Building a career in a global pandemic
Over the course of two years, I worked in various roles at Work Club, always in close collaboration with Soren. Eventually, I became Work Club’s Curator of Conversations and spent most of my time developing and facilitating pretty freakin’ awesome events with thought-leading partner organisations such as TEDxSydney, Singularity University and The School of Life. Later in my role as the Human Experience Designer, I shifted towards a more strategic focus and created concepts how to turn (work-)spaces into connected ecosystems that foster freedom of movement, curiosity of mind, and courage of spirit. In a nutshell: I had unforgettable two years down under since I was on something that I loved in an environment (company AND country) that I loved even more.
But then, Covid-19 hit the world in February 2020 – and everything changed.
Maybe you’ve heard about the saying that you should always “finish on a high note”. And trust me, I tried to see it that way. But after having worked so hard to build the life of my dreams down under, it was pretty damn hard to leave everything behind all of a sudden since my visa could not be extended due to the pandemic.
To be honest, at that time I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I had 14 days to make a new plan for my life after I got these unexpected and devastating news from the Australian government. I didn’t want to go back to Germany, but all my visa applications for other countries including New Zealand were also rejected, so I didn’t see any other option for me than to fly home and make a new plan there. Looking back, this was actually the best thing that could have happened since visa issues and thus existential threat would have been the last thing I would have needed during a global pandemic on the other side of the world. So once again, you see that things seem to happen for a reason, even if we sometimes struggle to see that.
So there I was, back at home with my family, somewhat safe but totally lost at the same time. Instead of wasting too much energy into grieving for the life I lost, I became very disciplined with my meditation and journaling routine which helped me shift my focus from past to present and towards the life I wanted to create moving forward. Since many businesses were struggling, I told myself that it was a bad time to apply for a new job anywhere in the world. However, I think that was just an excuse for me not actually wanting to apply for one because:
- I wanted to be my own boss, free to work however I choose
- I knew by now that the best jobs are not advertised on the internet
Based on those two insights, I chose to do the following (and remember, you can do that too):
1. Become a freelancer to live the Digital Nomad lifestyle
I started a massive brainstorming to get clear on what I wanted and could to offer to the world as a freelancer based on my know-how from uni, the work experience I gained up to this point, and my evolving passion for creativity, psychology, and spirituality (P.s.: Please don’t think that I’m one of those ‘woo-woo’ people who do yoga all day, collect crystals, and drink nothing but green smoothies, just because you just read the word ‘spirituality’… Spirituality is no cult, nor religion, but simply a way of being, looking at, and experiencing life with greater meaning, purpose, calmness, joy, and confidence).
Through a deeply transformative self-exploration process that involved a whole notebook of ideas, mind maps, and other creative illustrations, a couple of mental break-downs and break-throughs, lots of self-help books and e-learning videos, guidance from my mentors, support from a coach, patience, resilience, purpose, and consistent action, I created a new personal and professional direction in my life: To guide people and organizations how to integrate spiritual ideas into their leadership practice to make work more human again.
Of course, whenever you go inward to explore what’s next, you also need to go outwards again to share your learnings with the world (if you’re curious how I did that, feel free to check out my colorful corner of the internet here). Moreover, I started a part-time M.Sc. in Consciousness Studies, Spirituality, and Transpersonal Psychology since I primarily focused on the business side of things in the past and felt that further education about the nature of the human mind, body, and spirit would allow me to see and develop new opportunities for making best use of our humanity in the way we do business.
2. Find people (not jobs) who inspire me and join them on their journey
Never change a running system, right? So guess what: Once again I followed my intuition which told me to reach out to a man I found super inspirational in terms of who/how he was as a person, as well as what he did professionally, to explore whether we could do something together. And once again, it worked! I knew Michael from the time I worked with Frank. He was the co-founder of triangility, a vibrant community of Leadership Experts, Learning Designers, Coaches and Facilitators who work across diverse disciplines on one shared goal: Driving human-centric transformation in organizations.
Since I also took an interdisciplinary approach to leadership by integrating spiritual concepts into the business context, I ended up not only working for triangility as their Head of Program Development, but with triangility as a Junior Leadership Consultant and Conscious Leadership Expert. This was a win-win situation for me since I managed to secure a stable income as a freelancer by putting my work experience into practice (e.g. designing leadership courses), whilst also being able to experiment and grow as a coach and consultant (e.g. delivering the courses that I created to customers).
- Remember that the only limits we face in life are those in our minds. I had to do a lot of work on myself to identify and overcome my limiting beliefs that made me thing I’m not skilled / experienced / good / (…) enough to do the things I wanted to do. You don’t need all the qualifications first in order to give you legitimacy to do what you’re passionate about or naturally good at. Once you wholeheartedly start to believe in yourself and acknowledge your capabilities, you give others (e.g. employers or clients) the chance to do that too.
- Invest $$ in yourself! I honesty can’t stress this enough. You already started doing so by studying at Karls – and that’s a great first step. Besides formal education like this, I can highly recommend you sign up to personal development courses or start working with a business/career/life coach on whatever topic you want to become better at. When you get skilled support on your personal/professional journey, you will be able to develop faster, easier, and further compared to trying to do it all by yourself. My tip: Check out your coaches’ references, but most importantly look for someone you vibe with. Try working with one, even just for a few months, and see how you feel afterwards (I can tell you from my own experience, it’s absolutely game-changing – but see for yourself!)
How to sustain your success in the Digital Age
After coaching a few groups of junior executives at triangility, I realised that as a Digital Native and member of GenZ myself, I could relate much more authentically to younger leaders compared to other (older) trainers. Due to the incredibly positive feedback I got from the top talents, I started my own coaching practice on the side, where I help future leaders (like you?) become their own best advisor.
The truth is, you don’t need anyone else to tell you what to do in business and life.
The only thing you need is to develop your human-only skills (such as creativity, purpose, emotions, intuition etc.) since they allow you to find the answers to the questions and challenges you face in business and life that are truly right FOR YOU!
Using insights from the latest neuroscience, strategies from systems thinking, biohacking tools, and ancient spiritual practices, you can develop these skills as you ‘USP Humanity’ to elevate your experience of life, and future-proof your careers in a technology-centric world. Oh, and by the way: Steve Jobs as one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time was deeply into spirituality, maybe this might change your mind about the positive impact it can have on both your personal and professional development.
If you’re curious to explore how I might be of assistance to you wherever you currently are on your journey, I’d love to jump on a quick, informal 30 min Discovery Call with you!
If you’re keen, just message me here.
You can also check out what other young leaders said about working with me here.
Be the change you want to see in this world!
I really hope I could provide you with some valuable insights and tips for how you will approach your journey through business and life! Be brave enough to do things differently – and the reward on all levels will be guaranteed.
I’m on this journey with you – and I wholeheartedly believe that you can do whatever freaking crazy and amazing things you have in your mind if you only start believing it yourself.
*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.