Archive for January, 2017

Break up that stress!

January 31st, 2017

Feeling the stress? Change it up!

One of the wisest pieces of advice I have ever been given about writing is also applicable to life and work, especially at this time in the world. It’s called the Hat Scene.


The Hat Scene

The idea is this: When the tension gets too high, when everybody is on the edge of their seats in the movie theater or turning the pages of a book like mad, the main character takes a break and does something completely different, which must be entertaining and lighthearted. The term, I do not know if it was the speaker’s or not, comes from a movie called “Sleeping with the Enemy,” a psycho-thriller; and at one point when you can’t stand it any longer two main protagonists go to a school where one teaches theater and they try on hats, that’s all. The whole scene is full of fun and fanciful play. The viewers get a break in the tension so we are ready for what comes next.


Breaking tension gives room for creativity.


Now for something completely different:

Fun, fanciful play and a total change of scenery are really good for the soul, but also for your creativity and energy at work. That little time away doing an entertaining or exciting activity really different from normal can rejuvenate you and get you ready for something new or prepare you for some hard work ahead.


Here’s the idea.


Plan a break

Take a break when the going gets tough, but not too long of one, of course. A day, half-day or even a two-hour break will do. The point is to take your focus off whatever is bringing you to that level of stress where you don’t have an answer.


Then: BREATHE! Do some preparation so you are really not focusing on your “issue”, whatever it is.


Break it up and mix it up

Change the place, change the activity, if possible, change your clothes- or preferably all

Do some activity you usually don’t do. For me, reading a book may not “do it,” because that is a regular activity for me. But, going to a temporary art exhibit, walking along an unfamiliar path, watching a movie in a theater, and maybe even going to a hat shop and trying on hats would be appropriate for me, it’s whatever you don’t usually do.


Yesterday I went to see La la Land – this was a very appropriate break for me. Music, dancing, sunshine, bright colors. It was great! Before that I attended a small private art show of a friend of a friend, which also was colorful and brought spring into the gray of my Swiss winter.

It is also true that the place can help. Go outside and take a walk, go to a new space to and enjoy the light, perhaps you can work there for a while. If you usually work at a desk, find a table somewhere else. If you work at home, try some co-working space, if possible. Shake up your formula.


But why?

Our brains react to that change and they become more creative. We are not stuck in “every day” mode and we come up with better ideas. Our brains respond to the change positively and then when we begin to look for solutions to old stressful problems, we can generate new ideas. That’s why companies work off-site sometimes. That’s why masterminds are helpful.


So, what’s after the break? Move on!!!

Take that walk, go to that exhibit, change your work place or routine, go on a short holiday, find a Mastermind group (or join one of mine). But whatever you decide, you should remember to keep changing things around and shaking things up once in a while, for you, and for your job’s and/or company’s sake. That’s how you will become more creative and productive.


Enjoy your creative muse even in stressful times, and should you want to visit my site: –Or join my group on LinkedIn:


Have a great week!

Patricia Jehle


Humor helps


January 23rd, 2017

A long time ago during a January Term at Macalester College when we were studying War Theory (it was a great class, but hard to only focus on War for a whole month) a friend of mine, Tim, told me a very long joke about the fact there was nothing to worry about and that only two things can happen. It was a funny, but very true joke and it helped us to refocus on the good after a depressing month.


Focusing on the Good was the exact opposite of what I learned about last week at a talk by Matthias Horx on the Creative Age: he reminded us that we must not fall into the trap of Awfulism. I had not heard the word before, but the concept is familiar to me from my coaching training:


Awfulizing is a term coined by psychologist Albert Ellis. It refers to an irrational and dramatic thought pattern, characterized by the tendency to overestimate the potential seriousness or negative consequences of events, situations, or perceived threats.


Where I have been trained it this kind of thinking called a cognitive error:


“Awfulizing – Looking at things in a negative way. Some types of this error are:


  • Thinking that you can’t tolerate an unpleasant emotion or that you will go crazy or die if you experience one;
  • Thinking that a problem is more severe than it is; exaggerating how bad something is;
  • Thinking that only bad things will certainly happen;


Overlooking or ignoring the positive, the advantages, benefits, or good points when you evaluate something (i.e. considering only the negatives, disadvantages, costs , detriments, or bad points.”


WE MUST Avoid Awfulizing


To avoid this cognitive error you can do many things to help


– one of the best is to scale a situation:


On a scale of one to ten where one is not much at all and ten is it is going to kill you someone else, how bad is this situation or issue?


OR you could call my friend Tim and ask to hear the joke: “There is nothing to worry about; only two thing s can happen…”


You could also start a board on Pintrest to alleviate your awfulizing thoughts. Mine is called Fun and Funny.



Another way to deal with this thinking is to change the way you look at life by writing down the positives.


Another talk I heard from my friend Renate was on how we should take a jar and write our reasons to be thankful down on pieces of paper and put them in that jar.

Whenever you focus on the good in your life, you raise the level of your gratitude and that, in turn, does you good. You can Google it for yourself, but I have chosen an article from Newsweek to summarize this concept:


  • Gratitude increases your hope


  • You are healthier


  • You sleep better


  • You have better self-esteem


  • You help others more


  • You have more empathy


  • You are more resilient (to the bad)


TO DO: So, in summary, why don’t you get out some paper, a pen and a jar and at least once a week write down five things for which you are grateful? Or better yet at least one, and up to three things a day… You may have to find yourself a gallon-sized pickle jar soon!


Finally, once a month, take an hour and go through the jar. If you are a journaler (and maybe even if you aren’t), write down what you have seen or learned from your time of re-reading your gratefulness papers.


If you want, you can tell me how it goes.


Have a great week,


Patricia Jehle

Thinking of My Heroes

January 20th, 2017

How are you doing today?

This morning I woke up early and angry, both of those things are not very common for me, so I pondered and asked myself why I was feeling this way and realized it is because today is January 20, 2017.

Then I gathered my will and wits and thought about positive people that I look up to, past and present and I was encouraged. My heroes.

Be encouraged today by your heroes.

Here are three of mine: my mother (surprise!), my father-in-law, and my friend, B. Although I have many more and could write a book about my unsung heroes, I will write a blog about these three.


My mother, Marge Christensen, became a widow when I was four and she was just over 40 years old. Having lived all her life with first her biological family and then with my dad and siblings, being single was a strange experience, and being a single mom in the 60s, put her in a place of discrimination and where we lived, not very high “on the totem pole”. Mom worked in a factory and had married before finishing high school, which in her time was quite the norm. Mom, a product of circumstances and her time, became a strong feminist and a very healthy positive independent woman and much of this transformation happened before my very eyes. She worked long hard hours, saved, was independent in so many ways- bought her own car, home and furniture, planned her – our – future (all for the first, and then many times) and lived a good life. Mom had a long, happy retirement and lived to be 92. She was healthy until just before she died in 2015. At the funeral my sibs made me say something and I think I said a version of this: my mother was a smart, strong and very sexy woman who was positive about life. Today I remember that positivity.


My father-in-law, Werner Jehle, was a highly trained watchmaker, the old fashioned kind who could actually make and fix really expensive hig-quality watches. He and his wife grew up in Germany near the Swiss border and one of their dreams, besides going to Canada, was moving to Switzerland, the land of watches. So they did move to Switzerland, first to Baden and then to Bern where my husband was born. But circumstances change and for Werner the issue was that digital watches had become the craze and he saw little future as a watchmaker, anymore. So Werner took an opportunity given him by the government and trained as an elementary school teacher. He was not so young anymore, but he saw an opportunity and took it. He and wife Elisabeth moved to the countryside with their family and Werner became the village teacher, which is also not an easy life for him as you are seen as a public figure of sorts; and Werner was a rather shy man. But he made the best of the situation, eventually moving back to Baden and then retiring there. He saw an opportunity and made the best of his situation. He took positive steps and benefitted from his good choices.


My friend, B, came to Switzerland with his wife and son as a political refugee. Because he is still a political refugee and because his homeland is still in a dangerous state, his name will remain a secret. B was a successful engineer at home and he and his family had had a middle class lifestyle in a place where there was a very small middle class. Then he moved here to Switzerland where he didn’t know the language and his work training and experience “didn’t count”. So, B learned German and got trained as a tradesman. B chose to continue forward and to think positively, even in a terrible situation. He and his wife and son have settled well here and Switzerland has become their new home, even though they still miss their first home. As someone who has moved to Switzerland under “easy” circumstances, I know transitions can be hard, and B was able to make that transition, and yet another hard transition: learning a new profession and then working in a foreign language. What a hero for me! He was positive even when his circumstances were bleak. B was strong, made hard changes and moved onwards and upwards.


I have other, more famous heroes. You probably do, too. This week I say goodbye to one hero who was my president, and I took a day to remember another: Martin Luther King Jr. Neither of those men had easy lives and yet they were positive and grace-full to the end. My hat goes off to both of them, too.

So, what can I do today? Remember my heroes and think positively and move forward, making good choices. One day, one step at a time. I suggest you do the same. Who are your heroes? Why?


Patricia Jehle

Hammers and Nails

January 16th, 2017

Hammers and Nails and Problems and Solutions

I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail. Maslow in “Toward a Psychology of Being”

Let’s be careful not to make every solution a hammer and nail solution.


The Concept

Different challenges and problems need different ways of solving them, in fact, there could be more than one way to solve a situation. And with complex issues, there may be many steps or parts to a solution.

In Coaching

What am I saying? Well, in clothing terms, “one size does not fit all.” In coaching terms it could be that one theory has a better solution for one challenge and another kind of coaching has a solution that fits better with a second issue. This is one of the reasons why I have several different theories under my belt and continue to learn as I go.

Of course we all have our favorites and strengths. Mine are psychology (in general) and systems theory, but I do not solely use these constructs to help me with coaching, of course I use an “artist’s pallet” of tools and theories.


For You

This phrase should also apply to your business or your job: one solution may work in one case, but you may need another tool or method of problem-solving next time. This is why we should al be careful not to look at a situation with blinders or tunnel vision.

Some Questions

Here are some questions for you to think about this week regarding your problems:

What is my biggest challenge at the moment? When I put it on a scale, how important is it to me to solve this issue? By when would I want it solved? What was a previous solution to a situation that I was satisfied? How did I arrive at that solution?

and so on…

Have a great week!

Patricia Jehle

Organic Quality Management and Relationships

January 10th, 2017

This past week I participated in a training course on Organic Quality Management (OQM®) Consulting. It was a stimulating time and I was given a new tool with which to continue to move forward. One part of the tool regards the Quality Characteristics of a healthy company (or team). And they are listed below:

What does your company (or team) look like regarding the 8 OQM® qualitative characteristics?

  • Leadership
  • Workers
  • Vision
  • Structures
  • Values
  • Teams
  • Service
  • Relationship

More Thoughts Regarding Relationships

Then this past month I have been processing two books from Relational Thinking: The Relational Lens and the Relational Manager. They add to OQM® with regards to qualitative characteristics in the area of relationship. Relationships on a team and in the company as a whole can make or break your success.

Specifically, what are the positives and negatives regarding the relationships on your team or in your company?

Here are the 5 Relational Analytics Areas

  • Directness
  • Continuity
  • Multi-plexity
  • Parity
  • Commonality


Let’s look at teams for now regarding these five areas and ask some good questions:

Directness – How much face-to-face time do people have with each other? How is that time used? How can it better be used (especially to create better relationships)?

Continuity – How much turnover is there on the team? How might/does that affect relationships (especially with regards to group dynamics)? How can the team have more stability to create a common storyline together and give the team a better sense of momentum?

Multi-plexity – How is information gained on the team? How can the breadth of shared knowledge be broadened so that team members can respond to change together?

Parity – How is the use of power affecting the team? How are fairness and participation promoted on the team so that mutual respect is a shared value?

Commonality – How can we see that the team shares the same vision, purpose and values? How does that add to – or subtract from ­– the sense of synergy and unity of the group?

And if you are the Manager of this team, how are you going to support each of the five areas?

So, what does this have to do with me? I am seriously considering becoming a licensed OQM® Consultant and so you can contact me and talk to me about all 8 quality characteristics, about how OQM® works, and how to better your team and your company with the analysis and change processes based on your personal company analysis.

If you are not interested, the above questions are still very helpful to reflect upon.

Happy 2017 to you!

Patricia Jehle


Looking Forward to “dealing with” the dark

January 3rd, 2017

How do you deal with darkness before Spring?

This morning at 7:30 it was still dark and I have to admit that I had the kind of confusion I usually don’t experience unless I am jet-lagged. I was really surprised it was still dark and “so late” in the morning. I wonder how one deals with this in Iceland. I really must ask my friend, Inga sometime.

Even if it is dark from the time you leave for work until after you leave for home in the afternoon, there is hope: December 21st is coming. With the 21st, everything changes again and we start having longer days. Normally I don’t have a real problem with dark, but today it hit me.

How about you? What do you do to get over those dark days?

One of the things I do is look forward, and there is a lot to look forward to at the moment for me:

  • Another trip “home” this summer
  • Snow!!!
  • A new semester, and new coaching clients
  • Upcoming training and refresher courses



I am always happy to go home again. I will be able to see family and “old” friends and eat food that one can only get there. As an expat going home is part of the benefits, something we look forward to and use as a “pick-me-up” on those dreary days. It has been rather dreary in Switzerland of late, mind you. Yet, as an expat, home is a mixed bag. I have two homes, now. I feel rather at ease in both, and sometimes in neither. That’s part of the life, too.


This winter we haven’t had any snow until last night- I always look forward to the first snow—and to the light it provides when it is dark outside. After all, the phrase from the poem goes:

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,

Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below;


A new semester and new coaching clients

Each semester brings rooms full of business students wanting to learn English and this is exciting. The new coaching clients come, too! But they are one or two at a time and very challenging and energizing in their need and wants.


Refresh-ment and Training

Training and refreshment of all kinds brings new energy and- well, joy in my life. I look forward to t he time away to refresh, recharge and learn.

So what are you looking forward to in these next weeks? What keeps you charged up?

For more information about me and Jehle Coaching, look here: and you can contact me at

This is a re-done blog from Dec. 2105, FYI