Category Archives: development
How to rediscover yourself and others through art
The language of art and images is powerful. Usually we talk about images in terms of a message to be communicated by the image, whether to ourselves or others. It’s less common for us to think of entering into a self-reflective dialogue through an image or a work of art. But there are paintings that literally invite us to step inside and wander around in them, be it because they exude harmony and beauty or because their spatial depth draws us into a seemingly endless field. This quality of certain artworks can lead us towards previously unrealized potentials through a process of self-reflection. If we look at a painting playfully and intuitively with the attitude of the beginner’s mind, we can begin to see beyond our conscious thoughts. A story about ourselves that we didn’t know before emerges, showing us different paths of action for the big and small decisions of professional life. The harbor and landscape paintings by Claude Lorrain used in the innovative Symbolon® method are especially beautiful examples of images that invite us to immerse ourselves in their worlds. A harmless aesthetic question leads us to play with our associations and ideas in the language of the painting, giving us new metaphors to translate into our work situations.
- Where in this painting do you want to be? Your preferred place is your own individual choice. There is no right or wrong, it’s only about the place where you feel most comfortable. What do you like there? What positive feelings are awakened there? How does your choice relate to your current work situation?
- What do you see from this position? Depending on where you stand, you have a better or worse view of other sections of the painting. What is the view from your chosen place? What visual axis are you presented with? What can you see and observe? What path of action arises from this view?
- What don’t you see from this position? No matter where we stand, there is always something blocked from our sight. Your position shows you precisely what you can’t see and where your potential for development lies. What is your blind spot? What information is unavailable to you, and what are the consequences in the language of the painting? How can you tap into the potential of this information? Who or what in the painting might need to move, and how or where would they need to go?
- How do others in the painting see you in this position? Finally, take a look at your position from the perspectives of other areas in the painting. How visible are you for others? How close or how far away are you from each other? How does your position appear from the perspectives of others? How do you communicate from where your stand?
In this way, you get a 360° artistic feedback for the position of your choice, with its strengths, weaknesses and potentials including self-perception as well as perception by others. The more open you are to the process, the greater the chance that you’ll learn something new about yourself and your situation. When you translate the language of the painting into your work situation, new ideas for drawing on previously unseen potentials will develop almost by themselves. The scope of action for achieving your goals will broaden.
Where your team stands
The power of this process of reflection also unfolds when members of a team choose their places independently of each other at first, according to the questions above. In the second step the team can reflect upon its choices as a whole. A new team constellation appears that was not visible before. A team can zoom out from its members’ individual positions to recognize how it is distributed within the painting and what key themes show up. Thus, the questions above can also be used in the context of team building in order to learn where untapped potentials for teamwork might be hidden. Whether on your own or as a team, reflecting on the painting allows you to embark on a deeply individual journey that originates in your specific situation. Creative metaphors come up almost automatically and have a way of lingering in your mind with long-term effects. In this way, art can become an integrated aspect of your work life.
Photo credits: Claude Lorrain, Seaport with the Embarkation of Saint Ursula, (1824), National Gallery, London
… with countless opportunities for personal and professional development!
Exactly 30 years ago, on July 10th, 1989, I founded my consulting and personality development company in Vaduz. With a lot of life and work experience in my baggage, I said goodbye to my parents’ company and my first job. I started a new life. From then on it was my vision to accompany people in their self- and potential development.
An exciting and fulfilling journey began. Many in the Liechtenstein area and environment reacted to my radical change of plan with incomprehension. A valuable companion was my mother, who always supported me, although she often did not understand what exactly I was doing now. At that time, I was considered exotic by many, someone who was believed to be sensible again soon. But it turned out very differently: I had great success with my consultations right from the start and flourished more and more in my job. My courage to follow my vocation has given me 3 educational and fulfilling decades with many sensational heights and some learning-intensive depths.
I have learned to give room to my feelings and wishes. My decisions were, and still are, heart decisions. Although I have experienced many times that more reason would be helpful, I am still hardheaded and continue to listen to the voice of my heart. I feel most comfortable in a harmonious and benevolent atmosphere. If I sense tensions and blockages, then I feel the need to understand the background and overcome my own insecurities. I was always aware that clarification and change must first take place within me. And I have set myself an effective strategy for this necessary self-development.
Since I was 25 years old, my motto in life is: “The way always goes along the path of fear”. I realized that my fears are usually unconscious and subjective. That if I recognize my associated patterns and beliefs, I can transform them as well. As soon as I’m scared of anything, I focus on the challenge. As a result, I immediately expand my thinking, feeling and actions in everyday life. This has turned out to be the development booster for me! The personal and professional extension of borders helps me to achieve maximum performance. So, the limited person from Liechtenstein became an almost unlimited citizen of the world. With oneself and others on the constant search for knowledge and the exploration of potentials. That I could experience all this at some point, I would have never imagined in my early 20s.
Central milestones were my exciting and informative education and training courses with the very best experts, among others at the Carl Gustav Jung Institute in Zurich. The then absolute coronation was the development of the Symbolon Method® and the successful market implementation in the executive suites of international corporations. This was followed by the university evaluation of the method, the founding of the Symbolon Academy and thus the training of Symbolon specialists. Over the years, I was able to publish two Symbolon books and finalize the development of the e-learning platform with around 60 hours of training modules. With all these innovations, the connection between my two core disciplines of psychology and art in the economic sector was and is my passion.
I came into contact with the job profile of the business coach for the first time around 2001 in Zurich, in conjunction with the International Coach Federation (ICF). An ICF coach from England started organizing regular meetings. Quickly the ICF Chapter Switzerland was founded, in which I became a member. I have always wished for an international network. The intensive connection also with ICF Austria and ICF Germany brought to me, last November, the honorary work of participating in the presidency of the ICF Germany e.V. for 3 years. In my work as a board member, I can bring my experiences and the happiness, that I am allowed to experience as a coach, into the international coaching world. As President, my job is to work with presidents from around 145 countries worldwide. The annual meeting in Texas will take place next March – I’m really looking forward to that.
Working with counseling, reflection coaching and the Symbolon Method®, my life has become diverse, challenging and exhilarating. I am indescribably grateful for the many wonderful people who have gone the path with me. Because encounters, relationships, growing together and everything I can learn with and about people are my lifeblood. It is extremely important for me to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all companions this path has brought me. You are the most important and precious thing that has shaped me into who I am today. I look forward to everything else that may arise and to an exciting future full of encounters!
Image: Symbolon AG