Kerstin Plehwe Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Kerstin Plehwe
She is a lady that from an early age knew that she was driven to prove her talents to the world, and of course prove to herself what she could achieve.
From being born in Bavaria, and then moving to South Africa as a young girl, she recalls her childhood as a time of endless joy and adventure, and it was when she discovered for the first time the inspiring leadership qualities of nature.
But instead of staying in this idyllic situation she made the brave decision to jump across the world and start working for an American corporation that was to be the beginning of the American Dream that she wanted so much.
But the dream didn’t last too long, as after two years she realised her true passion was to inspire people across the world, with her focus on leadership, change and excellence.
How The Dots Joined Up For Kerstin
From creating a company, to selling that company, to becoming the first and youngest ever Female president of the German DMA, to writing seven books and even excelling in television, she learnt, developed and conquered environments across the business spectrum
So when does she feel that her real self was born?
When did she realise that the leap of faith from corporate America was about to happen, and was she scared of the thought or invigorated by the upcoming challenges?
And what would she do differently if she got the chance?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start Joining Up Dots with the one and only Kerstin Plehwe.
During the show we discussed such weighty with Kerstin Plehwe such as:
How she was once asked “Can you remember your childhood dream?” in an office in Dublin and realised that no she couldn’t but it was so important to do so!
How she was adopted as a child and always had a feeling of being different from her parents, which made her lonely until stepping under the huge blue sky of South Africa!
How she returned to South Africa and trained to be a guide in the Kruger National Park even though she was frightened that it might be the end of her!
How huskies pulling sledges are the perfect team, and should be replicated into all work environments to achieve maximum performance!
How when she dies she wants to have achieved what she needed to do in her life…..no regrets, no missed opportunities!
How To Connect With Kerstin Plehwe
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Audio Transcription Of Kerstin Plehwe Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes, hello, bear. Good morning world and how are we all welcome to Episode 146 of the Join Up Dots. I’ve got a lady today who literally can call the welder home as she has spent her life travelling to different areas, bringing her special talent to everyone she’s come in contact with. She’s a lady that from an early age knew that she was driven to prove her talents to the world, and of course prove to herself what she could achieve. From being born in Bavaria and then moving to South Africa as a young girl, she would cause her childhood as a time of endless joy and adventure. And it was when she discovered for the first time the inspiring leadership qualities of nature. But instead of staying in this idiotic situation, she made a brave decision to jump across the world and start working for an American corporation that was to be the beginning of the American dream that she wanted so much. But A Dream didn’t last too long as after two years, she realised her true passion was to inspire people across the world with a focus on leadership change and excellence, from creating a company to selling their company to becoming the first and youngest ever female president of the German DMA to writing seven books, and even excelling in television she learned developed and conquered environments across the business spectrum. So when does she feel about her real self was born? And when did you realise that the leap of faith from corporate America was about to happen? And what she scared of the fall or invigorated by the upcoming challenges? And what would she do differently if she got the chance? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start Join Up Dots, the one and only Kirsten plater, how are you?
Kerstin Plehwe [1:57]
Hello, David. I’m so happy to be here.
David Ralph [2:00]
Where Where are you at the moment when you say you’re happy to be here. Because as I was saying, in the introduction, you can literally call the world your hometown, you
Kerstin Plehwe [2:07]
Am Not all of the world, although I love travelling, I love being in different places. But right now I’m sitting in my office in Berlin, in Germany.
David Ralph [2:15]
And what’s the weather like there today? Because you’re not a million miles away from me in the United Kingdom. And it’s a bit grey and dreary here.
Kerstin Plehwe [2:22]
And this is how Actually, I have to say I imagined the United Kingdom. I know this is not true. But the weather in Berlin is sunny and mildly warm. quite quite nice. Did
David Ralph [2:33]
you have a sort of stereotype? I’m quite interested because the English people have a stereotype of the Germans. And
Kerstin Plehwe [2:40]
well, I’m sure they do. Yeah, and probably not the best stereotype is no, I hate stereotypes. Actually. I hate stereotypes about you know, I think every person has a picture of something, you know, like a picture, how the UK people are the pictures how the Germans are. But if I would use a stereotype of London, for example, I would think I would catch myself thinking that in grains most of the time and I know it’s not true. London is a beautiful city. But the stereotype it’s a rainy city
David Ralph [3:13]
is not too far from the truth. I’ll be honest. And over the last year I’ve been we’ve had more rain than anything and floods and god knows what so I think that’s not a stereotype. I think that’s pretty much close to the truth really casting.
Kerstin Plehwe [3:27]
All right. Well, then you discovered that part for me. I do think, though, that you do have sunny days in London. Come on.
David Ralph [3:34]
We do. And we’re as long as your mindsets good. It’s Always Sunny. And I say to my wife, there’s no such thing as rain is just wet sunshine.
Kerstin Plehwe [3:45]
You know, and I moved from Munich to Hamburg. You know, Bavaria is supposed to be very sunny in Germany. And all the people in southern Germany think that Hamburg is such a rainy and foggy city, nobody would believe that I’m going to Hamburg. But I did because I sold my company to accompany in Hamburg. And off I went and you know what I even check the statistics and found out that there is less rain in millimetres in Hamburg than it is in Bavaria. It just falls at different time frames, which means it rains much more often in Hamburg. Did you know what amazes
David Ralph [4:19]
me though, when I’m listening to you talk is how good your English is. Because the the English people were not very good on languages at all. Well, why is it the sort of the Germans? You know, if I hear a German football player being interviewed After the match, they’re always just talking in English? What is it really taught as a big subject in German schools?
Kerstin Plehwe [4:41]
While you to learn English in school, it’s must actually, but what I discovered most of the times that the Germans do not feel so comfortable with speaking English. And of course, everybody has the choice between the British called Oxford English and the British dialect and the US, sort of dialect or pronunciation. And I’ve worked so much in the US and feel so close to the US in many ways that I guess my pronunciation is more US English than UK or I mean, you are the judge on this. But I think it’s not even the typical German pronunciation of English.
David Ralph [5:22]
Since I would sort of local Germans, would they think that you’ve got an accent? Have you picked up an accent?
Kerstin Plehwe [5:29]
I keep hearing when I’m working with clients in the US that they say, achieve, you know, you don’t have a German accent at all. So I always feel flattered by that. But of course, you know, I’m still German and other still words missing. And I’m still learning. But you do that till you die. So
David Ralph [5:44]
absolutely, absolutely. So so let’s sort of take you back in time, because that’s what Join Up Dots is all about. So you were born in Bavaria, as we say. And then you move to South Africa as a young girl, obviously, that I can assume that was your parents taking you. But was it a time that you remember actually happening? Do you remember being in Bavaria? What sort of age was it that you moved across?
Kerstin Plehwe [6:08]
I was eight years old, seven or eight years old. And I remember moving over very vividly, because I loved it from the first second that my foot touch South African ground. And I hated everything that was behind me, which was my young ages in Germany.
David Ralph [6:28]
What was it that you loved about South Africa, when as soon as you, you put foot on there?
Kerstin Plehwe [6:35]
First of all, I love I’m a very visual person. And the first thing I remember in South Africa was the sky. Sort of it seemed to me as a young kid, a very open and sort of endless sky. You know, without borders, I felt a big feeling a big feeling of liberty, and of adventure. Of course, you know, being Africa is it as a young girl, and Germany to me, at that point was the opposite. It seemed grey, it seemed limited. And so that adventure was in front of me. And I love the thought, is kind of
David Ralph [7:15]
a change of scenery, good for adventure. Did you still feel that when you say, for the first time you went over to America, did you feel that there was adventure to be hired just because it was a change of scenery?
Kerstin Plehwe [7:27]
Yes, I did feel that but I’m not sure if it’s just this change of scenery, I think it’s sort of the scenery is on the outside of yourself, but the emotion is within you. But I do remember vividly the emotion that I had, when the first time ever I was working for us company, then I was in Seattle, sitting at a fountain in the sunshine, having a coffee. And I saw the American flag, you know, in the sky, same thing, blue sky and sort of liberty thing. And it was a deep feeling inside of me you again of adventure and liberty and deep happiness. So yes, the external scenery helps you I think, feel adventurous, but the real adventure comes with the feelings that you have towards something.
David Ralph [8:14]
So how do you tap into that, because you seem to be somebody that embraces adventure, and likes the port of liberty and freedom and all those kind of things. But so many of our listeners are kind of trapped in a mindset of what they have is what they’ve got. And they’re lucky to have that. So where do you get that spirit? Is? Is it something that you were just born with? Or was it something you’ve developed? Or where your parents very sort of similar spirited?
Kerstin Plehwe [8:41]
And my parents are not similar spirited at all, which always wondered me when I was a young kid, why is this you know that I’m so different than my parents. But actually, I am not sure. David, if you’re right, when you say that, you know, a lot of young people think that where they are, this is it, I actually feel this with older people, like myself, that sort of when you grow up after a certain age, you start to feel adventurers you start to dream, you stop to wanting new things, and trying out new paths. Because over lifetime, especially when you’re in a career, you limit yourself and you limit yourself not because you want to but it’s what comes from the outside is the improvement from your boss, it’s improvement from society, you, all of a sudden, you start to feel that you have to be and you have to behave in a certain way that society rewards you. And actually, this is the opposite of adventure, of course, because you know, if everybody would do that, then we would all be the same. And we would all sort of be alike. And this is not what adventure is adventure is folding your path into insecure things and trying out things and making mistakes.
David Ralph [9:59]
But that’s interest. Didn’t you say that because I spend a lot of time with youngsters. And they seem to, I suppose this is a fault of being a youngster, you think you’ve got all your life ahead of you. So they’re quite easy to follow into positions that are not suitable for them. Just because it’s a job, oh, I’ve got years ahead of myself, I can do this, I can do that, whatever. But then those years sort of move on, and they haven’t made that transition to the life that they want. And this is what this show is all about. It’s telling people that, you know, you haven’t got limitless time, but you have got limitless opportunities, and it’s up to you to make sure that they happen and to take control of your life. So you actually see it differently, you see that the youngsters are more forward thinking and adventurous and free spirited, then maybe that I do.
Kerstin Plehwe [10:45]
I think it’s inside of the youngsters much more than it’s inside of grown ups. The question for I think, for the young people, is how much they dare to trust this inner self, and even, or maybe how much they’re surrounding their parents and their friends, Foster, and encourage those feelings. You know, because as I said, when you grow up, you tend to be more outside oriented towards your career towards your family, etc. And I think it’s a great challenge for parents, especially, to try to support this inner spirit of adventure. And inspiration, that is just a very individual thing.
David Ralph [11:33]
Well, one of the things that we’ve touched on in many episodes, Kirsten, is the fact that everybody always says, find your passion, find the thing that lights you up inside. And so many people have trouble finding that. But we’ve kind of discovered that if you look back to your early self, and that’s why the tagline of the show is connecting your past to build your future. But actually, your passions, your true things are the things that you love doing as a kid. And when you look back to your younger self, and I was speaking to a scientist the other day, and I actually said yes, you’re absolutely right, between the ages of eight to 14 is clinically proven, that is when you are focused more on the things that light you up inside. And at any time in your life. After that you kind of forget, because you’ve suddenly got exams and qualifications to take and you start getting on a path, which may be not true to yourself. Was that true with you, if we took you back to the early days, are you closely linked really, to the things that you loved as a child, and they other things that still light you up? Now?
Kerstin Plehwe [12:39]
I could not agree more with what you said, David, it’s so true, that even if I look back today, to what empowered me, you’re enlightened me as a child, I am, I’m I feel terribly sorry that I haven’t thought load up on that for such a long time. But you know, sort of being forgiving with yourself. When you when you grow older, you all of a sudden, come to a point where you realise all what you’ve done in your life. Actually, at some point, you understand that those are dots. And they do if you connect those dots today, to form a line that has brought you exactly to the point where you are right now. So it’s good that you have done all the things you’ve done. But I mean, we’ll get to that later on in the show. I know. But I know for sure that I would do things differently when I was younger.
David Ralph [13:39]
So So when you look back on your younger self, because I must admit, I’ve I look back on myself a lot now doing this, and I don’t beat myself up about I feel about I’ve wasted so many years, because no experience is wasted. And I like to evidence that on a daily basis. I couldn’t be doing this without all the other things that I’ve done. But this now is linked closely to my little self. And when I look back on it, I think Yeah, you know, that’s, that’s really me. But it’s, it’s it’s such a shame, isn’t it that we all have the answers. We all know ourselves better than anyone. But for some reason, or about when you pose that question, what are your passions, you kind of forget. And somehow it’s it’s got lost in the midst of time growing into adulthood and accepting responsibilities and going into this path. And I think it’s a crying shame. But there’s so many people out there that just can’t remember their younger self, and be able to have that life that they were born to have.
Kerstin Plehwe [14:39]
I completely agree. And I have a personal storey storey that I would love to share with you, David, when I got reminded by a person from the outside exactly of that younger self, and I had to under tears, actually, I realised that I had no clue. And that’s like free years ago. And also I was just I had just hit 40. And I really had to realise that I did not have a clue anymore what my younger self had wanted and was passionate about. And this made me so sad, and has troubled me in that moment so intensely that I decided in that second, I will search my soul and find out what it was that I was passionate about as a kid. And actually I did find out I remembered. And I went back and did exactly that and doing this and sort of as a grown up person. Seeing that, yes, although we are grown up, we can still realise our dreams and make them come true. That was the greatest experience ever. And what did you discover?
David Ralph [15:45]
What What was the thing that really inspired you?
Kerstin Plehwe [15:49]
Well, the thing, first of all, the question I was asked, which sort of triggered this was the question by a woman from a double and who said if I could remember my childhood dream, right, what I was what I was dreaming when I was a child what I wanted to become in life. And I had no clue. You know, sitting in Dublin in the business meeting answering that question. I said, you know, Kathy, I don’t know. But as I said, I decided to discover that and when I did dig back in my memories of my childhood, interesting enough, I’ve the memories from South Africa came back. And I saw myself and then memory. After some soul searching, I saw myself standing in front of my parents and saying, you know, when I grow up, I want to become a ranger in Kruger Park, which is a big nature reserve in South Africa. In my parents giving me this look of Yeah, you know, our little girl Yeah, right. And, but in that second, I really believed and really felt so happy with the thought of you know, being in nature and tracking lions and searching for elephants. And in all of this, that made me very happy at that point. And since more than 20, actually, more than 30 years have passed since that dream. Here sitting in Berlin, in my office coming back from Dublin, I decide this is exactly what I’ll do. So I did go back to South Africa, I did become arranged in Kruger Park, I did write a book about the soap, great, great experience. And it was the best time ever had as a grown up person. So it was back good,
David Ralph [17:33]
why you still not doing it now.
Kerstin Plehwe [17:37]
You know, it’s a difference if you have a dream and want to pursue it and live it. Or if you want to completely change your life towards that passion. And you know, the passion for nature and for especially South African animals is not my only passion. My passion is inspiring people and doing leadership talks and travelling the world, etc, etc. So my passion is not to sit 365 days in a camp in South Africa guiding tourists. But yes, my dream was to be able to do this and experience this great nature as a ranger and learn all the things about lions and giraffes and rhinos. And I did do exactly that. And the most beautiful moments with those great animals happened exactly there and those experiences. This is why it’s so important to follow your dreams. Make me make you very strong. About your life, about you know, everything you do. And you all of a sudden you realise you can live your life very passionate. Which doesn’t mean that every dream you had you have to sort of live off that dream. But you should tap into it and experience it. Absolutely. Yes.
David Ralph [18:57]
I love that storey so so what what what fantastic elephant fact or giraffe fact? Did you learn out there that you really didn’t know that?
Kerstin Plehwe [19:08]
Oh my god, David. So so many. Actually, I realised how limited my knowledge was, you know, when you grow up, all of a sudden, you have a tendency of thinking, oh my god, I know so many things. When I came back to South Africa, you know, all of a sudden, I realised I didn’t hardly know anything, you know, I couldn’t name the thousand birds that are flying around in Kruger Park. I didn’t know how many stomachs a giraffe has and how long it takes an elephant to digest is what he feeds on, etc, etc. So I hardly knew anything. But I think especially for adults, this is a perfect experience to step out of your comfort zone out of the rituals and all the knowledge where you feel secure in, okay, especially if you’re a boss of a company like I am. And all of a sudden you’re a student again, you know, you don’t know anything, you have teachers, you have to rely on them. And I soaked in all the knowledge about elephants and everything. And my biggest takeaway from South Africa was something that I adapted to my job, right when I was back, and that was This is why my book was called the wisdom of the elephants. It’s not in English. Unfortunately, I just said it right away. It’s just in German, but it will come in English. someday. It’s another dream. But the biggest knowledge I took away was the wisdom of the elephants. And I got that wisdom when all right, it’s sort of the wisdom jumped at me, I have to say I was walking with a ranger through through the grass, and we watched a herd of elephants. And an important task or Ranger is to be very, very, how do you say in English very much within the present, you know, you have to realise exactly what’s going on, you have to realise how the winds is, what it smells like, where the sun stands, cetera, all those things, that as a corporate person that I was, you know, all the things I watch is my Blackberry, and my emails and my Facebook. And, you know, I was not at all into looking at the details of my surroundings. But there as a Ranger, you had to do exactly that. And when we did that, with a herd of elephants, I realised together with my Ranger who led me that day that if you look at the leading the leader of the group, herd of elephants, which is a female, you realise that every couple of minutes, she like freezes in what she does, if it’s feeding or playing or drinking water. It’s like, you know, in Germany, there is a game you can’t do 3123 and all everybody has to sort of freeze and not move at all. This is what the elephants to fruit just a couple seconds. And the Ranger asked me if I saw that. I said yes, but why is he doing said this is to focus on nothing else, but your herd and on the surrounding. So why she does that is in Germany, we call it inner heart is to rest focus on your senses, and realise, where’s my herd? Where are they? how did how far away? Are they from me? Is there danger in the surrounding? Is there a lion approaching? How does the herd feel? And how do I feel myself. And when I saw that, all of a sudden, I realised what a stupid stupid small vision corporate leader I was because I didn’t realise any of that I went into meeting rooms not knowing not having a clue how my team set because I was so busy with my Blackberry with my papers with my schedules, my everything in my head. But this is not what’s important for the elephant cows for the female leader, the her in every very regularly, every couple minutes, she focuses on her surrounding and unheard. And this is what I got, what I call the wisdom of the elephants is every now and then do nothing. Put away your BlackBerry and focus on yourself and your the group you with
David Ralph [23:18]
that is a brilliant storey. And that touches on so many of the people that I have been speaking to, but they start their morning with 15 minutes of quiet and they get up and they sit and they don’t put their blackberries on their emails, whatever. And they just reflect on what they need to do for the day. And it’s that ability isn’t it to just stop and pause live that allows you breathing space and thinking space to be able to, I suppose create a better future. But but so many of us were in a rat race and things are just happening all the time, constantly, constantly, constantly, so we can’t work at our best. So I can see why the wisdom of the elephant was so important to you. And I can also see why you suddenly assess your own personal situation by something that seemingly seems so simple, but it’s so powerful.
Kerstin Plehwe [24:05]
Yes, I completely agree. And unfortunately, I it was sometimes when I watch young people you know, on the train or out on the street and cafes, I do get worried because just like we adults, you know, with all our office crap and are running around and schedules and emails, they hang on to their phones, their smartphones, or iPads and all of that, and I don’t want to sound like a nagging you know, person to put away that iPad, not at all my fear is that they miss out on other things that are so, so important and so, so beautiful. To realise, you know, the expression on your friends face, the feeling of how you know what in what kind of surrounding him and which kind of CD because I love I mean, I love technology, I am online 24 hours a day, no, I don’t even switch off my smartphone in Germany at nighttime. So I’m Edwin to talk, but every now and then I explicitly put the phone away and put it in silent mode, I don’t even look at it. But I focus on you know real life real people real smiles, real touch feel challenges. And all of a sudden I realised the world does not happen within those couple inches, screens of the smartphones and the iPads, there is a world out there. And we have to have to go out there. And we have to encourage young people every now and then you know to step out of their virtual things and, and reach out for real people with real experiences.
David Ralph [25:39]
My mind I’ve got daughters and basically they will come out of their bedroom on their phone and I go into the bathroom, I say what you need to phone for in the bathroom, when they come out. And they’ve still got it in their hand. And I basically kind of just looking down at the square all the time. I’m I’m a bit older, I’m 44 years old. And I have said this numerous times in many other shows, but I don’t have a mobile phone or anything, I don’t have a tablet. So I sit in front of a PC. And I do this. And when I switched to PC or bass it is gone. I can’t check emails, I can’t check Facebook, I can’t check anything. I’m totally off the grid. And one of the things that I’ve realised is when I’m meeting people in the evening, they’re always on time for me, because they can’t text me and say I’m running 1015 minutes late. If I say eight o’clock their bed eight o’clock. And I found with a lot of people with phones and stuff, because I’ve got that ability to connect easily, actually is a development of tardiness. And I can always be 1015 minutes late because I can get in contact and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, I’m very aware of that ability to be able to switch off, and it’s something that I will never go into. And no matter how much pressure I get, I’m very aware, I like to turn it off. And then, you know, go and look at clouds or something, oh, man looking at some sheep. So so you’re inspiring leadership qualities of not. It’s fascinating this because I do the introduction, and I kind of do some books or stalking and I look around the web trying to find some information about you. But it is fascinating. And one of the first things that I read about you was your childhood time of endless join an adventure. And it’s when you discovered the inspiring leadership qualities of nature. Now that was as a child. And when you go back into the Kruger Park, and then you discover the wisdom of elephants. And now you’re sort of looking at that in your own life. So as a child, can you remember when you actually thought of the inspiring leadership qualities of nature? And what does that actually mean?
Kerstin Plehwe [27:36]
I think as a child, I didn’t, I wouldn’t have called it leadership quality of nature. I called it like this as an adult. But what I felt as a child was this endless power, and beauty and grace that those animals and it doesn’t matter if you look at an elephant, a leopard lion, or whatever they have, and how many qualities they have, that we as humans are unable or unwilling to follow by let’s keep I want to give you an example. As a child we have I love because as a child, and even today, as an adult, I love lions, to watch them how they feed how they get the prey, etc. So big cats are my absolute favourite besides of the elephants. And if you look at them, how they lead their life, you will realise that most of the day, you know everybody talks about the kings of the jungle like the lion. But if you really look what they do all day is most of the day they sleep. Right they are they rest in the shade of a tree. And then when they decide. And one usually the women by the way, and make the decision that it’s time to go hunt, they do most of the hunting anyways. So they give one another sign usually one gets up, sort of looks at the others and all of a sudden six or seven females get up and they know it’s time to go out and hunt. So they go out and hunt and this kind of teamwork that they show if you if you watch that closely, knowing exactly who’s leading the attack, who’s on the left side, who’s on the right side, who is sort of in the back and how they struggle. The animals there, they’re chasing, etc. So those great tactics, but also this great, great teamwork, where sort of blindly they know exactly what the other cat does. And then the clear focus when they finally attack is so great to watch. And, you know, I’m working with corporate teams all over the world. And I can tell you, it’s I hardly ever seen such good and excellent teamwork within corporate teams. And why is that? Because often humans and we have that everybody has, if they’re honest, we don’t want to talk about our weaknesses. We are not open in showing, you know, the other one what we, you know, our sort of our weak sides, but lions, they have to do that, because the attacks are so you know, so bold and so strong, so they can’t put somebody in the front line, a lioness in the front row. And that, for example, isn’t a good speeder, right? So each line has its specific task a specific position. And you can only do that if you know about the weaknesses of your partner. So in this, for example, is one point where I think we can learn a lot from animals, for example, really, you know, how to detect the good and the bad side is not even value. It’s just understanding who you’re working with and who you with, and then you reach your goal
in a much better way.
David Ralph [31:09]
So So do you believe personally and in corporate land that we should focus more on our strengths and our weaknesses? Or do you think that we should talk about our weaknesses and bring them up to a higher level
Kerstin Plehwe [31:22]
I do believe in playing upon your strength.
Because we have so many strengthen us, if we all use them already in the in the good and you know, ball way we have already a perfect life. But I also believe in that weaknesses should not be covered up that weaknesses should be accepted as How do you say this in English as a regular and completely normal side of each person. And it’s important to show them because only like as if we talk about excellence, see, you know, with the clients I work with, they talk about, they need excellence in order to perform in the in their industry, so they don’t want to produce me dog mediocre products, I want to produce excellent product. So how do you reach excellence? See, but not covering up your weaknesses, but by having excellent teams?
David Ralph [32:15]
Yeah, I can see that. So what you’re saying, you find out the weaknesses of people, you find out the strengths and like a jigsaw puzzle, you move it all together, but one complements the other. And when you get a stronger unit.
Kerstin Plehwe [32:28]
Exactly, exactly. And I think the easiest way to really see that is often an agent By the way, not just in Africa I was sliding with Huskies is that called sliding, you know when you
Unknown Speaker [32:41]
go and energy
Kerstin Plehwe [32:42]
slouching. So each Husky you know, the guide knows exactly about the weakness, and the position of each Husky and not every Husky that is a leader is supposed to be running in the first place position, somebody is much better, you know, in the sort of on the left side of the sledge or on the right side on the back. So putting your team together in the best way possible. In order to reach where you want to go is it was a great experience. And by the way, all those Huskies were so cute and such great dog. So I love them all. But you have to look behind the facades of things. And humans are much more into showing a facade of you know eloquence and beauty and smartness and blah, blah, blah. But the reality is much more important.
David Ralph [33:38]
You seem to me from talking today. It’s somebody who likes sorting out puzzles, you like to organise and structure and put things together. Is that is that why? Because, you know, I’m getting right back into the stereotype. Again, the stereotype from the sort of United Kingdom of Germans are that you’re very analytical, and you’re very fission. And the fact that this is about my hundred and 50 show, and you were the first person to ever contact me early. I’m normally here waiting. And you you contacted me, and it was like, Oh, hang on, I’m not quite ready here at the moment. Is that part of your character? Do you like that? Do you like that? That kind of organisational side?
Kerstin Plehwe [34:22]
I have to smile, because when I push the call button, and I saw it was three minutes early. I was smiling at myself, because it’s typical me you are, you’re absolutely right. I am very in time person. And I’d rather be there before the time is then then too late. Because being too late. I feel stressed by that. And it takes away strength that I would you know, I would like to start a talk like this feeling relaxed and being joyful and having some thoughts beforehand. And so this is why I’m always in time, but talking about the stereotypes of the Germans. Yes, I know about this efficiency thing and the organisational things that you said, but you know what, I hate organisation, I could not live my life, my organisational corporate life without a perfect secretary, who you know, puts all the papers in order and has it all the filing and knows exactly my appointments and all that. So my small, small own organisation, the only thing that organises me is my, my iPhone. That’s it. If it’s not in the iPhone, if it’s a contact or a meeting, I am lost. So sorry, in that aspect. I have not German, but yes, I am in time.
David Ralph [35:38]
Damn, you’ve ruined You ruined it. Sorry. I’ve got to assess 30 years of stereotypes that in one fell swoop,
Kerstin Plehwe [35:46]
we all have a chance to learn, right? We said that already?
David Ralph [35:49]
Absolutely. So what what what frightens you? Because you’ve seen Uber competent? You you’ve had so many different experiences, you seem to be a lady who is willing to push against your comfort zone and do things out of the norm? Because they’re right for you. So what actually scares you?
Unknown Speaker [36:11]
Oh, that’s a good question.
Kerstin Plehwe [36:14]
I remember when I decided to do the Ranger course, in South Africa, I was all of a sudden, rethinking various things, for example, you have to when you do arrange, of course, you have to sign that if something happens to you, and you know, you have to make a written form, if something happens to you that you won’t sue them. Because, you know, the camps are without fences. And of course, they are lions and hyenas and, you know, dangerous animals, snakes and all that they are so and having to deal with, for the first time in my life, with the thought of whoops, something could happen there, too, you know, you could get terribly sick, he could die, actually. And then attack. That did scare me a lot. And I realised that life can end very fast. And I did see you know, nature, that’s a good thing too. Because you see that, you know, you see, you watch a beautiful animal standing in the sun on the perfect to wrath of grass, and there’s nice river in the bag and sunshine officer boom, line comes up, you haven’t even seen the line and, and that’s end of life. So the intensity and the how fast it can happen. That did scare me. And it made me realise that and then that aspect, I might be the German I have to think about it. And I have to sort of prepare that what I want to be have organised if this happens. So I did write for the first time ever before I left for this Ranger course I did write a final will, which was a scary thing.
David Ralph [37:59]
And, and, but but in your heart of hearts, you kind of know that nothing bad’s gonna happen, don’t you, but it’s that it’s that mental fear, which which stops so many people doing stuff generally, doesn’t it? Where they kind of think, Oh, no, if I do this, that’s not going to work. And this isn’t going to work, I just stay where I am.
Kerstin Plehwe [38:18]
Well, in the heart of the hearts, I know that whatever you do, life can end in the next minute, when I was young, I had a very close friend of mine, we were both maybe 16. You know, it was the time of parties and going out in the evening and not really feeling very comfortable and going to school, etc, etc. And this friend died in a motor axe in a motorcycle accident on her Vesper in Munich. And I remember thinking that second this can be you know, she had her whole life still in front of her. And, you know, we were dreaming of travelling to Paris together, when we were older, etc, associate, we were very close. And when I think of her today, I realised that life has to be lived. In the day when you live, it doesn’t matter how old you are. And mistakes can happen wherever and whenever. And also, of course, really bad things like injuries, you get sick, or you die. So I’d rather die. And I thought that when I went to South Africa, I’d rather die following my dream than sitting in my office and knowing that I haven’t lived my life at its fullest potential.
David Ralph [39:33]
Absolutely. If you read the classic book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, he makes a point that certainly man I can’t remember if it was for ladies as well. But for men, more men become millionaires from the age of 40 to 65, than any other time in their life. Because when you’re younger, you think you’ve got all the time in the world. And as certainly from the men’s points of view, when you’re younger, you’re looking after ladies and chasing after ladies, and everything is that kind of sort of side of things. And once you get to 40, you suddenly go, Oh, my God, where’s my life gone? What’s happened to the last 20 years, I better get going and you sort of crack on. And you do realise that life can start at any point. But it’s totally down to you to start it happening in your in your regard.
Kerstin Plehwe [40:21]
Absolutely. And you know, it’s the same thing for women when you reach a certain age. Now remember, when I was young and looking at my own parents, and when my mom was 40, I remember 40th birthday, I thought, oh my god, this is so old. And I even told her that on her birthday. And today I know, you know, it’s not a nice day to say, towards a woman that just turned 40. But I remember thinking God, this is like so far away. And you know, today I sit here being 44 and saying, Oh my god, you know, being 20. So far away, but what have I done since then, you know, how many dreams have I pursued? And how much have I taken the opportunity to learn and grow and, and I know we’ll get to that later on. But joining those dots is such an interesting thing. You just want to make sure when you young, the dots that you that you realise that everything you do is a little dot, you know, in little step in your life. And at the end, no matter you know, if you’re 26 or 80, when you die, at the end, those dots will be combined, I always picture that there is a clear moment, before I die, you know, like couple seconds or something where I always envisioned it like this, that before every person dies, that they have a very clear view on their life in this clear view is not judgmental, or negative. It’s nothing, it’s neutral. And you see very clear what you did. And you know exactly what you always wanted to do. But you haven’t done the opportunities that you’ve missed the excuses that you have made the loved ones that you didn’t care for, and whatever. And you see it very clearly. But there’s nothing you can do anymore about the situation. So the split seconds I imagined they pass. Okay, and you’re dead to the split seconds are over. And you were in the process of dying anyways. And that’s it. So I want to make sure during my lifetime that when those seconds come up, and it could be, you know, in the next five minutes, I mean, I can even end that interview. But if those seconds come up, I don’t want to see a lot of thoughts in my life where I think she’s mean, you should have done that. And you should have made that excuse me, you should have gone to that place. And you should have followed that passion. And yes, for going to Africa, for me was definitely a thing I had to do. Because in those split seconds when I die, I would have thought Jesus, who never became a ranger became a business person, and a TV commentator. And also, which is all fun, fun and nice, you know, but in those split seconds, you see exactly what you’ve missed out on. So I mentioned death.
David Ralph [43:12]
Yeah, I’ve spent my life just doing stuff. And this is the first time that I’ve done anything that follows my passion. And since I’ve opened the door on my passion, I can see just the world and the fact that now I’m having conversations with yourself. And some of your friends and colleagues and the people out there that doing stuff that I just wasn’t aware that you could even do it before I just assume that you went off to London and you worked in an office and you come home every day. And that was it. But now I’m seeing a totally different world. I don’t want to waste any more time. And I suppose if I’m on my deathbed, I would just like to have the very first that the last two words, I think I would like to say, with a smile is unfinished. And basically there’s nothing that I wanted to do that I haven’t done. And I think it would be quite a nice way to just sort of drift away. Yes, absolutely. So let’s play the words of Steve Jobs, because this is really the theme of the show Join Up Dots. And we’ve already touched on many of your dots already. But I am fascinated whether you can actually connect from doctor to doctor.so. I’m going to play the words of him. And then afterwards, we’re just going to have a quick chat. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [44:20]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [44:55]
So do those words resonate with you, Kirsten?
Kerstin Plehwe [44:58]
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think he’s absolutely right. And I think we’ve touched upon that earlier. From when you look back, you you see a line between all of your dots, and I can see that in my own life. Absolutely.
David Ralph [45:14]
And it’s a big.is there. Many of the conversations I have somebody has a big dog, but they actually go now that was dreadful. That was a terrible time in my life. You know, I’ve had people say to me that. And I’ve mentioned this a few times, because it kind of shocked me when I was saying this, but they had been in a car just about to commit suicide, and something happened. And by realised that no, I can’t do this. And they say to me, that was the worst day of my life and the best day of my life. So it can be very black and white. Do you have any moments that you look back and go Yes, that was when my real self was born. That’s when I found myself.
Kerstin Plehwe [45:54]
I think the finding of yourself is, is a process I’d at least with me, I didn’t have a big dog were all of a sudden I realised, whoops, this is what I’m passionate about. And this is what I’m gonna do. I didn’t have that. But I have a very various big thoughts. When I look back that I can combine and have a start all of a sudden understand why I need to continue to follow my passions. My first big thought happened when I was a baby. Actually, I was born by a mother in Munich that gave me away right after birth. So I was an adopted child for my, my parents and I didn’t know for a long time. But I always had felt deep down the feeling of first of I don’t those people that are my parents are so different for me, I am different. Okay, which makes me very lonely. I was very lonely as a child and the first time when I came to South Africa. And I guess that was my second big dog. I wasn’t lonely anymore. Because in my external world of nature of animals, I felt so much love and happiness, that it soothes my inner. Whatever was heard there through the loss of my mother. And the next big dot for me was proving success. I was very when I was like 20. So driven, you know, with University and career and opening my business. And my biggest goal was to drive a Porsche. But before I hit 30, because I thought, you know, over 30 so old. So what did I do before I’m 30. And I did that, and I got the poor regard the companies. And I still went for the next thought. And the next thought was a very different value in my life, which had nothing to do with money or career, but inner joy and passion. And this is why I guess I went back to South Africa, realising cheese’s you know, the corporate world can learn so much from those beautiful animals. And coming back and deciding, you know, I’m going to leave the typical corporate world and become an author and speaker, and I’m actually this is the dot I’m in right now, where I say, this is what I want to do in the future, no more other stuff. Because time is, as you said, David time is, you know, might end for me, how do you say it’s getting closer, and how much time you still have. So I will make sure that the next thought is standing on a stage talking to thousands of people and giving them what I have to give to them.
David Ralph [48:47]
And it is a constant need for people to get what you have to give to them. Because I’m very aware that what I’m doing on a daily basis is kind of in the self development world. You know, I’m I’m talking about hope and opportunities. And people are emailing me saying that they’ve listened to this show and that show, and it has changed their lives and stuff. And part of me is really pleased about that. And the other half of me thinks there’s so many people out there that are getting up on stage and presenting or writing books. And it’s kind of just going on bookshelves always going through somebody is and it doesn’t really find that key but starts the life like you would want and I would want and everybody that writes these books and stuff, one’s self development in so many ways just seems to whizzed past the person that you’re aiming at. Do you find that?
Kerstin Plehwe [49:38]
No. David, I think that even if you just touch one life, just one, if just one person writes you and said, I listened to your podcast podcast, and it changed my life. I think the self improvement or how you call it is, it’s worth it. And yes, there are thousands of books on the bookshelves, and thousands of whatever courses and classes. But I think every person has their own storey and their hone their own magic formula of because just because they are who they are. And they have if they give that it will resonate with some people, not all of them. But every book on those shelves, will find a couple of people whose life is really a better life. And they go for their passions, and they fulfil their roles in a society that needs change. I mean, let’s be honest, this we don’t want our world to continue like it is right now. Nature dying. So millions and millions of people in poverty girls that are not allowed to go to school to learn, you know, there’s so many injustice in our world, we want young people to grow up that change that that get over more Pharaoh better, that create that better place? And how will they do that if they don’t follow their own talents, they can’t. So I think, go for it, you know, get all the self improvement that you can get rely on yourself and go for it. Because we will we need a different world. But you and I, David, we are in the mid 40s we can only do a couple more years, 20 years, whatever. And then you know, that’s it. So the next generation will take over and I better make sure we better make sure that they take over in the mood of Hey, we know who we are, we know all the things we can do we have the power to change this.
David Ralph [51:36]
I’m going to be doing this for 50 years. I’m not doing it for another 20 years.
Kerstin Plehwe [51:41]
Well, good for you. I’m so happy that you did for me. I don’t know how long I’m going to do it. But I know that the messages are needed by people and and on the other hand, as I said, I think we as the overall global society, we need all person we can get to make this world a better place because there’s so much to do.
David Ralph [52:05]
Absolutely. The last question I’m going to pose to you just before I send you back in time to have a one on one on the Sermon on the mic is do you from the bottom of your heart believe that everyone out there can have a real kick ass life?
Kerstin Plehwe [52:18]
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Everybody can. But the question is not if they can, I think the question is, do they think they can? And a lot of people out there think I can’t do that. So the question is not if they can, the question is, how they can and that they trust and they believe in their self. And looking back and combining my knots. I can tell you, every of you listeners, I never thought I did that I could do the things that I did build companies sell companies buy that stupid Porsche before me, I didn’t become a ranger in Africa. It was just a dream. But I went from all this and I did it. And it wasn’t so complicated. If you get to do it, you know, if you make yourself do it, if once you’re on the way
Unknown Speaker [53:11]
you get it.
David Ralph [53:13]
You’re inspiring, you are right, I’m going to send you back in time now. And this is the part of the show that we call the sermon on a mic. And this is when the music plays and you get transported back to your younger self. And if you could have a one on one with the younger Kirsten, what age would you choose? And what would you tell her so we’re going to find out because when the music fades, you’re up, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [53:38]
Here we go with the best.
Kerstin Plehwe [53:56]
When I go back in time, the Sermon on the mic,
I would like to choose a time in my life, there was a happy time. But thinking back, I think the most sort of the time that made me the most and and his carved who I am most was a very unhappy time in my life, there was a time when I was a baby. And although I can’t remember it, which is probably good, because I know, I wasn’t happy. And because of the separation of my mother. But what I would tell myself then is you know, it doesn’t matter how much loss you feel, and if you can explain it or not, because you still feel lonely and sad. And just very alone, I would tell myself, you are loved. You know, there are people there, I had the luck of you know, parents that adopted me, they love me in a different way than I would think their parents would love to they love me and there are people out who respected me and you gave me so much help. So I would tell myself, relax. There is so much love for you and so much acceptance, you can be just who you are. So go your way and have trust. Don’t get overwhelmed by the pain that you feel and by the loneliness. Just relax because you know you are good. And there are people and things around you that will support you and carry you all the way on. And you’ll come to a time in your life. When there’s much more sun and when you don’t feel lonely anymore. And you all of a sudden realise Jesus, I can do things you know, I can create things. Whatever it is you want to create, I can create jobs, I can buy beautiful things, I can travel the world and all of a sudden you realise she is as you know, life is good. Life is created. And I will tell myself, even if you feel sad now and lonely and bad, and you think you can do it, relax and just keep going. The Love is there around you. And once you find it within you, you’ll be off all set for a great life. And this is what I would wish you and what I would have told myself as a baby.
David Ralph [56:18]
Kirsten, how can our audience connect with you?
Kerstin Plehwe [56:21]
Write me an email. I’m on the web of course being a web addict. It’s male at Kirsten flavour dot t and I know Ralph David you will publish all the info just send me an email I’ll be happy to connect with everyone and share and inspire and if I can give any help or inspiration please let me know I’d love to connect.
David Ralph [56:45]
Kirsten, thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots of your life Please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining those dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Kirsten flavour Thank you so much.
Kerstin Plehwe [57:00]
Thank you, David and all the best to you your show and your audience. I’d love to be here.
Unknown Speaker [57:06]
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become so he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up Dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.