“In a very real sense, we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels.” Daniel Goleman
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 😉
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Structure your day, as you do it in the office. Create a to-do list.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Language shapes the way we think. When we talk, we don’t only talk to each other. We use our language. It doesn’t matter where you are from and which national language you are using. What matters is how we use our language for ourselves and others.
How do you want to talk about yourself? And why can’t you use the same words of kindness, and love for yourself as you use for others? Currently, I learned a lot about Emotional Intelligence and it made me even more aware of how important our language and the communication skill is. If it is in a small conversation like we have it at the coffee kitchen in our offices or a debate in front of 1000 People. How we use our language is how we present ourselves to the world. And it makes no difference if you are talking in person or writing it. Wrong words or the wrong use of words can hurt people anyway.
Are you mindful of the language you use? What is okay and what is not? Have you ever thought about how you communicate with people and how it could make them feel? Are we in some topics specifically walking on toes to just not make any mistake but forget about how we offend others by talking without caring our language?
Do you know there is already a movement of its kind that encourages people to be mindful of the language they use? Have you heard of “inclusive language”? I too was unaware, until I stumbled upon it and the idea itself impressed me a lot.
An active way of doing it is choosing inclusive language as a solution. I would like to start with the definition of inclusive language. It is the language that proposes to avoid the use of certain expressions or words that might be considered offending or alienating to particular groups of people.
Now to dive into this topic we need to go closer into these words and their use. Because what word we use is a decision, not only a habit. We own 171’146 words in current use in the English language according to the Oxford English Dictionary. So why do we only use the one we know for certain things without thinking twice about their meaning.
Did you know, your words can be hurtful? Can make you less approachable? Might be offensive?
Can create an inclusive environment? Can we promote kindness and compassion?
To give you some examples of what I am talking about and let me start with a negative example.
I know a beautiful autistic boy but, I still love him.
What sounds wrong in this sentence? What feels wrong for you? All in all, it is not a bad sentence, it is not meant to hurt anybody, not the boy, not his family, actually no one. What do you think, why it will still hurt him? Why he might feel he is doing wrong or feeling unwanted? Let me explain.
Does it matter if he is a boy or a girl? Why can’t I just say I know a beautiful boy and I love him? Does his disability makes such a big change if I love him or not? No one in the entire world should be called by his disability or be reduced to it. Did this sweet innocent child choose autism? No, of course not. And then there is this one small word which changes the whole meaning. BUT. If you think about yourself, how many times someone used this small word and it hurt you. Deeply. I love you BUT. You did a great job BUT. Language can hurt, even if we are not wanting to hurt. It can happen. mistakes can happen.
So let me rephrase this sentence now in two versions. First version if it needs to mention autism and also here I want to admit it is good to talk about it, to make the world aware of it to make these important topics normal and include them in our knowledge and share awareness. It is needed to, but it is important, to use the right language. Because no Person with autism (or anything else that troubles the person dealing with it) deserves to be reduced on that. The second Version is without mentioning that, showing the meaning for the first sentence in inclusive language.
I know a beautiful child who has autism, and I love this child endlessly. or I know a beautiful child whom I love endlessly.
Do you feel the difference? Now that we removed this negative meaning and pointing out to something that isn’t needed because it is painful.
Words may not intend to exclude or hurt others but mistakes can be made. And these mistakes can have a significant impact on other people. So it is important to be mindful of how we communicate to help create a supportive and inclusive environment.
Try it for yourself, how does it makes a difference for you and for others in being aware, what language you use. I would love to hear your story or experience in the comments below, but please in the inclusive language if I may ask you.
Thank you, dear reader, for giving me your time today, I hope I could give you something to take with you on your journey.
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.
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
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?”
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 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.