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When Someone Says ‘No You Can’t’

When Someone Says ‘No You Can’t’

I had a conversation with Danny yesterday, and as usual we had lots of things to discuss. In the last blog Danny talked about his path, and how he goes about it. One thing that crossed my mind was the reason why I eventually started to work as an entrepreneur, and why I jumped on the path I knew was right for me. I think it is something that maybe more of you can relate to, and could use as well.

Somewhere around 2011 or so, I finished my studies at the University. I learned a lot, but was definitively still a rookie. I knew that perfectly well. I was always interested in entrepreneurship, and knew I would end up on that path one way or another. I wanted to have my own business, but had no idea in what. I had no particular skills (as far as I thought could be monetized), and zero experience in the business world. So I did what any rookie does, find a job.

After some searching I went to a job market and got a job at an employment agency. I had to place technical guys on projects in technical companies. Not particularly my thing, but I saw it as a great way to learn sales skills. And sales skills are quintessential skills for entrepreneurship. So I got into it. And did the work.

But after 2 months I started to have doubts. It was my first ‘real’ job and I didn’t know if I would see myself do this for any longer. I was under a lot of pressure, but I learned and worked to the best of my abilities. But there was an inner resentment to the work, the place, the whole thing. I still don’t exactly know what it was. But I was unsure about continuing the job.

The company I worked with had set up individual coaching for every employee. So when I had my first meeting with my assigned coach I addressed my feeling. I didn’t feel in place, but I thought I needed this. For I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I was asked what I wanted to be. And where I’d see myself in a couple of years. I told the coach I wanted to be an entrepreneur. She looked at the notes, my assessment, and quite quickly told me I wasn’t ready for that. She told it with such an uninterested voice, and with a flow that read something like ‘you can’t do that’.

I remember this sentence very well. I felt this burning in my torso. How dare she say that to me. You don’t know me. You can’t tell me what I can and cannot do. You definitively can’t tell me what I am capable of. At this moment it hit me. If I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I needed to be one. If you want to be a basketball player, you need to play basketball. If you want to be a pilot, get yourself in a cockpit. If you want to travel the world, stop dreaming, and book a ticket. You have to believe and act like the person you want to become.

I quit my job after 4 months. I traveled a bit, and started my own business. The rest is history. At first I was upset about the fact this ‘professional’ coach told me I wasn’t ready. But later I thanked her. I am grateful for the situation, the path. I am grateful for these explicit, direct words. It was exactly what I needed. It was the slap in the face, the breaking of the chain, or the spark to my fire that lit me up. It released me of the fear for the start. And now I had the extra willpower to show her and all others to show I could.

“If I would have listened to the naysayers, I would still be in the Austrian Alps yodeling.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger –

So my question to you is; Are you happy where you are now? Are you on the path you want to be on? Is there something you really want to do, but aren’t doing? Do you have people telling you, you can’t do something, or aren’t ready?

Let us know…

 

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The Self-Help Generation

The Self-Help Generation

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” – Tony Robbins

If you take a look at my books, scattered around my ‘man cave’, you will see a lot of books that fit into the self-help category. I am not ashamed of it. Although I wonder, when I find another book from this category on my door mat, if I haven’t read enough by now. Not all, but definitively some books just get me fired up, especially the ones on business, growth, and learning.

In my eyes a good book, informs and educates me, but at the same time motivates me. It shows me the actions to take and why I should take them. Like a motivational speaker, the text grabs you by the throat and shakes your belief. You can do it, you will do it, you are on your way to success. Whatever success may means to you, I value the distant care of the writer for me to reach my success.

When I open Instagram, I get hit in the face with hundreds of motivational quotes and inspirational words. Wow! Although sometimes they seem somewhat superficial and corny, I happily take part and I write motivational words every day to myself, and anyone who’s interested. The fact that all the young people have access to these quotes and positive vibes is fascinating. Could we be part of the Self-Help Generation?

Do you believe in unlimited possibilities? Can anyone reach their life goal, just by believing? Will we see an entire generation living fulfilled lives? Who knows. I certainly hope so. The information, knowledge, and experiences of those who tell you how, is readily accessible. Books are cheap, internet is free and motivational speakers stalk you in every corner of Instagram. The power is yours.

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It’s true, that once you’ve read half a dozen books, you’ve read them all. But like Zig Ziglar said: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” And taking in motivational quotes, inspirational stories, and success tips is good, as long as you need it.

The thing I find most important about this development is the underlying mindset. I first learned about it in a Strategy course at University. The development of business strategy was portrayed as being on a continuum between Choice (or Free Will) versus Determinism. In what way could you fully decide the outcome of the future with choices made now. And in what way are you just a pawn on a chess board, outside of your control.

This suspense between choice and determinism can also be seen in our own lives. The strategy we pursue in our career, and how we handle health, family and love, are all part of our mindset. Are you more of a choice kind of person? Do you think you can control the outcome of your career, learn a skill you have no experience in, and influence the major flow of your life? Or are you more of a determinist? Do you think that things come as they come and you can’t do anything about it, do you think innate talent is the major determinant of where your career will lead you?

When you look at the scientific research the real world truth will of course lie somewhere in the middle. We have influence over major choices (at least we believe we do; our mind plays more tricks on us than we are aware of), and at the same time the world definitively has a lot more things going on that you can NOT influence. Just try to plan for a sunny weekend in the Netherlands.

My point is this. What counts is what you believe. And for me it is the belief that I do have influence over my future. Because this mindset WORKS for me. I can learn new skills. I can become who I want to be. I can design my career as I wish. I learn and become experienced. I will do things, make mistakes and grow. I will take full responsibility for my life. Not because it is the full scientific truth, but because it works for me. I design my life. I design my happiness. A choice mindset works for me. I am sure it will work for you too.

 

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