Empowering Women to Lead

Meet my Team!

As we are heading up to our first Mindful Leadership Workshop in Morocco, entitled “Empowering Women to Lead”, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to two fantastic and powerful women: Samira Eramdani with whom I am partnering in order to make the workshop in Morocco happen and Asma Nait Ouali, a young professional women who is acting as our project manager out of Marrakech.

Creating connections and providing for a platform for exchange, learning and personal growth truly is extremely rewarding and this workshop will certainly be only the first in a series of projects and programmes especially tailored to the needs of women to be rolled out in North Africa.

Leading Self and Others

… introducing Samira:

Samira Eramdani

“Being a woman in my country as in all others is not an easy job. Women have a heavy load to carry. They are asked to be perfect in conducting their career, educating their children and handling delicate family matters. How this is done is basically left to intuition.

I personally believe that women deserve to have support and training, be able to take advantage from mentoring programmes as well as to build and participate in networks. Most importantly: women should be celebrated. I thought about this programme as a way to begin this journey in order to advocate for the cause of women by providing the core principles of leadership. I have been fortunate enough to learn myself about what it takes to become a good leader, how to organise yourself and how to stay true to your purpose in life. It’s the first step. Many others will follow! “

…. and Asma:

Asma Nait Ouali

“Having graduated with a higher diploma in networking and telecommunications a couple of years ago, I started as a young engineer in management and marketing. Now, I am working as a professional project manager while studying as a part-time student in an MBA programme. In the meantime, I am managing my family’s business, the main activity being the supply of building materials.

Over and above all that, I assume many responsibilities as the eldest daughter of the family and take good care of all my family’s affairs on a daily basis. Thanks to my humble experience, I have been able to gain some skills particularly in leadership that I would very much appreciate sharing with like-minded women peers and professionals.

I believe that there are numerous Moroccan women like me, who are willing to fill different tasks and achieve perfection in as much their professional as personal lives.

Our workshop entitled “Empowering women to lead” was implemented to mainly serve this purpose: to assist professional women in their projects by enabling them to develop multiple leadership skills that, by the same token, may help them succeed in their personal life.”

 

From my side, I am very much looking forward to this collaboration and to our first common project. Let me finish by saying: “You are the architect of Your Own Life!

Click here to read a great article on women in management just published in Switzerland (in French).

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Mindful Leadership & intercultural Communications

Perceptions: Road Blocks or Stepping Stones

Stepping StonesThe recent global events as well as a blog post from Dr. Milton Bennett about tolerance makes me think along the following lines: all humans have an automatic tendency to judge their own experiences.

Instead of simply noticing what is there in the present moment, unfolding and happening, we think about what needs to be changed, how things could or should be different. Something is not quite right in a way, not good enough, not what we had expected and wanted.

Often these thoughts will take us, quite automatically, down on some fairly well-worn paths in our minds. In this way, we lose awareness of the present moment and the ability to freely choose if and how to react. We  jump quickly on to conclusions, which seem to be the right ones and by doing so, trigger behaviors and actions from ourselves and others around us.

Relating to the idea of tolerance we might want to ask ourselves where our threshold lies.

  • How do we really feel deep inside us?
  • What type of experiences deplete us and which ones make us happy?
  • Where do we feel comfortable and where uncomfortable?

We can regain our freedom from automatic thoughts and reactions, if as a first step we simply acknowledge the actuality of the situation we find ourselves in, without being automatically hooked into tendencies to judge, fix, or want things to be different from the way they are.

How do we do this?

  1. Notice what is going on
  • How did your body feel in detail during the experience?
  • What thoughts and images accompanied the experience?
  • What moods, feelings and emotions accompanied the event?
  1. Explore the effects of bringing awareness to the direct experience
  • What do you notice?
  • Is your mind wandering away?
  • Is bringing awareness to the experience affecting it in a way? If so, how?
  1. Accept what is there without wanting to change anything
  2. Let go and simply acknowledge the arising and passing of emotions and thoughts without becoming entangled in the content of it.

Next time you’re confronted with a pleasant or unpleasant experience, try writing down what happened especially in steps 1 and 2. Exploring our own sensations, limits, beliefs, emotions, moods and thoughts is not easy and change doesn’t come over night. It comes with a lot of training and attention.

And of course, change starts with yourself and with how you experience and react to a situation and not with other people around you!

 

 

 

 

How to enjoy little things

Everyday tips – what we can learn from children’s books

Enjoying the present momentDo you know the feeling: you are running around like crazy, most of the time on autopilot mode, trying to perform all the different roles that you are playing in life. At the end of the day you feel exhausted and most certainly were not able to do everything you had on your list.

The funny thing actually is that most people thought that technology would give us some time back by organizing our tasks, meetings and social life (or maybe it was more like a marketing argument). In fact it is quite the opposite, more and more people seem to have less time.

Well, here’s a story from a children’s book that I came across, which might speak to you as it did to me:

It talks about a little snail, a very slow one, which one-day was surprisingly invited for coffee by some “racing” snails. The only problem was that the meeting point with the faster snails was far away and our little friend actually very slow as it enjoyed every moment of every journey. It nevertheless decided to accept the invitation and to hit the road directly in orStorytellingder to arrive on time two days later.
As it so happens, on its way it passed through a field of fresh salad and found that it had never seen such fantastic green leaves in its life. It hence stopped to eat. Of course it became tired after a while and found a perfect place to sleep. Awake again, the snail thought: “oh no, I am going to be late” but then it simply decided to do what it always did: enjoying the present moment and not to worry anymore.
As you can imagine, in the end it arrived (obviously) too late and the party was long over. A little bug walking by wondered why the snail was looking so happy and content although there was nobody left and questioned it. The snail simply responded that it did not matter at all as it could now enjoy the journey back even more and do everything slowly as it was used to.

 

Writing this, a large smile comes to my face… we should all read children’s stories from time to time as they have so much to teach us!

We all have a choice when it comes to our own lives: either we run through it or we choose to walk through it more mindfully, enjoying single moments as they arise and living here and now.

Maybe you’d like to try this different way of living!

Some tips on how to get you started:

  1. Take your time: when you get up in the morning, instead of jumping out of your bed, stay there, warm, peacefully and smile to yourself.
  2. Being mindful of little things: taking your shower, brushing your teeth, making a cup of coffee or tea can be something enjoyable. Try being fully present and bring your mind back to what you are doing when it wanders away (as that’s what minds do).
  3. In your car: before you drive off, take a moment to notice that you’re breathing. Don’t switch on the music or your hands-free-device but focus on how you’re feeling, tuning in to your body. If your mind wanders away judging other drivers, that’s normal; simply label it as a “judgment” and bring it back to yourself, breathing and driving.
  4. In public transport: leave early enough so that you can enjoy the walk to the bus or tube station. Don’t rush, breathe and notice the colors, the smells, the sun…maybe you’ll notice something that you never did before!

Let me know how it goes 😉

Jenny

A mindful home – 10 tips

Mindful HomeHappy New Year to all of you! I hope that you begin 2015 with a fresh look and some new energy…

Today, while reading some articles on the net, I came across Karen Maezen Miller’s blog post about a mindful home. I find it very beautiful, especially when taken figuratively and I think that we can all learn something from it. It sometimes takes a lot of willpower to build new habits!  I hence wanted to share Karen’s 10 tips here with you:

  1. Wake with the sun: there is no purer light than what we see when we open our eyes first thing in the morning.
  2. Sit: mindfulness without meditation is just a word.
  3. Make your bed: the state of your bed is the state of your head. Enfold your day in dignity.
  4. Empty the hampers:do the laundry without resentment or commentary and have an intimate encounter with the very fabric of life.
  5. Wash your bowl: rinse away self-importance and clean up your own mess. If you leave it undone, it will get sticky.
  6. Set a timer: if you’re distracted by the weight of what’s undone, set a kitchen timer and, like a monk in a monastery, devote yourself wholeheartedly to the task at hand before the bell rings.
  7. Rake the leaves: rake, weed, or sweep. You’ll never finish for good, but you’ll learn the point of pointlessness.
  8. Eat when hungry: align your inexhaustible desires with the one true appetite.
  9. Let the darkness come: set a curfew on the internet and TV and discover the natural balance between daylight and darkness, work and rest.
  10. Sleep when tired: nothing more to it.

Here’s wishing you an excellent week!

Jenny