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As it turns out, I am not only multi-national, multi-lingual, but also multi-passionate (passional – if I could take poetic license). Passionate about communication, raising aware children, practicing yoga, peace-building, cultural awareness, gender equality, the environment, open-ness, sharing…the list goes on. This may be a “if, then” conclusion, I don’t know. If you grow up speaking many languages, traveling many countries, then you will also have many passions. Yes, no? Or “if you are a women, then you will have many passions.” As I find this phenomenon more readily a feminine trait than a masculine. I happened across this Marie Forleo video which I felt was directed AT me. I couldn’t believe that the one thing she said she would do differently – was exactly the one thing that has been tormenting me the past couple of months, perhaps years:

I don’t have an elevator speech.

Just as I was envious of people who had ONE hometown, I am envious of people who have ONE occupation. And can therefore have ONE easy elevator speech. The conventional way. You grow up somewhere, you go study something, and then you become a professional in that one thing. But how many people today can still fit in that box? And furthermore, how many people IN THE FUTURE will fit in that box? Our children’s generation is going to be full of the “multi” people – and they may even be in the majority. I have two nationalities – our children have three. In the family I was raised, we were all born in the same country, one country. And in the family I am raising, we were born in four countries. If I thought the speech was difficult for me, imagine the struggle for our children.

Below is curated advice based upon what I have read and have been thinking:

Depending on the time and place, the speech will change. So as opposed to those who have ONE “in the can,” we “multi’s” need to think on our feet and develop MULTI-speeches. And our past and present experiences should help us to be able to do that pretty easily. So, if I am asked, “what do you do?” and it’s a more casual, social setting, I will answer

There are a lot of things I do, and this is what I’ve been working on lately…

and I will genuinely pick whatever is hot on my plate.

And if it’s a professional setting, I will try to assess what of my many passions could be relevant for the person asking and answer the same way, but pick whatever is hot on his/her plate.

So, I guess I am following Marie’s recommendation and ending the self-torture of the one speech. I still believe I need one and fully appreciate the reasons why. But it’s gonna come out of the “hat” rather than the “can.” And there is a lot of space in that hat of mine.

Have you heard of Toastmasters? Was it something you thought sounded cool and you would try sometimes, but not THIS time, because other things take priority, you don’t feel “ready,” you can’t find anything to talk about or you think that what you have to say won’t interest anyone else..

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I met Tobias while setting up the Erlangen Coworking space. One of his (many) pet projects is hosting/moderating the PechaKucha events in Erlangen. PechaKucha is a dynamic presentation format that was created by two expats living in Japan in 2003. The idea is to present your topic in 20 slides (preferably images and little to no text) and speak exactly 20 seconds to each slide. 20×20. As I witnessed in my first PechaKucha event last night, even the most complex topics can be presented and well received using this format.

And I quote Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, then you haven’t understood it well enough.”

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I was put “on the spot” when asked to present when another speaker cancelled. At first, I panicked. And then I internalized. Here I summarize some of the learnings on how to get through a public talk like this without losing your mojo:

  •  Find one guiding idea/symbol that holds all the content together and you can always refer back to. For example, when talking about myself, I like to use the “bridge” symbolic and it helps me to talk about my background as well as professional achievements.
  • Tell a story. Make it a narrative.
  • Be lighthearted. In this I mean: don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Find a topic you can be passionate about.
  • Have a goal in mind. If all else fails, what do you want to have gotten out of the experience? My friend advised me to present a topic that is difficult for me to present, so that I get practice doing it. So I then I didn’t really mind if I bombed, because it was “practice.”
  • Be yourself. Find your own style and be authentic. People will appreciate you just being you.

I vacillate from one hour to the next on my feelings on the changes that digital technology, specifically the internet, has brought us. I curse, I embrace, I use, and I reject. Here are my thoughts of the day:


1. Maintaining relationships despite leading a life oceans apart from very necessary and cherished people.

2. Learning. From Youtube videos to today’s discovery, I am amazed at the wealth of useful educational resources.

3. Accessibility. Recipes to shopping. It’s all right at the fingertips.

4. Working virtually. I work on projects with colleagues all over the globe.

5. Freedom. Everyone can have a voice. And it has changed governments to companies.


1. Mainting relationships mainly or only via devices. I have to make an effort to actually see people or hear their voices.

2. De-value of interactivity and personal connection. I still prefer face-to-face communication above all other forms.

3. Speed. Things getting “solved” so quickly. Where is the quality if it’s a race to the finish line? I feel pressured to catch up all the time.

4. Refining being “alone.” Is it now time that is spent without any other human presence? Or any presence at all? I can become so absorbed in social web activity that I don’t realize I have been alone.

5. The noise. The distractions from so many “voices” that are now heard, and the work it takes to get to authenticity.

“We are grossly underestimating the impact of the social web.” Gary Vaynerchuk

I wrote the following to myself following a recent workshop. I sent it to so that they could send it back to me on the specific date I requested. Here to share with the world:

I_heavily_serifed work on projects that deepen my knowledge well and connect me with a variety of people in an open, international, and creative setting. I feel that the work I do has a positive impact on others and there is opportunity to affect their growth. This contribution is appreciated and gives me meaning.

I continue my practice of bettering myself daily and hence can better the world around me. I am mindful of the dualities that naturally pull me to one or other side. I have learned how to move and stay in the present through practice (yoga, meditation, connecting with others). I maintain healthy relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. I share my ideas with others and am in touch with friends near and far.

My children are thriving and learning, becoming independent thinkers who are in touch with the world around them. My husband and I partner constructively, supporting and believing in each other. We laugh, travel, and explore new things together. We instill our values in our children. We learn from the generations before us and our own failures/lessons.

I am often in nature taking note of all the small and large wonders of life. I feel physically strong in mind and body. My environment is tolerant and diverse and inspires me to new realizations. There is an appreciation for innovation, creativity, and knowledge.

Today, I met with my freelance network and we were discussing the way in which creative design and other artistic crafts are being “traded” in today’s marketplace. Open borders via the internet have made made creative services incredibly accessible and very low-cost (see Fivver where you can purchase any gig for $5). Is there still a market for original design? Who is will to pay for it?

Designers are also having to recreate themselves. Someone like Ayse Birsel a product designer turned systems- thought- life-designer is an excellent example of someone who has gone beyond her traditional vocation. She is adapting to the new age where thinking is designed just as well as her JCPenny kitchen collection. The same processes/journey can be applied. I had the privilege of attending her workshop “Design the Life You Love” in NYC in November, 2014. It was simple and authentic breakdown of a complex subject: life.

Even though there are logos are being bought/sold for five bucks, we still believe adamantly that there is a market for original work. Work that involves research, analysis and collaboration. There will be people who will appreciate this just as there will always be people who appreciate music that is recorded with real instruments vs computers or photos that were taken on a manual camera vs photoshopped or clothes made by hand vs mass-produced in cheap factories. The success of platforms such as etsy and dewanda are proof of this. There is something to be said about owning something truly original. A craft remains a craft. The perceived value is perceived.