Have you ever worked your ass off for having that dream company, with those dream employees, dream products and dream customers?
Well I had, I dreamt about my own sustainable fashion brand, clothes that where made to measure for my customers, all timeless and stylish designs, basics every woman should have in her wardrobe and all made from natural fibers and quality materials that would last a life time. I poured everything I had into the idea and worked more than 3 years to get the company up and running from the ground up, I designed every piece of clothing, we developed our own specific patterns and innovative grading system, I had customers who even became brand ambassadors and still wear the garments with pride up until today, I organized fashion shows where people compared me to Frans Molenaar (couldn’t believe it) and I even had established an atelier where we worked on an average with 5-15 people to make it all happen.
First I came up with a lot of reasons that weren’t the root cause, they were all very true but all fixable so why didn’t I fix it?
In the end it didn’t work out and that had a couple of reasons, which were almost all fixable except one: how I was running my dream company didn’t fit my dream life. I had to figure this out the hard way, after I set up the company and invested more than 3 years of my life/tens of thousands of euros and was practically broke I had to be honest - Why wasn’t it working? What was holding me and my company back?
First I came up with a lot of reasons that weren’t the root cause, they were all very true (the concept and the atelier needed to move closer to the target audience, I had to invest in better photography and branding, I had to focus more on sales) but as I said these are all fixable so why didn’t I fix it?
And there we had it - something was holding me back and I kept on holding on to these limiting believes. After I invested all of my money and I couldn’t pay the rent of the atelier anymore it was time to make a decisions and do the deep inner work. I had to be really honest - why wasn’t this working, a great concept something I still strongly believe in.
And the answer was - because of ME and only me.
Like almost everything in life I just have to try to find out if something suits me or not. I have a lot of dreams, but in the end they are all dreams & ideas, a fiction, something I haven’t tried or experienced yet and therefor I don’t really know if they suit me and if the dream in reality is the same as imagined. Luckily by getting older, wiser and more experienced I now know better what suits me or not, how to take decisions that are the best for me and the most important part - take them fast.
So the next time I won’t have to spent 3 years and ten of thousands of euros to find out if a company suits me ;)
In the end the discovery started with me being more and more conscious and connected with my inner core. The easiest step was writing down my core values again (after 4 years) and being very honest - what would be my best life and would my company fit in that lifestyle. My dream company wasn’t my dream life, it tore on one of my most important foundations of my best life - freedom. The freedom to go where I want to and when I want to, the freedom of going on adventures and traveling around the world, being free of any agenda or time schedule, With how I was running my company this was definitely not going to work.
But what now??? Everything I worked for, for 3 years was turned upside down. I kept calm, did a lot of breathing and gave myself the time, the time to discover and to connect, to in the end redesign my life.
READ - a lot of meditating, breathing, eating healthy and primarily plant based foods, doing yoga and feeling and writing a lot….and when I say a lot, I really mean a lot. The path of personal growth isn’t easy and is hard work and I had to conquer patterns and limiting believes: like if you start something you got to finish it, or as an entrepreneur you just need to get up one more time than falling down, and all the other - in basic very true but not per definition - conceptions of being an entrepreneur.
I needed to reconnect with my core, listen to my intuition and stay focused.
It led me to the designing table. I started designing my life again but this time I started around my dreams for LIFE (not what is the norm, or what society expects from me, or what is the logical next step, or what is the highest position I can reach, or ………a dream company, but what do I want from life).
after asking these question.....
In the end together with Gerben we designed our dream lifestyle - a life on our own condition and based on our dreams and passions for life: Traveling around the world with our family, inspiring others to follow their dreams rather sooner than later & setting up and participating in companies that have a positive impact on the world.
But why did it take so long?
Finally I spend 3 years working on a company that didn’t fit my best life. It took me around 4 years to get this straight…and this is more than perfectly fine. There are people who know exactly who they are, are strongly connected to their inner core and what energizes them, and there are those like me who lost their strong connection with their inner self, are just enthusiastic about anything & everything, are good at many things and primarily learn by doing, and that is just life. I actually enjoy following that journey of self-discovery and when I shamelessly fail - like with my first company making and selling of tea-cosy, okay okay okay my first project can’t really call it a company, but at that time I was deathly serious I had found the thing that would become a success - (luckily) I can have a good laugh with myself.
In the end all that I needed was to reconnect with my core, listen to my intuition and stay focused. Still I love the process of just exploring and trying something new, but now it is more and more and more intuitive en energetically (from my inner core) driven.
What did I learn & how did I transform
I learned so many valuable lessons about so many different subjects like entrepreneurship, branding, fashion, running a business, making investment decisions, sustainability, decisions about employees and cooperations and especially ending them quickly, but the most valuable lessons were the ones of self discovery: knowing my values to strive for by heart, daring to take bold decisions based on those values and my best life, being strong enough to go against the stream, staying connected to my inner core, following my intuition and to always choose for myself and my own happiness no matter what others might think or who I might disappoint,
We don’t want to be a victim of our own life and let our faith depend on others, we take control and make it better.
And eventually it led me to the discovery of the path from dream LIFE to reality