Geraldine Hardy: Taking care of yourself
Indonesia-born Geraldine Hardy has lived and worked in Asia, America, Europe, Africa and Oceania, but repeated burnout in a succession of wide-ranging jobs led her to prioritise self-care, recently creating a programme for yacht crew and seafarers, as she reveals in a Column for Yacht Style Issue 62.
Welcome to my world where business practices find alignment with self-care and wellbeing. I’ve had many different lives with setbacks, adventures and nourishing experiences. I am a multifaceted being with over two decades of a multi-hyphenated career in marketing, sales and business development in various industries including yachting, and wellbeing with yoga therapy, meditation and quantum healing.
Born in Indonesia to a Chinese father and German mother, I was raised there, in the US and in Germany. I have always been connected to my Asian roots and embraced my spirituality growing up both with Eastern traditions and Western rationale.
From a young age I was very aware of energies around us and being able to feel them. It frightened me and I had to push these feelings away from me as a highly sensitive empath. After all, there was no space for emotions and tears as a professional dancer in a Russian ballet academy while finishing secondary education in Germany and focusing on business studies.
I experienced both worlds, Western and Eastern, which many times made me feel alienated from both and lack a sense of belonging, especially when I was younger. Only now can I truly say I am a citizen of planet earth and I am me, Geraldine.
After my studies, I left Germany to get married and live in France as a trained editor and events manager for an extreme sports publishing company. During these years I endured multiple spinal injuries as consequences of my former ballet training and various snowboard accidents.
WORKING & STUDYING
At this time, my love for yoga, meditation and philosophy continued to grow. With my new-found passion for board sports, I started working for Billabong Europe in sales and marketing.
However, I quickly understood that to grow in my career, I had to continue studying. I left my husband and the fun life I knew to complete my business studies course at the University of Brighton in the UK while working three jobs – as a sushi chef, analyst at American Express and shop assistant.
After university, I worked in Portugal, Tanzania and Cameroon for communications agencies conducting socio-economic reports to attract foreign direct investments. After a while, it became clear to me that my idealistic aim of wanting to go to developing countries to change the world did not really match the job description.
Instead, we were trained to sell overpriced ads in the form of advertorials to politicians and companies to make money for these agencies, so I withdrew from a project in Cameroon and went back to London.
I then worked as a global marketing manager in a private jet and cargo chartering company. I launched the entire marketing department for the air charter service and realised that if I kept up the pace of travelling constantly and working overtime, I would burn out very soon. There were moments I would wake up in the middle of the night not knowing whether I was in a hotel in New York or Dubai. It made me feel alienated and again so ungrounded, without a real home.
I remember a key moment when I stepped out of a plane in Dubai and smelled the hot, sweet air. I felt this place would be life changing for me and I knew I would move there. Six months after I landed a job with IIR Middle East, now known as Informa Yacht Group, I started the entire branding and marketing for the Abu Dhabi Yacht Show.
This is where my journey in the yachting industry began. I was fascinated by the craftsmanship of yachts and still recall when I first saw Maltese Falcon, the 289ft sailing yacht built by Perini Navi. She was just stunning and beautiful. This year, I finally fulfilled my ambition to visit her onboard (note: that’s not Maltese Falcon below).
I quickly learned the industry was small, so it was essential to get to know people, nurture relationships, observe and understand how yachting works. Not being a sailor nor growing up with boats, it was challenging for me, but I listened and observed with humility. Visiting the yacht shows was fun but also took a toll on my work-life balance and wellbeing.
After some time, I decided to change industry and learn more about real estate in Dubai, which was the absolute ‘Wild West’ in terms of business practices in this sector, with few ethics, scant integrity and little transparency, although it was a great playground to learn how not to do things.
With these experiences under my belt, I opened a marketing agency and catered to clients such as Stars ‘N’ Bars Monte Carlo, Piaggio Italy ME and Emirates Mall.
RETURN TO YACHTING
After my time in Dubai, I met my second husband and followed him to Australia where I worked as a communications manager for British Gas Group on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline.
We then decided to move to Singapore where I fortunately returned to yachting and worked as the Sales Director of the Singapore Yacht Show. How I loved this job. Day and night I worked hard to fill up the marina and stand spaces with local and international clients, calling and sending mails in the long hours of the night, and travelling to shows.
However, my private life and marriage suffered from it to such an extent that my stress led to a miscarriage. Even though this was a challenging time, I never look back with regrets as I know that in life if something is meant to be, it is meant to be. I always had this trust and faith in life and the universe.
I still diligently practised yoga daily. I can now say with certainty that if I didn’t have this practice, I would have burned out way faster. Eventually, I did burn out after my second divorce and a short stint with the Dubai International Boat Show and went back to France.
The burnout was inevitable because of my past lifestyle and pace of life. I just took my body, mind and energy for granted. I knew I needed to change. So, I signed up for yoga teacher training with American teachers, combining the system and philosophy of yoga with studies in Western science.
For the past seven years, it has been a tough yet rewarding journey to go through transformation, heal past traumas and be able to continue to show up for myself every day without any specific expectations. I needed a break from business, while still being connected to the yachting industry and working freelance for The World of Yachts & Boats magazine.
About four years ago, I actively entered the world of business again. Last year I lost my job during Covid after again reaching the edge of burnout, but was able to reverse it as I started to boost my self-care regime to nourish my physical, emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual wellbeing.
The confinement gave me the opportunity to become still and just ‘be’ with a daily meditation and yoga practice, nature walks, healthy nutrition, and enough alone time to contemplate and heal my trauma.
At that stage, I was already a trained Alchemy Healer and knew how to enter my Theta brain wave, my subconscious mind, and neutralise trauma within. I started to share more posts on social media about self-care practices, how to preserve our energy, deal with lower vibrational emotions such as fear during Covid, and use our intuition. I just simply shared what I practise every day to stay balanced and try to keep a state of homeostasis.
For the past year, I’ve studied more about the quantum field, neuroscience, trauma-informed yoga therapy and created simple selfcare programmes with routines for individuals, corporates and leaders, all while understanding no one can do the work for them.
They’re not quick-fix programmes, but I do believe that small changes can create so much relief and wellbeing. It requires selflove, discipline and daily practice to master our minds, and to care for our bodies as well as our energetic, emotional and spiritual being.
Naturally, my lessons about successes and hardships are very much connected to my wellbeing and ongoing bid to keep a balanced lifestyle.
Since I am still connected to the yachting industry, I’ve also created a programme for seafarers and yacht crew. Crew on yachts are often challenged to find a work-life balance, suffering from fatigue, mental and physical exhaustion, alienation and loneliness. Self-care allows seafarers to understand and become cognitive of the impact of such imbalances.
Believing a combination of business skills and well-being optimise productivity, creativity and integrity, my aim is to support individuals to reach their personal and professional goals by empowering them to make the self-care programme their own.
Geraldine is specialised in business development, sales, marketing and communications, and was recently appointed Business Development Manager for Air Independence, a Munich-based private and business aviation chartering company.
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.geraldinehardy.com
Yacht Style Issue 62 features Top 100 Superyachts of Asia-Pacific 2022, seven yacht Reviews, Simpson Marine, Lantau Yacht Club, Ferretti Group’s Stefano de Vivo, Rolex Middle Sea Race, SailGP, Cannes and Monaco shows, Jeanneau Merry Fisher owner Kevin Quek, interviews with HSBC’s Jyrki Rauhio and Cirrus Aircraft’s Zean Nielsen, and lifestyle articles on IL PICCO residences and Art Works Group.