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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On the 32nd Road of Life.

And I assure you, the roads after 30 don’t end up in the dark tunnel, the way we feared it in our sweet twenties. 

Looking back at myself from my twenties, I remember that thinking about becoming thirty felt like the end of the world and the very end of life. I thought nothing more would be coming after that and everything should have been achieved by then. 

We are generally influenced by all the mid-twenty year’s old rotten stories, 30-under30 list, all the achievements of others like getting married to the perfect match and starting their own family. The fear of missing out made it hard to breathe, didn’t it? But we need to understand that, their goal does not have to be ours. Their timing does not have to match with ours and that’s totally okay. We need to be kind to ourselves. Moreover, the tenth page of your life could already be the first page of someone else. Some of us are more privileged than others therefore this whole idea of comparing yourself with others does not really help. 

And just because you don’t have what everybody has at the same age, it doesn’t make you less accomplished. It only means you are born to do extraordinary things and fulfil some other purpose. 

I can happily say that turning 30 has been a true blessing. I am more at ease with myself, I found my purpose, my focus and I learned that “life at 30” has been entirely different than how I imagined it to be when I was 20 years old. To me, this realization has been eye-opening. Never was I able to take myself so seriously before.

And honestly, for me, taking a hot bubble bath instead of wearing uncomfortable high heels on a Saturday night is way more satisfying. 

Tell you what? In order to grow steady, you must first kill the pest that shunts your growth. And therefore growing might feel like breaking at first. Don’t give up.

Stop worrying about yesterday. It is already gone, the decisions are made and there is no way you can undo things. What about tomorrow? Well, you don’t know what might come. We can’t know the future. All we have for certain in our hands is present. The time of now. Today is all you have got. Today is where you can change things. Today is where you can choose to make a difference. Today you can smile at someone to make their day better. Today you can be kind and today is all you have in your hands. This is the moment where you are able to have all or nothing. Yes or No. Good or Bad. Happy or sad. It is your choice. What or whom you let win over yourself, now you get to decide. 

I am not standing at the farther end of life already and I too am like many of you, still a traveller of life. But based on whatever I learned about life so far, I would say, take that step now that you are always thinking about but never had the courage to do so. Well, honestly! What could happen in the worst case? Your life won’t end there, right? Then go for it, please!

In the worst case, you will fall. But even if you fall and things didn’t work out you will still learn something. Only because you have one way in front of you it does not need to be the right one. Life sometimes takes us to different destinations. Way far away from what we expected. And you know what? That’s beautifully perfect. 

Please, stop finding excuses for not wearing that amazing red dress. If you love it, then wear it. 

If you fear you are growing old, then let me tell you, growing older is a privilege. And we should treat every wrinkle like a treasure. You are perfect the way you are. Start complimenting yourself and others because what else can make someone happier than receiving a sincere compliment? 

Get up and live life! Create an identity for yourself beyond your job role. You are not what you do professionally. It does not have to be that way, always. 

We have got one life. Let’s please not spend it only trying to fit in, doing things only for validation and acceptance. We can do better than that by finding and living our own purpose.  

And if you are still not convinced, let me stop with a small story. When I travelled through Cuba in 2019, a wise old lady told me; “Darling, always count your age by the numbers of memories, not by the numbers of years.” That has stuck with me and it always brings a smile on my face whenever I ponder upon my journey of life. 

So forget about your age, forget about every number you believe defines you and live your life to the fullest.

You can.

You will.

End of story.

Go, make it happen while I make mine happen. 

And oh, here is to my 32nd birthday. Cheers!

Lots of Love,

Astrid

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Kissing 2020 a goodbye with moist eyes and a smiling face

This year was truly special to everyone. The world turned upside down in a way we were never aware of. And that is not only because of Covid which changed everything in 2020.

For those whom we lost and those who have lost.

In the early  2020 the world lost wonderful souls in an helicopter accident. Two of these beautiful souls  were Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi Bryant. To me, it was a huge shock since I adored Kobe Bryant for a long time. He was such an inspiration not only on the basketball court but also as a human being. This accident that  took these souls away too soon also changed my outlook towards my own life. 

“Everything – negative, pressure, challenges- is all an opportunity – for me to rise.” 

This quote from Kobe Bryant will forever inspire me. 

And yes, he lives in thousands of hearts and his message has to be spread over and over again. I won’t stop following my way until I reach what I have set in my mind. An inspiration is gone but his spirit is still here. 

On April 4th, a beautiful woman gave birth to wonderful baby girl named Sara. – who was born still. This unexpected loss, the shock and the pain that followed again showed me how thankful we should be for what we got. She is a true inspiration, while she is healing she is still able to share love and joy and she inspires me everyday. To all of those who lost someone this year I want to say, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

2020 will forever be remembered. It is a year full of ups and downs. A year we never really thought could happen. This year challenged us in many ways.

Professionally. 

Meetings were done remotely and “You are on mute” isn’t just a phrase anymore. Homeoffice isn’t just fun while staying at home instead of our offices. For some of us felt like small private heaven initially but  turned out to be the opposite for some of us.

What are your experiences? Let’s play a small game? challenge. Share your best Homeoffice picture of 2020 and use the hashtag #homeoffice2020

Mentally. 

I am happy and proud to be a part of the masquerade 2020. I don’t want to miss telling my kids in a few years what was happening when the world turned upside down. This wonderful world has been through way more than this and it always found a way to heal. But we also got a warning. We have to be careful for, our loved ones and the environment.

But this time is also painful, we are far  from our loved ones and that’s why it is even more important to ask each other, “How are you?” 

Personally. 

Travelling, meeting friends, visiting a concert, was just not possible, many plans got cancelled. It might be tearful and sad but we should be grateful for what we got. For me, this year had a lot  to offer. I took a step into a whole new world, I have never been before.

Personally I want to say “Thank you” to all our health care workers around the world who are fighting this pandemic.Thank you for staying strong. 

A lot of things broke my heart this year, but exactly these things also gave me strength. The will not to give up and the power to keep going on, even when the destination was undecided. This year has been hard but I am thankful to be here and to make this experience and grow.

This whole new world

In August I got an opportunity to work for Test Master Academy.

At the Test Masters Academy Test Leadership Conference I got the opportunity to write about my personal experience.

After these amazing sessions, I led my own Interview Series for TMACL2020 with speakers.

After a whole month of writing about the conference and interviewing amazing speakers I got another opportunity to write an article for Tea Time with Testers magazine titled 

“Do we need Batman if we have Testers?” 

This experience awakened my passion for writing which I always loved and did with so much passion and that’s the main reason why I am sitting here today writing this first Blog.

Did my first conference talk  for #testflix 

This came to be while I was expecting it the least. I got another chance and I did my first ever public talk.

I remember the day, when I got the message on 10th September 2020, asking if I wanted to be a part of the Testflix Bing  in November 2020. All I had to do was to make an 8 min video about a topic I found important. Well I am not a tester by profession. So I felt pretty overwhelmed. What could  I talk about? What topic would help a tester? Why should someone even want to listen to my talk? But I didn’t hesitate and agreed to present my talk. It could not  be that hard right? I came up with topic which I found important for testers but was not much talked about – Emotional Intelligence. What an honour for me to start something completely new with The Test Tribe.

The topic I chose is really close to my heart and in 2021 you will hear more about it from me, so stay tuned.

It was a blast being a part of this amazing and one of its own kind event. 

All in all I want to say Thank you 2020,

for all the lessons you taught me, good and bad. For slowing down and giving us a little bit of silence. For bringing up new opportunities and a fresh start. 

For teaching me that in every negativity we can find something beautiful. We just need to look closer and open our hearts.

For changing my mind and showing me new ways. For making me realise what I truly need to be grateful for.

Thank you 2020, without you there would be so much missing.

Hello 2021! I am totally ready for you.

Cheers to you and Happy New Year. Stay safe and Love what you do. 

Yours,

Astrid

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