Archive for July, 2017

BEST Wisdom

July 25th, 2017


A while ago over coffee I was once again reminded about the fact that priorities are so very important, but especially to those who are starting their own business. After eleven years of success, my entrepreneur friend has some wisdom to share about what counts. My friend’s start-up story is not common, but his focus on the priorities in life is his key to a successful business. Here is his wisdom in a nutshell:

People are the most important asset – in your team and life

Your life is more important than work, more important than business.

What you do for a job is meant to help you live a healthy and integrative life, not the other way around. You need to know your values and work according to them so that all you do fits with your person. When you have a balanced view of life and work the business becomes the means to an end: a good life, well-lived.


People and relationships are more important than business and “progress”.

When your priorities are in order, the person in front of you becomes valuable as a human being, more valuable than the business he or she may offer you. Then all your activities are relational and not just results-driven. Thus numbers will not count more than the relationships with the people involved in the enterprise. The business holds capital is in the human aspect more than the numerical aspect.


Respect for the culture and respect for the individual are keys to success.

Whether the person in front of you is a handworker or a CEO, treat each person with the respect due them. There is inherent value in each individual we meet and we view each one as a potential new friend, a colleague. Also, as human beings, we belong to our respective cultures, and those cultures are to be respected and not just “used” to for financial gain. By cultures, they can be the traditional “anthropological” cultures, but also other cultures that may be more global in nature. No matter what kind of culture, the culture should be valued.

Your integrity is your calling card.

Your name and brand are only as good as your word and your integrity. My friend spoke warmly of old business partners who shook hands and took him at his word – and he took them at their word. Those relationships and businesses are still going well. Your reputation for integrity is a “gold calling card” that will open doors for you.

Creativity is great, integrity is better.

When we value people more than success, when we live out our values at work as well as at home and have a life that is full of integrity, we need not worry as much about the numbers because then they become less important to us. It is not surprising, however, that my entrepreneur friend is doing quite well in his international consulting business that has lasted over fifteen years.


BEST Wisdom

Therein lies his wisdom: priorities. I would add that time is your most precious commodity and spending it with people you care about is really the key to a good life. How are you spending your time this week?


Patricia Jehle


Elephant analogies

July 18th, 2017

Elephants and Life

Recently my thoughts have been inundated with elephants- on the internet there is a cute baby elephant chasing birds, for example and my daughter loves it. The metaphors using elephants are also in my face these days, namely eating elephants and elephants in living rooms.

What do you eat for breakfast?

Elephants, especially baby ones can be cute. But they are quite big. Eating one is a metaphor for getting a huge project finished. One of my favorite metaphors is eating an elephant for breakfast. This means you face your tough decisions, and tough jobs first thing and do not procrastinate. It means you can celebrate with a mid-morning coffee, knowing you have done the hardest thing on your to-do list already. It means you have finished over 50% of your work by lunch, and you can really relax for your break time. So, set your day up to get the most difficult activities over first thing, and you will be able to focus better throughout your day. This idea can also be applied to your work week: get the harder things done earlier in the week and save Friday afternoons for emails and other activities.

Do you have to eat an elephant, or is there one in your living room?

What is filling your living room?

What about that proverbial elephant in the living room? This metaphor is all about facing the non-addressed problems in a team, in a group, in a family. Do you have some elephants to deal with? You must remember that facing the elephant will, in the end, be good for you and for your team (group and family). It is true that the only way out of a problem is through it and ignoring it will only make the problem an bigger elephant. Finally, it’s about trust in your leadership abilities. Henry Cloud in his book, Integrity says that “Avoiding the elephant in the living room not only allows the problem to continue, but erodes trust…”

Naming the elephant doesn’t always work, though. The people have to want to change, to want to talk about it, that elephant. At a wedding last year we wanted to have fun with the couple, and to help make the ceremony and party a success, a happy time. So, it was easy for us to see and acknowledge that elephant spoken about by the pastor at the wedding and once she was made visible, the elephant could go home. We didn’t want to keep her in the room, nor did we want to bring her to the reception afterwards.

But I have, once, seen a brave person address a room of listeners where people did not want to change. She specifically named “that elephant in the room” and used just that phrase. But for many people, it was to no avail. They didn’t want to let the elephant leave because it was too uncertain, too scary with too many unknowns. The speaker’s message was not heard because the listeners were not willing to be open and to change, to admit their faults, their humanity, and perhaps even to laugh at themselves. It was sad, but she had no control over it in the end.

So, name that elephant and be open to change, even if it might hurt at first.

Your experiences either help you or stop you from talking about and eating elephants

Finally, negative experiences can really deter you from healthy work and life practices. For example, if you spoke up in a work meeting about the proverbial elephant and were ignored or worse, attacked, you may have a very hard time addressing problems at a next meeting. Either you may feel that you are not heard or not taken seriously, or you were hurt enough that you feel you need to protect yourself. Also, if you became stuck eating an elephant early in the day too many times, and di not find a successful way of finishing the project, you may have set up some pretty strong procrastination patterns to avoid such failures.

In the end it is about bouncing back

How can you bounce back from those failures in a way that helps you eat elephants and talk about the elephants in the living room? It has to do with your character and whether you have integrity or not. People with integrity have the mental and emotional resources available to face these kinds of set-backs and try again. Sometimes, a good coach can help in this kind of growth, to help people integrate their values and actions in a way that allows them to succeed more often, and to bounce back after failures.

I wish you a week full of eating elephants, speaking of elephants and bouncing back.

Patricia Jehle

Make some time for R&R

July 11th, 2017

holidays can help you with direction

Skipping your summer vacation?

I recently read an article about how someone was guilted by her boss into not taking her vacation time. In the end the stress from work took it’s toll and, no, people didn’t get burned-out. The company went under.

Stressed employees cannot produce as well as rested and relaxed employees. Everyone knows this fact, so why are so many bosses still expecting their workers to keep their phones on and return to work early from vacation? Companies suffer when people do not get holidays, as the company that closed down clearly shows.

The temptation is very high to keep on working, even if you have planned holidays

Many of us, whether pressured from the boss or not, are tempted to skip our summer holidays, or, at least check our work emails frequently while at the beach or in the hotel. Some bosses expect this and, 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 for us to completely shut down for a while, even if it’s just a 48-hour break from emails, and a change of pace and scenery. July is already upon us and August is just around the corner. 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 and your employees’ physical and mental health depends on R&R; be like the French

Studies have shown that we need to take time away from the daily schedule of work for our continued health, whatever that place and activity and might be. It is the “other”, the time doing something completely different that causes restoration and growth. For example, new places make new mental neuron synapses grow and this is a very good thing for creativity and memory. This also allows our brain to rest the overused “pathways” of much used tracks of thinking in our brains.

Not only that, but stress levels are reduced when you go away and shut down. 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. Employees return to work relaxed and healthier after a vacation, they are then ready for to overcome more challenges.

You 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 on working, especially with high levels of stress at work, for too long, it becomes increasingly difficult to wind down. Eventually, you will be unable to “remember how to relax”, and then may be in danger of burnout. Therefore, even long weekends with no emails are recommended to keep you “in practice”. Also, for bosses, burnout and stressed employees actually cost the company a lot of money in lost working days (read “sick leave”) and in lowered productivity. Thus, holiday time is one of the keys to a productive and positive work environment.

Remember, your family matters, and spending extended time with family builds relationship

Finally, it is important to remember that the reason you are working should be 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 could be going to be rock hunting in the Ticino or hanging out in Minnesota; 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 this is what builds and maintains relationships.

Just do it. Take that vacation, even if it’s a short one!

So, take that time off; and limit the amount of time on work-related activities such as emails; do things with those people you love; and mostly, have some fun this summer! Remember to shut down for at least 48 hours, but why not more? There is only one Summer of 2017, after all, so enjoy it!

Explore to a new place.

Patricia Jehle


Summer Check-up

July 3rd, 2017

Summer Reflection Check-up

It is already July and so perhaps you should take some time for a reflective check-up. It is important to regularly reflect upon your goals and check your progress to make changes and keep on your chosen course. First you must ask yourself good questions.

Time to think about how our year is going

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What are my goals (yearly and quarterly) and where am I at regarding them right now? What changes need to be made to reach those goals, or do I need to re-work the goals?
  • How am I doing with my work and personal relationships? Where do I need to change here?
  • How am I doing with boundaries? Do I have enough time and energy to get my work done and have healthy relationships?
  • What am I doing daily for me, for my health and well-being?
  • How has my attitude been lately? Do I need an adjustment in attitude? How can that be best achieved?

Let’s look at a few of ideas for the rest of this blog, namely “me time” and integrity.



Integrity, in the end is what will allow you to truly succeed. If you are a person of integrity you are like this, according to Dr. Henry Cloud from his book integrity,


  • You connect authentically (and thus build trust) – your relationships are real
  • You are oriented towards speaking and wanting to know the truth (operates in reality) – no more elephants in the room, for example
  • You get results and finish well (reaches goals, follows the mission, gets profits)
  • You are able to deal with conflict and hard truths (solving problems, transforming problems, ending problems) – you go through the problems
  • You are growth oriented (leads to increase) and see the positives
  • You see and can explain the big picture (systems are not scary, and you are able to transcend) – systemic thinking is part of your skill set


Me time

As it is summer and maybe you should be focusing on some R&R, I have a list of activities you can do for personal “me time”, even before you go on holiday. Some of the activities don’t have to be done alone and in fact, some of the items on the list are social, but remember even extroverts need time alone, to recharge and think things through.

Have some fun, even before your vacation begins


  • Read what you want, not what’s on your “to read” list.
  • Watch a TV show you have chosen yourself.
  • Exercise, your choice of activity.
  • Take a walk (perhaps with your dog, if you have one, as I do).
  • Get a mani/pedi or a massage, or all three.
  • Take a (short or on-line)course that interests you.
  • Work on your hobby, including making something. Or start a new one.


Much more could be said about these ideas. In fact, many books have been written. But enough said here- just remember to reflect and ask yourself questions, and that this time of year is a perfect time to do it.  Enjoy your week and may it be full of integrity, productive and healthy!


Patricia Jehle