The Strange Benefits of Coronavirus: Our best today defines the status quo tomorrow

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.

Last week, you may have shaken hands with your clients. This week, you both smile acknowledging an unspoken agreement that a default habit is indefinitely gone. There is a bigger cause – we want to stay safe – that makes it easy to change.

Change in general suddenly seems flowing.

Besides not shaking hands and sneezing into elbows, organizations are forced into flexibility. Leaders, who resisted acknowledging the blurring line between life and work, are now supportive of home office arrangements. They’re focusing on HOW to make it work as opposed to IF. A child’s cry on a business call is tolerated without eyeroll.

It is impossible to predict the future. Reality is changing every hour. Red circles on the heatmap keep increasing as the number of Coronavirus-infected rises globally.

With thanks to Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

Entrepreneurs and also long-established businesses suddenly doubt their cause, purpose, or strategies as they quickly shift to creative solutions that mesh with new governmental measures announced that day.

Yet still … while we may have to adjust our tactics, I am persuaded we must stay true to our purpose and values. We depend on each other and our ability to see beyond our own immediate interests.

I fully trust the capable medical establishment and rely on information from expert epidemiologists in terms of what we need to do to not add to their burden, so that they can take care of all the people whose health will be seriously impacted.

I am committed to adapt my behaviors and limit myself and my family to the extent needed so that this passes as quickly as possible with the least possible number of victims and overall damage caused.

Are you?

Along with that commitment, I want to shout out to all the single parents and parents of young children who are balancing the care for small people as our schools close. Thanks for staying committed to your littles ones while keeping businesses open and our economy going.This is no small task. I know you do it out of respect and responsibility to others. Kudos!

Yes, the coronavirus will impact all of us: either health-wise or from the perspective of a declining global economy.

If you’re struggling to keep a positive mindset while staying homewith your children and balancing your career, please reach out because I want to help where I can.

To do so, I am offering the first 10 people who respond a free, 60-minute online coaching conversation. There’s no charge. No obligation. No sales spiel.

I simply want to help.

If you’re interested, write to dana.poulgraf@gmail.com.

For the rest of you, please share: what are you doing to help?

If we each share our ideas, we will create a large pool of possible actions to choose from to do good in a world in which tomorrow is defined by our best today.

Blankness

How to catapult your career and life by accepting the blankness. Lessons in originality and change from great photographers

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. 

Continue reading → How to catapult your career and life by accepting the blankness. Lessons in originality and change from great photographers

relocation

The next time you feel as if you’re losing your footing, try “hill-falling”

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? 

Continue reading → The next time you feel as if you’re losing your footing, try “hill-falling”

Brittany Schwartz

A Delicate Topic in the Office: Serious Illness

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.

Continue reading → A Delicate Topic in the Office: Serious Illness

silent

Unmute Your Voice

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.

Quick research on this topic shows that 25 countries limit speech in some way. See for yourself here or in this article.

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.

Continue reading → Unmute Your Voice

Did you ever sing “Happy Birthday” during a Town Hall?

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!

Dana

 

 

working father

Please stop calling me a “working mother”. Labels and the damage they cause.

Do the words “working mother” bother you? If not, they should.

Recently, someone called me a “working mother” in a professional setting.

It felt uncomfortable because I’m a non-native English speaker who hears individual words as opposed to culturally known expressions.

The first word is “mother.” I’m the mother of two amazing little people. The second word is “working.” I’ve chosen to stay on my professional path, so technically I am a perfect representation of those two words.

It shouldn’t be a big deal.

The problem is that those two words are exactly that: just two words.

Continue reading → Please stop calling me a “working mother”. Labels and the damage they cause.

Dana with wine

From boring to meaningful: How revisiting my purpose turned a dull business trip into a meaningful one

Earlier this year, I visited one of our company’s locations to deliver training and leadership workshops. As always, I was excited to get into some real conversations and learn with and from my colleagues.

On my first day there, however, the office was half-empty because many people in our Americas region enjoy the flexibility of working from a home office. I couldn’t help but to think, “Was it really worth coming here? Was this well-invested time and money for our organization?”

Then I wondered further: how would one decide whether a trip belonged in the “waste of time” bucket, meaning you’d never do again, or in the much more satisfying “worth it” bucket? Both buckets mean we wake up at 4 am, leave families behind, endure crazy security procedures and return to an even fuller inbox

Continue reading → From boring to meaningful: How revisiting my purpose turned a dull business trip into a meaningful one

Thrown away roses

When Your Team’s Greatness is Unleashed

Imagine this scenario for a moment. (If you don’t like to use your imagination, simply skip to the next section.)

You feel good where you are.
You connect with others well.
Not everything is perfect every day, but you like coming here.
You know your strengths and talents are used.

What you are working on is challenging and right in the arena of your passion. The repetitive tasks were either automated or eliminated to a great extent. As a result, you also have time for reflection. That makes you excited, as you know that your colleagues will listen to your ideas and views.

Continue reading → When Your Team’s Greatness is Unleashed

marathon runner

The Happy Pain

What’s the most intense experience that stretched your endurance? What worked for you? Did you endure? And if not, what happened?

Endurance is the word that is on my mind this week, both in life and in business.

I am counting seven days and seven nights of taking care of my sick 17-months-old daughter and making sure the rest of my family is operating as close to a usual routine as possible. The 24/7 service is weighing on me, together with my ambition to juggle my job and other personal commitments. I am frustrated, as the original plan for my week, based on meticulous prioritization, has changed to a tiring marathon. The task list is getting longer, the vision of relaxation, more surreal. Just thinking about it makes me want to hire someone to be me for a day.

In the past, I unintentionally had the tendency to work the hardest, travel the furthest, work out every day, respond to all friends and, of course, have fun, too. I had a lot of amazing experiences, made great friends and learned lessons that allow me to be who I am now. I certainly also experienced the other side of my choices, the less pleasant side. Luckily, I was surrounded with amazing family and friends who came for my rescue when I had a dislocated hip, broken heart or was border lining exhaustion. 

Continue reading → The Happy Pain