Hey y’all! My name is Mia and I’m a Leadership Consultant and Learning Experience Designer on a mission to help people re-discover what it means to be human in the Digital Age. On a daily basis, I work on creating interdisciplinary, innovative, and interactive leadership learning journeys in collaboration with consulting companies to help executives deepen their self-awareness, enhance their creativity, grow their empathy, and explore their intuition. By learning to effectively apply our unique human-only skills, we can develop what I call a ‘USP Humanity’ that functions as a key differentiator and success factor in a business world that is increasingly dominated by automation and artificial intelligence.
Today, I am a Digital Nomad and work wherever and whenever I choose, whilst pursuing a M.Sc. in Consciousness Studies, Spirituality, and Transpersonal Psychology on the side. Overall, I see myself as a bridge-builder between the world of mystery and management to create synergy between the two that allows for a much more progressive approach to personal, professional and business development in the 21st century. This approach is often referred to as ‘Conscious Leadership’.
So how did I get to where I am today?
Well, it all started with where you are today: At Karlshochschule. From 2014 till 2017, I studied the B.A. in Intercultural Management and Communication at Karls which laid the foundation for me to start my first full time job in Sydney, Australia. Below, I’ll share my journey as well as key learnings with you to provide some inspiration and guidance what you can do during uni and after graduation to create the (work) life of your dreams.
The 3rd Semester: Discovering and following my passion for The Future of Work.
Thinking back, it was in the Strategic Management module (STRA) during the third semester at Karls that I first learned about agile, co-creative, and human-centred approaches to value creation in business – and I was absolutely fascinated by everything that was related to the ‘Future of Work’. It just seemed to provide so much more meaning and freedom (which are two of the most important things for me in life) compared to traditional ways of working. Even though I had no first-hand experience of a traditional full-time office job, I was really not looking forward to starting one after my studies based on what I knew from working in a part-time administrative student position in a marketing agency.
Put simply: This job sucked all life energy out of me, not only in terms of what I did but how I did it (working on excel sheets in a dark office with a terrible boss). However, the worst thing was that I knew enough people who felt exactly the same in their jobs, with some of them having been working this way for over 30 years.
Since I couldn’t stand the idea of this being the status quo of how work ‘works’, I started doing quite a bit of research about New Work principles and practices in my free-time. For me, that meant that I sometimes engaged a bit less in uni modules that I didn’t consider that relevant or interesting for me personally, and instead used the time to learn more about the things I was genuinely passionate about – like the Future of Work.
This kind of self-directed studying requires a healthy level of discernment which you can develop by doing your ‘inner work’. But looking back I can honestly say that dedicating time to finding out what you’re truly interested in, and focussing your energy primarily on these topics (whether they are directly related to your studies at uni or not) is probably the smartest move you can make to prepare for a successful AND fulfilling career.
- Start early with trying to find out what you want to do after graduation. A great tool to use for orientation purposes it the Ikigai Model.
- Be mindful with your time. Just like money, learn to invest it right. A good indicator for good time investment is how much joy you experience compared to how much discipline the task of topic requires.
- Do your ‘inner work’. Gaining more awareness about who you are or want to be, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and understanding your limiting beliefs as well as self-sabotaging behaviours is absolutely crucial for success in uni and your career as a future leader. Besides journaling, meditating, or receiving mentoring on a regular basis, I can recommend the StrenghtsFinder, the Positive Intelligence Saboteur Test, and the Enneagram Personality Framework as great starting points for your self-exploration.
Internship Struggles: How negative experiences lead to positive transformation.
Besides the Future of Work, I was also deeply fascinated by the Arab World at the time, which is why I chose to do my internship at a small NGO in Hamburg that focused on providing cross-cultural mentoring programs for female entrepreneurs from Germany and the Middle East. Unfortunately, my excitement faded after the first week of working there.
I remember coming home on a Friday evening, confused about whether I should laugh or cry as I fell on the couch. “This can’t be real”, I thought. Even though I chose to work with an organisation on something that I was super passionate about, the terrible work experience that I got to know at the marketing agency seemed to continue in this new job – with the difference that I now had a full-time position…
As you can imagine, the following three months were pretty tough.
The tasks I got assigned were draining. I felt like I was not trusted due to the precise tracking of my work hours and the strict no-phone policy at the office. Moreover, poor internal communication resulted in me doing work that was actually not needed or already completed, which further enhanced my frustration, whilst the strong hierarchical structures gave me anxiety every time I walked into the office.
In other words: My internship was no pleasant experience, but a definitely an important one since it further strengthened my passion for the Future of Work and liberated workplaces, powered by the desire to liberate myself.
- It’s not enough to just like what you do. You also have to like the way how you do it.
- Pain, frustration and discomfort are invitations for positive transformation, so get curious what and how you can learn from them. Journaling, meditation, and mentoring can help with that.
- Remember that every challenge you experience has a reason/purpose – even if you cannot see it yet. In 6 – 12 months time, you’ll be able to look back, connect the dots, and understand why it had to happen just the way it did. Easier said than done, but that’s how it works.
In the second part of this blog series, Mia will describe you what she did after her studies. It is going to Australia!
*Karlshochschule is an educational institution and a non-profit organization as well. We want to encourage individuals and young people to take responsibility, find their own voice and initiate change in a sustainable and tolerant way. Listening to different opinions here not only promotes different perspectives, but also discourse. The content of this blog is characterized by the diverse experience and opinions of the authors, which may not be the majority opinion of the university, but provokes reflection and discussion.