Austrian employs many people who have exciting passions and interesting skills outside the airline business. Today, Austrian Marketing expert Astrid takes us on a relaxed journey.
My name is Astrid Wecht. After school, I was drawn out into the wide world as a flight attendant for Lauda Air. Then came the time when a fixed home base was important to me again. Professionally, after some further training at a digital agency, I progressed from customer consultant to key account manager and business unit manager. Privately, my wedding followed and I became a mom to two children. When I returned to work, I ended up in marketing at Austrian Airlines. I'm still happy about that today, because as we airliners like to say: once you get a whiff of jet fuel, you can't get away from it.
Typical characteristics of mine are being observant and curious to discover new things. I like to retreat into nature, but I also like to go dancing or have a good meal. And traveling is a great passion of mine. On my path through life, I have always been guided by my inner call. So it happened that a few years ago I made my passion my second profession: It is my heart's desire to pass on to people my experience and knowledge from many years of training and further education in yoga, mediation and consciousness training. For a joyful and peaceful life...".
Since when are you interested in meditation?
My first contact with meditation was in 1998, when I was looking for a way to deal with stress - I had a 50-hour week at the agency at the time. I discovered a meditation course at the Buddhist center and was fascinated by the charisma of the lecturing monk and his teaching. Unfortunately, I failed at practicing and sticking with it. I found it far too difficult to sit still and maintain focus and abandoned my project. However, I was still searching for a method to quiet my mind.
A few years later I met a great yoga teacher with whom I found just that: Background knowledge on the teachings of yoga and exercises that bring body, breath and mind together. This way an inner balance, calmness, clarity and joy can arise. This was ideal for me because the component of movement was also included. This enthusiasm was then followed by two years of intensive yoga training.
What was your motivation to do this training?
The teachings of yoga, which include meditation, fascinated me because these millennia-old insights are still relevant to our time and have such a healing effect in practice. Curious as I am, I wanted to dive deeper and deeper and then completed a two-year yoga teacher training.
Many more workshops followed to expand my knowledge and experience. I was always particularly interested in the mind. What do thoughts do with me? Where do they come from? Why do they have so much power over how I feel? How can I free myself from them? And as luck would have it, I discovered the meditation teacher training with Lharampa Tenzin Kalden, a high Tibetan scholar, where I got the last available place.
One minute of silence
How does such training work?
The training lasted two years and was in a seminar hotel in the Tyrolean mountains. A beautiful, quiet feel-good place for such a training. We were a group of about 20 people and each had a one-week module with intensive teachings by Lharampa Tenzin Kalden and joint practice. In between we practiced what we had learned at home. At the end we wrote a thesis, took an oral theory exam and each led the training group in a meditation.
It was a very intensive time, where I looked into my inner self a lot with the meditation, discovered inner patterns and deep "filed away" things came up again. This was also part of the training. So I was able to learn exactly what I was looking for: to find a healing way of dealing with stressful thoughts and emotions and to internalize them into a natural attitude.
Chill the monkey, the name of your company, how did you come up with it?
In Buddhism, one speaks of the "monkey mind". This refers to the thoughts that often rage like wild monkeys in our heads and make our lives difficult. When I decided to create a name for my heart's project, I thought through many mind maps and used various creativity tools that I know from my work in marketing. In the process, I came up with many variations that were ok for me. One day I was meditating on my meditation cushion. Meanwhile, the name "Chill the monkey" was suddenly there out of nowhere. And it was immediately clear to me, that's the name. By the way, such flash ideas come up again and again during meditation on topics that occupy me.
Who is your target audience and why are you doing this?
Especially in the last few years, we find ourselves in a fierce field of tension consisting of professional stress, private challenges and world events full of crises. Of course, this causes stressful thoughts and emotions such as restlessness, worries, doubts, fears, etc.. This makes it difficult to stay in one's power or to be relaxed and calm. That is why I accompany busy people, leaders and teams how to free themselves from the power of these thoughts and emotions and thereby bring mental strength, inner stability, serenity, clarity, joy and much more into their lives. For this purpose I have bundled my knowledge and experience of the last 20 years and developed an effective method that fits into our western world.
The method consists of easy to perform exercises for body, breath and mind, which can be easily integrated into everyday (professional) life. Anyone can learn it. It is especially important to me to help people stick with it, because I myself failed at my first attempt at meditation.
I am convinced that if we all just work a little on cultivating our inner peace, clarity and joy, we will have a more peaceful and joyful coexistence, which will have an effect on all areas of our lives. That's what I believe in and that's what drives me.
How do you combine your job at Austrian with your second job?
Sometimes it's quite a balancing act. At Austrian, I am part of an international group and part of a wonderful team with a specific area of responsibility and goals. With Chill the monkey, I am a one-man business with which I accompany my customers in mind and consciousness training with a lot of heart and full commitment. In other words, two very different worlds in which I move. The big advantage: I know from my own experience all the issues that come up with my clients. Therefore, I understand very well how they feel and can provide targeted and efficient support.
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Dear Astrid, thank you so much for sharing your personal journey with us so openly and honestly. If you would like to learn more about meditation/ or create more clarity and calm/ or if you would like to become a master of your thoughts, then take a look at Astrid's website.
Or have you been bitten by the travel bug? Then book your next Austrian Airlines flight to faraway places right now.