Several thousands of (mostly) women get to read my content every month. Readers come from all over the world and I am grateful for the support. In the meantime I have also become very curious about you. I thought it would be fun to answer some of your burning questions. I’ll update the section from time to time, so send me your questions! You can ask me anything, no question is too big or too small.
Ask me anything
What kind of things did you most often ask yourself about as a child?
I’ve probably wondered many times why adults generally seem to be so convinced about what they’re doing and where they’re going. We get to see politicians, spokespersons, Popstars, people with strong opinions and people who strongly seem to know what they are talking about. As I got older I started to see that these strong individuals were just human beings. Human beings with insecurities and problems. You can actually find a lot of people who are far from sure about what they feel or actually know why they are doing what they are doing.
To a certain extent you could argue that we as human beings often have to believe that what we are already doing is the right thing because what else would be the point of even being there? But when you are little and you look at all those confident adults, it can overwhelm you. It can influence you of what kind of person you want to be in the world. At some point it just appeared to me that no matter how things may look like from the outside, the main thing that matters in life is our willingness to ask ourselves the real questions of why we are here and where we would like to go.
I noticed your curiosity. What keeps you going and what do you like about learning more and asking questions?
It gives me a lot of joy to discover something I didn’t know yet. I like new ideas and I like the sensation of “not knowing” because it gives me the idea that I’m moving forward. Asking questions can be a way to test gaps in my own knowledge. And like they often say; the more you learn the more you realize you don’t know a thing, which motivates me to keep on going. In a way it’s a drug to learn more and it can deepen your relationship with people as well. A conversation is like a dance in which you can discover how far you can go with people. I like that as well.
I go for an easy one. What is the most useless thing you ever bought?
My answer: My bed makes almost every other thing I ever bought useless. I truly love to sleep.
Do you ever get intimidated by people you admire or get to work with? If yes, how do you deal with that?
It always helps me to focus on the role I’m asked to fulfill and then try to figure out what it requires from me. I’m always trying to serve the job as good as I possibly can and I seek to make improvements every single day. I’ve been in many rooms with people that I admired or looked up to. When I’m invited in a meeting or board room with people I admire I try to see that as an invitation adressed to not just me, but to me because of the role I have. Because they hired me for the role, I belong in that room like anyone else. We are all hired to take a seat at the table and to deliver expertise and bring the best we have to the table. That applies to the people we admire as to ourselves as well. We all have something to add, that’s what I believe.
For example, making plans is nice but what would be the worth of a good idea or plan without reality check? The feedback from the people that normally don’t spend much time in board rooms but know exactly what’s happening on the ground on a day-to-day basis is of tremendous value. So whenever I sense something like awe, I try to check-in with myself and change course. That check-in is useful not only because it reminds me of the fact that my voice and all of our voices matter, it also helps me not be taken off track. I want to make sure that I deliver the best I can. So use your voice. Make it count.
Do you think honesty is always a good thing? Can we always be honest?
The short answer: yes, I do believe that we can be honest and that honesty is a good thing, always. The longer answer might be that we need to be effective in communicating that honesty. There might be a balance between open and honest on the one hand and being blunt on the other. If we want to be effective communicators, that balance is something that should be cared after. We need to align our intention of being honest to the needs of the other person. Without alignment, there is no conversation. It will be an one way street of one person telling the other person what to do and how to think. Sometimes the conclusion might be it’s not necessary to say a thing, sometimes you are not the person to say it, sometimes it’s not the right moment and sometimes it’s not asked for. And sometimes a couple of things just need to be said so that everybody can move on.
So I would say the difficulty is more to whom are you going to deliver your message and when, how and where. In many conversations I feel like opinions are often stated as facts. I often don’t like that moralizing tone because it’s when reality is simplified to what’s right and what’s wrong, which give people the invisible permission to say that their version of “good” is more valuable. The way you balance those factors out can be of (great) difficulty, because there will always be interpretations or assumptions that we are simply never able to control, even when our good intentions are taken care of. So there is a dynamic between knowing what you can control and what not, awareness of the other person and things that have to be said. Balancing the factors out can be challenging, but it might be worth it.
Do you have a spiritual practice?
I often remind myself that I never enter a room alone. You take your grandma with you, your grandpa, your mom, your sister, the people that meant something to you at a certain point in your life but are not part of your life anymore, whether they are dead or alive. People you loved or hated. All of those people learned you something. They are part of me, or you can say; they made me who I am today. So whenever I feel alone or confused, I make sure I go into silence mode. To that place inside yourself that gives me the courage to do what I need to do, and to be who I need to be.
I would like to answer more of your interesting questions and get a sense of your interests and what you would like to know about me. If you have questions to extend this Ask Me Anything section, please let me know. I like to hear from you. If you want you can add your questions to the comment section below.