If as a leader, interculturalist or communications professional you ever wanted to learn Chinese in an easy way, you should check out the Facebook page of ShaoLan Hsueh, a Taiwanese entrepreneur living in London. She has developed a visual system for learning to read Chinese, called “Chineasy”. To start with, you might want to read the related article on Forbes by Bruce Upbin, which can be found here. Have fun!

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart. And try to love the questions themselves.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

I don’t know about you but for me, this quote says exactly what I need to hear right now. Thank you Rita for sharing this with me!

Setting up a vision for yourself

eye of the gerberaFirst of all, when thinking about drafting your vision, you have to consider the context in which it will be used. Are you trying to establish a:

  • Personal Vision
  • Professional Vision or
  • Holistic Vision, encompassing everything you do and represent/are?

You can have several visions, depending on the different contexts you are looking at. Visions are not set in stone, they have to be revisited from time to time in order to see whether they need adjustment or whether they still feel right for you.

As you start thinking about what matters to you, putting yourself into the context, you might want to embrace the bigger picture, let yourself consider how you move through this world and who you are, i.e. what counts for you. Which qualities are important in your life? Is it empathy, creativity, openness? Try to make a list of these, max. 5 so that there still is meaning for you. Do you feel connected to these qualities? How do they feel like for you?

According to Personal Leadership, a powerful vision should have 5 Ps:

  1. Personal: it is your vision, write it with an ‘I’. You are the actor!
  2. Present: it is not a dream nor a wish list for the future. Write it in the present tense and live it NOW.
  3. Positive: as when working with affirmations, rather write I am, I do etc. than I don’t, I am not… this will have a much more powerful effect.
  4. Passionate: you need to listen to your body here; how does it feel like when you read out your vision to yourself? How does it feel like when you read it out to somebody else? Can you feel its power? Or do you need to adjust it a little bit?
  5. Purpose: It is all about being, not about doing. It is about your internal state and the bigger picture of your intentions as well as about your ‘highest and best. Try to imagine the difference your way of being will make to your environment, or even broader, the world.

As the Personal Leadership book summarizes very nicely: “The power in a vision comes from choosing to live in alignment with it. Use your vision as a beacon, a support, a compass. Live your vision in everything you do!”[1]

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need help with finding and identifying your vision. It doesn’t matter how you express it actually. You might want to draw it or paint it; maybe you want to record it or write it down. Whatever feels right to you!

Enjoy the rest of your day/evening/night. Thanks for reading, Jenny

[1] B.F. Schaetti, S. J. Ramsey, G.C. Watanabe: “Personal Leadership – Making a World of Difference”, Seattle 2008, page 118.


The power of having a vision in your life

You will most certainly already have come across somebody in your life who told you that maybe you should be writing down your vision or what is sometimes also called “your personal mission statement”. If you are like me, the first time you heard that, you might have thought: “why would I possibly want to do that?”.

The answer to that question is easy (so easy that we might even not think about it):

  • Having a vision can unleash the very best in you as it makes you strive towards it (like athletes do in sports).
  • Our personal visions can comfort us in difficult times or times of stress. They bring us back into alignment with ourselves.
  • Finally, our vision can also guide us through choices and decision making processes.

    If your vision is based on your own deep values as it should be, living following its principles will not only motivate and energize you, but as research has shown, make you more persistent, performing, and creative than other peers who don’t have a vision.

    Being currently in Vienna and following a “Personal Leadership” Foundations seminar, I will also have to write down my own personal vision tomorrow. Although I have done so in the past, it is certainly time for me now to revise it and renew my commitment to follow it.

    Stay with me for this new journey of self-discovery as I will walk you through the different steps to undertake when drafting a mission for yourself and taking ownership of your life! Jenny

  • Being the artist of your own life

    Often, when speaking to friends or acquaintances, I hear that people are unhappy about where they are today. Life seems to have brought them somewhere and the circumstances have then created all sorts of situations that finally led to the person not feeling happy and/or content.
    Strangely enough, people always think that they don’t have a choice, as if somebody else was living and composing their lives. In German we have a saying that reads something along the lines of “every man/woman is the architect of his/her own fortune”. I have always deeply believed in this sentence as it bears wisdom and encourages creativity. Unfortunately I have never really been able to advance credible arguments as to why this applies to all of us even if destiny sometimes puts us through terrible ordeals.
    Well, I was recently pointed towards an excellent book/method called “Personal Leadership” where mindfulness and creativity form the two founding principles on which different practices are based helping us to become more effective and to stay connected with ourselves even when facing the new and unfamiliar. In this book it says on page 25: “When we accept ourselves as the creators of whatever it is that we are experiencing, we have a choice as to how we will respond to any situation or circumstance presented to us”. On the same page it goes on saying that: “(…) we must accept that our attitudes, our emotions, our thoughts, in fact everything that we experience about another person or a particular situation, arises from within us. What arises is certainly a response to external stimuli, but these aren’t responsible for what arises”.
    In short this truly means that we have all the keys to success and happiness in our own hands. We make choices in he face of uncertainty and maybe under pressure but whatever we are living and going through, it is us actually responding to triggers and stimuli. In fact, we cannot “hide” behind the “victim” status. We are always an active part of the play ourselves, if we want it or not.
    Let me give you an example: let’s say that somebody is losing his/her job quite unexpectedly. This truly is a sad situation and it certainly has a lot of more or less dramatic consequences. But he or she can choose how to respond to this new and unforeseen situation. Either the person could see him or herself as a victim and stay with these negative emotions; or he/she could interpret the situation as an opportunity, as a challenge and possibility to explore new and creative solutions. Of course there might not be a new job immediately around the corner but the person himself/herself will explore his/her full creative potential to search for alternatives instead of staying in a negative state of mind.
    To practice this is obviously not easy in every situation; I still believe that with some training we can change the attitudes we have towards ourselves and our external world in order to realize our full potential and live in line with what we are and what we believe in. I am certainly on that journey myself and am eager to see where it goes…have an excellent weekend, Jenny

    Intercultural thoughts on Switzerland

    I have been asked a while ago to contribute to the excellent site of Ute Limacher by writing a post on Switzerland. The post is called “Thoughts on Switzerland and the so-called “Röstigraben” and I invite you to read it here: http://tinyurl.com/d3tjhmg