I am not afraid

When I started my own business five years ago, I felt like diving off a cliff. That I was going to dive was inevitable, but the idea of slapping mercilessly on the surface of the water did keep me up at night. Nevertheless, I threw myself off.

Hard slaps

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I hit the surface of the water hard: my first rejection to a big offer. And I had worked on it into the wee hours of the morning! The dent to my self-confidence in the process was substantial. “I obviously can’t present myself to my supervisor like this” I thought.

“Huh?” I was dumbfounded. The tender in question was almost bursting at the seams with options, thoroughly backed up with scientific documentation and validated with a case study.

“Why can’t you submit this,” I asked the person in question, overwhelmed. ‘Well all the hard facts are in it, you are undoubtedly expert in what you do but the most important thing is missing: Who are you?”


I licked my wounds and climbed up again, preparing for the next dive. And again I came down with a smack, and again I climbed up the same way.

After a few blows, I was quite blue, but, without really being aware of it, I was still avoiding the cause. I focused on the customer. I mostly looked at how they are loaded by their past, which largely determines how they run their business today. But why didn’t I dwell on how I myself was loaded? It turned out to be a question I had explored a lot more thoroughly with my clients than with myself.

Time to face the music

I decided to take the journey inward, the journey I had apparently so callously put off. Almost immediately, I saw the person who was really standing on the cliff. Brave but naive, flexible but overly loyal, tough on the outside and focused on the facts – inside always looking out for a reaching hand. “Lust not lies in the graveyard, and know not lies beside it,” was the motto in our family home. It prompted me at a young age to always work hard but keep myself out of the equation. I had forgotten myself in the solution. Was I healing my wounds through my clients, by letting them travel inward? The realization was a profound shock and at the same time a wonderful release.

On my inward journey, I discovered something that changed everything: my own unique ability. This ability was hidden in the same source as my fear: turning the light on myself. Until then, I had put others, as well as reason and analysis, at the center. This allowed me to avoid looking into myself.

I jumped off the cliff once more, and this time had the courage to discover what I had been ignoring all this time: confidence in my uniqueness. I didn’t need confirmation from outside, I needed confirmation from myself. I discovered halfway through that I was making the journey not to address and fix my doubts, but to discover what I was doing wrong. Again and again I went back to that question: “what can I change?” It was a point of no return.

To a large extent, my craving for affirmation turned out to be the engine under everything I had done. It determined the triggers I resonated with, how I perceived everything around me, what I felt and thought, how I behaved.

In the people around you, you meet yourself

During the period, I met countless entrepreneurs and professionals who similarly outsource their pain to others; to their team, colleagues, a project… to their family and/or friends. In particular, I saw how much loss (in the broadest sense of the word) they created by ignoring their pain.

Thus, I met ’the fighters’ who kept sabotaging things to avoid their own responsibility. I saw a lot of ‘pleasers’, who liked to hold others responsible for their own discomfort, as well as ’the diplomats’, who preferred to color outside the lines, and did so in an outrageous way, except when they were being judged or felt in control, in which case they were the moral knight. And of course there were also ’the jokers,’ who couldn’t take the seriousness of the matter. It was a motley crew. 

In all the archetypes, I found myself. All so different, but all with a shared grievance: They did not take responsibility. In my case, taking responsibility was mostly about shining the light on my own emotional experience, and not ducking out by pleasing someone else.

Looking the lion in the mouth

Digging a little deeper, I arrived at the central theme: fear of being alone. I gave that fear all the light and love I had in me. And then… I fell in love with who I am. My biggest fear manifested as my most valuable source. I’m not afraid to feel lonely any longer, because I’m not alone. I’m with me. What a joy. What a gift. The relief came almost immediately and a whole new perspective opened up for me, as if I were entering a new chapter in life.  

Fear and authentic power come from the same source

I learned how much power there is behind relaxation. For years, I had misused this power as a way to ignore pain. Now I could use this power to understand pain and translate it into personal growth, in myself and others. ‘The wounded healer had healed’. After I had taken off my mask that had helped me avoid fear, I became aware of my own wonderful power: a keen eye for that which lies out of sight. Ironic really.

I have since used my power to activate countless entrepreneurs to face their own load so that they can breathe again, grow as a person and as an entrepreneur, and thus ignite others again.

My goal: that they come home inspired and recharged.

Do you want to have a chat? Don’t hesitate to connect!