Living and working abroad

I consider myself extremely lucky and having stayed healthy and having work, the pandemic has challenged my resilience, with my professional identity in a bit in crisis.

It has been a journey so far and it seems the rollercoaster is only starting.

Please consider the environment before printing

I was on the train and prepared to display my fairly expensive ticket to the conductor. The app worked fine, but displaying the ticket, crashed. The conductor didn’t speak english, and I didn’t speak french. Bummer.

My battery drained while I took a layover in Munich. Without a QR code the gate would not let me board. To secure a new copy I would have to go to the departures hall and back. Bummer.

You face these situations every day, where when facing a problem, it is a feature by design that appears very stressful for you.

Consider before printing for me is just a reminder.

Do not forget to print.

Busyness as proxy for productivity

Point: When everyone is in the same room, people are motivated to work more because other people can see what they’re doing.

Counterpoint: This is a terrible way to judge performance. Managers who value the physical location of their employees do so because they have no real way or ability to measure output. If you’re judging someone’s value by how busy they appear, good luck getting an accurate reading.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Volunteer work as personal development strategy

Few years ago I did some research about how NGOs and other volunteer based organizations work. This let me to a question: How to incorporate volunteer work into your personal development strategy?

How do you change the world today? What can you give. What can you learn.

Non-millennials like to do business with companies that do good, too. So it makes sense to incorporate charity and volunteer work in your life.

Look for a cause that needs your abilities. You want something that aligns with what you like to do, but make sure that your efforts aren’t solely about self-promotion. Spotlighting your charity work is OK, but make sure it doesn’t cross into bragging territory.

If you take a one-and-done approach to philanthropy, it won’t help you. Instead, support causes over the long term. Make it an annual event or an on-going effort — or both. Others will see the connection between you and giving — and you won’t need to mention it at all.

Don’t sing, don’t dance, don’t tell jokes

To my ex-colleagues. The suspense was terrible. I hope this will last.

Most of the time, we made a big deal out of petty things. Sometimes, we let our ego win instead of apologizing. Oftentimes, we only realize what is worthy when it’s already gone.

I will miss every single one of you, even if you would not believe this. Most happenings we have been through together are beyond expression.

Too often, we spent our time and effort on that exciting last step. And too often, we forgot to spend our time and attention on the preparation that’s a lot less urgent or glamorous, but far more important. Learning these patterns up front could prevent us from making a mistake, but as in most situations, making a mistake was our very best opportunity to learn.

Leaving you is perhaps the best thing to do. I couldn’t imagine a life without you but I know that if I will not walk away from you right now, I might get stuck here forever. Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

Until we meet again execute without compromise and be true to yourself. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Be silly. Be weird. Do crazy stuff. Be simple. Be nice. Smile like a million dollars.

Goodbye. And thank you, thank you so much.

Leadership and confidence

Leaders have the responsibility of helping us understand our value to ourselves. We will carry the names of these people who teach us this confidence for the rest of our lives.

Wouldn’t you want to be that person? 20 years from now? 30 years from now?

Straightjacket technique

First step. Turn off all your electronics, set aside your laptop, get out a piece of a paper and think for five minutes what you want.

Second step. Ask yourself these questions:
What do you fear? What do you hope for? What do you dream of?

Third step. Treat your answers as your new life goals and respect them. Mitigate your fears. Set targets on your hopes and achieve them. Work hard for your dreams.

Notes of elements from the greatest decks

Name a Big, Relevant Change in the World. Show big stakes and high urgency, but don’t start with “the problem”.

Show there will be Winners and Losers.

Tease with the Promised Land, which is both desirable and difficult to achieve without outside help.

Introduce features as “Magic Gifts”. Follow the same narrative structure as epic films and fairy tales.

Present evidence You can make the story come true. Show a success story about how you’ve already helped someone else.

Read the full story by Andy Raskin

Annual returns for 4 years

Being a curious person, but thinking I had seen it all — Not the case. After enquiring about an investment fund, the correspondence I received started with the following:

Thank you for your enquiry regarding our Canadian Christmas Tree project

At home we always had a Christmas Tree, so the market is easy to grasp. Just not what I was expecting to receive today, running into the production of Christmas Trees.

So awesome.