America - it’s been a hell of a ride with us. You’re loud, extreme, innovative, fearless, colorful, always friendly with a BIG smile. You are a magnet for big dreams and ambitions. For rags and riches. Hard work, busyness and business. Aim high or fall low. Fall very low and hard. No safety net whatsoever. The best version of yourself. Nothing less. In the hope that one can make it, millions try, despite all odds and where they are at the starting point. And you prove over and over again how it’s possible, no matter how disadvantaged to come into power. All it takes is hard work, good ideas, courage and a bit of luck. And, some just have to work harder than others. This is still the layout of your dance floor, which every dancer, me included, quietly accepts.
With my German roots, I adore your colorfulness. The sloppy, fast sound of your English. Your positivity. Your opportunities. Your entrepreneurship & risk appetite. And your strive for happiness. That's how you attracted millions of people from around the world including me to live their ambition.
Yet, America, with your strong sense for community, how did you manage to create so much division between your citizens? How did you on the one hand create the most beautiful holiday - Thanksgiving - which celebrates universal, human connections only through a joint meal? And on the other hand, let Black Friday become the global symbol for limitless consumerism as if there was no tomorrow? How do you turn well-proven facts into matter of belief? How hold these believes of some as blackmail of the safety of so many? In my two long-term stays in 1996/1997 with Youth For Understanding and 2017-2019 with BASF, I was not able to figure it out.
Yet, being with you has helped me find what’s truly important to me in life and work. Combining the best of both worlds. My values. For myself and my family. Thanks for making me brave. Exposing me to new ideas, innovation and great, amazing people especially women. Powerful women - yes, you normalized women in power in so many ways.
Still, you have become a country where the most basic human needs - education, health, housing, personal safety - are a matter of the size of your wallet and at risk. You made me conscious of the value of my European Union passport also for my family - being able to grant my children access to free, high-quality public University education and healthcare. Ultimately, this is my safety net of which I am now even more grateful.
Because of your technologies and radical innovations, I can - at least for now - choose my location and time of work almost fully independent. I am now on the road traveling in Southern Europe, enjoying bustling cities and sunny islands before landing in Germany in December.
Whether we like it or not, the here and now is digital. Creating meaningful connections through virtual coaching is one of my new endeavours. In the last weeks, this led me to coaching and being coached in various locations such as Coworking Central in Lisbon. I get to work with upbeat HR startups like Coachhub and Betterup. Of course, being with my kids full-time requires a new type of labor division when it comes to parenting and I work way less than during my corporate warrior times. Yet, the time I get without kids - mainly at night and early in the morning - I choose to spend more meaningful on my projects and wellbeing practice (spoiler alert for my next blog on Wellbeing, Friendship, Confidence). It's Life Design at it's best, as I was being taught during my time with your great entrepreneurs and innovators.
Just try new things.
Don’t be afraid.
Step out of your comfort zones
and soar, all right?"
How does your environment shape and form you? Does it elevate your values? Where do you feel home? What do you need to feel home? How does travel bring you new perspectives?
Reach out any time and stay tuned on more news on my journey becoming a female entrepreneur, leading my life and family through this exciting, crazy transition. Subscribe here if you like.
photocredits: Morning meets Manhattan @timhurleyphotos www.timhurley.photography