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Resilience in a stressful environment and mental health as the basis for success – An interview with Tanja Zimmermann
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Resilience in a stressful environment and mental health as the basis for success – An interview with Tanja Zimmermann

Kinga Bartczak

In the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tanja Zimmermann, herself a Leadership & Selfcare Coach and co-founder of kaea Academy KG. If you’d like to listen to the interview rather than read it, you can easily do so via the popular podcast platforms.

Dear Tanja, I’m thrilled to welcome you to today’s FemalExperts podcast.

1. would you like to give us an insight into your life journey so far?

I myself went through a classical training path and was able to travel the world after completing my master’s degree. This was one of my most important sources of energy for a long time, especially as I embarked on my further career path as a manager. What followed was my self-employment as a Leadership & Selfcare Coach as well as the foundation of the kaea Academy, with which we advocate for more freedom and closeness in the (professional) world in the area of leadership and resilience.

Do you have a personal approach to success that you follow?

My answer to this question is quite clear:

Listening more and more to your gut voice, no matter how crazy it sounds.

Are there people or role models who still inspire you today?

These are mainly Angelina Jolie because of her charitable and altruistic approach and an executive from the last company. This was able to combine exciting and essential values, such as honesty, fairness, openness and appreciation.

What do you personally understand by the term “resilience”?

For me, resilience is the very personal moment when I feel overwhelmed or stressed and suddenly an inner voice tells me: “It will be okay.” And as a result, my system calms down and I see many things more clearly. 

To what extent does resilience play a crucial role in our modern working and corporate world?

In fact, resilience plays a very big role in our working world today, as it has changed a lot. Change has always been an important topic, but it is coming around the corner at an increasingly rapid and complex pace. This can be very overwhelming. This is where resilience comes in, that is, the way you deal with challenges. For example, when faced with a crisis, do you handle it in a solution-oriented way or does the problem “crush” you? A brief example: When climbing a mountain, sooner or later you encounter an obstacle. The question now is: Do you look for a detour to get to your destination or do you turn back demotivated? At the end of the day, your level of resilience affects your (mental) health and lets you live more liberated and happier. That’s why I can only recommend strengthening resilience in advance and on an ongoing basis – even before a crisis.

What can I do to strengthen my mental health and thus my resilience in a targeted way?

I’d like to share four tips for everyday work that you can implement quickly and in a variety of ways:

1. relativize!

I have two favorite questions when I’m in a situation where I’m really challenged:

  • How important is it really?
  • Will it still be on my mind a year from now?

There may be topics where both are answered YES. Here it is important to look closely. Most hurdles and problems in the world of work are perceived as one-day events, but they often trigger very strong feelings or doubts in us. 

2. strengthen your solution orientation

Can I influence the situation directly? If the answer is “no”, serenity follows and if the answer is “yes”, we move towards solution orientation. Challenges and difficult times are normal and part of life. Often, however, everything comes together at once (both professionally and privately) and you can no longer see the forest for the trees. Ask yourself your personal joker question here: What solution(s) can there be for this issue? After all, there is a solution (or several) for EVERY situation. By asking this question, you become more aware of it.

3. boost your self-perception

Often we are not aware of how much we can actually do and have already done. A change of perspective helps here: Have I had a similar situation before? Which of my strengths helped me here? How can I use this for the current situation?

4. provide energy boosters in your level – in the intensity you need it

Celebrate your successes, preferably with an energy booster as a reward. What is really good for you? What gives you energy? How much of it can be in an optimal time allocation? Everyone is very individual here – even with the intensity and prioritization of the boosters. However, try to plan for enough boosters – even in stressful times.

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In fact, psychological complaints are now leading the way when it comes to sick leave. How can companies counteract this in a targeted manner in order to promote the health of their employees?

The highly praised fruit baskets or financial incentives only help to a limited extent. However, corporate culture and values are decisive and should be brought further into focus. Managers can directly influence these issues. This is also one of the reasons why we at kaea Academy started the program: Right into Leadership. In this way, we strengthen leadership awareness and sensitize people to take their employees seriously. Often it is the communication that should be open and ongoing. This also means clearly addressing when something is not right. In addition, it is important to remain agile – every employee is different and needs something different – the manager must clarify this and can thus enable self-efficacy through trust. 

Do you have an “insider tip” with regard to the topic of “mental health”, which can be practically applied by every person?

Yes with pleasure. Always ask yourself: Do I really want this? Be specific and think about what environment you really need. This way you can regularly reflect on your decisions as well as individual situations.

Do you have a recommendation on a book that made a big impression on you personally?

IKIGAI – Finding one’s own destiny is definitely worth mentioning.

If you could give your younger “self” one piece of advice, what would it be?

Relax and enjoy the ride. And take time for what is important to you.

Thank you for these great insights dear Tanja.

If you want to learn more about Tanja and what she does, just follow her on social channels or check out her Online Academy regularly.

  • Link to homepage: 
  • Link to Instagram: 
  • Link to Facebook: 
  • News: From September our new resilience course goes online -> many practical exercises and examples for the stressful everyday working life explained in an approachable and exciting way.

About the author

Website | + Articles

Kinga Bartczak advises, coaches and writes on female empowerment, new work culture, organizational development, systemic coaching and personal branding. She is also the managing director of UnternehmerRebellen GmbH and publisher of the FemalExperts magazine .

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