Practise what you preach, preach what you practise
“How would it be to live and work abroad?”
It is a question that comes back, over and over again while traveling. In 2003 I took (then 21 years old) the first big step from my warm, sociable and protective environment in Breda to sunny and faraway Australia. That year I became more independent by coping with setbacks and experiencing wonderful adventures. In regards to my studies, it was a first taste of behavioural and psychological side of individuals and groups of people. I also read the best book during my student life, about social psychology.
The urge for adventure via traveling – encountering new cultures, their people, meeting travellers with an open mind, the profound conversations about life and doing fun things, like doing nature tracking, joining and enjoying local parties, trying out the local cuisine, diving, “volcano boarding” and bungee jumping – grew after that. Trips to Southeast Asia and Latin America followed in the years after. In between I researched organisational cultures and organisational change, during my studies at university, at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam. How do people collaborate, what are their underlying values and motivations?
The same passion brought me into the field of marketing. I like “customer insights” – what do customers need? – and “customer experience” – how do customers experience a service or product. The switch to service energized me by improving customer experiences, but moreover it was an opportunity to gain experience in building and developing a team, in which I could bring my interest into practise. It is an experience I needed to gain looking at my next step: fulltime developing professionals.
While the next trip had been scheduled, mid 2015 I got a call from an agency which recruits professionals for telecom organisations in the Caribbean. I informed my girlfriend Carmen and she reacted positively to this opportunity. To work and live abroad was high on both our bucket lists, already on mine in 2013, but I decided to put the idea on the back burner, when we met each other in the beginning of then.
So, we have a matching dream. But to actually “do it”, we would have to “dear” to do it as well. The phase of barriers and fears is on now. Is it really a smart thing to stop working, when all is going well? What if we do not like it? What if we miss our friends and family? Friends of ours are settling down, shouldn’t we be doing the same?
If there is one thing that I learned in the past ten years, then it is that I become happier when I compare myself less to other people and more to the alignment of my own values, rules for life and objectives instead. In my relationships with Carmen, also aligned to our values, rules for life and objectives. We have a match on “adventure”, “do what you want to do” and “working and living abroad”. And – thanks to Mister Covey – “Just imagine: we are both in our 80s, sitting on our bed and looking back at our lives. Look! Back then, we were 31 and 33. We flourished and were in a great, positive flow, bursting with life and energy. We had a dream to go, the possibilities as well, little or no obstructing circumstances not to do it…but we did not dare to do it. It would be a bad story to tell, wouldn’t it?!” And so we decided that we were going to do it! But we were not there yet.
In the beginning of 2015 I established my own company for coaching and training professionals on their personal and team development. In the mornings, evenings and weekends, next to my regular job, I would go full speed on writing a business plan, following an accredited coaching education, building and giving my seminar and program on “Making your own happiness”. Together with the program, individual coaching, team coaching and storytelling to complete my portfolio. The common theme is developing people, as individuals, in teams, in building and telling personal impactful stories to develop personal happiness, aligned tot the specific core values, talents and dreams of the individual. Why do I tell you this? It energizes me so much, that I decided I to focus on it full time
Common dream: working and living abroad – check!
Personal dream: full focus on personal and team development – check!
But where to go?
We both had some connection to the Caribbean. The swinging culture, the outdoor life, the nice weather. Next to combining these two dreams it already feels like a proper challenge. Being able to speak Dutch and knowing a large part of my target group, were useful skills. So we decided to move to Curacao.
How could I help other people to map their dreams, fears and barriers and actually do things…if I wouldn’t do it myself? That feels a bit strange. “Practise what you preach” is applicable here. “Preach what you practise” seems at least as relevant to me. I have been telling the story for a while in person, but my website can support here for sure. I hope it gives you sufficient insights about where, and how I will be able to help. Do not hesitate to contact me if, for an initial chat about your personal or organisational needs.