Torchbearer: Annamária Porkolab-Minarik — Hungarian. Budapest, Hungary.
There’s a moment you know that you’re speaking to someone that has done A LOT of work to better herself; to the point that it even makes you want to become more aligned with your own purpose. That’s what talking to Annamária feels like. She’s the hard-fought fusion of work and passion. Thankfully, she’s dedicated her career to helping people as a clinical psychologist and she’s on her way to being a psychotherapist, but the desire to self improve was always in her.
Self-Reflection Can Change Your Life
“Thinking about my career and my personal life, I’ve always chosen the harder steps because I wanted to challenge myself. I was always a mindful person, that’s why I wanted to be a psychologist. I try to see all my obstacles as challenges and use my difficulties to move forward. I see it as opportunities. How can I develop myself? How can I improve myself? I never thought I would go anywhere if I sat down, cried and felt sorry for myself. Maybe it’s in my genes, but I was always like this.
We have the inner strength to change our lives.
If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Step out of your comfort zone. Get the courage to act or behave in a way that will reach your goals. If you’re self-reflective, you’ll find the resources inside of yourself.
Follow your dreams and believe in yourself because everything is in you, always.”
The Job that Pays and the Job You Love
“I actually have two professional lives, because I needed to build another one. I always wanted to be either a doctor or a psychologist. But in Hungary, if you would like to be a clinical psychologist, it’s a long and expensive commitment. You have to pay for your training and self-reflective courses. I have a really great family. I had an amazing childhood and they were very emotionally supportive, but they couldn’t support me financially. I needed to figure out how to build my (psychology) career without any financial support. I also had to pay for my life — food, house. I made a mindful choice — to be in a job that could finance my passion, clinical psychology. That’s why I chose organizational psychology as my specialization. With this knowledge I was able to start to work in the human resource field and build a career.
After a while it started to become not just about the money. It was interesting to see how I could use my knowledge in the corporate field. I built my human resource career step by step and actually built a pretty great one. I was head of recruitment and human resources for many multi-national banks and companies in Hungary. I continued my studies related to psychology AND I was able to build this other career. So now I can step outside one or the other, or I can work in both fields.”
Struggle Breeds Creativity
“In the early years of my career, I thought I was very good at my job but suddenly my job was eliminated. The company was reorganizing and they said, ‘Sorry, tomorrow you don’t have to come to work.’ I was shocked! I was completely alone. No one could support me. I didn’t have any savings. I was also still studying in university. My family was supportive, but they couldn’t give me money. So now what could I do? I could’ve quickly found a job that would pay for my life, which meant I would have to stop going to school. I didn’t want to. I won’t do that. Then I figured it out! I had my dream — I wanted to be a clinical psychologist. I decided that I needed to find a job in one month. Until then, I would tutor people that wanted to go to school for psychology and prepare them for the examination. I immediately started to create a course, and one week later I had students.
If you’re in a (difficult) situation and you need to reach a goal, you have a lot of creative energy and you solve it.
So I did it! I made a decision that I would only accept a job that speaks to my career. I don’t know if I was lucky or determined but within two months I had a great job. It was even a bit of a higher position than my former job.
I didn’t give up. Maybe for 5 minutes, I let myself feel sorry. After that, I immediately thought, ‘Okay, how do I come out positively in this situation?’”
Mindfully Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
“When you have some kind of challenge, crisis or negative situation, then you mindfully choose how to think about the situation. I would like to teach people to try to change the lens by which they see the world. Sometimes we think that we have only one absolute reality — like a crisis is a bad or sad reality. The natural way is to feel sad emotions, which will then determine our actions and thinking. That’s the mindful part, when you choose NOT to only see through these glasses but to try to see another way. I use the word why for everything. WHY is this happening? WHAT do I need to learn from it? HOW can I turn this into a positive thing?
I’ve always been self-reflective. When I was a child I would always have these kinds of thoughts — Why is this happening? What am I doing here? The most anyone can do for himself or herself, is to try to look deeper inside of themselves because we all have the resources to live a better life.”
Choosing a Family Life Over a Career
“I was in a very good position in Hungary. I just finished my clinical studies and had my degree. I was invited to speak on psychological topics at television and radio shows. I created my own human resource company. My career was lighting up! Then I got married and my husband received this opportunity to move to the United States. So we moved — I chose my family over my career.
I was ready to have a family. I said, ‘Okay, we can have a baby, then I’ll come back to Hungary and finish what I started.’ I thought it was going to be for only three years — it turned out to be seven years. I focused on my family life and that was really nice. It was a completely different experience. In Hungary, I’m a leader but in the United States, I wasn’t. I was in a different role and it was really great to experience this.
I learned that it’s very important for me to use my intellectual skills. I started to write articles/studies related to my profession, just to use my skills. When I was a young girl I thought I was born to be a mother. When I became a mother, I realized I’m not just a mother but I really need to use my intellectual skills in a professional career. It showed me that I could be a stay at home mother for a couple of years but not for the rest of my life!”
The Human Side of Digital Transformation
“Now that I’m back in Hungary, my two careers (human resources and psychology) are connecting somehow. The idea is that I would launch a new company that will support people and organizations to adjust to digital transformations.
Digital transformation has changed our lives completely. There are so many stimuli coming at us every day. Now we have to focus on how to deal with it. Our brain can’t follow this increasing speed. Everyone sees that this is our future, but we don’t know how to deal with it. As a psychologist, I know how people suffer from constantly receiving a lot of information. I want to research this area. I would like to find out which skills are really important to help people cope better with the changes.
My husband is coming in the picture because he studied innovation and strategy; we combined our areas of expertise. We’re at the beginning so we’ll see how far we go. The main focus will be the human side of digital transformation.”
Learn More about Annamária’s Work: www.sapiens.hu
Face What You Don’t Want to Face
“If you would like to improve, or if you would like to learn from mistakes or experiences — it’s not easy to be self-reflective and mindful, because you need to face the things you don’t want to face. You need to be very honest with yourself. But I really believe that’s the only way. If somebody is not self-reflective especially in a relationship, that means you’re alone. We can’t do anything with them. One won’t be able to change if the other one doesn’t want to.
It’s good if you keep moving, but if you don’t learn from your mistakes you will do it again and again.
The past is the past, it’s true — however you need to understand the motives and the drives. You are not just watching your life; you’re acting in it.
You have the resources to change but you’ll only be able to change if you face it — You are the cause of what’s happening to you. It’s hard sometimes because it’s easier to say it’s because of the weather, my mother, my colleagues, it’s because of the stupid driver or something like that. We are always a part of our lives so we are acting, behaving, thinking in a way that affects our lives. If you’re self-reflective you will learn your patterns, motives, drives and then you’ll be able to change your life.”
— Annamária Porkolab-Minarik
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