That particular quality of being always aware. Always on. Or is it a curse? Setting your standards as high as possible while being agile and trying not to disappoint anyone at the same time.. But how is that sustainable in any way?
For over 20 years I’ve worked on developing those traits on a daily basis. My first boss, under which I worked at the coolest amusement parc of the Netherlands, has always been supercritical. Towards herself and those around her and there was not a chance on earth I’d ever let her down. I did absolutely everything in my power to live up to every single one of her expectations. At the tender age of 20, this meant negotiation the deals with our supplies. The small ones and the biggest ones. On top of that, I handled at least 500 job interviews a year and wore the huge responsibility of managing 180 employees on a daily basis. My colleagues were as driven and hungry for success as I was and collectively, we did everything we possibly could to live up to the expectations anyone could have of us.
However, it was not all cakes and ale though. 90-hour workweeks, threats, theft, slashed flat tires, it was all part of it. And despite all of those hours of hard work and the blood, sweat and tears that goes with it, it has been the phase in my life in which I’ve learnt and grown the most. It’s the basis of everything I’ve done ever since.
I guess that working for big brands in leading positions in the decades that followed have distinguished who I am in many ways. It’s safe to say I’ve ‘become’ my jobs. I became what I did. So when it was time to spread my wings and start my own business there was this huge fear. A nagging fear. Who would I become without a clear job title and dito framework at a company?
I’ll tell you this. I’ve discovered that the closest feeling that comes to mind after having made such as decision resembles a free fall. The lack of a fixed salary, a solid set of colleagues and a standard office automatically entails the lack of a clear identity deriving from those elements. On the other hand, such a free fall offers a load of new possibilities, insights and the chance to meet the most wonderful new people. I love this phase of my life and I am honestly not sure whether I’d want it any other way anymore. Ever.
That jittery feeling of wanting to get things done as quickly as possible is still there. And yes, I am continuously searching for new ways to meet up to everyone’s expectations (especially those I’ve for myself) and I'm still having trouble saying ‘no’ from time to time, but at least now I am free to live my own dream(s) and foremost: there’s not a day that goes by without meeting new, inspirational and exhilarating new talents. I truly came to believe that free falling is the only way to go when you’re in need of growth. Because as we all know, the magic happens outside of your comfort zone.