Today’s guest is a very special human, she is strong, she is fierce, she is an inspiration. Monique Lindner is a High Performance & Leadership specialist, TEDx speaker, and location-independent entrepreneur. Her clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies like Apple. She works with business leaders and CEOs and their teams of up to 160 people in helping them to optimize their efficiency, build solid leadership skills, improve their mindset, and create massive impact.
Monique has helped her clients cut up to 50% of working hours, double and triple their revenue and build powerful teams through the art of leadership, which also resulted in significantly reducing stress, anxiety, and overwhelm while standing in their true superpower and building unbreakable resilience.
With her unique The T.I.M.E. MethodⓇ and her tagline ‘Slow Down to Speed Up’, she is on a mission to help high achievers and busy business owners take back control of their time and energy and grow sustainable businesses while increasing their social impact.
Monique has built her business with a complete location-independent infrastructure, traveled to 44 countries as well as lived and worked in 8 of them in management positions. Monique has also survived & healed two chronic diseases, sexual violence, mental & emotional abuse, and bullying. She has spent years transforming trauma, adversity, and hardship into personal growth, and transforming her pain into power.
Today Monique is standing fully in her own superpower and is committed to combining all of her outstanding knowledge, long-practiced skills & experiences to unlock the ultimate potential of her clients!
I could talk & talk, but better let’s hear out what Monique has to tell.
Three weirdest things (02:49)
- I think the weirdest thing that people just can’t get over is when I set my alarm for waking up in the morning, none of the digits can repeat itself and the last digit needs to be an odd one. So usually it’s like 513 because then it’s like 05:13. And I don’t snooze, actually I wake up before the alarm. But it’s just a reminder. It’s just one of my favorite songs ever that comes on. So I wake up in a good zone.
- I’m obsessed with Seattle, so I’m not sure if that’s a weird thing. It’s not weird to me seems to be weird to everyone else. I’m not sure why. But that’s the thing and it’s already for 21 years. It has been way before the internet time […]
- I got over it a little bit, but I used to have extreme OCD. And in Germany where I grew up, we have these pathways where you walk and they have like these quarter plates. And I wouldn’t be able to walk and step on one of those lines that basically is the end of the quarter. So I have to walk in the quarter. And so sometimes it made me walk in really tiny steps or really big steps or jump over. And people would go like – what is wrong with you? I do have really funny things that I still do and I don’t know or recognize because of the OCD. But I do walk over lines now.
How it all began… (06:40)
When I was 19 years old, I died of a cardiac arrest and I was clinically dead for 25 seconds. And when I woke up, I had these really nagging thoughts of not having lived the life that mattered, like not having lived the life that anyone would say “Oh, she really had an impact on me”. So my first thought was – I’m just going to be a number in a soccer park or in a hospital and that’s it. […] I’m also totally failing living my life in a way that I would be proud of, in a way that I actually would enjoy it and was just failing on all levels. Previously to this cardiac arrest, I thought I was doing great because I was working my bum off. I was working for six years already. I started when I was 13. And besides my school, I would go and work around the clock. Literally, I didn’t have one day off. It literally killed me including my chronic illnesses that kind of kicked it off. And so you know it by this time, I was already in The industry of project management, team management, pros as management, crisis management, all of these things that I still do and that I’ve really mastered. […] Ironically, I didn’t seem to learn the lesson by this time that was given to me. So I took it the wrong way, to be very honest. I was like super ambitious students, I just have to take more care of these illnesses. […] I need to double down on work. Now, if you work already 18 hours, how did you double down on that? Well, I did 36 hour shifts, and I’m not kidding. Long story short – I had a really great career until I got to the point where I was bullied for a long time from my boss, a female boss. I’ve had like – wait a second, something’s going really wrong here, I was supposed to be promoted, I was supposed to be actually her colleague and not her subordinate […] And I was heavily bullied, like gaslighting and manipulating to the edge until I just fell off. And so what happened was, I ran into a severe clinical burnout syndrome. […] I was 24 years old and the outcome was that I basically damaged my spine and I had four discs that herniated and prolapse and one cut off my spinal cord so I wasn’t able to walk anymore. My right leg was useless and painful. I had to learn the lesson by then so I had to understand – I have to slow down, I have to take a break, I have to give up control, I have to take care of myself. Like all of these lessons. They were literally punched in my face and in my back. And yeah, the outcome is basically the book that I’ve just written, but also all of these experiences and the framework that I’ve filled ever since and a lifelong spine injury.
The shift (12:20)
I’m working in this industry for 18 years? Team management, leadership, and project management – I kind of was born into it because with all these chronic illnesses, I always had to be really efficient and productive. […] So I once again push through it and just pretended everything is okay. But once I was hired into the last job that I ever was doing in Germany, which was a great one, to be honest, but it just showed me it’s not where I belong. So I was there for another three years but every year, instead of asking for more money, I asked for more vacation time and it just wasn’t enough. […] I would travel every year as far as I could get, like all the money that I would have and save up I would just put it into travel. So I travel sort of all the time – China, Morocco, India – all of these places that are just so different from Germany. And the last trip went to Cambodia and Vietnam and eventually Angkor Wat. So 2013 I went there. And I met this guy from Portugal. […]
[…] I get out of the airplane, and I’m getting into a panic attack because I feel like I cannot go home, like I can’t go back to the safe. That’s killing me. […] So that was the beginning of the end in Germany. I came home, called my best friend, told him I’m going to leave Germany […] and six months later I left. So I sold everything. I packed everything up. That wasn’t the start of my business. That was just the start of me traveling full time.
We literally stood face to face, and he looked at me and he’s like – do you like your life? And I almost broke down crying. In that moment I already realized – oh shit I’m alive! It kind of rolled off a little bit like me thinking about what happens when I go back.
Then money ran out. I kind of had to find something what I want to do. […] I had a friend acquaintance In Vietnam and he offered me already for four years I should be coming working for him. So I went, it was horrible. It was the worst job ever. […] The day I landed actually there I got my credit card skipped. […] and then like a Hollywood movie I got robbed on the way home. So all of the money gone, all of my credit cards gone, the keys to my new apartment – literally everything gone – I was standing there like a dumb founded Princess. That night I was so angry, so mad, but also so devastated about how I always seem to lose control. That I was like – it’s done, it’s done, it’s done…. And then I started my business. So I would work from 7pm to 2am at my business, and from 7am to 5pm I went to work. I did that for two months until I had a little bit of money to quit this horrible Chop. And then I moved to Thailand, that was 2017 April and here I am.
What does it mean to be happy (22:10)
By this time I didn’t even know what it means to be happy. And I think we also throw this around so much. I think a lot of people stress out a lot about happiness. Because what does it even mean to be happy? Like, where do we get it from? Like, it’s something I could buy? Is it something that I can create? Is it something that I can find somewhere? To be very honest, for me, it was the realization that nothing can make me happy. Nothing. Nada. It’s going to be me who wants to be happy, it’s like a state of mind. I’m going to be really honest. There was so much that I had to work on, through and with myself to get to a place where I can say I’m content. I think content is a little bit different than happiness. And my life up until three years ago was this business – it was like a roller coaster, every time I had like super high highs, super low lows. But the low lows – they would literally rip me apart. And if you have a checklist of all the traumas that can happen to you, I take up 95% of the boxes and that’s really nothing that I can recommend. Like any type of violence happened to me already, the only thing I didn’t have – a gunpoint. But I had a huge knife that I woke up to on my throat in London. […] And I don’t know how often things got stolen from me and I was literally rocked and I was chased down. I was attacked, I was beaten up, the whole list sexual violence I have, too many times. So the first thing I had to do is to actually acknowledge that all of these things hurt me. Because in the beginning, I would say – yeah, it’s okay, I can get over that. But no, if you don’t acknowledge that things have hurt you, you can’t heal them. And if you don’t acknowledge that there are things that are not okay in your life, you can’t make them any better. And I was doing that for 30 years. Because that’s what I was being told. I had these three traumatic cases and then wanna be friends told me – oh, now you can get over it – because they couldn’t handle my experience.
Strength of acknowledging duality of life (26:20)
I’m born with a lot of physical issues and the amount of pain I had to take physically is on a level that many people would not be able to endure. […] I think this is one of the reasons why I overworked myself so much because working is a coping mechanism. For so many people being busy is such a coping mechanism. So one of the things that I had first to acknowledge was that many of the things that I have physically now is a manifestation of all of the trauma, all of the things, all of the suppressed emotions that I swallowed, and I still have them. […]
People need to understand the duality of life – you can be as happy and positive you want and it’s never going to be the truth, if you don’t acknowledge the darkness.
There is no day without the night. There is no shadow without the light. There is no up without the flat. There is no sun without the moon. There’s so much duality without that you never are going to be happy.
It took me quite a long time, but when I understood the lesson, finally, because it punched me in the face so many times, when I finally understood what it meant to me – time is life and if you don’t live every single day, as if it was one full life… you want to live it as a full life. But what is a full life to you? It’s not going to be doing the things that afterwards to say – I wish I wouldn’t have done it – or complain about something. This is not living a full life. You can’t live fully without risking being hurt. You can’t love fully without risking losing something or someone, you can’t. You can’t heal without the risk to be hurt again. It’s all of these dualities and so I had to acknowledge that. And the reason why I did it is because I was really exhausted and tired from all the physical pain. I don’t ever be able to explain that to you and people won’t ever be able to understand. But the amount of physical pain I had to take daily for 28 years – there was just a day where I said it’s enough. I have two options – I’m going to kill myself or I’m going to do something about it. And killing myself was never really a choice like I felt that’s just the easy way out and I am not really about taking an easy way out. So I had to go the freaking all way in and that’s really what I took.
Dealing with pain in everyday life (32:15)
One of the things I do is I designed my business in the way that suits me. And my clients know that. There’s always a way out for everyone. For example, I don’t take calls after my nighttime. That means that for my clients in the US (because I’m in Thailand) there’s usually like a 12 to 14 hour difference, so they either choose their morning time, or they choose the evening time. And if that doesn’t suit them – well, you know, they’re a lot of people to work with. There was never a client that complained about it. I do have only two days per week as well that I take calls because it does take for me, not really the calls itself to work with the clients, but sitting in front of the screen for hours. […] I also don’t make a secret out of it. To be honest, I don’t like secrets. I’m very transparent. They know about my migraines. They know about the nerve pain. I have been late in delivery, for like for any kind of things, not long, but it could be a day, but I let them know I say – look, I’m out of it today, my brain is on the other end of the universe, I have to deliver it tomorrow – and they’ll be fine with it because they know. […] I’m explaining everything like this in the beginning before we sign the contract so that everyone who’s not okay with that can always move out. If someone is not okay me being late for a day because I want to deliver quality work instead of work that I’m doing while I’m vomiting and not being able to open my eyes because of my nerve pain, then they’re not the right client anyways. I’m not out for the money. I’m out for really changing lives.
So what do I do daily? I actually sit on the floor. It’s way much healthier for my spine. And I usually sit in like a lotus seat or the legs stretched out. And I move a lot – I step up a lot, I move around, I stretch, I walk, I dance – every half an hour at least. I drink tons of water and tea.[…] And other than that – I do go cupping every week. It’s a traditional Chinese medicine. I love Chinese and their medicine. […] It (cupping) helps to get all of the toxins and inflammation out of your body, out of the muscles and keeps the blood flow going. And it helps me a lot to relax especially because my neck and my shoulders are a huge issue when I am stressed. […] Some people feel it in the stomach, some people feel in the heart or in the chest, I feel in my neck and my shoulders. I do try to eat very healthy. I eat mostly plant based and I use a lot of herbal bombs. I’m not really anymore into western medicine that much because it has destroyed a lot of my stomach and my skin, my hair is still falling out, and my nails have been horrible. Since I stopped taking medication, it’s all recovering bits by bits.
Motivation vs discipline (43:40)
First of all, I don’t believe in motivation whatsoever. Motivation is totally bs to me. I know that what you really need is discipline. And I believe I got my discipline already trimmed into me when I was three years old, and I started dancing ballet on a semi professional, professional level immediately and I did that for 11 years. And I think it lasted for a lifetime. Because I wake up in the morning and I don’t have to think about if I want to get up or not, and I don’t have to speak why purpose. I do have them all. But it’s not that I think about them. I get up. My alarm actually plays the summer part of the Vivaldi’s Four seasons. Because it reminds me of the ballet and it just immediately triggers me. But I don’t have to think, do I want to go back to bed. Also, probably because I don’t enjoy sleeping. So maybe that helps. […]
What do I do to feel motivated? Honestly, a lot of people will hate to hear that – stop doing whatever the heck you do – get still, take a day off. Or if you get immunity, a panic attack, when I say take a day off, maybe take an hour off your work. […] Just go to the pool or play tennis, or golf, or go to pilates, yoga, go to the coffee shop, a library, take a book… Just take a break because here’s the thing about you wanting to be motivated – most of the people who are not feeling this motivation it’s because they don’t have a clear direction. They don’t know where they’re going. They’re overwhelmed, stressed, they’re running around, they try to follow every shiny object. […]
You got to understand that whatever you do, everything in life is a marathon. There’s no such a thing as a sprint that can help you to get somewhere
unless you’re an Olympic sprinter, then you want to run fast. […] I tried that. Twice. The first one killed me. The second one damaged my spine. I cannot recommend it either. So I would really suggest, just take time off and do something completely different, procrastinate for your benefit. That’s what I recommend. And then you will see, if you get the direction that you need to follow, then you will follow it.
Inspiring persons (50:00)
My dad is definitely a superhero. I learned everything about work ethics from him. Obviously, it’s not the most healthy one. So I’m trying to teach him now my methods. […] Other than that, I really love Robert Greene as a new author. If you ever read a book from Robert Greene, for example, The 48 Laws of Power or The laws of human nature you can see by the way it’s written, the way it’s structured, the choice of words – how much thought and work, and research, and everything enough, and mastery just goes into these books. And for example, for The laws of human nature, he took five years to research and write this book and he had a stroke in between. He had a stroke that literally made him not be able to speak. He had to relearn speaking and moving around and everything in the middle of writing this book. This guy for me is really a freaking hero on it’s own way. And he masters writing books and knowing a lot about human behavior and all of these things that I really love to study as well. So he’s definitely my the more famous go to hero.
How the book started and for who it is (52:20)
Our good mutual friend Gregory. We were on a call in April, and we chatted about all the things and we were talking about our skills and how long we’re already in there and all of these type of things. And when I mentioned, how long I’ve been doing this and how long I have all of these skills, he was kind of shocked because I’m still so young. He was like – how can you know all of these things and have done all of these things, you should be writing a book. […] And then funny enough a week later, my book coach, she set up writing course that she usually hosts like once or twice a year. I thought like – didn’t Gregory just said last week, I should write a book – and she’s now promoting writing a book in 30 days. So I just joined the course and out of nothing, I suddenly started writing this book, thinking it’s going to be 30 days. […] I started writing and then after the first month I knew this is not going to be a 30 day thing. So I signed up for another month. For The book writing thing, and it took another one. And then after three months, the course finished and the book was almost done writing and then we edited. And now it’s gonna be out. So there I wrote this book.
The book really is about time and all ways. It’s mostly for high achievers that are chasing time. […] What I mean with chasing time is that if you are consistently in the rush and if you’re constantly thinking – oh I don’t have time for this, I don’t have time for that, I wish I would be able to do this, I wish I would have done that – then you’re chasing time and then this book is definitely for you. And I lay out my framework that I use with my high end clients and really break it down. I break down every little piece there that I’m doing with them so that everyone can access it for basically a small amount and you can implement it.[…] I really wanted to make this knowledge accessible because it’s not only time management. A lot of people think – Oh, I just have to manage my time better. And that’s also not true. It’s all about how you are showing up in the world and how you lead yourself from the inside out.
It’s all about your mindset work, and it’s all about energy – how you use your energy, how you keep it up, whom you have to keep out, to keep your energy up.
I’m really radical with cutting things out of my life and even cutting people out. […] And it’s not about being lazy and building relationships. It’s more – is it worth my time and my energy to put effort in there? Or is it something toxic that, for example, gives me nerve pain. If I see this person and every time I leave, I have a migraine, then something is really wrong. […] And yes that means sometimes it is a really uncomfortable way of having to make decisions and to walk through life, and not having many friends, and not having a big support community. But I rather have this one person who really has my back than there’s 100, who’s saying they do and then you come with a request and they’re all – oh, nothing.
Tips on relationship with the time (1:01:10)
I think the first thing you want to do is look at your everyday life and see what is training your energy the most. And you will know, you will exactly know, when you have to do something and the moment you realize you have to do it, you have this pit in your stomach, or you immediately feel like someone pulled the plug and you’re getting really fatigued or exhausted. You didn’t even do it, but you were just thinking of it. Can be a person to meet, like this one person who’s always talking all the time about themselves and when it’s your turn, they’re making everything about themselves. Like these types of things. So look at them and make a list. Just make a list of everything, and then prioritize what’s the first three things that are the ones that training you the most and that you could cut out the easiest. Start with the most training, but the easiest to remove and go through this list. If you can remove one thing start with that, if you can remove three things, remove them immediately. If you are just for example, drinking alcohol every evening (I’m not saying alcohol is a bad thing, it’s up to you), but if you feel it’s training you, if you feel like it’s not helping you or it’s not fun anymore, you don’t enjoy it anymore and every morning you wake up and you’re just drained and it could be connected to the alcohol, just leave it out. […] Other example, I have to regularly detox from sugar. I did cut out sugar and I had it cut out for I think three years. And then I went back to it and it’s not good for me and I know it and I have to detox it again.[…]
Myths of industry (1:04:30)
“If you work more you get more results.” That’s absolutely bs, it’s the other way around.
It’s all about focus, follow one course until success. It’s like this one thing you have to focus on, and if you think you have to do more things than still you have to focus on the one thing that you’re doing right now.
Trying multitasking is another thing and no – woman can also not multitask. No, we just cannot. Our brain cannot multitask. It’s absolutely hilarious. If you think that – but I can do this and this – no, because your brain is switching back and forth. It’s trying to focus on one thing, because that’s what our brain does, it focuses. So it’s zooms in on one thing and because you want to do so many things, it goes back and forth between zooming in and it basically doesn’t do anything. So you’re bullshitting your brain and yourself.
Fire lightning round (01:06:00)
Few more notes about book and future plans (1:10:00)
The book is actually already ready to pre-order. So you can pre-order your paperback or your ebook on thetimemethod.com. You can read all about the book. You can find everything about me there or on my personal website. And what’s next for me? Well, I’m going to keep taking care of my clients and hopefully not write a book just again. I’m on my podcast as well – Efficiency on demand. For now I’m just gonna hang out in the pool with some elephants.
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