Posts Tagged ‘life and death’

Grateful for Expertise

January 23rd, 2018

Experts are needed and we should be grateful for them!

I am very grateful for the experts in our world, as googling can only get us a very short way in life. Personally, my life has been saved by medical experts and I am taught by experts how to be a better educator, a better writer, a better coach, and so on.


I have been very thankful for competent ER staff

Recently I have been grateful for these specific experts:

I am so thankful for the Emergency Rescue experts that saved my friend’s daughter after a terrible bicycle accident last week. She broke the sixth disc in her neck, but luckily the spinal cord and the nerves were not damaged. That emergency crew was able to get this young teen safely to the ER, where the expert medical crew treated her, grafting bone from her hip and recreating this disc. AMAZING!

I am thankful for the expert teaching of Sebastian Walzik last weekend regarding case studies and how to write them. It is always a pleasure to sit under great teaching.

I am thankful for the expert furnace repairman who fixed our furnace this afternoon. We are warm again, and that is really something to be grateful for!

I am also very thankful for the expert radiant heat oven builder (a kind of high level brick layer extraordinaire) because while the furnace was not working this oven kept us relatively warm.

Next time you go poo-pooing experts, remember, we can only be experts in one (possible two) things in our lives, and to be a REAL expert takes time to study and practice.

The world-famous Swiss tightrope walker, Freddy Nock, said at last week’s Wirschaftssymposium Aargau that he started to work on the tightrope at age four, and he practices (still) up to nine hours a day. To be a real expert, it takes lots more than a two-day course, or skimming a book. It takes the hard work of really getting it right. Think of Freddy as he gets ready for his next daring walk. He over-prepares. Most experts do, somehow, because they really are “know it all”s.

Right now I am also very grateful for the medical experts caring for several friends, and for three family members who are ill —these days, we can trust the doctors around us, as they try their best in a world where diseases mutate and spread in alarming manners. I have been in the place of needing those kind of experts more than once, and I am thankful they were there for me, as they are for my loved ones, right now.

So, are you an expert? At what? I am able to call myself an expert at teaching business communication, I am beginning to be an expert coach, and I am working on becoming a supervisor and a writer.

What experts are you thankful for?

Be grateful for the experts in the world

Patricia Jehle



A Long Way

April 3rd, 2017

You’ve come a long way, baby!

I have come a long way from a decade ago. I bet you have, too! We have come a long way, baby!

Twelve years ago my father-in-law was quite ill with liver cancer and we often visited him in Baden. He passed on in December of 2005. Today I walked past his house, now owned by someone else and being beautifully renovated at this very moment.


A walk of remembering

The walk brought back a flood of memories of – mostly – good times in that house. I’ve always thought it a wonderful house, full of good folk, great memories.


But this morning I was walking on this street to visit my OBGYN for my annual check-up. She has recently moved into a private practice down the street from my in-laws’ old place. Funny. Sad. Interesting. Coincidence? Maybe.


Eleven years ago we, my husbands’ siblings and their families, cleaned out and sold my in-laws’ house just as I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was when I got to know my most favorite OBGYN and favorite gynecological surgeon, still working as a team today. I got to see them both today and it felt good; it felt right to see them there today after walking by the house where my husband spent his teenage years, where my babies visited their grandparents.


Celebrating more than ten years!

Later I will celebrate over ten years of being cancer free, of coming a long way. I am very grateful!


After surgery and chemotherapy in 2006, I spent a few years recovering my stamina, getting my bearings and deciding what to do with this new view of my life. Having a serious illness often makes one reflect on their life and direction. In some ways, I am continuing in the same direction, in others, I am changing it, a little.


I still read and write, now more than ever- but with more intention, too. I have a Spiritual Direction certification and see my own spiritual director, something which I have wanted to do for a long time. Now I just do it; I make the time for it. I still teach and I really enjoy it, now adding my own specialties to what I teach in the classroom.


Namely, I add coaching, as I have become a certified business coach and presently am looking to upgrade to Master Coach and Supervisor soon. All those activities and choices have come out of the reflection on my life after being so ill.


Reflect on you life

And you, you don’t have to have such a dramatic reason to reflect. You can just take some time and think about you life, where you have been, where you are (your “red dot”), and where you want to go now. Or tonight, if now is not a good time.


Celebrating my – and your – “red dot”

Part of my celebration today will be a walk in the springy countryside where I live, sitting on a bench and enjoying my dog (acquired to keep me healthy), listening to the birds. I will take that time to continue to reflect on where I have been and be thankful for where I am now.


You can do that, too. In your home, on a walk, at a special place set aside for such reflecting and celebrating. Wherever you want. But you should take some time and reflect on your life and examine it, your “why”, so to speak. Then celebrate on how far you have come. It will do you a lot of good, I promise.


Have a great time doing it!


Patricia Jehle, Jehle Coaching or write me at

House renovation of my father-in-law’s place

I stand with Refugees

February 9th, 2017

Where do you stand?


I wrote this blog almost two years ago, but it bears reposting at the moment. I have changed very little but the paragraph at the end is new.

Refugees are human beings with human rights, needs, fears, and a lot of bravery. #Istandwithrefugees


I am in the USA and recently had the opportunity of flying on a very special flight to Chicago.


My Confusion

The Zürich-Chicago flight was half-full and I was tired because of my early rising to be “on time” for arrival at the airport. Hurry up and wait is the motto of flying, especially internationally.


Because I was bleary-eyed, the group Swiss was boarding (they always board groups early) looked to me like a band or choir. Their uniforms were obviously African in dress and their skin tone matched the traditional dress of the women. The men wore more western clothing, but it was all the same. I was rather confused as to why so many small children, also in the same clothing, were flying with the band/choir.



Upon boarding I was pleased to note that I had a free seat next to me and spread out accordingly, getting comfortable, starting to watch “The Theory of Everything” when the African gentleman from the choir across the aisle from me asked what to do with the customs card. I was free, having nothing to do for nine hours ahead of me, so I was happy to help.



After pausing the movie and taking off my headphones, I started to explain the reason for the card and then what was required in each box: name, flight, and passport. When we got to passport part, the young man was a bit concerned. I showed him my passport to illustrate and he shook his head. He had no passport, “just” a bag with him, which he showed me. The bag was printed with something like, “International Migration Services”.


Well, by then I had figured it out. There were about three dozen brave refugees on board, flying to the USA for a new life.


I felt privileged to be able to vicariously experience their arrival in a country where they would not have to live in a war zone. The man, a father with two little boys, was traveling with his wife to Chicago first and then to Florida. In Chicago the group would break up and go on to the places where they had sponsors. I still think often of these people and their bravery.



The family had already experienced many firsts on their journey from Guinea to Tanzania via Nairobi and then from Tanzania to Chicago via Zurich: new clothes (they were all dressed alike because of the IRC -International Refugee Committee- donations and thus I thought they were a musical group), flying on an airplane, so many Caucasians around them, new food, new language, new climate.


The refugees would also be experiencing many more firsts soon, ones not always so positive. I felt for this man, for his wife and kids, for all the others. The list of new challenges they will encounter can go on forever, but their fear of the new was overridden by the fear of what they had left. They had left a war zone. The father said, “Whatever is ahead is better than being killed, seeing your children killed.”


Lessons learned

I can learn from this man; we all can. He has already been able to overcome what seems to me to be insurmountable barriers. He was able to make important, if very hard, decisions, and to continue on his way to a new solution, a new place.


He had few illusions to the difficulties he would face ahead, but he believed that there was opportunity ahead and only death and destruction behind. He knows that his future is in his hands and he has taken the responsibility seriously.


Today, 21 months later

I wish I knew what has happened to this little family of four. Are they still in Florida? Have they been accepted? Are they on some awful list to be deported. Only God knows. It breaks my heart to see the way the refugee stories are playing out at the moment. I hope it breaks yours, too.


May you be able to face the difficult moments and make brave decisions.

My coaching website can be found at

You can write me at

Refugee children at play

Go ahead. Cry!

September 13th, 2016


Tears of Remembrance

There is a time for showing emotions — and all emotions are okay to show. Last weekend was a big day of taking pause, remembering, being sad, and showing grief. A day of remembering, and mourning. Fifteen years have passed since September 11, 2001 and the world will never forget.

One of the reactions to this Day that is okay, no, is necessary, is tears.

History and cultures

Two weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend about the history of tears, their meaning and how one collected tears, because they were precious. The ancient Persians and the Romans seem to have considered tears to be precious. The Hebrews in the Old Testament honored tears, and the Victorians collected tears in bottles and kept them for show in special bottles.

Benefits of tears

Besides being precious tears are important for health. We cry to release intense feelings, but also the body is able to rid itself of impurities. Tears are also important for emotional health. As Psychology Today puts it, “Try to let go of outmoded, untrue, conceptions about crying. It is good to cry. It is healthy to cry. This helps to emotionally clear sadness and stress. Crying is also essential to resolve grief, when waves of tears periodically come over us after we experience a loss. Tears help us process the loss so we can keep living with open hearts. Otherwise, we are a set up for depression if we suppress these potent feelings.”

The Problem

But there is a problem; we live in a tear-phobic society. It is common to think that crying is a sign of weakness, a sign of inability to cope with the situation. This is a false assumption and must be countered with truth. It’s more than okay to cry. It is good and healthy for us to cry, and to allow others to cry in our presence.

Personal thoughts

I don’t know about you, but I have some hard days of remembrance before me in the upcoming months. My mom died in the fall, as did my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Also, some fifty plus years ago my dad died, also in the fall. The freshest, and for me hardest day is Mom’s death last fall. I have been, and will be crying off an on on those dates, and around those days. It’s okay, it’s natural and it’s good for me to cry about them then. It’s healthy.

How long

I have read that society in general wants people to get over grief in something like two months. Ask any honest person, and good psychologist, and I think the deep grief can easily last for six to twelve months. What does our society do with this? They want you “productive and strong” in two months. But there’s a real problem with that, because when we, you and I, stuff our emotions they stay there and “fester” and come out in very unproductive ways. It is much better to grieve and to feel our grief. To cry.

So what do we do:

Be mindful of our state of emotion, of our body, of others

  • Pay attention and be curious about our emotions. Treat them as part of you, not as adversaries.
  • Be aware that your grief will affect your body, too. That headache, gut ache, tight chest… be aware, and take care of yourself. Remember to breathe and to move take walks, especially)
  • Remember that others are grieving, too and send them your wishes, in thoughts, prayers, words, and actions.

What are you going to do about it?

We humans want to be pain-free. But life is not like that and it is much better to walk through that pain, preferably with someone, than to stuff it and pretend it isn’t there. Each person has their own coping methods. I personally walk my dog a lot when I am sad. It really helps, as does something that Brené Brown writes about called four spare breathing.

So, what are you sad about, grieving about? Who else is grieving? How are you going to deal with it?

I wish you a good week, thinking, doing and feeling.

Patricia Jehle      blog:

contact me at:

Also, I invite you to join my group, SMEs Grow Together on LinkedIn:


Having a Pre-mortem

February 16th, 2016

Previewing a funeral


I learned something new this week: it’s called a pre-mortem or prospective hindsight. The idea is to see something in the future, a project, a business idea, a relationship, … and then think about think about two things. In two years’ time what might have caused the demise of the, let’s say business idea, to fail and what might have cause it to succeed. Put a team on each question and let them brainstorm. You can then report back to the whole group and hopefully find even more reasons for demise and/or success of the idea.


What the experts say: According to the Harvard Business Review, “Although many project teams engage in prelaunch risk analysis, the pre-mortem’s prospective hindsight approach offers benefits that other methods don’t. Indeed, the pre-mortem doesn’t just help teams to identify potential problems early on. It also reduces the kind of damn-the-torpedoes attitude often assumed by people who are overinvested in a project.”


So how can you apply this in your life? Think of something new- a hobby, a project, a new job, whatever. Then sit down with a coach or a trusted friend and think about all the things that might cause this thing to fail. Write it down. Then talk about all the things that might cause the thing to succeed and write that down, too. Then pick a few things on each list to work on that seem like deal breakers.


So, you want to start a business. You have all the finances in place, the idea and business plan down and you want to “go public”. I suggest you do a pre-mortem first, and this time with a coach, not your spouse or best friend. You may find that it is too early to start, or you may find a serious flaw in your plan. Or you may find two or three things to focus on that will prevent your start-up from failing.


But you don’t want to start a business? You can still use this model for about anything new. Why not try it our now? I think I will tonight with a friend at work regarding a class we both teach.


Tell me if you tried it and tell me if it worked for you.


Patricia Jehle

We are learning beings

November 19th, 2015

What I have learned in the past two weeks:

I have been home to say the final goodbye to my mom this past week. It has been hard and good at the same time, as often these kinds of turning points in life are. We need to take them as they come, walk through them and learn from them. I have learned a lot from this past month or so. Here are some of the things I have learned:

Being there is more important than getting it done

I didn’t do much while I was home. I am a list person, a doing person, and the list was rather small for the weekend of my mom’s funeral: get photographs copied, let my nieces put them up on poster-board, and shop for cookies and flowers with the family. But the fact that I was there and a part of the conversation, of the process was really important- for my siblings, for my nieces and nephews, and especially for me. I was just there, being me. And it was really important.

Often we are more interested in what we can contribute to an activity or event, but we don’t realize that our presence is present enough. For relationships, that is usually what is needed. Our authentic presence is key.


Express your appreciation as often as possible

I can never say thank you enough. Saying thank you shows your genuine acknowledgement of a person’s kind actions, sentiments and words. That is exactly what I experienced this past week: so many emails, cards, hugs, kind words, gifts of work, gifts of time… the list could go on and on.

My husband and I teach; he in a gymnasium (read Preparatory High School in American English) and I at a Business College in a University. Both of us received condolences, not only from colleagues and the administration, but also from our classes. That was very unexpected and heartwarming. It means a lot to hear this, and to hear concern (and appreciation) in these messages. I will thank them as soon as I see them, even though I thanked them by email, as I was getting ready to leave. I have thanked so many people for their kind words and deeds in the past month, and I mean every sentiment.

A smile and hug are often the best present

Having said that, the most simple of actions can mean a whole lot. A hug. Research shows that a human being needs five hugs a day to survive and even more to thrive. So I must have really thrived over the past to weeks- especially since going back for my mom’s goodbye service. Remember as the holiday season comes upon us to give – and receive hugs. The minimum is five a day. And you will be gifting people with the gift of a warm human touch.

Poignant words at the appropriate time can have lasting impact

I have a good friend who has remained relatively close since college days. She is very good with words, and is very wise for our age. She reminded me over hot apple cider that I am also an orphan now, as she (and my husband) is. My coaching instructor reminded me that my roots have been affected, as is always the case when a parent dies. My words also affect people, and I should use them wisely, too.

Laughter is really a great medicine

In the remembering sessions our family had before, during and after the memorial service, laughter was a key ingredient of the process. We all have funny stories about my mom, sometimes my mom was a privy to them, sometimes just a part, and sometimes the instigator. It was a very healing experience to sit and remember and laugh about so many good times together. I think mom would have been pleased to be remembered in this way and to see her family not only mourning, but laughing together.

This is what I have been learning. We all learn. So, what have you been learning lately?DSCN8921

I would welcome comments or questions at and you can find out more about me and my business at


Reflection Mondays

August 31st, 2015

Mondays are a day for me to reflect on the past week, especially when the weekend was somehow included and made it a package, not a bookend. Today, this is one of my tasks: reflect on last week and place it into perspective.


Part of last week’s story is not totally mine alone. A dear friend and neighbor died after a long hard illness on Thursday morning AND his daughter celebrated her wedding vows on the following Saturday afternoon. Both pieces of life were very emotional and energy consuming enough alone; yet this past week they were bound together. Life and death: past, present, future. But for me, as I am really only an on-looker to this drama, I feel the sadness, the joy, the anger and grief, the amazing freeing love of the family and stand amazed… What a great party on Saturday evening! It was truly a wonderful celebration! I am amazed, and recovering from the immense energy of raw emotion.



That dance of life and death would have already been enough for me to reflect on, but of course, there’s work and there are other activities in my life that made up my week. For example, I was part of a good, but not easy meeting that must continue as a conversation in the near future, to come to some decisions about the future direction of a program. Then there was the annual social/outdoor work event that took place in the wind and rain. That day was quite beneficial for body, mind, networking, and soul (it was fun); there were good conversations and great food, as usual. I saw people who I don’t usually get to see during regular working hours and I met a new co-worker or two. But the walking, wind and rain left me physically drained. I slept well that night, but awoke to very stiff muscles. I have been working on those muscles ever since.


Begin this week with some reflection

What do you do to begin your week? Do you look at your calendar and prepare mentally and physically for the days to come? Do you reflect on the previous week, on what you learned and experienced? Do you try and place all these activities, emotions and relationships into an integrated whole? Today I am doing these very things.


A rather important part of how I do my reflection is to look at my assumptions and decide if they are limiting me and if they are true. I thank Nancy Kline and her books, “Time to Think” and “More Time to Think” for the following ideas for you to consider.


Time to Think

So, here goes: What am I assuming that is stopping me (or the business) from moving forward? Do I think the assumption is true? What is true and liberating instead? If I knew that the true and liberating assumption is correct, how would I go forward?


For example (my own example, Nancy’s formula), I see that my customer/client base is shrinking. I suddenly have no idea as to the way to generate more growth. So, I ask myself, “What am I assuming that is stopping my thinking?” Then I might think, “I am assuming that nobody wants my product/service. After all, it’s new and why would they pay attention to it?” So then you think about this. Is there proof for this assumption? “Is it really true that nobody wants my service/product?” Then I would say, “Well, that’s a supposition, an assumption.” So, then I would ask myself, “If it is not true that nobody wants my product/service, what are my words for what is true and liberating—for a way out of this thinking?” Then I might think, “The market has been proven to be open and ready for the business and what I offer.” So, then I would ask myself, “If the market is open for our business and its products, what could I do about the customer base?” and then “What more could I do?” And so on…


I wish you a reflective, productive, and very liberating week!

Patricia Jehle