Life Lessons

3 reasons why you don’t have to be an actress or a politician to do good

Just like the blog that I wrote called this is my definition of success, this is another thought of mine that was stuck in my head for quite a while. There are certain things that strikes me when it comes to the public perspective of doing good. Let me give you 3 reasons for why I think you don’t have to be an actress or a politician to have your voice heard and make a difference.

The public perspective

There are so many high profile individuals with a lot to be thankful for. Fame, wealth, status… And they are also very visible with that. You know, it’s not a surprise that so many people sign up for talents shows in fields like the entertainment industry.

With that fame, status and wealth also come great opportunities to do some good and give back. Look for example at former Victoria Secret Model Doutzen Kroes. After her work as a model she started to do some charity work to protect elephants and bring some awareness for AIDS. Or look for example at Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio who want to make a change in the world of climate. There are not many high-profile individuals who are using their fame to serve the greater good so consistently over the years as DiCaprio does. All of these people somehow use their fame to bring awareness to a certain topic and do some good.

Having so many people interested in what you have to say is great and because of that, people often think that you need to be a politician or an actor before people start to listen to you. Or before you are even able to do some good just because they’re able to reach millions of people with their visions, ideas and thoughts. Let me give you 3 reasons for why I think that everyone within his or her own field has the ability to do some good and give back. And that it’s not only a game for actors or politicians.

1) Success is subjective

Let’s draw an important line here. When we have a look at politicians, actors and models, we see fame and we see a certain success. Those two are often not separated. But fame and success are not the same at all.

In the blog this to me is the definition of success, I already talked about the importance of formulating your own definition of how success should look like. Success is entirely personal, it does not rely on others for approval and it is about your own career dreams, your own aspirations and it should be defined by the accolades one achieves for her own benefit. In the Collins dictionary, success is defined as “the favourable outcome of something attempted.”

In addition to that, fame is defined in the Collins dictionary as “the state of being widely known or recognised; renown; celebrity”. Although many people strive to become famous, being widely known doesn’t necessarily imply that you’re on the path of achieving something favourable which you attempted.

For example, being widely known doesn’t necessarily imply that you are a happy person, that you hone your craft, or that you are making a bigger imprint on the world than others that are not famous. We can find people who became famous but didn’t like any of it. But what fame does imply as well, is that you are able to reach way more people than most of us can, that you are having a certain access to a network of (other) high profile people and that more people know your name.

Therefore, fame creates a lot of opportunities. Opportunities that you can use to serve something that you find meaningful. If you’re able to do that, you make those two complement, although they differ in meaning. Obviously you don’t need the fame to become successful, but what does matter is your vision on what success is. You need to know where you’re going and fame can help you along your journey.

2) Finding the right people

So once you find out for yourself what you want to do, it’s more important to find the right people for the things that you want to achieve, than to become just well-known with random people.

If you’re passionate about pepper seeds and you want to start a business, let’s go find the people who also passionate about that. Once you find the right people, you’re more likely to serve them well, know what’s really in their minds and to give back.

Being well-known by 10 people who can do stellar things for your career is far superior to being known by 200 who can’t help you whatsoever. Size doesn’t matter, but engagement does. So you’re successful if you know how to promote yourself for the right reasons.

That means that, besides the fact that there is no place for everyone to become famous, it is also not needed to become famous in order to do meaningful work and do good. You only have to find the right people to make things work. It’s the number one rule in marketing and business.

3) Use your abilities

Therefore, using your abilities to serve others in a meaningful way is another important one for why you don’t have to be an actress or politician to do some good.

I mean, because I have a background in social sciences and business I’m more likely to write content for you that is useful and meaningful. The experiences that I have, my knowledge, my values and ideas create the opportunity to serve this community. Although I don´t reach millions of people, I do think that there are certain ideas and messages on my blog that can be useful for the online audience that I speak to.

And maybe you are a teacher, working with disabled children. Or you work in the film industry where you experience the underrepresentation of women. All of those experiences combined with your own talents, skills and expertise, can create an opportunity for a better future.

When it comes to doing good, I am sure that in your situation there are things that you can do and use to make a difference. And although it may seem that being famous is needed to reach millions of people, those famous people have opportunities and boundaries too. It all comes down to the question what you’re going to do with the things that you do have, to make a change.

Conclusion

So there are some reasons to believe that you don´t need to be an actress, model or whatsoever to do some good to the world.

Although they’re able to reach millions of people, we all have talents, values, skills and therefore, opportunities to make a meaningful change to peoples lives. If we try to focus on improving ourselves and doing things that we love to do in order to serve others, we end up adding value to peoples lives. Whether you are an actor or not.

Besides that, if fame is not the same as success, we really have to find out for ourselves what success is and how we personally would define it. In some ways fame can be complementary to success. It can enable you to do more of the things you love to do.

But doing good is not about finding the biggest audience for your story, rather than finding the right audience with the right people. The change you seek to make should fit the needs of the group of people you’re trying to help.

So formulate your own definition of success and how it should look like, find the right people that need that change you seek to make and use your expertise to serve them as good as possible. When it comes to doing good, it really is up to yourself to make the moral conclusion: am I doing what I can, within my own situation, to do some good and am I consistent and authentic in doing that.

Last note

My hope is that we can let go of that overly focusing on fame as something that you need to have to achieve your dreams or as something that you need for doing good. Making a name for yourself can be in any field, and there are many problems to solve in this world. If we find more and more people that do work they love and at the same time try to do good in many industries, I think we are blessed with each other.

So I am very happy to hear from you. What do you think about this and when do you think doing good is done with integrity? Let me know!

Life Lessons

How to deal with gossip

I’ve also learned how to deal with gossip in my life. I met my boyfriend in my own house. He was my roommate and we lived with many others. One of the biggest struggles for me was that I had to figure out what it was we shared, while there were others who wanted to label it as such.

Gossip is from all times

Whether you’re in high school or later in your life. There will always be people who are going to judge. Whether this judgement is positive or negative, with that label people put you in a box.

As a result of people putting you in a box, it can leave you with confusion. Even little and short sayings can disrupt you. In the worst case you can start to believe those gossip.

And although we all know we have to let it go, we sometimes do it ourselves or find it difficult to actually let it go.

Hell yeah, Dr. Phil has something…

I watched this Youtube-interview between Dr. Phil and Sophie Turner. You can know her from Game of Thrones. They had a chat about her mental health problems and how to create meaning to suffering.

Until Dr. Phil came up with something that I found very meaningful to share with you. He said:

When someone spreads lies about you… It’s not about you. Ever. Gossip, whether in the form of a rumour that’s sweaping the nation or a gripe-session between friends, reflects the insecurity of the person(s) who initiated… And mostly when we are making statements behind their backs, we want to feel powerful.

In some way we feel powerless, unworthy, etc. Hurtful words, whether to ourselves or to others… sends the message we cannot be trusted. Gossip means we haven’t embolden’t ourselves to talk directly to the people we take issue with. So what you do: you belittle them.

AMEN.

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Conclusion

I love this. What do you think of these words? Do you think they are inspirational?

If you’re interested in more life lessons, head over to these blogs:

Life Lessons

Intuition. A great gift that needs to be noticed

Every now and then conversations that I have with people are about intuition and especially what that intuition is exactly. I’m a big believer of the importance of intuition, and that highly intuitive people actually do things differently.

Hard to define

I would say that we all experience a gut feeling every once in a while. That “little invisible man”, sitting on your shoulder whispering in your ear what to do and what not. He’s always there. Always ready to guide you.

Steve Jobs once acclaimed that your intuition is more powerful than intellect. See more quotes on intuition in this blog: my top 10 quotes to embrace your intuition. Despite the huge role that it plays in our everyday lives, its still hard to define what it is. The nature of intuition has long eluded us, and has inspired centuries’ worth of research and inquiry in the fields of philosophy and psychology.

There’s one thing that I know about intuition and that is that it is taken way to less serious as it supposed to be. I consider intuition as how Sophy Burnham from the book the art of intuition calls it: “I define intuition as the subtle knowing without having any idea why you know it”. It’s a great clarification because most of the conversations that we have about intuition are about analyzing it. But how to analyze a knowing without knowing?

Subtle

I agree that that tension is interesting and actually I would like to speak more with people on this topic. Clearly artists would say that its all that they do. Being intuitive and open to the world and incorporate their insights in their work. But intuition is way more subtle than having it or not.

Obviously, the intuitive side of your brain sees things differently than the logical one and therefore it guides you with information that can help you differently too. Therefore, I don’t think you’re work is succeeded by using intuition or your logic only. It’s a combination. It’s more like depending on the moment on which you react using or your sensitive side or your rational one.

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Important life skill

Are you intuitive? Bestselling author Sophy Burnham contends that we all have hunches and sudden insights, and that we need only awaken to our innate abilities in order to develop our inner wisdom.

In this fascinating book, Burnham tells the stories of individuals who have “seen without seeing,” illustrating the wondrous workings of what she calls our “intuitive hearts.” Exploring a wide range of subjects-from loved ones’ abilities to communicate telepathically to the mystery of the artist’s inspired creativity; from animal communication to psychic powers; from scientifi c studies of premonition to the skeptics who deny the very existence of such phenomena-this is a stunning contribution from a leading spiritual thinker on a topic vital to us all.

With exercises and step-by-step instructions, this inspiring book guides readers in developing their intuitive powers and learning to trust their gained insights. According to Burnham, intuition is always right, and when you receive messages from Spirit-be it in the form of a subtle impression or a thunderous bolt from the blue-you must always, always act on them.

Conclusion

Reading the book Burnham wrote opened my eyes on how highly intuitive people do things differently. But I also embrace the idea that being this or that, isn’t that important.

What’s interesting is when to use that special gift. And how to use it. Acknowledging that everyone has this great gift called gut-feeling is a first step. But if you don’t pay attention because you don’t know when or how to use it, it’s time to practice a bit, in order to balance it with your logic side and promote some inner wisdom for yourself.

To me, Sophy Burnham has written an expansive and illuminating treatment of intuition as an important life skill that can open many new doors for us. It’s a great gift that everyone has and we need to notice it to gain some inner wisdom for ourselves. If you’re interested in her work, head over to Burnham’s book: The art of intuition.

Life Lessons

This TedTalk shows you how to learn from your opposite

You know, running a business sounds really cool. And it is: I often find myself smiling to random people at the streets, just because I was thinking about all the great things that happen to me. But on the other hand, there is much that I still have to learn and practice.  

Watch the Tedtalk in advance.

Limiting thoughts

We are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others sometimes. In this funny book: How to be Miserable, 40 strategies you already use, Randy Paterson writes how comparing yourself with others is one of the things that makes peoples lives miserable.

Especially in today’s world has comparing yourself with others never been easier. Whether it’s your neighbor or your competitor: social media makes everyone super visible. And with that visibility often comes comparison.

For example thoughts like: what are the things that this person has which I don’t have? Am I good enough? and: Can I be like her? In the next article I like to explain to you why these thoughts are of no use for you.

In the book Nonviolent communication by Marshall Rosenberg I came across this poem written by Ruth Bebermeyer. The way she explains labels stuck with me ever since:

I’ve never seen a lazy man;
I’ve seen a man who never ran
while I watched him, and I’ve seen
a man who sometimes slept between
lunch and dinner, and who’d stay
at home upon a rainy day,
but he was not a lazy man.
Before you call me crazy,
think, was he a lazy man or
did he just do things we label “lazy”?

I’ve never seen a stupid kid;
I’ve seen a kid who sometimes did
things I didn’t understand
or things in ways I hadn’t planned;
I’ve seen a kid who hadn’t seen
the same places where I had been,
but he was not a stupid kid.
Before you call him stupid,
think, was he a stupid kid or did he
just know different things than you did?

I’ve looked as hard as I can look
but never ever seen a cook;
I saw a person who combined
ingredients on which we dined,
A person who turned on the heat
and watched the stove that cook the meat –

I saw those things but not a cook.
Tell me when you’re looking,
is it a cook you see or is it someone
doing things that we call cooking?

What some of us call lazy
some call tired or easy-going,
what some of us call stupid
some just call a different knowing,
so I’ve come to the conclusion,
it will save us all confusion
if we don’t mix up what we can see
with what is our opinion.
Because you may, I want to say also;
I know that’s only my opinion.

I love the poem because it shows how easy it is to think in terms of judgements and labels, while you actually don’t know who you have in front of you.

Not only that, judgements can also be either positive and negative. You may classify a person “pretty” and “successful”, but yourself as “indecisive” and ugly. Whether it’s true or not, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day those labels are very subjective and comparing yourself with others through the labels that you make, can be quite in your way of becoming fully present.

What distracted me from the real doing

The reason why these labels are not serving you is because things become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let me give you an example of myself.

When starting a business in the online (publishing) industry, I had this strong belief about myself. Although I knew for sure that I wanted to do this, I also considered myself as a “bad entrepreneur” for a long time. And I indeed started to live by that belief.

That is to say that to respond to this label that I had stuck on myself, I completely started to focus on improving myself. I kept reading and reading about entrepreneurship. From setting up businesses to people’s visions about leadership. I felt like I had to compensate my introvert character that didn’t like to stand out from the crowd at parties. It just didn’t feel right.

As time past by I came to the conclusion that having an extra-vert character and enough knowledge of business were both part of how I thought a good entrepreneur should look like. But because I didn’t believe that you can get there without having both, I found myself in a place where these thoughts distracted me from the real doing.

Broadening my perspective

So as time went on, I spent some time with people and read some other books (mostly self-help) that helped me realize the limiting believe of that mantra.

I remember that I became fully aware of the believe that although I was longing for it, there would never come a moment in which I would be satisfied of all the knowledge that I had gained.

Moreover, I had also to admit that if I had a good look around me, there were ofcourse enough examples of introverted entrepreneurs who weren’t shouting from the rooftops to promote their businesses. Take for example serial-entrepreneur Richard Branson, who is a self-called introvert. He wrote this blog about being an introvert in business: Even introverts can become great entrepreneurs.

I came to realize that I needed to change my perspective on things.

Growth mindset

I’m not sure whether that label of me being a bad entrepreneur was created by me or my environment. But I’m sure it was implanted in my brain and it affected my way of thinking and operating. Labeling others changes the way you perceive them and therefore don’t let them be who they really are. The same as with labeling yourself.

Because in fact: a person is not defined by his outer looks, nor his amount of money or knowledge. We are all human, with basic needs, living through unique abilities.  

Seeing that unique abilities in others and yourself, that is what I would call a growth mindset. It enables you to think: well I may not have this, but I do have that. And being an imperfect person makes me proud because I know where I came from. Learning that to see in others as well can give you the opportunity to eventually really focus on no-one but yourself. Just to improve and to learn from others.

What I now know about myself, is that I have some unique abilities that serve me well. I’m a great listener, I’m always open to learn new things and I also have a great sense of what’s really going on in peoples lives. Those abilities serve me in achieving the things that I want to do. And because I am not afraid of admitting that I’m not the most assertive person, I’ll find people who are better than me in doing certain things. That’s how you lift eachother up. Let’s see how I am now… A couple of years further I own this website and turned it into a real brand. And I absolutely LOVE it!

Learning from your opposite in business

Especially paying attention to people who are your opposite is a way to help yourself grow. And even from a business point of view it may be helpful to zoom in to the unique abilities of other brands. That is why I like the following TedTalk so much. It’s called: What nonprofits can learn from Coca-Cola.

Melinda Gates talks about the strategies that Coca-cola used to become the valuable brand that she is today. The strongest brand out there, to be precise. Those strategies can benefit nonprofits as well, to save lives and make the world a better place. 

Consequently, it wouldn’t be constructive to stick the label “too commercial” on a company like Coca-Cola. It would give nonprofits the permission to say: “well, that’s not our cup of tea. We don’t have to look at that because we are not like them”.

Wouldn’t it be a growth mindset to say: “we want to learn from the unique abilities that this company has and incorporate these into the mission of what we want to accomplish in the world”. The same as with people. 

Conclusion

Whether we’re talking about people or companies. Having a focus on the things that you can learn from your opposite in order to improve your life or the company’s life, can be incredibly useful. That’s what a growth mindset has to offer you. 

Think about what this growth mindset can do for you and your life. Maybe there’s something that you can change for the better.

For now, you may have become interested in the Tedtalk about Coca-Cola and Non-profits. I’m not gonna give you any spoilers, so just dive into this thoughtful talk.

Life Lessons

This to me is the definition of success

I am always fascinated by lists such as “The Most Powerful People In The World”, or “30 under 30” and especially by how they are compiled and then be viewed. Read on for my definition of success.

How success is seen

First of all, look for example at how someone ends up in such a list. External things such as famestatus and wealth are always used to define and rank success.

Rarely is success explained as something related to trustperseverance, one’s self-knowledge, or how someone promotes ethical behavior among his or her employees. How powerful a person is, is also determined by such things.

It strikes me that people primarily look at success in that first way and thereon base their ideas. Using external factors to define success is striking to me, but concerns me a little bit too. It makes me wonder how healthy that is.

Moreover, there is also another way in which success is seen that strikes me. Namely, people often talk about success as if it is “suddenly” coming to you. That it happens in an instant. You snap your fingers and there it is: a listing in the Quote-500 or those 2 million followers on Instagram. Today you are the greatly promise of Forbes, but yesterday you were not and would you be tomorrow?

What does having power in these situations actually mean?

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How I see it

Success is a long process

For me, success is all about learning and making mistakes. Some things don’t just happen and most of the time you need to learn en practice enough so that you know how you can actually be yourself. But success is also about finding time to figure out how you can be the best in the work that you do, or about asking yourself the right questions so that you can find the work that’s right for you.

So to accomplish success, you need to learn. But not less importantly: you have to make mistakes. A lot. I believe that mistakes are simply there to point you in a different direction. They are always there to guide you. And when you start to see them as a way to make your life better, you’ll see that it enables you to focus on developing your own potential and banish useless feelings like shame and failure.

What I’ve learned and now consider to be true is that all the great things in my life have always been preceded by some sort of a learning process and that the mistakes that I made along the way have taken me to where I am right now. But all of this greatness doesn’t just happen overnight or by getting a mention on an A-list. Success is a loooong process and what you need for it is timededication and patience.

Success is also about understanding your own potential

There is also no real success for me without focusing on who the person is you want to be. This kind of power is about how you bring everything in your life – big or small – in line with who you really are. It’s about understanding your full potential.

That is what success is all about for me: being sincere to people regardless of their status, standing for what you find important and doing work that gives you inspiration and energy. This kind of power is what is considered as authentic leadership and might be best explained by Gary Zukav. He wrote in The Seat of the Soul:

“When we align our thoughts, emotions, and actions with the highest part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm, purpose, and meaning… When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of its soul, that is authentic empowerment.” – Gary Zukav

Logically, authentic leadership is about making it a priority in your life to fulfill your goals and desires in a meaningful way. It’s an approach that is defining success more from the inside out.

How to get there

That’s exactly what the secret to your own success is: alignment. Fulfill your desires by doing what you exactly are supposed to be doing. Walk the long road of bringing your life in line with its purpose and become the most powerful version of yourself. I can assure you that when you see this kind of power in someone or yourself, it is irresistible, inspiring and uplifting.

And sometimes I experience it myself too. For example if I get an insight from films, conversations or books and I want to share this insight with someone. Especially the insights that I know are going to help someone to live life more from the inside out. Therefore, I get a lot of energy and inspiration from having conversations that create aha-moments. Or coming up with ideas that help people reach their full potential, both personally and professionally. That is where my strength lies.

We all have our own strengths. Recognize them and know what makes you happy in order to live by it. It will help you define your own definition of success and not the one of others.

Conclusion

So how we as a society define success has been in my mind for years. Using more internal ways to create a definition of success and also see it as something that requires time, a good understanding of yourself, dedication and patience is in my opinion a more healthy and realistic one.

That’s just because I think that all individuals have an unique combination of skills, values and talents. And because of that, they are empowered by things that may be different from one another. If we let the world define what should make us happy and valued, we end up living the life of others.

I know for sure that every challenging experience offers the opportunity to grow, improve your life or learn something valuable about yourself. Those lessons can help you come closer to do the things that you really want. Share your personal definition of success in the comment section below. I like to hear from you!

Head over to my bookshelf

To find the books that I mentioned in this blog post.