Passionate about helping others find their Authentic Voice
As a child, I didn't quite fit in. The school I went to was very conservative and heavily oriented toward discipline and manners. I, on the other hand, was very playful and active. I loved physically active stuff, like climbing in trees, building camps and playing tag. Paying attention in class was so boring!
This turned out to be far from an ideal combination. My results in school were never as good as those from the other kids in my class. I hated school, and the teachers seemed to hate me, too. Because of that, I had a rather difficult youth. I badly wanted to fit in, but felt I never really could.
To avoid the pain I felt and to get the love I wanted, I created an excellent chameleon strategy. I started working really hard, had extra math and French tutoring, and largely gave up my playful behavior. I wanted to be as good as the other kids, I was craving for some positive feedback and love.
I ended up improving my grades so much that I graduated top of my class in secondary school. I then went on to study economics at the university of Leuven. That was actually largely the same experience for me. I started out being really afraid of not being good enough and worked very hard in a reaction to this fear. There too, I graduated as one of the best students. After university, I went to Vlerick Business School, where I applied the exact same strategy of working hard. I graduated top of my class.
Now, it may seem to you like everything went really well. And it actually did as far as grades are concerned. The problem, however, was that deep inside, I still felt like that little boy that wasn't good enough. And while my grades were outstanding, they had cost me my freedom and joy. I was very insecure and sought external validation all the time. Good grades helped me feel better, but because of my low self-esteem they controlled me. I was dependent on those grades and positive feedback from others to feel good.
The biggest quest began when I started my first job. Because I wanted fit in the image of success of my environment, I started off as a financial consultant to prove that I was analytical and could handle a tough job. But I hated it. I had to sit behind a computer all day and really missed meaningful conversations with colleagues. I decided to change jobs within the same firm, and began working as a human capital consultant. That job, too, was really not my cup of tea. I then started working for a start-up specialised in employee engagement, much closer to my area of interest. However, the company was not successful and hence I had to look for another job. My fourth job was for another start-up, this time specialised in agile organisational structures and leadership styles. I liked these topics, but in some way still felt like I wasn't quite 'there' yet.
All this time I was on a quest for my identity and confronted myself with 3 questions every single day:
1. Who am I, really? Who would I be when nobody would be watching/judging?
2. What kind of life do I want? This life clearly does not give me the fulfillment and joy I am looking for.
3. How can I 'jump' and go for it?
After many tough experiences, sessions with therapists and coaches, and a retreat in Italy, my true identity and dream became very clear. I am here to help other people discover who they really are. I am here to inspire people to belief in themselves and go chase their own dreams. I am here to be me and help you to be you.
One of the most powerful realisations I had was this one:
If there is a heaven and some kind of judgement about your life, the question will not be why you haven't been someone else. The question will be why you haven't been you.
You were born to be you. But all too often, we create all kinds of strategies and behaviors in order to avoid pain and get love. We create a 'strategic self', and mostly we forget about who we really are and why we are here. In spirituality, we call that strategic self the ego. And while the ego is definitely useful and necessary, many people live their lives purely based on ego and thus on fear.
I help you connect with your deeper self, your inner voice. Your Authentic Voice.