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Drivers and dreams

What do I do? How do I do it? And why do I do it? If you have something of a philosopher, you will probably ask yourself these questions regularly. However, it is useless to question yourself and your environment all the time. Those who question everything, can’t progress at all. Yet, you have to dare to evaluate yourself from time to time. If you look in the mirror every now and then, you won’t be afraid of your mirror image.

Nevertheless, introspection is not easy because we are all very busy, as I mentioned before. Busy, busy, busy… Although this busy life is often a state of mind we create ourselves, it entirely absorbs us. We are living our life and participating in the system. It is our routine.

Panic behavior
Only in crisis situations, our body tells us to slow down. Suddenly, we all ask ourselves: ‘What are we doing, for Christ’s sake?’ Only at that moment, we start meditating about what we are doing each day, in our professional as well as in our private life.

How we are going to tackle this, is another issue. ‘How do we deal with other people?’ ‘How do we collaborate with our colleagues?’ For most of us, this reflection is already going too far and so are the answers. ‘I am who I am. Take it or leave it!’ Apparently, many people consider it normal that others adapt themselves and show some consideration for them. They call it ‘showing some consideration for each other’ but most of the time, they especially show some consideration for themselves.

Behavior and culture, that’s what it’s all about! But everything is kept quiet. Life goes on quietly until serious problems arise. Suddenly, everybody starts panicking. In corporate life, this situation of despair often leads to the quick recruitment of an external coach, who has to solve tensions that are already slumbering for several years, as if (s)he was a magician.

The same goes for the reason why. Why do we do something? Why do we make certain choices? Here also, we are talking about professional choices as well as choices concerning private life. Teenagers and adolescents never stop talking about their dreams but once they grow up, their passion too often fades away. They are dissatisfied with the path they have chosen, dissatisfied with their job. Eventually, even the choices they have made in their private life, don’t seem to meet the high expectations they had.

How can you break this negative spiral? Figure out what drives you and focus on it. Try to have your drivers match as well as possible with the choices you make. They give you energy. They make you want to embrace life. Children, family, social activities, personal interests, ambition… are all examples of drivers.
When, as a coach, I draw up a work-life balance, I notice that most people immediately take their current job as the starting point. They project it into the past, without thoroughly considering the underlying drivers. They forget the essence.
Maintain the overview. Try the next steps:
  1. Formulate, as concretely as possible, how you want to live your private and professional life.
  2. Map your current job. What gives you energy and what takes your energy away? Make two small lists.
  3. Can you eliminate or adapt the energy-consuming aspects? Can you tackle things differently or make them more pleasant? Or do you need a real step change in order to get closer to your dreams again? You should also discuss this with your employees and your executive.
  4. Draw up a financial plan in order to determine the exact limits of your freedom of action.
  5. List your (new) intentions and respective actions as concretely as possible. Share them with your partner, children, employer, colleagues… and plan them in your agenda!
Attention: this reflection exercise is difficult! Quietly evaluate all possible scenarios. Focus on the future and don’t rush things. Try to stick to this plan and use it proactively in each stage of your life. As someone in his/her thirties, you might plan a family expansion. As someone in his/her forties, you might think about a top position. When you are in your sixties, you take decisions about your retirement.

My advice? Take the initiative and avoid having your life lived for you. Rely on your abilities and talents in order to make your dreams come true. Be realistic but try to live happily day after day, because each day is unique!


By Herman van Herterijck

"my ambition is to put the importance of pragmatic and continuous self-coaching on the agenda of current business leaders"

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