Although Grandma Traudl is young at heart, she cannot completely deny the desire to hand over responsibility to the younger generation. Perhaps to her daughter Hedwig, whose repertoire of smart sayings is only surpassed by the number of different passions and identities that add colour to her life: from teaching primary school to yoga, from trade unionist to entrepreneur, from eco-mum to sommelier. A contradiction? Not at all. You can see that for yourself in the first moment of getting to know her. But does she want to add another identity as a hotel manager? And then there’s Nadja, Hedwig’s eldest daughter. She has thoroughly enjoyed her carefree years as a student on the sunny coast of Portugal (very willingly) and on the freezing cold Canadian border (a little less willingly) and has recently settled in Dublin. Would she want to pack up her life and start over again?
Now if there weren’t a section that read, “Then there was Claudia ... “, this story would be finished. But: then there was Claudia. And Claudia feels, unlike most of her peers, and actually unlike most of us, a strong calling within herself. She has never been torn between illusionary career prospects from dentist to astronaut. Claudia has always known what she wants. She would rather work with people who are on holiday than put up with their stressed-out counterparts in everyday life. She can search for hours for the perfect porcelain plate, and without batting an eye, lists at least three different types of anchovies. She is the only living creature I know of who really enjoys a discussion about the advantages of using regular sheets versus fitted sheets. In short: she has a vested interest in taking over the hotel and developing it further. And with the charm and persuasiveness that only the youngest member in a family possesses, it doesn’t take her long to get Hedwig and Nadja on board too. Both with the premise that the joint endeavour is dedicated to a purpose that serves the common good because money or success alone would not have brought anyone across the English Channel or off the yoga mat. And so the three strong characters tried to choose a business purpose for which they were all so passionate about they wanted to dedicate their lives to it.
The heart of this search for meaning was a short assessment, which could be reduced in its essence to the following three questions:
If I had grandchildren, I would share the following information with them: ___________________.
I regret that I do not give __________________ enough attention in my everyday life.
_____________________________________ worries me most in my everyday life.
I encourage you to ask yourselves these questions, and I promise they will bring you remarkably closer to your true self.
In the next entry, I’ll explain how we have defined our corporate purpose from these very answers.