Why the Road to Passion Is Painful Yet Beautiful

The day before my flight to South-Africa, I hold a seminar in which I talk about how to find your passion and how to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself. Many of the participants are wondering if they’re on the right track with their life, what their current lifestyle can do more for them, and if they’ll ever be able to find their passion at all.

My flight, the following day, runs smoothly, and I’m excited and relaxed at the same time. Flying to unknown territory feels as part of my comfortzone, thanks to my adventure in Orlando, Florida, a couple of months earlier. I can allow myself to feel at ease while I’m bridging the eleven hour gap from Amsterdam to Johannesburg. Upon arrival, the unknown and therefore the positive tension surfaces.

I spend the first couple of days with two co-travelers: we discover the historical and cultural parts of the country, by visiting the Apartheids museum, Nelson Mandela’s house (which has been transformed into a museum), and the highest building of the continent; the Top of Africa. Even a safari, in which we’re seeking to find elephants, giraffes, lions, hippos and many more exotic animals is part of our African adventure. Between my companions and me, a warm connection is growing and I feel empowered by these wonderful experiences.

The main reason why I’m here, is a big conference, where entrepreneurs can network on an international level,  acquire new businesses and contacts, and where national as well as international speakers, among which Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, will share their knowledge, experience and insights on doing business.

On the third and final day, just after I fled the congress with the most beautiful, caring and amazing lady ever to get some air and grab a bite to recharge my  sleep deprived physical and mental battery, I quietly tip-toe my way back to the first row of the packed (well over a thousand people) conference hall to take my seat.

My business-partner and good friend immediately grabs me by the wrist and whispers in my ear: “You have to get on stage and pitch your company!” The relaxed feeling of the wonderful lunch with the beautiful lady changes in a blink of an eye to sudden stress and panic.

Due to this paralyzing feeling, along with the sudden necessity to make a choice whether or not to go on stage, I almost loose control; immediately I switch to my rational side to regain control over the situation. I can feel my heart pounding in my throat as I slowly make my way to the stage.

P1140802Spotlights shine their bright light on me, and at the same time I bring the microphone to my mouth to speak, I can’t remember a word I want to say; I have a blackout. Seconds pass, and they feel like an eternity. Finally, I force myself to say something; anything!

Logic takes over and while the tension is racing through my veins, I’m happy I remember a few words I want to say, and I start to tell some boring story about what it is my company does. Even though the stress slowly pours out of my system, it takes a while before I can truly speak from the heart and find the balance between logic and passion.

Still, after descendingI the stage, I feel as if I’ve failed; no introduction, didn’t mention my name and even my company name I forgot to state. I didn’t say what I wanted to say. I feel guilty forwards myself, mostly because I know I could have done better. Despite positive feedback form others afterward on my authenticity; I put the emphasis on the few who criticize me for my lack of structure in my pitch. I literally feel the pain within me, and there’s nothing I can do about it but to blame myself.

It’s ironic; weeks before my flight to Orlando, Florida, I practiced for at least ten minutes a day a short speech, in case I’d get the stage for a few minutes. Now, about six months later, I finally get that stage, and I’m completely unprepared for this opportunity.

It’s only on the day I  fly back home to the Netherlands, and take a closer look at my experiences in South-Africa, that I feel, whilst flipping through the photo’s, I’ve taken a step forward in the direction of my passion.

The realization that, during those few days, I was doing more that I have been doing so far, enable me to get back in touch with that feeling of power and belief in myself; the reason why I do what I do. The drive that will get me where I want to be. It’s both my dream and vision to inspire, motivate and help others grow on an international level .

Despite being active in the area of personal development for years, and overcoming many obstacles to be at the level of success I am now, I realize that there still is anentier path before me to pursue.

Air Cav infantry Soldiers compete in company challengeAnd though I’m taking steps forward, sometimes opportunities seem to present themselves as obstacles. Moments in which stress grabs you by the throat, because, during the discovery of that unfamiliar path, you feel you’re unprepared in what to expect more. It feels like you’re failing, while in fact it’s a beautiful experience and solely a temporary outcome. It provides the insights that so-called mistakes are nothing more than knowledge and information, and that you have the freedom to alter your course and keep going in the direction you’re aiming at.

Whether we know what our passion is or we’re still at the starting point of discovering it – its’ the steps we take into the unknown, it’s the signals we receive that show us the way and from which we can tap into our power. This feeling comes from the heart, and it’s the key we have to turn, to open up our heart and truly feel what we want in our life, to find that passion.

It’s almost a guarantee: when you’re looking for your passion, your path, you’ll encounter obstacles along the way to your potential and your purpose. But, it’s that beautiful feeling of fulfillment to live the life we envision.

Follow Your Passion and Success will Follow YouDiscover your passion, take the time to start and proceed on your path of discovery. I promise you it’s worth it; that fulfillment will change you into the person you need to be, to do what you really want to do.

Like and share this post with friends, family and colleagues if you think t it will help them in the discovery and revelation of their passion and fulfillment.

To your success,


The Potential Me

The 1985 featured film The Breakfast Club tells the story of five high school students who have to do detention on their free Saturday. Each and every one has their own reason to sit this one out and there’s no single common ground that one shares with the others: a sportsman, member of the wrestling team, a nerd who’s a member of the physics club, an outcast that in the eyes of everybody else is lacking every responsibility to make it through school, a prom queen whose only concern is her looks and her rep. And there’s this girl who doesn’t have any contact with her parents or any other person for that matter. The worlds couldn’t be further apart from each other. So it seems…

The true essence of the movie is the insight that each and every one of the five students is behaving according to the perception others have about them. Which brings me to the core of this article. No matter how hard we work, often times we’re being lead on subconsciously in our behavior by the way others see us.

Take a look at your profession or the study you take up. Isn’t that one of the first things you mention when someone asks what you do? ‘I’m a manager’, ‘I’m a coach’, ‘I’m a mother of two.’

The way we present ourselves is mainly determining how others will see us: if I’d say I was a circus-clown the first time we’d meet, you’ll probably label me no different the next time we bump into each other.

With this, a vicious circle is born. No matter what you’ll be doing after you meet somebody new, at the time you shook hands for the first time you left an impression that was going to be burnt into the memory of your listener. ‘Weren’t you that clown that works in the circus?’

The choice to see yourself any way you want will always be there though. Unfortunately we don’t reckon that choice too often. And even if we do, it doesn’t mean that choice is going to be an easy one. Who do you want to be?

Because as soon as you taste the liberty of deciding who you want to be, you’ll also realize that no matter what answer you come up with, it will be a limitation to that freedom.

And this is where quantum physics peeks around the corner.

Over the past few years, scientists carried out an experiment known as the double slit experiment. In this experiment they were looking at the behavior of particles and electrons (tiny bits of matter). They put up two slits through which hey randomly fired the electrons. On the wall behind the slit interference pattern arose, stating the particle was acting like a wave – with several interference patterns, and not like a particle. Scientists were stunned. So, those scientists put up a measuring device, to see through which slit the electron went.

But because they were now measuring, the particle went back to behaving like a particle. The conclusion is this: when they weren’t measuring, the particle was behaving like a wave, showing an interference pattern at the back of the wall. When they did measure its path and choice of slit, the particle changed back to a normal particle, just showing two bands at the back of the wall. Somehow the particle knew it was being watched.

There’s an ocean of possibilities when the particle leaves. And as long as we don’t interfere with it, we see the results of that sea of possibilities; the particle goes through one slit, and the other. It goes through both slits, and through neither. How’s this possible?

The answer is not to be found in the particle. Nor is it in the slit. What is?

It’s the observer.

The way you see the world determines how you’ll experience it.

And that also works for other people observing you. They create a model of you (a simplified representation of their reality), which they can use again, and again in future encounters with you. The more frequent they’ll see you in the same setting, the stronger that model becomes and with that the representation or map of the world, of you!

This is how models can affect you, as well as the world big time.

‘Well, damn man!’, you might think right now. ‘Isn’t there anything I can do to influence this all?’ – there is!

At each and every single moment of the day, you hold the power of ho you want to be. Or better said: who you want to be more.

Like in The Breakfast Club, you can see that every single detentionist has more in common with the others than he or she might think. The outcast is also the nerd, the sportsman is also the closed up girl. And they all have a prom queenside.

You’re also more than the label others put on you. Or… you put on yourself.

But how do you change he perception of other people so they don’t see you as just a circus artist?

In all honesty, I have to confess I’m not sure if I can give you an answer. I’m not even sure if that’s possible. The freedom of choice of others to see you as they want is not up to you; it’s up to them.

However, what you can do is change the way y08 perceive yourself. Y0ur map of the world you hold about you is like a dropping snowflake hitting the ground, and starting to roll onto a snowball, perhaps even an avalanche. It’s the essence of change. If you change the way you see yourself, you’ll behave differently and people will see you differently for that.

During one of my first trainings on personal development my coach told me that each part of a system is influencing the other parts of the system. So if you change one part of that system, you’ll end up changing the entire system.

What he meant by that is that when you start working on yourself – e.g. by changing your behavior or altering current limiting beliefs – you’ll slowly but surely change the interaction you have with others (like family, friends, acquaintances, relationships) as well.

For years people saw me as the guy that never would say ‘no’. The one that would go along with everybody, no matter what the flow was. The guy with no borders. The Pleaser. I noticed that in the end it had cost me so much, it made me miserable.

Instead of pointing out the people that could be responsible for exceeding my borders (‘they shouldn’t be crossing them if I don’t feel okay with that’) and seeing myself as a victim of the perception of others, I discovered that this responsibility, this power, was in no other than my own hands.

Now, we’ve moved on a couple of years and I’ve straitened and strengthened my backbone quite a bit. It’s not yet ‘full on’, but I’m getting there. And for certain I’ve become a stronger person. With this change something else changed, and that is the way other people see me. ‘Robert – he’s persisting, a dreamer, a doer, doesn’t take no for an answer.’

And so there are many areas in my life in which I can laser focus on to make the changes within in order to grow. To become the person I really want to be.

It begins with letting go of the labels I’ve put on myself of which I think I need them to survive. You might know this phenomenon as the word image. Whenever you’re willing to let go of your image, you’ll discover your true ‘me’. From there on you can decide which adjustment you’d like to make in order to become the person you really want to be.

Just like in quantum physics, there’s an ocean of possibilities in front of you (and within you) that allows you to live your life exactly the way you want it.

Mahatma Gandhi once said:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts.
 Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values.
Your values become your destiny.”

With that he underlines the freedom, the power and the possibilities of change.

To our success,