That’s me on my balcony
in Utrecht, Netherlands.
I've often felt worse soon after achieving a big personal goal. Why is that?
Like a fresh romance, I started my new job with an unrealistic image of what it would be like.
I hated myself for forcing my ideas on my team at Workday. This was my attempt to be better when I got to Clara Lending.
Three years ago, I made a mistake that shaped my management style ever since.
It's as if someone else was making terrible decisions for me by taking over my body and then leaving me to deal with the mess.
I made one crappy decision after another while working with my first co-founder right out of college. These decisions earned me a year and a half of misery until I finally I had enough.
I quit my career and moved my family to The Netherlands. I ended up with a year of anxiety and frustration, exactly what I was running away from.
One year into my last job, I walked away disillusioned and demotivated with mutual frustration between me and my boss, Jeff–the CEO.
You care about your team, your family, your friends. They’re the co-conspirators of your adventure. Together, you co-create things that matter, even if it’s just experiences that you’ll savor in your memories.
What if you could translate your care for others into something more?
You actually have it within you to bring out the most in your team and help them find a fulfillment at work they thought was impossible.
You can let go of…
your never ending todo’s
your impulses for certainty and control
You can rediscover…
the deep sense of purpose
These have been hiding within you all these long years.
I work with leaders who want to cultivate a deeper sense of purpose in their lives.
By purpose, I don’t necessarily mean that there must be some grand vision of the world that’s worthy of a big personal sacrifice. Though it might be.
When a leader is in touch with what’s real for them, they naturally know how to act. They don’t need to do anything for the sake of filling holes in their ego or placating their insecurities.
It means they let go of harsh personal standards, let go of cultural expectations, and let go of achievement for ambition’s sake.
When you live with a sense purpose, particular outcomes don’t matter quite so much. What matters is your direction. Is it worthy of your effort even if there might not be a reward at the end?
Living with purpose often starts with finding meaning in the simple and everyday aspects of life–like self-care, nature, and personal relationships with family, friends, and collegues. And then, when their body and mind are in a quiet wide-open space, only then does the feeling start to surface. It might be faint at first, barely perceptable. But with time and careful listenting it grows to full volume and becomes perfectly clear. It is a call to do the best one can with their accumulated experience, skills and life circumstances.
With purpose, a leader doesn’t agonize attempting to avoid all pain and discomfort. They appreciate these as a valuable part of their experience and learn what they can from it. Sometimes the suffering cannot be avoided and needs to be accepted for a leader’s life to get “un-stuck” and continue unfolding.
Leadership is not about having hard power or authority over others. It is not about getting what one wants. Some of the leaders I coach don’t have any power from their position or status. They’re leaders because they inspire others to act from their own sense of life purpose.
Leaders’ power comes from the mutual connection and trust that they create with others. They understand others at a deep level and allow themselves, their true naked human selves, to be understood. It is from this trust that other people can feel inspired and allow themselves to be led.
I am not the wise man at the top of the mountain. I don’t have a monopoly on wisdom and I never “know better”. I am a peer to the leaders I work with. We have conversations as equals. I don’t judge and I don’t give advice. Sometimes I invite them to consider new perspectives or experiment with different practices in their lives. Mostly, I hold a space for them where they can sense into their own inner wisdom.
After some time, they might not need or want to work with me any more. They may have cultivated the competencies they need to run their lives. They may have developed broader and more complex ways of seeing and being in the world. The move on with the ability to come up with their own experiments and practices to continue their personal growth journey.
I coach individuals and teams on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.