Three months now since I have left my job at NATO to become an Entrepreneur! Many people wonder what it is that I am exactly doing since they see the passing posts and videos on social media. Is she a coach? Is she a consultant? Is she Mother Theresa? No worries, I know exactly what I am doing!

Being an Entrepreneur allows me to leverage all of my multi-potentiality, which is rooted in emotional intelligence. We live in a society where boxes and labels are still a safe space and a form of judgment. Anyone who does not fit is judged based on other people’s standards. This has been my first lesson learned:

Building and accepting a foundation of my own in my role as Entrepreneur will keep me on my path of mission, vision and meaning. 

Today I want to share with you my top five lessons learned in my three months as an Entrepreneur in the Heart of Europe, Brussels, Belgium! And also Italy, Bali, Lombok, Hungary and Slovakia!

Number one know and live your vision, every day!

Being clear on my values and my final destination has been challenging and I had several reiterations of sanity checks. Checking in with myself every day is crucial. All the decisions and the choices you make have to be aligned with your values and intent in life. The alternative is feeling drained and lost on a path which is not yours.

When you are intentional about every choice and decision you make, the energy exchange in return is amazing. Things you did not expect come back in forms and shapes beyond your imagination. Things which are not meant for you and which are not in your highest and greatest good will magically disappear.

Fighter jets in the sky

Number two — when people show you who they are, believe them. The first time!

I have the heart of Mother Theresa and because of many disappointments and empty promises I developed a mindset of a Dutch pitbull. That’s not an actual saying, but you get the point!

I had agreements with clients and people I considered friends, who would help me in exchange for services. I kept my end of the bargain because I want to sleep with my integrity intact. Many did not keep their promise and I got mad, sad, frustrated and sometimes lost hope for humanity. That sounds a bit too dramatic !?

I also had many people promising me the world when in reality they never intended to follow through. Or I got lured in for coffees just to end up coaching people for free.

I realized that this is a hard lesson learned, but one that is critical in setting up a thriving business with boundaries!! As long as you add value first and foremost and are clear on your self-worth; people will treat you the way you treat yourself! Now, I attract mainly serious and clients with good intentions.

Setting Boundaries

Setting Boundaries

Number three — it is a lot of non-creative and boring work as well

The administration of setting up a business is not to be underestimated. Delegation is key. As a starting Entrepreneur, you will have to make a decision on which areas you will invest your money in. Website maintenance and bookkeeping were areas I was not willing to compromise on. The rest I do all by myself based on my 18-year experience in different places and positions in NATO. Having worked in an administrative position, strategic communications, stakeholder and customer relations and in project management for almost two decades, organizing my work is now a blessing as much of the work comes naturally to me.

I still try to procrastinate now and then because administrative work is not as passionate as designing crisis simulations. I also know that I can lose a lot of money and gain in pain if I don’t immerse in the nitty-gritty stuff as well! So I just do it, like Nike!

Number four — don’t dwell on your thoughts which emerge with negative emotions

Many times I feel alone and anxious wondering why the hell did I leave my safe and secure job. I wonder whether I will make a profit soon and if I am going to make it at all. When this occurs I close my eyes and I take a deep breath. I visualize all the accomplishments I have had so far. I am reminded of all my gifts and talents to make the world a better place.

But most important of all – I remember my vision which drives me to do what I do today:

Re-imagining a workforce where burnout prevention takes priority and well-being of people comes first. Organizations who are truly people centric first, know that their productivity levels, performance and profit will increase significantly if they take care of their most important asset – human beings!

When I open my eyes, I realize that I am a seasoned professional in moving through failure and surpassing adversity, so I should have nothing to worry about!

Number five — keep moving forward mindfully

I always say live in the moment as now is all we have. Not the past nor the future, but now. I get a lot of comments such as:

“Living in the now is careless, you need a plan in life!”


“That’s great, but not all of us have the luxury to forget about our everyday reality and just breath in the moment!

What I mean by living in the moment is to plan every aspect of your life in line with your vision and work towards your objectives while keeping yourself grounded in the reality of now.

This is a very powerful way of processing negative emotions and building human resilience. Gaining perspective and understanding your purpose beyond yourself will get you through some of the toughest situations in life!

What also helps is reminding yourself that you are a mortal human being and death is inevitable. You never know when you are going to die, so you better start living! I have a wonderful view of Brussels and its cemeteries which keeps me grounded in reality, perspective and purpose!

I hope these five lessons learned are of value to you. Learn more about my purpose as an entrepreneur, check out my website!

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