did the rest of people around respond?
Thanks to all those amazing DHL colleagues singing today and you can count on me, if you ever need me to return the favor!