How nice it would be to just settle down somewhere and follow the “normal” path… I have been telling myself that for a couple of years now. (I also thought that when I was still in Brussels, but then I only wanted to leave the place and settle somewhere else, so it was probably a bit biased too!). Coming to Amsterdam, I really thought I would stay! I really decided that it would not be a temporary thing. I started to meet amazing friends, fell in Love for a while (fell hard), joined some activities, became more creative, traveled… but apparently, it was not what I’d been looking for…
Moving to Amsterdam was also a synonym of opening my mind to very different ideas, I got introduced to TED Talks, I am so hooked now, thanks roomie!!! I started investigating more about the speakers that I found the most inspiring. Rob Greenfield became my hero, I am now a fan of all his pages and I cannot get enough of his talks! Getting to know the actions of people that really fight for a more sustainable life and that spread the information to the public is such a source of inspiration!
Watching many documentaries ( thanks to OT301 that has screenings followed by debates), learning more than what we are shown in the media. I started to feel more and more concerned about what is happening in the world and questioning the normality of my life as a western Europe citizen. Why is it that we cannot live wherever we want? And why is it that big corporations get to poison us, just because they have the power and the money? How come if we want to buy anything it must be packaged in kilos of plastic, even the organic things? What is the logic behind all this consuming? (don’t get started on the subject 😉 ) These questions have been present with me for quite a while, but the simplicity/comfort of just buying what I need without asking myself any questions was keeping me from really doing anything about it. (Don’t get me wrong, I still go for simplicity, but at least every time I buy something I try to be conscious of my choice. And even if I still like to buy snacks that are overly packaged, I try to reduce. It’s hard and taking time, but I hope to reach near Zero Waste eventually!)
Starting from there I also started questioning my work, which produces enormous amounts of plastic waste. And feeling a bit overwhelmed by my idea of being more sustainable and more earth/nature-friendly. That’s when going away to start something completely different started to sound more and more appealing. And thanks to Vincent, my coach, I found the map to my heart, ideas and wishes and the little extra push that I needed to define my next step.
I came up to him around July, telling him something like: “I have this idea of leaving, doing something to help others, something in relation to nature and rainforest in South America. I feel a bit stuck, and immobile, I am looking for a way out. I have this feeling that I’m not where I’m supposed to be. Every day when I see all these buildings, all this concrete, all this trash, I feel like something is wrong. Some sort of a revolution is taking place in my heart… I have so many ideas, but then I don’t really manage to communicate them and I just abandon them along the way… I get discouraged easily. “What would you like to achieve with this coaching?” I’d like to trace a map of myself, character, personality traits, what defines me, how do I see myself and how others see me. But also a map of where I want to go and what I want to do, and of how I could achieve my goals. I want to find a purpose for my gap year, make it useful for myself and for others.” That being said, we set out to work, 3 sessions to dig into:
- my Values, Topics, and Impacts
- my Strengths and Personality
- Managing, Optimising and Using those strengths
The first session consisted in a sort of cards game. A stack of cards with values (Love, passion, empathy, kindness, fitness, fame, responsibility, beauty, comfort, adventure…) was laid out in front of me. I had to pick about 10 words/cards that resonated most with me, that were most appealing and sounded important. From these 10-15 cards we started discussing the reasons why I picked them, what the words meant to me, why they were important (tears started pouring down at this point… and the more I tried to hide them, the more Vincent questioned me!!! Haha, it was tough, but so much came out of this session!). I finally selected 6 of them, that are my core values: Compassion – Peace – Durability – Tolerance – Respect – Openness. These are the words I want to live by and apply in my day to day life.
After this small game of values-picking, came the game of Topics/Principles. In which areas do I see my values applied, where do I want to take them. Another deck of cards, another selection, and another tears session. And the topics that came out are Communication/information – Relationships – Nature and Environment – Technology development.
In the final part of this first session, we dug into the areas in which I want to have an impact, the base of my pyramid. For this part of the work, we discussed the things that make me tick, moments when I do things and feel energized and empowered, things that leave me with a positive feeling. Out of this brainstorming session came the following Impacts: Helping people move forward – Listening as a support – Forests and Nature – Brainstorming for new ideas – Problem-solving – DIY making things – Ocean pollution – Reducing waste and plastic.
After this first thought-provoking session, I was left in a bit of a chock. These 3 hours of intense and deep thinking, helped pinpoint some traits that I knew were there but could not really grasp before. Putting a name on things and writing them down was a first step in the right direction. I left the session completely empty of energy and at the same time full of a new vision of my path as it started to become clearer!
Two more sessions, focussed on my strengths and what I could do with them. How with a bit more training and experience they could become my dream job and allow me to align my personal life with work in terms of Values. This sentence from Vincent sticks with me now: “Life is a boat, your strengths are the wind in your sails, and your non-strengths are holes in the boat’s hull. Some are allowable (if they are above the water) and some are limiting (if they are below the water 😉 ), anyways you have to learn to navigate with them and work with them.” I found this to be a really nice conclusion to our coaching sessions!
Reading a magazine the other day, I found this article about creating an inspiration board.
“All inspiration boards and collages are powerful tools and act like vision boards. The moment you glue pictures and words onto paper you are giving a shape to your dream!”
I’m so glad I read this article! It was a kind of summary of this whole coaching experience! I had discovered my Values and Strengths, now I could make a collage out of them and have a look at them anytime I am in doubt or just need a little reminder of what I can do!
The map is still a bit blurry, but the conclusion is: if you keep moving forward in the direction of your dreams while being aware of your values and strengths, there is nothing that can stop you from achieving your ideal life and your goals! As a wise man once said, it is not the destination that is important, but the adventures along the journey! Therefore, I might not exactly know what I want to do yet, but I took an important step in the direction of my dream! I will leave my Dutch life for the moment (and don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss parts of it, just not the weather 😉 ), and go live my adventure on the Caribbean Island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.