The Way Forward Is To Leave Your Comfort Zone
By Viktorija Getneryte
Elif Mucan is a successful entrepreneur that together with her business partner, Jochen Stettner, have founded “Stärken-Fokus” which is German for “strength focus”. They coach individuals and teams to become more successful by building on their natural strengths. Elif is multilingual and speaks six languages which helps her to connect with her clients from all over the world. Her passion is to empower people and to help them understand what makes them unique, what their natural strengths are, and how they can invest in them.
What are the challenges and experiences in your life that have influenced who and what you are today?
What shaped my path the most were those experiences when I noticed that I was not being appreciated for the ‘way I am’ and why, to some people, I didn’t ‘fit in’. Every time it took a lot of courage to change my course and to leave my comfort zone. But I never hesitated. Once I had the impression that “something is not right, or this doesn’t feel good anymore” I was determined to change something. Sometimes this made me leave a very well-paid job, other times it meant leaving a country or even breaking off longstanding friendships. Thus, paying attention to my feelings and being confident is essential to me in everything I do. Furthermore, people founding their own Companies always inspired me. The first one was my own grandfather. Even as a child I always played games where I had my own Company. Later on, my desire to be self-employed grew and became reality by the age of 28. To me the greatest asset of being self-employed is the freedom you have.
You speak six languages and four of them fluently. How does it benefit you and why do you think it is important to be multilingual?
The greatest benefit to me is that I can get in touch with other people by speaking their language – even if not fluently. This doesn’t only help me to communicate with them but to understand what and how they think. Every language has certain ways to verbalise things with a richness of words and proverbs. Language reveals a lot about people’s mindset and values. I appreciate having a broader understanding of what moves people. Being multilingual simply helps to connect faster and better with people.
Who was an inspiration for you to open your own business?
The first person to inspire me was my grandfather. He started his first business within his first years upon arrival in Germany as a Turkish migrant worker. At that time, you had to take some kind of course to become approved as a tradesman in Germany. My grandfather couldn’t even speak proper German, but he managed to pass the exam as best in class among his German peers. His courage, his dedication and his tenacity always inspired and encouraged me. “Where there is a will there is way” is one of my mottos. I always knew I would have my own business one day. When the opportunity opened up I seized it – and started moving ☺
What is your business?
My business partner Jochen Stettner and I founded “Stärken-Fokus” which is German for “Strength Focus”. We coach individuals and teams to become more successful by building on their natural strengths. In our coaching sessions with individuals we analyse that person’s strengths, how it leads them to success, and how they can invest in them. Individuals increase their self-knowledge and become aware of what it is that keeps them “in flow” and energised. In team workshops we make team members explore their team mates’ strengths, the thinking that underlies their behaviour and how they contribute to the team’s success. When team members understand why their colleagues act like they do they automatically become more appreciative. This enhances mutual understanding, respect and harmony in teams which is essential for success.
How do you empower people?
I show them what they do best and how this contributes to their achievements. I analyse their individual patterns for success and how they can use these patterns to reach their targets. I help them understand that they don’t need to be someone else to be successful other than their true self. Once they realise that they don’t need to bend over backwards or pretend to be someone else, they feel relieved and start to draw strengths from within. And this is when empowerment works best.
You opened your business quite young – 28 years old. What would be your advice for women who also want to be self-employed?
There will be lots of people who try to discourage you. Be aware whose advice you buy. I always tried to stick to people who showed me how to do it and stayed away from people who showed me reasons not to do it. Also challenge your ‘why’. Reflect deeply enough on why you want to be self-employed, why you want to offer that specific product or service and what your desired outcome is. If your will is strong enough there is nothing that can stop you.
You mentioned that you are a food lover. What is your favourite food and why?
There is too much! Each cuisine has so many delicious dishes to offer. However, I especially love Turkish cuisine for its huge diversity, Italian cuisine for its hearty dishes and Thai cuisine for its light and fresh meals.
How do you see your business in a global perspective?
Right now, our focus is to grow our business locally. Therefore, we don’t have plans to act on a global level, but this might change in future.
What are your plans for the future and how are you planning to achieve them?
We definitely want to grow our company. To achieve this my partner and I check our milestones and activities on a weekly basis. We regularly align our action plans with our vision and our strategy and check if we are on track. We draw conclusions and lessons learned from all events and always think of ways to improve ourselves. Focus and commitment is key for the successful growth of our Company and for us as individuals.