My Journey to Moscow or How I tried to Be (Un)authentically Perfect…

I`ve been recently invited to deliver a Talent and Flow workshop for a group of women managers in Moscow…Wow…What a great opportunity! Not only for me personally, since supporting women (and not only them) in the corporate environment has been my work and passion in the last three years, but also for ATAIRU company, as after we established ourselves on the Czech market, we embarked on the journey of internalization. Radka Dohnalova, the founder of ATAIRU, went to launch ATAIRU program to Tokyo in September, Moscow was my turn in November…

I was aware of the fact that the timing of the workshop was a bit of stretch. I was already booked the day before for a full day workshop after which I would have to fly to Moscow, arrive at midnight, deliver the workshop the next day and come back the day after. Since there was no possibility to change it. I accepted it. Sales people are not only ones to have the “harvest season” during the last quarter of the year. To speed up travel, I decided to fly with hand luggage only.

The training outline was ready, the materials printed, I had several preparatory calls to make t find out all the necessary details, but I still kept wondering what else I could do… This feeling just perfectly corresponds to the challenge I often address when working with my clients: we women are not satisfied with 100%, we tend to outperform and get at least 120 %.


I was thinking about the Russian mentality about how we get even closer and more “attuned” to the audience…and suddenly, I remembered that Russian women are always immaculately dressed, groomed, with an impeccable makeup… in Russian term, “bezupračnyje”.

Well, would at least a nail polish do? Suffering from the lack of colours and daylight, I chose coral red. It looked good and after I put it on, I realised that only it made me feel more self-confident but also energised. Thy only thing that kept worrying me was that it might get scratched during the flight and handling the luggage. No problem, reapplying it would fix the issue, but as I was travelling with a hand luggage only, a nail polish remover had to stay on my bathroom counter.

The training in Prague went well and finished on time. Except for the call from school that my son was suffering from stomach-age. Needless to say that I was already leaving a sick daughter at home. I let my husband deal with at this time, only asking myself if this is another law of nature that I missed in science classes that explains the likelihood of children becoming sick more often when a working mother goes on a business trip in comparison to when a father leaves a house.
moscow_linda_blog_04Despite the total chaos in Prague caused by a rupture of some water pipeline right in the city centre, I managed to get to the airport five minutes before the counter opened for check-in. Everything went smoothly, I used the time to call home, talk to my stressed husband and to finish few documents that needed to be sent.

Passing through the security control and taking out the sealed plastic bag with my toiletries made me feel appreciate this provision for the first time. So much in hurry I did not close the foundation properly, so it was all over the bag. Having spent all my spare time at the airport working, I had no time to deal with that now since it was the last call. I just made sure the bag was sealed and boarded the plane.

Working and partly napping, I arrived in the freezing city. After landed, the announcement welcomed us to Moscow, the hero city… The often discussed resurge of Russian patriotism did not escape my ear. Thirty minutes after midnight I was finally at the hotel. With the time change, I was looking for a quick shower and then six hours of sleep! I opened the luggage and found out that it was not only the makeup left open but also nail polish. The combination of these two products made an incredible chemical substance that was soon all over the place and my hands… The bathroom looked like after a rather recent flight. And no polish remover, even at the reception. I believe my quest of it was one of the weirdest questions the night receptionist ever got.

Well, five hours later (it took a while to de-contaminate), I was ready, waiting to be picked up and run the workshop. Nails were fine, most of the coral red gone from my hands, make up on… I felt like I am the queen of the world and I can do anything?…


After getting to the office, meeting the participants, having a last minute discussion and yet another adjustment to the program, I felt like I had a runny nose… I excused myself to quickly run to the bathroom so we could start… However, in the bathroom I realized that it was not a runny nose. This time, dark red from my heavily bleeding nose started to be all over the place. So, even that office bathroom looked “heroic”. What to do? How to calm myself down? Where to find ice when it was -14 degrees outside or even a towel in these modern offices? How to explain to everyone that I am ok except for the bleeding nose? My makeup was a mess and my blouse was stained…Minutes were passing, the nose kept bleeding…

And suddenly I took a deep breath, I told myself that it is ok. That`s life. I am good as I am… I do not need to be perfect. I got some ice and a cooling pack from a freezer… The bleeding stopped and I remembered my favourite song by Freddie Mercury “Show must go on…my makeup may be flaking but my smiles stays on…”

I washed my face, no makeup anymore. I covered the stains with scarf. I smiled at myself, entered the room and started to deliver the workshop. Eight hours later, I was exhausted but fulfilled.  I saw an inspired group of ladies saying how great it felt to decide one day to themselves. They were grateful for the opportunity to tap into their inner talent, motivation and authenticity. We spent an evening on a dinner cruise in freezing Moscow and had fun sharing stories, laughing and relaxing.


I realized I did not need the nails to be done, and did not even need the makeup. My greatest talent as a communicator and inspirer is with me. Actually it us with me every time I tap into it. Next time, I will take it more easily and have rather more sleep than try to “polish” things…



And so should you…

Thank to my great friend Tereza Urbankova, and also a communication professional, for her help with proofreading. It is Tereza`s gift and talent, so she not mind…

Datum konani 7.12.2016

Linda Štucbartová

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