Why are you doing what you are doing? Is it your parents, friends, or other relatives that have a specific picture of you in their mind that you try to aim for yourself or do you do everything because you love what you are doing?

I have to tell you that this is the first time that I am writing for Thrive Global. As I am organizing a startup conference at my university with ten other friends of mine who are all students, I was looking for interesting personalities who would come to our conference to speak about their experiences on stage. Our focus is to have the biggest variety of personalities on stage so that our participants get as many different perspectives on the startup scene as possible. Therefore, I contacted Arianna Huffington who is a very inspiring woman to me and asked her to be part of our conference. After a little chat over mails, Arianna asked me to write on her platform which I kept in mind for a year. Today, I finally thought that this would be the best time and day to start off with a first post about something that my best friend and I have been thinking about lately.

I would like to share a personal story about my last months and the reason why my post is about the importance of taking care of yourself and reflecting on the intention of your actions.

In February, I moved over to Perth, Australia, in order to do my exchange semester required by my university in Germany. The reason behind the decision to go to Perth was not my focus to study at a university in Australia, it was more the dream of studying at a university close to a surf break which finally came true. Spending the first months in the world’s sunniest capital city by trying to go out and surf every day made me the happiest exchange student. But then, after spending some time there meeting a lot of international students and locals, I realized that something was missing at this place and that my energy level was going down from day to day. Consequently, I realized that I have not been taking care of myself properly by doing the things that I really loved because all these new impressions, people, and experiences were overwhelming me. Basically, I have lost my own focus and prioritization. Realizing that, I knew that I had to go to a place with people that I cared about so that I would be in an environment where I felt good.

There I am, sitting in a café in Shanghai with my best friend next to me who is on her exchange semester in Shanghai. All in all, all the experiences that I have made in Perth and the decision to escape to Shanghai for a good reason made me realize how important it is to take care of oneself and listen to the current mind and body stage and do things that are important for oneself and not for others. My friend and I have been talking a lot about this topic lately because we have experienced the challenge for ourselves but we have also seen many people that constantly struggle with this.

Taking some time out in the morning for myself by using the app ‘Headspace’ which you probably have heard of, gave me a lot of input to think about the topic. Today, I listened to a 15 minute running meditation with Coach Bennett, the Global Head Coach of Nike+ Run Club, which I can definitely recommend because it makes you realize that focus and prioritization, no matter if it is for the daily tasks, sport, or studying follows the same structures. It is all about the relationship that you aim to have with yourself. For me, it is a relationship between the body and mind which takes effort in order to achieve a healthy balance and is hard to maintain with the daily impressions, relationships, work, and information. One of the key points that I took out was the importance of realizing that the current moment and the current action and intention counts the most. Many times, when we do things, we think about the past or future. We think about ourselves as someone we have been or we want to be which automatically takes us away from the current moment. Instead, we could put our focus on the actions of the moment by accepting and appreciating the ‘me of now’. Think about it. It sounds very easy and it is probably nothing new to you but if you go through your day, I would love to know how many times you are really doing the things that you do for yourself and do you accept the YOU that is in the now and not the you from the past or future?

I’m not a guru and I do not want to influence anyone by saying what I am saying. I just experience how listening to other opinions and experiences inspired me to reflect on specific things. That’s why I thought it would be a good way of expressing my own thoughts on this platform with anyone who is open to read it.