in medias res
or in a nutshell

The feeling of shame – a valuable barometer or an almost insurmountable hurdle?

Most people have known the feeling of shame since childhood. It is something very human, deeply rooted in each one of us. Shame normally creates great discomfort and is accompanied by unpleasant physical symptoms that we reveal in our facial expressions and our posture and cannot control. But where does shame come from and what is it for? Why does our sense of shame so often slow us down? How can we deal with this?

Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation that makes us extremely uncomfortable because it does not correspond to our value system and to our concept of decency. We would then prefer to flee and hide, either because we are ashamed of being part of it or because we as viewers are ashamed of someone else’s behaviour and do not want to be associated with them.

However, there is a feeling of shame that has a more serious impact. For example, if something is forced upon us or we are made to believe something about us over an extended period of time, it is difficult to break free from this counterproductive self-image later in life. If, on the other hand someone insults, embarrasses or humiliates us, it is possible that the shame we feel as a result of this bullying resonates deep inside and becomes a constant burden or handicap. It often makes it impossible for us to reach our full potential and lead a fulfilling life.

Shame is a kind of barometer for our dignity and vulnerability within our own value system. Too much shame, however, is a barrier on the path to more self-confidence.

We can tear down this barrier and allow ourselves to fully and vigorously affirm our personality and abilities. Life is constantly evolving and opening up opportunities for a new beginning every day.

Strengthening and motivating people, showing them step by step their own hidden resources, is a matter close to my heart. Because when we are strong and self-confident, we trust ourselves more and feel more comfortable in our skin. Then, there are no more half-empty glasses!

With warm regards,

Tatjana Gaspar


Toxic relationships – get rid of them!

When was the last time you took a closer look at your network of relationships? Do you do it regularly or do you take things as they come? Can you tell exactly how each relationship works and if there is a kind of balance?

At the beginning of any relationship, be it personal or professional, most of us are positive and all of our senses are in alert mode. We expect the relationship to be happy, joyful or productive with bright future prospects. In a relationship, whether in our family, at work or within our circle of friends, we are embedded in a field of mutual expectations. It would not be possible otherwise.

But what happens if this field of positive tension gets out of balance and degenerates, e.g., into abuse of power? What happens if one side is driven by excessive dominance and the other side sinks into complete dependency? How do we react when our gut feeling tells us for the first time that a relationship is toxic, not good for us? Assuming you were affected yourself (victim) and it was your partner or boss, how would you react? What would happen in case it is an entire social environment that creates a toxic group dynamic, which degenerates in severe bullying, for example?

Toxic relationships often develop insidiously, perhaps they explode unexpectedly. One cannot always pinpoint what sets them in motion, what exactly triggers the bully. There are cases in all social classes and age groups. In the wrong place at the wrong time – and suddenly you find yourself in a spiral of abuse of power, your back against the wall, exposed to constant psychological stress, hostility or even physical violence.

No case is like the other. But each is potentially serious because one is in an emotional state of war, and abuse of power tends to increase rather than decrease.

Fighting back begins when you start to talk about it. Disclosing the abuse means overcoming your own fear, standing by yourself.

There is always a way through or a way out and a solution, I know that from my own experience.

I hope that you and your loved ones are not exposed to toxic relationships. If so, I strongly recommend that you confide in someone you trust. I am also available at any time, should you need to talk.

Meanwhile, may you find leisure to enjoy the lightness of summer.

Best wishes,

Tatjana Gaspar


The culture of recognition in the daily life of leadership

How often in your job do you get the recognition you expect for your work? How often do you give someone else the recognition he or she deserves? In what way does this happen? Rather in a one-to-one discussion or openly in front of other teammates and superiors? There are numerous moments in the everyday life of every manager or leader when recognition has a place, this wonderful social competence, thanks to which you can score points across the board and influence the entire corporate culture!

For all those who receive it, recognition is a true motivational booster, the unmistakable sign: “I’m on the right path, where I’m moving forward!” “I’m with the right person who appreciates and encourages me!” “I’m in the right environment where I’m seen and trusted, where I can become better!”

Although in any company, motivating employees by recognizing good performance is an essential piece of the mosaic on the way to the best possible outcome of a project and the highest possible achievement of goals, I witness again and again that recognition from leadership is almost completely missing. From this I conclude that it must be a very heavy piece of the mosaic for many managers, which they can hardly lift. Or the synapses in their brain, which link theoretical knowledge about employee motivation with practical experience are permanently in deep sleep. High time to shake them up!

Recognition is defined along many different lines. Big gestures are not always necessary, life consists of many small gestures.

Here is an example of how you, as a leader, can show appreciation in everyday work life, e.g. when you comment on a team member’s presentation about a certain topic:

You express your appreciation through positive formulations. You appreciate e.g. the detailed background research, the clever choice of words, the unique illustration or the convincing “stage presence” that made the presentation a success. Then you conclude by thanking the presenter and invite the others to join in a team applause. It doesn’t even have to take a minute, but it leaves the presenter feeling great. At the same time, your image as a leader who has shown true appreciation will shine. In this way you can set a precedent and consolidate your leadership style in a simple and memorable way. Should anything in the presentation not have met your expectations, it is preferable then to take it up bilaterally.

By the way, remember to stay authentic, appropriate and down-to-earth in the way you show your appreciation. The recipe is: Less is more, but more often is better!

Recognition can also be used as an effective team building tool to increase the motivation of the whole team. Would you like to know how? Then contact me so that we can put together a plan according to your needs. I look forward to meeting you!

With appreciation,

Tatjana Gaspar


  

From sensory overload back to focus

Keeping the focus on your life goals is sometimes quite difficult. Wouldn’t you say so? The past years have demanded everything from us emotionally and mentally: be it the ever-accelerating pace of digitization, growing existential vulnerability at all social and professional levels, the restructuring of our life plans caused by the pandemic, or now the palpable fear of the far-reaching consequences of the war that is raging at the gates of Europe. These are just a few aspects that our brain has to deal with all at once and that pose great challenges. And in addition, we must continue to function perfectly in our family and business environment, make plans and pursue goals as if nothing could shake us.

Those who endure this sensory overload unfiltered and in the long term without allowing themselves occasional breaks risk ending up in a spiral where neither motivation nor inspiration can exist anymore. Instead of going forward, you are pulled deeper and deeper. A scary and painful experience! But the crux of the matter is that many people put up with it or don’t even recognize the signs. How about you? Are there time windows in your everyday life when you can take a deep breath and just be there for yourself? Are you then able to let go of worries and sorrow? Or do stress and guilty conscience set in at the slightest moment of rest, enjoyment and fun?

World events happen without our intervention. They don’t care about our well-being. So we have to care about ourselves, mindfully and consciously. Why not right away!

Before it gets to the point where you or your loved one stare into the spiral, exhausted and discouraged, we can work with patience and gentle, but effective methods toward finding your focus (again). This is a structured and profoundly healing process. I am happy to guide and accompany you through it.

In the meantime, may you try and enjoy each little break to the fullest.

Best wishes, Tatjana Gaspar


Resilience against Numbness and Fear of the Future

The American writer Henri David Thoreau, who lived in the age of the Industrial Revolution, wrote: “Most people live a life of quiet desperation.” The sentence is highly dramatic and unfortunately has lost none of its explosiveness even after two hundred years. Fear and despair are omnipresent in the world. Today we live in the age of the digital revolution – this holds prospects of freedom and prosperity and the potential of unimagined opportunities for everyone. But it seems to me that this revolution is far from exhausting its potential. What do you think?

Many people never leave their comfort zone. They experience change as torture and rather stick to old habits and homespun philosophies. It would not occur to them to leave their safe cocoon to look for a new spark beyond usual boundaries, off the beaten track of life. Be it out of laziness, a feeling of powerlessness or quiet desperation, they never ask themselves questions like “What else is inside me?”, “What have I always wanted to try and never did?”, “How can I give my life deeper meaning?”, “How can I bring someone else benefit or joy and thus increase my own satisfaction?”

When the present changes, we witness how our future unfolds. From time to time, we are almost overwhelmed by the speed. Sometimes, however, this happens as if in slow motion, then we experience every moment very consciously. We cannot fight against it, but in such moments, we can try to positively influence and help shape with ideas, words and deeds the future that is about to emerge and our role in it. To our last breath, we can all draw strength and motivation from doing good in our own universe! This is a powerful discovery that contributes to our resilience.

Being resilient is more important than ever, precisely because the unpredictability of the future can sometimes scare us. Resilience is more than a buzzword, it is the mental and psychological fitness that protects us from “falling into the abyss”.

Resilient people are those who trust that they can cope with change; who can handle heavy pressure over long periods of time; who know and use their resources in a way that mental recovery can take place after the stress; who never lose sight of the fact that positive things are always possible and will happen again.

You are not suddenly resilient from one day to the next. It is work in progress. You can gradually build and strengthen your resilience and ensure that it becomes part of you like healthy eating, exercise, discipline, balance, sleep or other important components of your life. Over the years, I have developed a set of measures to strengthen my own resilience. If you or your loved ones would like to benefit from it, then don’t be shy and get in touch. I look forward to our meeting.

Till then, may positive things always prevail in your life.

Best wishes, Tatjana Gaspar


Dealing with the fear of loss

The past two corona years have shaken our world. Everything we thought we knew for sure about ourselves and our environment was put to the test. We felt more vulnerable than ever. There is no one who lost nothing during the past two years. Each one of us had to sacrifice something – even if it was just the feeling of lightheartedness.

It makes me think more often than usual: What do I fear losing most? And at the same time, the other question arises: If I lose it, how will I cope afterwards? How do I “replace” the irreplaceable? How do I keep my optimism?

What do you fear losing most? Beloved people? Relationships or status? Your health or independence? Your memory or orientation? Possessions? Your freedom? Your job? Control?

It makes no sense to judge whose fear is more valid, acute or serious than someone else’s. Fear sometimes comes insidiously, paralyzes us and affects every moment of our day and night. Even well-intentioned advice what one should do is out of place.

Fear of something happening is always fear of losing a part of ourselves. That’s why we must counter the fear of loss with something positive and powerful.

It can only be tackled with a targeted method, cautiously and radically, in a resource-oriented and purposeful way, with a strong will and self-confidence. You can build that up or find it again.

Don’t let anything paralyze and hinder you on your life’s path. Take a first step and talk to someone you trust. Or just give me a call. I am always happy to help.

Meanwhile, I wish you courage, confidence and positive energy every day.

Sincerely, Tatjana Gaspar


Trust

When the year is coming to an end, I always feel the need to take a closer look at my trust level. I look back at the past months and start analyzing: Who was a new recipient of my trust? Who has proven again that one can trust him/her unconditionally? What breach of trust did I experience and how did I deal with it? Whom have I met with suspicion and has it turned out to be justified? Whose trust did I perhaps unconsciously violate and what did I learn from it?

It is not easy to answer these questions honestly when it is about you. Whenever our trust is shaken, we become aware of our own vulnerability. When we ourselves have broken someone’s trust, we have to face the feeling of shame. Building trust and wanting to maintain it can be a character trait or a consciously chosen life task.

Some of us are naturally more trusting, some are more suspicious of other people. This is best revealed in a situation when something new begins, e.g. a new job or a new leadership task: Do I assume that I will be met with goodwill, or do I listen to that inner voice that warns me of the risks at every step and urges caution? To what extent is my trust linked to a sense of achievement or failure? Do I feel that I have to fight for trust and how difficult is it for me? Or do others trust me spontaneously and what may be the reason for it? If I have basic trust in my inner resources, does it automatically mean that I also trust other people more quickly? Is it important for me to be seen by others as trustworthy and why (not)?

What do you think? Do you believe that being trusting is inherited or learned? Is it always absolute or should one adapt the dosage depending on the circumstances? Is the trust in your own strengths and in those around you the same now as it was before the last family drama, the last job change or before the pandemic?

Who we trust depends on how high our expectations are that we will not to be disappointed by others. It’s ok not to take someone along into the New Year when you do not trust that person (anymore). But you cannot leave yourself behind!

Wanting to talk about it means to recognize that an analysis of your current situation, carefully setting your objectives and developing measures could be beneficial and constructive for you. I am at your disposal to guide you through this process when you are ready.

In the meantime, may you spend blessed holidays and look with confidence to the New Year!

Best wishes, Tatjana Gaspar


The right moment

Sometimes I am amazed how positive events happen in my life that I would never have dreamed of and that were not planned. The seemingly unexpected happens all of a sudden at the right time and opens a new perspective or just brings me joy. Do you know that feeling?

An astrologer might see the reason for it in the favorable position of the planets. A clever mathematician might perhaps write a complicated formula how to calculate the right moment. And someone else would speak of serendipity or divine providence. All this would mean that we ourselves have no influence but are merely passive recipients of the unexpected happening. I find that hard to believe!

When asked what causes something to happen at the right time, different people around me have different views or attitudes, e.g.: seeing change as an opportunity; being able to learn something positive from every challenge; approaching every day with the same discipline; tireless and systematic networking; being equally active physically and mentally; maintaining a “constant connection to the universe” by communicating your wishes; etc. The list goes on.

There seems to be a common thread for all these individual or combined activities: regularity, reiteration, belief in one’s own strengths. If you know your strengths, you can’t help but use them again and again – actively! This is how the right moment (let’s call it accomplishment or fulfillment) is involuntarily brought about!

What are your strengths? Where do you use them in everyday life? What is your source of positive energy? How do you use this energy for your daily discipline?

If you cannot conclusively answer these questions for yourself and have been wondering for a long time when the right moment will finally come, then we should talk about your expectations and your self-perception. I am here to help you remove any stumbling blocks and doubts.

Wishing you thoroughly positive autumn feelings,

Tatjana Gaspar


Dealing with criticism

Don’t you find it amazing how many people refuse to accept criticism? Surely you also know the feeling when, in the face of criticism, our inner defense mechanism is immediately ready to kick in: Any objective approach is instantly out of action and a productive conversation becomes impossible. We often react to criticism as emotionally as to an insult or as violently as to an attack, thereby showing our insecurity. If you want to become more relaxed and open when dealing with criticism, you can try to track down the causes of this insecurity or use methods to outsmart it until you make it disappear.

Let’s assume that there is only constructive criticism. (Destructive criticism usually has nothing to do with the recipient of the message, it only qualifies the sender’s state of mind. Therefore, we can safely forget it.) Constructive criticism is benevolent, appreciative, motivating, goal-oriented and beneficial – basically a gift of life. In this way, our fellow human being shows us the importance we have in his or her eyes.

In a complex world in which each one of us is part of different systems or networks and strives to be successful in them, constructive criticism is an integral part of the game. It is a measuring instrument for our own optimization and a compass that helps us to hold our direction or to correct it. It is not an attack, so we don’t need to defend ourselves. It is not an absolute truth and cannot be refuted, because we cannot determine how someone else sees us and our behavior.

Being able to accept criticism and use it for self-reflection is an art in itself that can be learned. Anyone who allows constructive criticism demonstrates greatness and maturity. Those who criticize in a constructive manner, prove their leadership qualities, self-confidence and empathy.

Here is an exercise: Explain your project or concern to someone you respect and whose opinion you value. Ask them actively for constructive criticism. Be open and imagine that the other person only wishes you well. If you hear “something critical”, don’t respond with justification or rejection. Ask what made this person feel that way. At the end, thank your counterpart for being candid. This experience will surely leave both of you with a positive feeling.

At every level, the constructive criticism of others helps us grow, see our own behavior differently and perhaps optimize our project. Let’s practice criticism with finesse and as respectfully as we would like to be criticized by other people.

As we know, the consistent implementation of constructive communication, especially in families, groups and teams, is often difficult: personalities of different age and experience, from different cultural backgrounds meet in a universe of objectives, obligations, competition, existential worries and adjustments to frequently changing circumstances. It is important to pay attention to fairness, diversity and inclusion, to offer everyone room for development and to avoid discrimination. Not an easy task, rather hard to solve without external help! If there is a need, I will be happy to put together a well-balanced motivational workshop for you and your family or team around the subject of “positive communication and constructive criticism”.

In the meantime, may you receive plenty of appreciation from those around you!

Best wishes, Tatjana Gaspar


Have courage for professional independence or try something unconventional!

You probably know the feeling when there is suddenly no more inspiration in our everyday work, but only emptiness inside. We think we are trapped in a hamster wheel, running on autopilot, while life is seemingly happening elsewhere. No matter how hard we try, our focus, joy and motivation are gone, and we are unable to pick up where we left off. We just reached a turning point, when we realized that we ought to choose a different path. But which one? Perhaps an idea has existed for some time, but external circumstances prevented us from implementing it. How do we boost our motivation, set ourselves a new goal, take courage to make a change and find our way back to joy and passion?

We may think that the time is not right for a professional change. But is that really the case or are we just inventing reasons because to change nothing is more convenient and, therefore, we are willing to accept the idle state of our mind? Postponing a necessary change for too long leads, at worst, to some state of resignation or exhaustion and, at best, to the feeling of having missed an opportunity.

The good news: The right time is precisely now, regardless of how you may experience the external circumstances. The only mistake that you can make is ignoring your inner voice. And one more piece of good news: Leaving your comfort zone is the best thing you will ever have done for yourself! Only then will your inspiration have a chance to return!

Throughout your life, you were able to fill a considerable backpack with experience and skills. If your goal is to regain inspiration and make a change, there are first a few tasks you cannot avoid. Start by formulating each of your individual skills, prioritize them and each time answer two questions: “How have I used this skill so far?” and “For what purpose do I want to use it in the future?” This is the foundation on which you build.

Both the path to professional independence and starting work in a new domain are decisive chapters that have a profound impact on one’s entire life and social environment. Before you jump in, it is helpful to reflect your own perception and new ideas in a conversation with appreciative and experienced persons while staying focused on your goals. Thanks to a powerful coaching approach and supported by my own experiences, I am happy to help you reach the next level and turn towards an inspiring new professional beginning.

Best wishes, Tatjana Gaspar