Who are you?
My name is Edith and I am working as a Business Development Manager at Träumeland. Träumeland is a leading European brand for “breathing” (= ventilated) baby mattresses. We always try to be ahead of the market and we are expanding rather quickly. I’m involved in developing new products, new markets and the organization as a whole, so this is a very interesting and challenging job.
I am married and mum of two lovely girls (5 and 7 years old). They are very creative and have a strong personality. I am really curious to see their future steps in life, hoping they will be strong enough to make their own decisions and to find or create something that will make them happy.
What do you like to do with your free time?
I work part-time, which leaves me some valuable time for myself when the kids are in school and kindergarten. We live in a small town surrounded by wonderful nature – and I love taking long walks. About half a year ago I discovered my passion for photography and I really enjoy taking photos (mostly nature close-ups and landscape).
When I am taking pictures, it happens very often, that I am so focused and concentrated on the situation that I really get “lost in the moment”. These are moments of experiencing “the flow” – when I forget about everything around me. That’s what I love about doing creative things – you lose the separation between ratio and emotion within yourself. It’s not “thinking vs. feeling” but you act as a creative unity.
What were your dreams for your future as a child?
I was always a good student but I didn’t like school very much. I remember drawing doodles all the whole time because I thought school was so boring. There were only a few dedicated teachers that could draw my attention.
I loved arts and I was interested in Architecture at a very early age. I loved studying languages. and I always dreamt of going to faraway places around the world. That’s why I finally decided to study “International Business”.
What is your magic place, where you go to relax and unwind?
This is definitely out in the nature – maybe on a walk on the woods. I love it, when there is a special light and mood (for example early morning haze with rays of sunlight, or when the lights are low before sunset, or even on a foggy day with some beams of sunlight shining through the fog) and I love panoramic views – then I can especially feel “the magic” of the moment.
Whenever I had times of trouble, I always found some answers or at least some time to think outside in the nature – even when I was still a teenager.
What would you most like to change about your approach to life?
I feel like I’ve already gone through quite some changes in my life. Life is a journey – and I’m still on my way… So I’ll just see what’s up next.
What has been the most challenging experience of your life?
I’m a very driven person – and I made “career” quickly. I was CEO (of a company with 100 employees) at the age of 27 in a men-dominated business. It was challenging for me but I love challenging situations because I feel they make me personally grow. However, there were also a few circumstances within the organisation that made me feel more and more uncomfortable. I always hoped for the better and for a change – that would not happen. I started feeling trapped in the situation… I didn’t want to give up my “good” job but I felt like I was not able to change the situation either.
What was the key for you to overcome a challenge/fear/self-doubt/ dark time?
When I realised that there was no use hoping for the better without taking action myself, I took some time to reflect what I really wanted to do most (and I also read lots of good books too!) – and I finally decided to go back to university. I studied design & technology and arts education and I loved it. I was back to my creative roots and had fun developing new skills. During the time of my studies we also got married, had our two girls and built a beautiful home for our family. When the girls were old enough I decided to go back to “business” – and (by accident) found the position at Träumeland I am still working in.
Now – looking back – the key for me was, to be active myself, to make a decision and not let “the circumstances” or “the situation” rule. This seems to be easy, but it’s not – I can tell you! However, once I had stepped over the edge, this was the turning point to self-empowerment. I had taken responsibility for my life again – and in the very moment I felt all the worries fall of me like a big burden.
There are always alternatives we can choose – we only have to life with the consequences! (There is a great book I can recommend – unfortunately only in German: “Die Entscheidung liegt bei dir” (Engl.: “The decision in yours”) by the German coach and author Reinhard K. Sprenger.)
Who do you admire most?
Watch the little kids in kindergarten! They are full of self-confidence and they know exactly what they want and what they are good at. I really admire that attitude. It’s a pity, that we let them loose their individuality in school and try to make everyone “uniform” – matching some system. I totally agree with the famous Austrian genetic scientist and author Markus Hengstschläger, that as long as we don’t know the future (and who would claim he knows exactly what the future brings?) we have to develop individual talent to be prepared. It’s totally wrong to make everyone similar, uniform, average – the average does not permit the top performances we need!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Do what you love! Love what you do! If you are not happy – change it! If you can’t change it – leave it! And never fear the consequences!” (Still not easy I have to admit…)
What is your favourite comfort food?
I have to eat gluten-free and at times I try to eat low-carb. I love steak and salad or also Chinese food – but sometimes I could die for an Austrian pastry dish like “Germknödel” or “Kaiserschmarrn” : )
What makes you happy?
All those special moments: when I’m cuddling with my kids, when I’m out on a walk, when I’m doing creative work, when I’m experiencing new things, when I’m having a sundowner in nice company, or many other little things or situations like that.
Photos by Edith Öller