Month: November 2015

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(Istanbul, Turkey)

I am on the final leg of a trip that will take me around the world in 204 hours. 45 000 km in 8,5 days. That is an average traveling speed of 220 km/h …

It included:
9 flights
in
8 days
visiting
9 countries
and
9 airports
on
4 continents.

Sounds stressful and hectic when you look at it like that.

And yet I got to:
– Speak to a global group of accountants (from Nexia) and attend a two day conference to learn about the latest trends in accounting.
– Attend a salsa-inspired party in a natural park and listen to a speech from a man who climbed Mt Everest with a prostatic leg.
– Do a workshop on having a global mindset for global managers of one of the largest banks in the world. (Credit Suisse)
– Do a speech for a big group of bankers at ING HQ in Holland.
– Have a 30 minute interview with a senior manager at ING about the future of banking.
– Write 20 000 words of new texts (for a future project), have a phone conference with Germany, and chat with my suppliers in the Philippines, Ukraine and Pakistan.
– And get booked for new speeches in Indonesia and Germany and get requests to speak in Thailand, Switzerland and Singapore.

But it was not all work. I also got to:
Have Sushi in Tokyo, hamburger in Houston, rum in Rio de Janeiro, tapas in Lisbon, Schnitzel in Zurich, cheese in Amsterdam, (and now) tea in Istanbul  – (and soon a quick transfer in Kuala Lumpur).
Read a book, go to the movies (Bladerunner), visit friends and coach a speaker.
Run on the beach of Copacabana, stroll along the lake in Zurich, and walk next to the canals of Amsterdam for hours.
Learn about Brazilian culture from a personal guide in Rio, and visit the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam

During on of my speeches – when I was speaking about having a global mindset – a man questioned if it was not important to “have roots”.
He seemed to think that it was not possible to have a global mindset and strong connection to your culture (your roots) at the same time.
I explained that those are not opposites.
An healthy tree has strong roots and wide branches (where the branches for me symbolises ones ability to “branch out” and get energy, wisdom and ideas from as wide a world as possible.)

He seemed happy with my reply.

But now after finishing my “sprint around the world” i have come to realise something else.
That by experiencing so many different places, cultures and situations from all around the world in such a short period of time I feel that I have created a deeper connection to the whole world.

This trip changed me.

As I sit here in Istanbul it hits me:

I am rooted in the world!

Not just one corner of it. Not some part of it. No, my roots are global.

That is not possible, you say.

But I say that it is.

It is like a banyan tree where the branches are spreading out downwards into the ground and creating new roots!

My Swedish roots are still there (of course). As are the Philippine roots that my wife added to me when we got married, and the Singaporeans roots that I grew as I moved there 8 years ago, and my Chinese and American roots from having lived there for a couple of years. And the small, but energetic roots that has grown out from my visits to over 70 countries on 6 continents. And so on.

And now all these roots are creating a jungle of intertwined impressions where it feels totally natural for me to say that I am rooted in the world.

Where it doesn’t feel like I left one place to travel the world.
Where it instead feels like I just visited a bunch of different location of one place where I belong.

I am not expecting everyone to understand what I mean.
Heck, I am not even expecting everyone to believe me when I describe it.
(And I know many are going to read it and find something negative with it.)
But I do not care.

Because I think it is beautiful, powerful and magical.
Just like a Banyan tree.

 

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(Picture source. Creative Commons.)

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(Amsterdam, Holland)

Yesterday speech in Zurich. Tomorrow speech in Amsterdam. But today an off day.

So what does a speaker do on a off-day in a foreign land?

I walked through the inspiring downtown of Amsterdam.

Got inspired (and humbled) by visiting the house of Anne Frank.

Sat in an inspiring hotel-bar and wrote a few blogposts for a new blog I am starting.

Went to see the inspiring movie Blade Runner with some friends.

Ate some inspiring, great food.

In other words: Got inspired.

You know the saying “How do you become interesting? Answer: By being interested.”

Well, I guess it is also true that: “How do you become inspiring? By being inspired?”

I truly believe that one of the most important jobs of a speaker is to inspire. And to keep that fire alive that makes it possible to inspire you need to also need to get inspired yourself.

So I had a good, inspiring day today.

But the most inspiring thing I did today was to coach a woman (Angel) to become a speaker.

That was not the plan. The plan was just to meet up and have a “fika” (A Swedish style coffee break and catch up.

Angel is one of the guests who has stayed on my Ideas Island (www.ideasisland.com)

But in an intense two-hour session I did an condensed speaking coaching session that started with her not even knowing that she wanted to be a speaker (she is a natural and will be a great speaker) to hammering out not only her speaking theme, but her go to market strategy, her positioning, her speaking approach and how she should build up her speech (and book.)

It was great and I think we came up with an awesome approach for her.

I just love how the speaking profession is built around the idea of sharing, coaching and helping each other be better. Today I helped in every such a small way to bring another speaker into our profession. (At least I hope I did 😉

Such fun – and inspiring – thing to do on an off day on the road.

Who have you inspired today? And perhaps even more importantly: How did you get inspired today?

 

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(Zurich, Switzerland)

Credit Suisse is one of the worlds biggest, and most global banks. Today they had a learning session for senior managers at their HQ in Zurich.

I was the speaker.

Every time I get invited to give a talk for senior, global managers at a big, global, multinational company I always remind myself why I got invited there.

Because it is crucial that I remind myself of that.

I have never had a senior position in a company bigger than 700 employees.

I have never worked in a big, global, multinational company.

I have never managed a bigger group than 60 people.

Yet here I am speaking for global, senior managers of a company with more than 40 000 employees and revenues of more than 25 billion CHF.

So why did I get invited?

One reason is of course that I have an expertise that the bank is looking for right now.

But it is also because I have chosen to take this expertise and add a global context to it.

I have done research in over 40 countries, been invited to speak in over 60 and go to between 20 and 35 countries every year. I do that because I want to understand my subject from a global perspective.

Would it be possible to get this speaking gig (and similar like it) had I not had this global exposure in over 60 countries and in 100’s of industries?

Yes.

Was it easier for me to get it because I do have it.

Oh, yes.

I do not care what your expertise is (ethics, diversity, networking, leadership or whatever).

If you are a speaker and if you are interested in speaking for top managers at global firms you should really consider adding a global perspective to your expertise. 

Many of these companies will not let you become a top manager unless you have worked in different positions, and in different places around the world – so that you have a more global – more human – outlook at the world.

And for the very same reason they will be much more likely to invite you as a speaker if you do too.

And that is why I travel so much.

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