Sharing Is Caring

Sharing is caring and today I want to share a very special recipe with you. The springtime is here and all the amazing recipes which are given by our grandmothers are back in our kitchens. Also, the one I am going to share with you, a piece of heaven during springtime, and an absolute classic.

Carrot Cake (Swiss recipe)

Ingredients

  • 250g sugar
  • 5 Egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 250g carrot, finely grated
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 1 organic lemon, greater zest and juice
  • 2 tbsp Cherry (or lemon juice)
  • 80g Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking powder
  • 5 Proteins
  • 1 pinch salt

How it is done

  • Sponge cake: Mix sugar, egg yolks and water in a bowl with the whisk of the hand mixer for approx. 5 minutes until foamy
  • Mix the carrots and all the other ingredients up to and including the cherry into the mixture. Mix the flour and baking powder, mix in.
  • Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff, carefully fold into the mixture with the rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the mould

  • Baking: approx. 55 minutes in the lower half of the oven preheated to 180 degrees. Take out, allow to cool a little, remove the rim of the tin, turn the cake onto a wire rack, allow to cool. Place the cake with the grid on a piece of baking paper

The Glaze & Decor

  • 300g powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 12 Marzipan carrots

Mix the icing sugar, kirsch and water well, pour onto the centre of the cake, let it flow over the surface and the edge while moving. Place the marzipan carrots on the still moist glaze, allow to dry.

Tips & Tricks

  • Form: For a springform pan approx. 24 cm in diameter, cover the base with baking paper
  • Tip: Make marzipan carrots yourself: Knead 50 g yellow and 20 g red modelling marzipan well, shape into carrots, shape carrot cabbage out of a little green marzipan, press onto the carrots.
  • Shelf life: wrapped in foil in the refrigerator approx. 1-week Carrot cake tastes best from the second day onwards

Congratulations here it is, a gorgeous carrot cake soft and delicious. I love sharing it and gifting it, especially during the springtime to my family and friends. It brings joy and as we know, love goes always through the stomach.

Sharing is caring and even a little piece of a homemade goodie we all can make this world a little bit better, maybe at least for somebody. Share your love and kindness through the little things.

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Celebrating Treasures Of Life

It’s not a secret anymore. Spring is coming to town, and with it brings the beauty of new beginnings. The birds start singing louder, the colours are getting brighter and the sun is shining a little bit more. My soul is awakening and is taking a deep breath. A new chapter is opening up and new opportunities will come with it.

“Beauty – is one of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly and fully.”

– Oscar Wilde

The beauty in springtime is that it is also a time of reflection. Especially in 2021 after a whole year since the first lockdown during the pandemic where we still face an unclear situation. It is the right time to reflect on yourself and let old habits go to replace them with new goals. Create space for yourself and surround yourself with positivity while you jump into the new season. Soak the life in as much as you can, because you only have this.

New life, new beginnings and awakening are all around us. Each singing bird is a symbol of something new taking a place within us. Everything blooms at the right time. Colour and light bring a great spirit to our life. Spring feels good because it reminds us of how deeply we need variety around us. Great things are waiting beneath the surface to pop up and fill our hearts with happiness and joy. The most important things are the simple things. Fresh wet grass, a rainfall, sunlight on your face, a single flower opening up  – the smallest things matter still because no one else can experience them for us. You can only see them with your own eyes.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can’t start where you are and change the ending.”

– C.S.Lewis

Spring has always been a special time when I was a kid. The celebration of Easter for us was more about celebrating the start of spring. Decorating our home with tulips in fresh and light colours, baking a carrot cake in perfect shape and having the first steps into the wet grass in the morning. It was a piece of heaven on earth feeling the new start all around us. What you don’t see as a kid becomes even more important to you as a grown-up. I am grateful to my mother who always made sure we were thankful for those little things I am now able to cherish even more. 

Now is the right time to change what is disturbing you, to love yourself today a little bit more than yesterday, to celebrate life and its gifts every day. 

Sitting here in the sunlight outside in my garden where the spring flowers slowly awake I am thankfully reflecting on myself. Taking a deep breath, letting all the positivity filling up my lungs and let all the stress and negative thought go. Yes, there is still a long way to go ahead of me. But I love it even more, along with these little treasures which make life so special. 

Happy Spring everyone. 

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Why We Do What We Do

Since I started this report, by now five weeks have passed already, and I am always surprised how fast time goes by. Even though we are still in a global pandemic it does not feel for me, that time has slowed down. It goes there the same way as it did before, just our way of looking at it has changed in between. But this is another topic, which warrants another blogpost.

Here we are in week five. I shared my journey with you till here and there has been so much knowledge and takeaways that I sometimes feel I didn’t even capture them enough. But for me, it was also a huge change in many personal aspects. Training my self-awareness of my own Emotional Intelligence became a habit. And aren’t we all looking for new habits for the new year? Did you make one since you promised it to yourself before the clock hit 12? Maybe EI is what you have been waiting for?

This session covered the use and meaning of group-based debriefs which can be a good tool for teams to work on different actions together. Each one might get their actions to take which helps the group to grow and change for future challenges. But as in everything you are doing in a group it hides difficulties too. For example, time management for the instructor to give equal time and figure out where actions would be useful. Also in a group, we have to keep in mind different personalities are coming together where we need to be careful to keep the spirit positive.

We also got a short introduction to the Emotional Culture Index which Genos offers as well. It is a completely anonymous concept for companies to figure out how people feel in their work environment and what they struggle with or what makes them really happy. It helps to take action in the emotional culture of a company.

“The way people feel determines how well they can engage.”

To every feeling we might go through for example at our workplace there is an action related to it. It is beautifully explained with the iceberg model above. Have you ever felt any of those feelings and caught your reaction to the situation?

We can not always control situations or circumstances, but we can learn to control our reactions in different situations. If you want to know more about the impact of emotional culture, Harvard Business Review shares a very interesting article about how to manage your emotional culture.

Talking about the Harvard Business Review leads me to the real story of why and how I got in contact with Emotional Intelligence as a topic. And not only as an action I unknowingly used already. 

Everything happened at an airport. Yes, there were times where it was normal to go on vacations and board a plane without getting a side-eye. 🙂

So, I am one of those who always, and when I say always I mean like every single time when I travel, they gift me with their very special extra treatment during the security check. If you know, you know. And seriously I am at the point where I would be disappointed if they wouldn’t pick me out of the crowd. (If you are an airport staff reading this, I am obviously joking.) 

Well, I am a very patient human being and I also understand why they do what they do. But on that day I went through a very unprofessional security check where the awareness of their own and others Emotional Intelligence was clearly missing. The lady was not only extremely unfriendly she was also very rude and unprofessional with me and other travelers. I tried to stay calm until a point where I couldn’t hold myself back. Which was when her expression against another woman in front of me was racist. Speaking up for this woman made me the victim of her anger. I felt sad about the situation rather than angry and I just got on my way.

To change my mind I went through a bookshop just to use some time and there was this little treasure that found its way to me. “Harvard Business Review How To Deal With Difficult People”,  yes! Exactly what I needed.  And from there the story began…

” He who blames others has a long way to go on his journey. He who blames himself is halfway there. He who blames no one  has arrived.” – Chinese Proverb

 

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Game-Changer – Leadership with Emotional Intelligence

Today I want to start with a little story happening to me last week. 

In the latest discussion I had with a colleague I was asked, why am I doing this course? Your Manager or team leader should be aware of and make sure that a team is working on a good level with each other and not leave this responsibility on me. 

I asked what is this person’s exact understanding of EI, and I started to explain my learnings and insights and why we all have our responsibilities when it comes to ourselves and our Emotional Intelligence but in the end, this discussion left me thinking. What if, everyone would think the same way as this person does, in the belief system, that everyone else is responsible just not myself. It also made me question myself.

When are your situations you need to be more aware of Emotional Intelligence? I also reminded myself again about my actions I can take and work on myself. Because we all have the responsibility, not for others, at least for ourselves. We all might have difficult times or situations we did not expect, and even more important it is to handle exact these situations wisely. And exactly for this your awareness of your Emotional Intelligence can help you to pass them in a different way.

Since I’ve been taking this course, I’ve been learning every week and this knowledge will stay with me for all the years to come. What about you? Are you aware of your Emotional Intelligence? Share your stories with me so we can share the importance of EI together and inspire others too.

Working on these skills and having them in my toolbox, ready to use in every situation is a game-changer for every kind of job or personal relationship and especially being in a leadership position in future. 

“ Leadership is not domination. It’s the art of persuading people to work toward a common goal.” – Daniel Goleman

Leaders in business looking to improve their organisation’s performance can do so by improving their emotional intelligence: that is, their skill at identifying, understanding and influencing emotion.

Whenever we interact with those around us or attempt to navigate our own internal feelings, we’re using our Emotional Intelligence. Our EI competencies determine the way that we’re able to perceive, comprehend, express, think through, and manage our emotions. By investing time and energy into developing these competencies — as explained through the Genos Leadership Model of emotional intelligence – leaders are able to bring more awareness to both their own emotions and the emotional states of those around them. 

Genos wouldn’t be Genos if we won’t have something to offer especially for people in leadership positions. In our last session, we talked about the difference between Workplace Assessment and Leadership ~ssessment. There are a few differences, even though they look pretty much the same from the outside. It is specifically designed to meet the needs of a person in a leadership position on a day-to-day basis. The Leadership Assessment is the same as the Workplace Assessment based on the Genos Model.

We also had a closer look over the Genos EI Leadership Model. Let me explain it to you a little more specific so you can see the differences to the Genos Model of EI Competencies I shared with you in my blog before.

This is the Genos Model of Emotional Intelligent Leadership Competencies.

If you take a look at both Genos Model’s you might see that there is not a big difference. Some eagle eyes might have noticed that the colour is different but that’s not what I am talking about. The main difference lays in the detail and here it is the last competencies of the model.

Inspiring Performance is about facilitating high performance in others through problem-solving, promoting, recognising and supporting others work.

If you want to know more about Genos International Emotional Intelligent Leadership take a look here. 

I want to end my report about my Genos journey with the words of Klaus Schwab.

“We need leaders who are emotionally intelligent and able to model and champion co-operative working. They coach rather than command; they’ll be driven by empathy, not ego. The digital revolution needs a different more human kind of leadership.”

For now, I wish you an amazing week full of insights and inspirations.

See you for my next report about my learnings & takeaways, till then, love what you do.

PS.

One more thing I want to share with you is this opportunity to be part of a free Masterclass with Genos. Learn more about the link between Emotional Intelligence & Psychological Safety. This practical masterclass offers insight into the neuroscience connecting emotional intelligence & psychological safety. Learn how to create a better working environment for yourself, your teams and your organisation. Register now and secure your seat, get yourself insight about EI.

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8 Steps To Cloud 9

Tell you what? I am already halfway through the Genos EI Certification course and I did not even notice it. Time flies so fast when you do what you enjoy doing, doesn’t it?

Well, without wasting much time on my amusement, I would tell you about the very interesting “8-step debrief process”. Oh and let me tell you this, the assessment is only half as good as the debrief one would go through.

To help you understand these processes better, let me tell you a bit more about my journey which led me here today.

After I signed up for the Genos EI Certification course, it was my time to do my own Genos Assessment before starting this class. I also received my personal debrief to have a look at my own results. And I can confidently say, doing the assessment is the easier part. It is the debrief where more fun lies. 

The debrief is included in every assessment to go through your results of your report. The assessment is clear to understand. A debriefing takes around 90 minutes and you go through your report to figure out, what are actions you should take and focus on working on and where are your strengths can use for your growth. You might be surprised how others see you compared to how you see yourself. 

So let us overview the 8-step debrief process:

Step #1 State the purpose – context and meaning, why are we here.

Step #2 Explore their goals – where to go

Step #3 Revisit the Genos model and clarify questions about it. (you remember, I explained it to you last week, feel free to revisit here.)

Step #4 Explore how the results are presented – The Genos assessment is designed to give the perfect overlook of their results.

Step #5 Interpret the familiarity and consistency results – How familiar are your raters and how consistent were their answers compared to each other.

Step #6 Facilitate an interpretation of the results. – results, comments, etc.

Step #7 Summarise key insights, actions and benefits. – Where are actions to take, where are your strengths.

Step #8 Discuss the response process. – What they should or shouldn’t do with their report.

The reactions of these 8 steps can be very different. Maybe you already expected certain answers and you are focused on your actions or you might be surprised, overwhelmed or just confused. In any case, I suggest you take some time to reflect on yourself, to see what you should work on or change. Here I strongly suggest. Write it down, because we all know how our daily basis is, things are getting stressful and we are going back into our old structure without any change.

Our supportive teachers showed us how a to debrief would look like and based on their role model we had the chance to go through these steps in pairs and train each other to do such a debrief. It is challenging and still a very good way to practice what you just saw and listened to. It also reminded me of how important emotional intelligence is, for myself as an instructor as well as for the individual I would debrief. Observing my participate and give my feedback on how I felt during the training and what I think I would also take away for myself. On the other hand, trying to do the same session as my classmate just did with her, openly and also receiving my feedback after which will help me to reflect and know where I should take action.

For me, the most challenging thing was to use a domain-specific language I was unfamiliar with. So my action out of this training is, to rehearse it until I get comfortable with the language and still be myself. Because an assessee will have more trust in you when they feel your authenticity.

Coming back to my personal assessment experience, I don’t regret a single minute of signing up for this course and having the opportunity of taking such an assessment. I know my strengths even better than before, I know where I have to be more mindful and where I need to use my emotional intelligence consciously.

“Emotional Intelligence can be the game-changer to high performance and personal leadership” – Steve Gutzler 

See you next time,

Astrid

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Gen(i)o(u)s Adventure continues

Wednesdays are my favourite days lately, not because Wednesday itself is something special but because I am doing something special on Wednesdays.

Every Wednesday, a group of EI-aware people meet for their next lesson on their way to becoming Emotional Intelligence Practitioners.  

Last week I attended the second day of the program and wow! Even more than before I realized for myself that, I am at the right place at the right time. When I started to read about EI, I felt so familiar with the topic and thought the future needs exactly this, awareness of yourself and others, in professional life and personal.

“I learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Our second session was filled with in-depth information about Genos Assessment and it was so interesting to take a deep dive. We also got interesting insights into the Emotional Intelligence model we are going to work with.

Emotional Intelligence involves a set of skills that help us perceive, understand, express, reason with, and manage emotions, both within ourselves and others. We can apply these skills to help us become more conscious of our own and other’s feelings and more conscious of the influence emotions are having on our decisions, behaviour, and performance. This helps us minimize the unproductive influence of emotions and maximize their productive qualities.

The competencies shown in yellow on the model above, help us consistently demonstrate the productive being states on the right side of the model, as opposed to the unproductive being states, that we can all be at times, on the left side of the model.

Now let me explain to you our competencies a little better.

    • Self-Awareness is about being aware of the way you feel and the impact feelings can have on decisions, behaviour, and performance.
    • Awareness of others is about perceiving, understanding, and acknowledge the way others feel.
    • Authenticity is about openly and effectively expressing oneself, honouring commitments, and encouraging this behaviour in others.
    • Emotional Reasoning is about using the information in feelings (from oneself and others) and combining it with other facts and information when decision-making.
    • Self-management is about managing one’s own mood and emotions; time and behaviour; and continuously improving oneself.
    • Positive influence is about positively influencing the way others feel through problem-solving, providing feedback, recognizing and supporting others’ work.

Are you aware of those competencies above? Reflect on them, look at yourself and try to understand how others see you when you mirror them. 

Lately, I read an article about how Google began a multi-year project to discover how to build the perfect team. It amazes me to realize what Google started back in 2012, has become such an important topic today in 2021. And I feel happy to have taken upon it. 

If you want to dive deeper into that topic, I suggest you read their Project Aristotle. It gives you more knowledge about what makes a great manager and what defines a team. Both articles are definitely worth the read. 

“There exists a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.” -Aristotle

I am looking forward to learning more and take you with me on my journey.

See you next time, until then stay emotionally intelligent and don’t forget, love what you do.

Astrid

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Intellifying Emotions, Professionally!

“In a very real sense, we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels.” Daniel Goleman

Part 1

I can’t tell you how true I find it. When I attended the software testing conference for the first time and I saw how complex yet human-centric technology is, I felt the struggle people building that software must be going through. 

My curiosity made me explore how testers work, and that’s where I thought, there was something I could do about it. And I did my first public talk on “Emotional Intelligence for Testers“. 

The special bond I have made with the topic of EI from that moment eventually landed me up with what sounds like an outstanding professional course on the subject. A new day brought me a new opportunity. This time it has been from Genos International.

Genos International helps organizations and individuals apply core emotional intelligence skills that enhance their self-awareness, empathy, leadership, resilience, and mindfulness. In their world of ‘do more with less’, applying a mindful and emotionally intelligent approach is fundamental to success.

I have recently started the Genos Emotional Intelligence Certification Program. And I can tell you I couldn’t be happier about my decision to start this new journey. Things I have learned so far in this course and the course material sound promising and I am thrilled to experience what more is yet to come. 

Interestingly, the class I am attending is an all-female batch, which we are told, actually has happened for the first time. I am curious about how this fact will inspire us during the course. I am sure we can inspire each other and I am looking forward.

My key takeaway from the first session is the following sentence which shows how important EI is for each and every one of us.

” The way you show up determines the way people feel, and the way they feel determines the extent to which they can engage. And that impacts pretty much EVERYTHING about the outcome of that relationship.”

I believe we all owe something back to the community that supports us and hence I have decided to share this journey of mine with all of you. And I hope it will help you in some or another way. 

That’s all for now. Until then, stay emotional and stay intelligent 😉

Cheers,

Astrid

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The Irreplaceable You

You are replaceable. Everyone is replaceable. Probably we all have heard that before, somewhere, from someone. In our office or at home. And took it as a subtle hint. 

And yes, you know what? They are actually right. We all are replaceable. But always keep in mind, so they are.

A new team member can finish a project you started, a new member can do things differently or bring changes into the team and their development. Change does not always mean it is better or worse, it is sometimes just different. The way you handled it does not mean you did it wrong, maybe it just did not match with the expectations and that is totally okay. What is not okay is, to continue doing it the same way when you could do it better. When you could grow and change for yourself and the team. When it comes to a task, you can acquire any kind of new knowledge, you can learn everything if you want to to be able to fulfil it. You can learn anything if you want to and if you are open to it.

Let me tell you a small story to understand it better:

Imagine John, 34 years old man who works for the same company since he finished his studies 12 years ago. He has his degree, loves his job and he believes, the world is his. He owns a beautiful apartment near the beach, drives a black Mercedes A-class. He is able to afford to live an amazing and stable life while travelling the world.

If you look at him from the outside, he had it all, and he has all he wants. And apparently, he doesn’t really need to do much to get what he wants. At work, he also makes sure his colleagues know about his amazing lifestyle. Let’s say he is kind of arrogant and he clearly thinks he is irreplaceable. I mean he works there for 12 years, no one knows the company better than him, right? They need him actually.

Now let’s talk about Maria. She is 34 years old and has just started in the same company. She has joined John’s team. The company gave her a chance despite her credentials not being closer to John’s. Their positions are different from each other because Maria has no degree, she completed her school but she could never afford to go to college. She had to start working after school when she was 17. Her life has been the complete opposite of John’s life. Maria leaves the office taking the subway and walks for 20 minutes more to reach her rented apartment. She needs this job and after many different jobs she had, she can look back on experiences that often taught her lessons that helped her grow. She is hardworking and passionate about her goals and she never gives up. Maria always wears a smile on her face no matter what.

The key difference between Maria and John is, Maria is always aware that she is replaceable.

They couldn’t be any different, and if for a moment we place two of these in typical romantic novels, they would hate each other only to fall in love later on. Well, let’s drop that idea for another time. Life is not always smooth and happy. We face difficult circumstances or deal with difficult people. So let’s go back to John and Maria.

Maria did a really good job; she learned new skills in her free time, read books and did research on topics she did not understand. She learned fast, and her colleagues liked her and her spirit. Based on her new knowledge she became confident enough to bring up new ideas on how to change old and rusty processes. 

For John, Maria became a thorn in his eye. He never really understood why the company hired this girl without any degree who never went to college. The reason that she wants to change processes which he started 12 years ago in this company, who is she to change them now? What does she even know? Nothing right? I mean how can she, she never studied. He started to think, it is not fair, his reaction with his colleagues became rude. 

John wasn’t aware, that the company is going through difficult situations and the manager had to take a hard decision. Someone in John’s team needs to leave the company. John of course suggested Maria since she was the last person joining the team. But his manager observed the team and he came to know about their loyalty, who worked hard and who was constantly growing and who did not. So what happened might be unexpected if you look at it on a “logical” level. If you have already faced problems you won’t fire persons who are here for a long time. It is easy to keep them because they know everything. It doesn’t cost you money as it does to teach a new team member. But sometimes it is worth to take a deeper look, are they worth it? Will they help to grow the company or are they maybe only a burden because they don’t see new options? John’s and Maria’s manager did exactly that. He observed and took a decision. He fired John and replaced him with Maria.

Why do you think he did that? What was John’s biggest mistake here? Was it his lack of awareness? His arrogance? Becoming rude to his team members?

All the things mentioned above denote the lack of emotional intelligence. That can be fixed. But his biggest failure was, he stopped learning. He stopped growing. To believe that a degree is enough or all we need to open doors for us and become irreplaceable, I must disappoint you, it won’t be enough. Because having a masters degree but forever staying on the same level won’t ever be enough.

But what is it that makes you irreplaceable, like Maria? Is it even possible to be irreplaceable? What we learned based on John and Maria’s story? No knowledge, degree, status of education or certificates can make you irreplaceable. Because whatever you are able to learn, everyone else can learn it as well. 

So let me tell you what makes you irreplaceable. It is your energy. Your energy is your secret weapon where you have all your potential and maybe, you are not even aware of it. Energy is everything. And the day you finally realize this, it will transform your whole life. 

Maria did exactly this, unknowingly. She shared a positive spirit with her teammates her energy reflected in her sake to learn and grow further and this made her irreplaceable for her manager. 

We have energy around us and we all have energy inside us too. We only need to find our purpose and figure out how to share our energies with others. The more positive energy we share with others the more we are valued by others. These positive energies make you irreplaceable as a human. 

“When we are not aligned with our purpose, we cannot reach our fullest potential.”

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An insider’s story.

Etiquette- an elegant word for simple kindness.

I was working for many years in 5 Star hospitality. In beautiful hotels, in different places in Switzerland where people around the world would stay for their vacations. Hospitality is a fascinating world that is half a secret and half a fairytale. But I have also seen the harsh reality of this industry.

If you think about high-class hospitality, what comes to your mind? Hmm..let me guess, you might be thinking about “11 point Gaul Millau” meals served on a beautiful table with a fresh white tablecloth, expensive dishes, and silver cutlery, a fantastic outside area including a pool filled with blue water and green palm tree lines, luxurious bedrooms with a breathtaking view and wonderfully arranged flower bouquets and amazing chandelier hanging from the ceiling. I am curious to know what comes into your mind, dear reader?

Is it not a lovely place that you have just entered? I want you to ponder upon that very experience. What do you think does it take to bring about such a lavish experience to reality? Well, let me take you deeper into that world. This high rated meals you thought about are prepared by amazing chefs with fresh high great products like vegetables or fruits especially chosen and the fresh-baked bread which gets prepared for these great buffets. The beautifully set table you are going to sit on gets prepared before, every knife, spoon, or even glass is carefully polished beforehand. The pool area needs special treatment because the water needs to be checked 4 times a day so it is always ready for a refreshing swim. Special care is taken of your beautiful bedroom to keep it clean and fresh at all times, so you can feel at home out of your home. They actually can’t take any responsibility for the view or the weather but be assured, if they could, they would do that too. 

Memories of my days in hospitality are still fresh in my mind and I remember how passionate I was. As you also might have experienced, neither every job you start with will fit you, nor will you fit in every job. Or you might just grow out of it. I simply grew out of it too but still, I love getting lost in memories from those times. And for me, those jobs were my most important life lessons which I would never want to miss.

Starting a new job in each of these splendor hotels means, you have to learn their own language, etiquette and adapt yourself to the standards and culture they live in. And all these things may vary from hotel to hotel. So basically, as long as you are in hospitality and changing jobs, you are always required to learn.

To fully enjoy this royal hospitality as a guest, it is also important to be aware of the manners and follow certain etiquette. The etiquettes are heritage which we should honor especially in times where the change is faster than ever before.

As an insider, I would love to share some tips for you as a guest.

Maybe it will help you the next time when traveling or staying in a hotel is as easy as it was again. (And to the fellows who can’t wait for it, you are not alone! But we must be patient. The time will come and we will share all these great adventures again. In the meantime, travel within yourself and see what you can create and learn during this time too.)

It may sound like a matter of course, but let me please tell you, it IS not! And most of the time, people working in hospitality make embarrassing experiences with their guests. If you don’t want to be that guest, please read on!

  • Please be patient if you have to wait. You might be a VIP but for the hotel, every guest is a VIP and gets treated equally.
  • Mistakes can happen and the hotel staff tries to avoid them as best as possible. Complaints can be delivered courteously and they will do their best to solve your problem. Remember, shouting at the staff says a lot more about you than them.
  • The staff would appreciate you a lot if you treat them with humanity. Just because you are staying with the hotel doesn’t mean it belongs to you. Also, saying  “please” and  “thank you” would not hurt. They serve your meal with a genuine smile on their faces but they are not your servant. Please remember the better you treat someone the more you get in return. If you are nice to them, on your pillow you might find a bar of extra chocolate. 
  • Most of the hotels go green and encourage you to reuse towels or will not change bed linens during your stay under one week unless you request. They take this very seriously. In most of the hotels, you will find a “Greencard” which you can place on your bed admitting you agree that the sheets and towels won’t be changed. This card might also get appreciated since the hotel will gift you some sweets or a small surprise for using it. So it is definitely worth the try. Here one pro-tip, most likely if you leave the towels on the ground, the housekeepers will change them anyway for you. 
  • Take only memories – and the complementary travel-size toiletry with you. Please leave the robes, towels, blankets, hairdryers, hangers, ceramic coffee mugs, water cooker, and any other reusable items behind. It’s not worth it, since they already know everything about you, we will probably send you a bill or charge it on your credit card. And please bear in mind, the robe you are stealing is already used and washed over 100 times before you. Invest that precious money in a new one. Also never forget, They do not forget. If you are stealing, they will write it down on your guest card. Whenever you book a room with them again, They know what you did. 😉

I hope you enjoyed reading. Stay tuned for the next part with more exciting insider tips.

 

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7 tips to make your home-office fun

During this pandemic as we all experienced it, working from home has become the new normal. And let me tell you, what sounds like heaven in the beginning, can be very stressful and exhausting later. 

The home-office has many positive effects such as, you don’t need to leave the house in the morning, you don’t have to spend a long time stuck in traffic, you don’t need to prepare lunch as you always did before. You can get so much done, while you are working from home. 

But you also need to be mindful. Because working from home does not only mean doing your office job but also taking care of your household, pets, kids, and whatnot at the same time. It means you need a lot of superpowers. None of us is an action hero and it is okay to struggle. We do not need to be perfect. 

My personal experience, in the beginning, was that I just could not stop working. “Another email at 10 pm coming in, oh let’s just get it done now” … nah, not cool! So, I will give you one golden rule to follow. What you can’t do in the office, don’t do it in your home-office.

Now let me share some tips which helped me overcome the stay-at-home blues. 

  1. Choose a dedicated workspace and set your office up for productivity. Make sure you find a room, a place where you are not distracted easily and where you are able to focus on your work.
  1. Invest in furniture like a good ergonomic chair. Don’t sit on the sofa the whole day. Take care of your body, you only have one.
  1. Structure your day, as you do it in the office. Create a to-do list.
  1. Work when you are most productive. Start early and finish on time. Make sure you are not overworking just because you are bored. Use the time for yourself, read a book, try a new recipe or start a new hobby. Whatever you do, find something which makes you happy.
  1. Take breaks in between. Eat healthily. Don’t eat between the fridge and your desk.  Celebrate your break with colleagues and set up a zoom meeting for lunch. Drink enough water and go for a walk/run to get some fresh air and move your body.
  1. Dress like a professional. I know sweatpants are comfy, but honestly when you don’t take yourself seriously, why should others? “You are what you wear”, isn’t just a phrase. It is a reality. So, dress up the way you would dress for the office too. It makes you feel confident and confidence is what we need during these times.

7. And for goodness’ sake turn your camera off if you are doing something your colleagues would forever remember you for.

And most importantly, always remember, we are all in this together. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to Karen too, she might be struggling even more than you. Be kind to your neighbour and if you are a family working from home and having a kid you are also supporting in homeschooling, be kind to one another. Your kid might not understand the situation and misses their friends as much as you miss some of your colleagues. This too shall pass.

Let’s meet again next week and in the meantime, take care and love what you do.

Astrid

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