What motivates you?
Empathy, responsibility, optimism - at the moment, these are the values that give me the most orientation and also motivate me. I want us to train and value empathy as a skill, that we all take responsibility for ourselves and our society, and that we approach the challenges of our time with optimism.
Mother, author, speaker, Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Microsoft, volunteer: What helps you balance it all? Do you have any hacks that help you do that?
I think on the outside, other people's lives always look a lot more impressive than maybe they really are 😉
What helped me the most was definitely accepting chaos and saying goodbye to perfectionism. For a long time I thought I had to get everything 100% right, because that's what society often suggests to us. But we all only have 100% at our disposal.
Volunteering actually helps me a lot, especially in extremely stressful phases. It helps me to ground myself and to remember what is really important. In addition, it has been proven that helping others makes us happy, so I am very grateful to be able to do this.
In an interview you say "Me-time has nothing to do with selfishness, it really has to do with responsibility." And I SO agree with you that you also have to take care of yourself in order to be there for others. How do you make sure you have your me-time? And do you have any advice for women who might not find it so easy?
Yes, I think we often find it very difficult. But we all know the safety advice on airplanes: first take the oxygen mask yourself before helping others.
With no other person do we have a longer and more intense relationship than with ourselves and therefore we should treat ourselves as exactly what we are: The most important person in our lives.
I still often have a hard time doing that, too, so sometimes I use the trick of asking myself "What would I advise my best friend to do right now?"
And me-time doesn't always have to be the hour-long bubble bath with candles, small islands in everyday life are much more important: a cozy cup of coffee or tea to start the day while reflecting on how I'm doing, conscious and long breathing when things get very stressful at work or regularly taking time and space for our feelings.
Recently you published your book - MitGefühl - Which message of the book is particularly close to your heart?
Emotions and work are two concepts that still have nothing to do with each other for most people.
Yet awareness of our own and others' emotions can make us more successful and happier. For this, we need emotional intelligence. And unlike IQ, we can train our EQ and thus develop resilience.
The description of your book says that self-compassion makes us more successful than self-discipline. How do you practice self-compassion and was it always like that or did you have to learn it?
Oh, I had to learn it for a very long time - and still I forget it every now and then.
We are introduced to the concept of self-discipline at a very early age, and it is often glorified when people are particularly hard and strict with themselves. There's even the phrase "overcoming your inner bastard" - how absurd that we're fighting against something inside ourselves, right?
Science, on the other hand, shows very clearly that we get much further with self-compassion than with self-discipline. Studies have shown, for example, that students perform better in the long term and, above all, are more resilient when they use self-compassion, and that we also achieve goals such as healthy eating or quitting smoking more easily when we set goals not with "I must..." but with "I will...".
Self-compassion can make us more confident and, above all, happier than self-discipline. Thus, we can meet the inner critical voice that often accompanies us loudly and roughly in our thoughts as an inner mentor. We have the chance to develop real self-awareness and thus to be more empathetic with ourselves, but above all also with our fellow human beings or colleagues.
What advice would you like to give to the women in our community?
Treat yourself as exactly what you are: the most important person in your life!