Realizing my dream

“When I was a teenager I told my best friend that one day I would write down my dad’s life story. A complex family legend in which happiness and tragedy and the unbreakable bond between my dad and my grandma are central. I have been asking my dad to tell me his story over and over and over again. But he had to turn 86 years old and I needed to go on my own life journey before I was ready to turn my dream into reality.”

Keeping myself accountable

These are the first sentences of the Author’s note of the novel I am finally writing. On January 2nd 2017 I started interviewing my dad via Skype, who lives in France and I’m in BC Canada. Today, 1.5 years later and with the tremendous support of my coach Nanda Huneman, who is a writer herself, my book is starting to gain serious shape. I am writing it in Dutch, my mother tongue but will eventually have it translated into English and other languages.

The story takes place in Dutch Indie between 1910 and 1956. It is different to the stories about Indie you might have heard before, the ones the Dutch would tell you. That is because my dad’s family wasn’t Dutch. They were Austrians, immigrants from Vienna. My dad was born in Bandung, Java, in 1931. His roots were there. He had never ever been to Europe. During WWII they were treated as ‘dangerous Germans’ even though they weren’t German and had lived most of their adult life in Indie.

It’s an intriguing story, sometimes hard to wrap your head around especially when you’re of Dutch descent, as I have noticed through the reactions of my Dutch coach. I set a challenge with her, to have the first version of my book, complete with Epilogue, finished by the end of August. This post helps me to keep me accountable and reach my goal. I am determined to publish my book. And I hope you are going to read it! To be continued 😉

“Al tijdens mijn tienerjaren vertelde ik mijn beste vriendin dat ik eens het levensverhaal van mijn vader zou opschrijven. Een complexe familielegende waarin geluk en tragiek en de onverbrekelijke band met mijn oma centraal staan. Tientallen keren heb ik mijn vader gevraagd mij zijn verhaal opnieuw te vertellen. Maar mijn vader moest eerst 86 jaar worden en ik mijn leven leven, voordat ik genoeg rust in mijzelf vond om mijn lang gekoesterde wens om te zetten in realiteit.”

Ik ga de uitdaging aan

Dit zijn de eerste zinnen uit het Voorwoord van het boek dat ik eindelijk aan het schrijven ben. Op 2 januari 2017 begon ik mijn vader te interviewen via Skype. Hij woont in Frankrijk en ik in BC Canada. Nu, 1,5 jaar later en onder enorme aanmoediging van mijn coach Nanda Huneman, die schrijfster is, begint het boek stevig vorm te krijgen. Ik schrijf in het Nederlands, mijn moedertaal, maar ik wil het boek ook naar het Engels en mogelijk andere talen laten vertalen.

Het verhaal spelt zich af in het Nederlands-Indië van 1910 tot 1956. Het is een ander verhaal over Indië dan je wellicht tot nu toe gewend bent te horen. Dat komt omdat mijn opa en oma van origine Oostenrijkers zijn. Geëmigreerd uit Wenen. Mijn vader werd geboren in Bandung, op Java, in 1931. Zij wortels lagen daar. Hij was nog nooit in Europa geweest. Maar gedurende WOII werden hij en zijn familie behandeld als ‘vijandelijke Duitsers’, ondanks het feit dat zij niet Duits waren en het grootste deel van hun volwassen leven in Indië doorgebracht hadden.

Het is een intrigerend verhaal, soms moeilijk te bevatten voor de Nederlander, hetgeen ik menig keer heb kunnen opmerken uit de reacties van mijn Nederlandse coach. Ik ben een uitdaging met haar aangegaan, om de eerste versie van mijn boek, compleet met Epiloog, eind augustus klaar te hebben. Deze post helpt me om de daad bij het woord te voegen. Ik ben vast van plan mijn boek uit te geven. En ik hoop dat jij het zult lezen! Wordt vervolgd 😉

Starting, growing or realigning your business?

Are you starting a business?

Congratulations! Starting a business is a very exciting adventure! But there’s also a lot to think about. First of all: do you have your foundations in place? Did you ask yourself questions like: What is your purpose? Do you know your niche? And what is your unique selling point? Who are your ideal customers?

Would you like to grow your business?

Have you owned your business for quite a while and you’d like to grow it or move it to the next level? Good for you! You have come to a point where some fundamental questions need to be asked and answered, like: How did we get in this business? Why are we providing that product? Why are we pursuing those clients? Is your company presented in such a way that prospects will take you seriously and that they will choose your company over another one? Do you look like a leader and an expert? And do you look credible? And also professional?

Not sure about the direction?

Or maybe you’re not sure which direction to go next with your business, and you want to rethink your strategy: what’s next? what’s possible? and how do I make it happen?

The Leadership Dashboard

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a simple tool that will offer you great clarity about what is important and why? Here’s the happy answer: such a tool exists and I am using it in my business coaching practice.

It is called The Leadership Dashboard. It has it’s roots in Procter & Gamble’s famous one-page memo. At P&G, employees learn quickly that ideas are best expressed in a single page. The thinking goes that, if it takes longer than a page to explain an idea, then the idea is still fuzzy and not fully thought out.

I challenge my clients to do the same thing and the tool I use focuses exclusively on the most important areas where as a business owner you must have clarity and focus. Even though it is a simple tool, it takes a lot of reflection and dialogue to answer the questions. It’ll take you from mission, vision and values to core talents and priorities, performance, key relationships and opportunities for professional development.

Once you’ve answered all of the questions, you can use it as your own guide, challenge your employees to create their own dashboards and you can implement the dashboard throughout your organization. That way, you can confirm that everyone is on the same page about what matters, and is moving in the same direction towards results.

Would you want to know more? Book a free coaching session with me and find out for yourself!

Book Here

Wishing you a happy business!

Birgit

 

Leading an organization, what does it take?

How many crises do you address every day? How many requests for your time distract you from achieving your real goals and handling your primary responsibilities? How often do you end up doing things that others should be doing?

It doesn’t really matter how big your organization is, if you’re the owner of a small business, or a manager in a large organization. You are likely facing unprecedented pressures. Markets change more quickly. Customers demand more and forgive less. Employees feel less loyal than you’d like.

Leading an organization is not an easy job. And I am not even talking about the other roles in your life that you are trying to handle at the same time, like being a loving and dedicated life partner, being a great mom or dad to your kids, and a thoughtful son or daughter to your elderly parent.

In this environment, it becomes difficult to keep track of the things that really matter to you, and to your organization: vision, mission, values, your edge, strategic priorities, metrics for success, relationships and how to become more effective.

You can be busy, but are you being productive? It’s important to figure out who you want to be before you start to do. You can easily lose perspective and become overwhelmed, when you really need to be grounded, focused, calm, resilient and powerful…

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Our Inner Critic

It’s a slow Sunday morning here in Nelson BC. The first snow on the mountaintops, a cold breeze on the lake, temperatures are dropping. Winter is around the corner. A good moment to snuggle up in warm clothes behind my computer and to write this blogpost to you!

I have been dealing with a lot of significant changes in my life lately. Even though I initiated most of the changes myself it doesn’t mean that I have been without fear. On the contrary! Fear usually is a big factor when we deal with changes. Our ‘Inner Critic’ starts talking to us. And it mostly speaks to us when we least expect it.

Last week I realized it was sixteen years ago I started my own business. I started it from scratch, in a small room upstairs in my home in the Netherlands. And I am doing it again today. After completing 104 hours of training with The Coaches Training Institute in Vancouver I just opened up my office in Nelson BC and will start working as a Life coach & Small business consultant. But here I am, upstairs in my sunny office room, fighting my own demons. Did I make the right decision to move to Nelson? Where do I start? Will I be successful? I do not have a network. How will I find clients? What if I fail? Am I good enough?

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Positive Attitude or Positive Action?

I LOVE the fall. Warm and sunny during the day, temperatures dropping at night, the leaves start to change color. Great time of the year for long hikes and weekends camping. I’m sitting outside in my bathing suit with my laptop in front of me as I am writing this post to you.

I am a positive person at heart, I tend to see the glass half full and I usually wake up smiling every morning. My friends tell me that I am a purebred optimist. But of course even us extremely positive people do have our bad days, heartbreak, setbacks, and pain. We too are facing the voices of fear in our heads and we also go trough tough periods in life.

Do you need to be an optimist in order to live a fulfilled life? I believe it helps to have a positive attitude, but I also believe it is not mandatory to be an optimist at heart to create the life you want. I realized that in the moments I do not feel positive, I have learned to take positive action. Coaching has taught me to do that. To literally set myself in motion and to be very determined. Taking action towards a positive outcome has always helped me to crawl out of my hole in the ground. Often the small steps I took made me forget about the pain I was in and got me back into a flow.

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