Archive for July, 2015

Reasons: right and questionable

July 27th, 2015



A friend has chosen not to do something because of what others will think or say of that activity. I saw red flags, do you?


There are a number of reasons not to do something, but “what people will say” is one of the last reasons on my list. How about yours?


Here are some good reasons not to do something:


  • It’s illegal.
  • It will hurt someone.
  • I don’t want to do it.


It’s illegal

I follow the laws of the land, attempting to be a good citizen, not out of fear, but the support the social system. This means, for example, I pay for my garbage bag stickers and put my garbage in them, and not at some random public garbage can. I do however, put found garbage and my chewing gum in public cans.


It will hurt someone

Most of us know a lot of information that could hurt someone else, either personally or professionally. If I choose to share information, say via the internet, that would be hurtful, and I wouldn’t do it. Hurting people for my perceived gain is not something I do, even when it feels more like vilifying myself than “gaining”.


I also follow my heart

If I don’t want to do something and I don’t have to do it, I say “no”. I have to do my own taxes, but I don’t have to say yes to someone else’s projects. If I’m not passionate about it, why spend time on it? In then end, it would be doing that person (and the project) a disservice, since my heart would not be in it, I wouldn’t give my all for it. So, I follow my heart.


Following your heart leads to doing the things you are passionate about. This leads to great personal and work performance, and happier days as a result. What’s then to lose when you say no to the wrong things, and say yes to the right things?


Don’t decide from fear; it’s a trap

My friend used the word fear a lot in this conversation about not wanting to do something for fear of what others say. I really don’t want to make fear-driven decisions because, according to neurologists and other people who know a lot about the brain and decision-making, when one feels fear the brain is “stuck” in the most reptilian-like part of the brain. Thus, flight and fight are the normal responses, not logical decision-making processes. Not very healthy or logical in its working, this part of the brain is analysis-free.



Instead, stop and think about the reasons for the decision. They may – or may not – be correct. Analyze your decision. Think about the “what ifs”, if you did x or y. Ask yourself questions: Would I like succeeding at it? Would it actually be helpful for me, my family, for others?

So, stop, think, question – and make decisions from good reasoning and not fear.


(I am on vacation, so the blogs are sparse and yet, I do enjoy it… so I still write. What about you? Are you enjoying your summer? For more information check out )


Got time for holidays?

July 13th, 2015


Skipping the summer vacation?


Although our family is taking less vacation than our normal 3-4 week time away from home in July and August, we will still have some holidays together. How about you?


The temptation is to keep on working


Many of us are tempted to skip summer holidays, or, at least check out work emails daily while at the beach or in the hotel. After all, nobody wants 1,000 emails to go back to work to. But psychologist have found it vital for our health and well-being if we can completely shut down for a while, even if it’s a 48-hour break from emails, and a change of pace and scenery. August is coming up and then September. Have you planned your vacation? Taken it already? Decided to skip it this summer? A quote below shows the importance, or lack thereof, of vacations in different countries:


“The online travel agency Expedia conducted a survey about vacation time in 2010, and according to their data the average American earned 18 vacation days—but only used 14 of them. Every European country included in the survey reported both more vacation days earned and used. France topped the list, with the average worker earning 37 vacation days and using all but two of them. And according to Expedia’s data, only 38 percent of Americans said they used all of their vacation time, compared to 63 percent of French respondents.”


Your physical and mental health depend on R&R


Studies have shown that we need to take time away from the daily schedule of work for our health, whatever that place activity and might be. It is the “other” that causes restoration and growth. For example, new places make new mental neuron synapses grow and rest the overused “pathways” of much used tracks of thinking in our brains.


Not only that, but stress levels are reduced and therefore, productivity increases with a break in work. Employers should be sending their team members away more often just for better productivity—and for better creativity. The employees return to work relaxed and healthier, ready for more challenges to be overcome.


Your need to relax or you might find it difficult to do so later on


It has been shown that, depending on your actual stress level at any point in time, it will take more or less time to unwind and really relax. If you go for too long, it becomes increasingly difficult to wind down. Eventually, you will be unable to “remember how to relax”, and may be in danger of burnout. Therefore, even long weekends with no emails are recommended to keep you “in practice”.



Your family matters, and spending time with family builds the relationship


Finally, it is important to remember that the reason you are working is less important than your relationship with your loved ones. Take the time off to build your relationships with them, doing things you all feel are enjoyable and relaxing. For my family the place and activity is probably going to be rock hunting in the Ticino; for another family or couple it would be another place and pastime. But it is the time spent together in the end that matters, because those are our key relationships.


Just do it.


So, take that time off; limit the amount of time on work-related activities such as emails; do things with those people you love; and mostly, have fun this summer! There is only one Summer of 2015, after all. Enjoy!


Note: I am taking a few weeks off my blog, as most people are on holiday and I will be, too. See you in August! You can still reach me via email at , but I will only be checking my mail 2-3 times per week. Enjoy your summer!


A little Theory to Go with the “Problem”

July 7th, 2015



Last week I argued that we are all a part of the problem, even though we probably don’t want to be. Now I want to look at the “why” question.


Why? Systems, we are part of “the system”!


As a coach, I had to learn a lot about systems theory in my training. This is why I can say I believe that we are all part of the problem. We are part of the problem because we are all part of the systems we are in, big and small. This membership is one of the factors that makes change very difficult and it makes it nearly impossible to have a balanced view of a situation you are in.


Why so? Systems Theory says this:

Ackoff’s definition of a system is a set of two or more elements in relationship one to another that satisfies the following conditions:

The behavior of the elements and their effect on the whole are interdependent. As a simple example, you belong to the marketing department. Anything you do (or don’t do) in this department affects the whole department, but your department is part of the whole company and what your department does affects the company as a whole.

Some basic principles of systems theory are: everything is connected to everything else; you cannot eliminate the observer, even if you want to; most truths are relative (from inside the system); and finally, most views are complementary.

As an example, let’s take the same marketing department. Let’s say that Joe is sick for a month with a ruptured appendix. He then can’t make his sales goals for the quarter, affecting the whole department’s sales goals, which then affects the company’s turnover (everything is connected).

So, what is the principle of complementarity?  Often, raw observation is too detailed and we systematically ignore many details, and also, all our descriptions are partial, filtered by: our perceptual limitations and our personal values and experience, which are biased. In the case of Joe being ill, the exact reason why he did not reach his sales goals may not be known to the upper management, nor may they even care. They just know that the department is behind in sales targets and that this is a problem for the company as a whole. However, Joe’s line manager knows and hopefully cares.*

This is why independent coaches are so important because they are outside of the system and can be less biased, and can see the situations more clearly.


Where does that leave us? So what?


Thus, before you think you are “right”, assume you can’t (or at least totally) be correct. The example with Joe is that the Director of Marketing may or may not know what has happened in the department and may make false assumptions about Joe (Joe is lazy). It is always best to assume that you are biased, but also know that the others are biased, too.


Therefore, rule one for me is: Take yourself and the situation as gracefully and “lightly” as possible. Why?


Because of rule two: Relationships are the value and worth in a system.


Relationships Matter!


The system is made up of the relationships and the quality of the relationships shows the health of the system. The relationships may change in strength, but the relationships are actually the constant of the system, not the situation. The situations change. Therefore, we need to value those relationships over our perceptions of the situation at the moment because even though the situation will change, the elements (read: people) remain.   It’s people that count. It’s the relationships that matter, in the end.


So, even though I really don’t like the children’s song, “Let it go”, we should pay attention to the people, as they “last” and are “real”. The situation will come, and eventually go, so let it.


* summarized and taken from:

you may contact me at



Seminar May 2016

July 6th, 2015




‪In case you or one of your colleagues are planning to coach entrepreneurs and start-ups who are expatriates from other countries, I invite you to check out the upcoming two-day seminar in Olten, Switzerland at the FHNW regarding coaching expat start-ups. Coming up in just over ten months: May 10-20: “Basics of Coaching Expat Start-ups: Know your questions know your clients”. I must add that this is a seminar and therefore has limited spaces.


‪Whether you want to further enhance your expat coaching skills and/or learn more specifically about coaching entrepreneurial expats, the program is designed for your success in this specific area.



Registration: Florinda Cucci, Telefon 062 957 20 41, Fax 062 957 21 94,


Weitere Informationen und Anmeldung auch unter: