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Your health is your wealth

“Your health is your wealth”, we all have heard this expression.

In these days where most of us are stuck at home trying to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, I can’t help but think that this expression has never been truer to me…

Being healthy does not only mean being ‘fit’ i.e. not overweight. It also means being healthy in our mind. 

 

Physical health

When we say ‘health’ the first thing that comes to mind is usually our physical health. It is important to practice a sport regularly to feel good, to build your muscles and stamina. It also helps to release your stress and to sweat to release toxins from your body. Practicing a sport regularly helps you stay in a good condition and prevents you from having certain aches. After I had my serious car accident, dancing helped me build my muscles again. And these last two years, I’ve also started doing yoga. It helps me strengthen my muscles, especially those in my back.  

It actually does not matter which sport you do. Whether you like to run, play golf or tennis, dance, swim or cycle, as long as you do something regularly. 

 

Food

Being healthy also means paying attention to your nutrition. Many diseases we get are because of (1)  deficiency in vitamins and minerals and (2) toxicity. We often eat processed food and even though they may taste deliciously, they are often the food with the least nutrients to nourish our bodies. In addition, these processed foods often have lots of additives which, in the long run, make our bodies ‘toxic’. Think also about all the chemicals we use (not only to clean the house, but I think about the pollution we have outside. I also think of what we, women, use; the make up, nail polish, the color for our hair, etc.). By eating as much fresh fruits and vegetables as possible, we are helping our body – and mind – stay strong. We are providing them with vitamins, minerals, basically nutrients that are critical for our health. 

 

Mental health

Having a healthy mind is also critical to being healthy. What does it mean? It means trying to have positive thoughts, practicing affirmations. When you are constantly thinking ‘bad’ thoughts, you will stay in a negative framework. To have positive thoughts, pay attention to the words you use. Challenge yourself when you say something like “I always fail” or “I can never do this”… Is it REALLY the case? Is it really “ALWAYS” or “NEVER”? Or are you just exaggerating? 

Being mentally healthy also includes meditating or praying. It includes focusing on the present, the ‘now’. It also means removing as much negativity as possible. It means letting go of negative emotions and practicing gratitude. I know that in these challenging times, it is sometimes very difficult to let go of the negativity and practice gratitude, but there is always a silver lining in any situation…

From my experience, being healthy mentally is THE most important. The mind is stronger than the body. Napoleon Hill said it “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve” and Henry Ford as well: “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

To summarize

All of these actions take time and practice. Nothing will change from one day to another. But by doing little things every single day,, you will see some positive differences in the long run. Your body and your mind will thank you for it.

 

We should always be our Number 1 priority. 

This is not being selfish. 

This is being a leader, our own leader (see my previous blog on this). We can only help and support others if we can help ourselves first and are (mentally and physically) healthy. 

 

#vlvcoach #leadership #health

This article was also published on Linkedin.

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How to stay positive

Stay positive! Easier said than done! Life is full of ups and downs. We all have our struggles…

Like everyone, I had my share of challenges. When I look back, and even if these situations were tough at the time they happened, I am grateful they happened, as everytime I came out stronger. The main reason was because I always stayed positive. Of course, I have had times when I cried and felt depressed or down, but I always managed to look on the bright side…

 

How do you stay positive, even in challenging times? Here are my few tips.

 

Surround yourself with positive people

Nowadays, we are surrounded by negativity (the news, the bad weather, people who envy us, etc. ). It is critical that you surround yourself with people who support you, people who encourage you and who can challenge you to become a better version of yourself. We are never alone. Even if you do not have close friends where you live, you can always manage to get some support and create some great friendships online (I know I have, mostly via Linkedin).

 

Have a goal in mind

Especially when you are going through some tough times, make sure you have a goal in mind. When my parents got divorced, I had to take some exams at the university. Focusing on them helped me go through my parents’ divorce in a more ‘peaceful’ way. When I had my car accident, my goal was to be able to walk again and go back to my normal life. This was my priority number1. Literally, every step I was making, every progress I achieved, made me happier and happier, as I was coming closer to my goal. 

When you focus on something positive, something you’d like to achieve, you’ll be able to cope better with the more challenging experience you may be facing.

 

Listen to some uplifting music or watch funny movies

When I had my car accident, I had to lie down in bed in the hospital for weeks, I remember listening to some songs that were uplifting. They were making me happy. 

Watching movies that make you laugh also help you be more positive. Laughter is actually very good for your health. It helps strengthen your immune system and boost your mood among other things. Laughing helps you lighten your challenges. It helps you release your stress. 

 

Smile

This one is so easy and powerful and yet, not many of us do it on a regular basis. Smiling has a huge impact, not only on others but also on ourselves. It helps you relax and gives you hope. 

Try to smile and have negative thoughts at the same time, I challenge you! 😉 

 

Challenge your negative thoughts

When something bad happens to us, or someone disappoints us, or when something goes wrong, we have a tendency to generalize and make things worse… “Why does this ALWAYS happen to me?” or “Why am I NEVER able to do xyz?” etc. These little words such as ‘always’, ‘never’ are actually rarely accurate. We exaggerate our feelings. 

When you have these types of thoughts, ask yourself: is it really true or am I exaggerating? Can I think of one example when this was not the case? You will very often find an example if you are looking for it. 

 

Try to see the glass half full instead of half empty 

There is always something to learn from any situation. It’s ok to be sad, to feel angry, disappointed, down, but then take a moment to think: what is the lesson here? How does it help me? Going through challenges is never easy. However, when you look at life on the positive side, things start to brighten up

 

Be grateful

This one is probably the most powerful. When I had my car accident and ended up in the hospital, I was grateful to be alive. Yes, I was in a poor condition but I was alive. When they put me in a wheelchair, I was grateful my condition had improved. I was grateful for all the people who came to see me, for my colleagues who phoned me every single day for 6 months to know how I was recovering….Since then, I’ve been grateful every single day for being alive, for being able to walk, to run, to dance and I appreciate life more and more. 

Being grateful not only improves your mental health, it also helps improve your physical health. It increases happiness as well as your energy level. 

 

Remember

I would like to finish with a sentence, which I purposely used as the subtitle of my book “My revenge on life”.  

 

No matter the circumstances you’re facing, remember: Stay positive!

 

There is always the light at the end of the tunnel…

#vlvcoach #inspiration #mindset #leadership #staypositive

This article was also published on Linkedin.

Always believe in yourself

No matter what people think of us, always believe in yourself.

 

When I came back in the Netherlands in 2008, I had found a job in one of the big international banks in Amsterdam.  I had been hired in the technical department of the bank to set up a team in India.

I’ll always remember my 1st day at the bank. 

My first day

When I arrived, I could not help but notice that there were only 3 women in the team (out of approx. 40). All the others were mostly Dutch men in their 50s & a few young Indian men.

I went around and introduced myself to each of them. All were really welcoming. 

All of them except one man. He was the oldest. 

When I came to introduce me to him, I reached out my hand to him, told him my name and said that I was the new manager of the team. He then asked me:

‘Do you have any technical background?’ 

I replied ‘No’

He looked a bit surprised and continued:

‘And do you have any banking background?’

Here again, I said ‘No’

He looked puzzled. I knew he was wondering how I could have been hired to work in the IT department of the bank: me, a young woman, French, without any specialist knowledge. 

At that moment, I told myself ‘Fair enough’. He does not know me, he does not know what I can do. And maybe, I would have reacted the same way if I had been in his situation. 

 

The next few weeks, months, years…

From the next day onwards, I started to get to know my team members, my job, got the opportunity to go to India and meet some other colleagues of mine. 

Every day, this man was always a bit grumpy and not very friendly. Although it sometimes bothered me, I continued to build relationships with all my colleagues and team members, getting to know them while they were getting to know me. I was one of the few women, one of the youngest and one of the few foreigners in the team. Yet, I was confident in my abilities. I kept remembering myself thatI had been hired for a good reason. My manager had told me during one of my interviews: “I already have many specialists in the banking and IT areas. What I need is someone who has experience in managing international/virtual teams.” 

Then, 3 years later, this man had a heart attack. I went to visit him in the hospital and at his home when he was better. I helped him dealing with HR and any other challenges he had while he was recovering.

He came back to work a few weeks/months later. He had become very friendly with me. The fact that I had helped him when he needed it had apparently had a positive impact on him.

A year later, he decided to retire.

And then, the unexpected happened…

On his last day, we had a farewell gathering and he did a little speech. He had worked for more than 40 years in that same bank. He told little stories and thanked the bank for all the opportunities he got…. 

And at the end, he said: “There is also one person I would like to thank here, and this person is Virginie. She has always provided me all the support and help I needed, especially when I got sick.”

 

He brought tears to my eyes…. I was touched by his kind words and could not help remembering my very first day in the department, as well as his remarks and look…. How different it had been!

 

On that day, I really became aware of one thing: 

No matter what people think of you, 

  • Believe in yourself. 
  • Stay confident 
  • Continue doing what you need to do, what you are good at. 
  • And be human. 

 

As Theodore Roosevelt said: “‘Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care’.

 

#vlvcoach #leadership #confidence #believeinyourself #nevergiveup

 

This blog was also posted on Linkedin. 

If you want more inspiration on this topic, go and have a look at my other blog.

 

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Have you ever been in a situation…?

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought

‘I don’t know if I can do it…’ 🤷🏽‍♀️

‘Am I the right person to do this job? I am really not sure…’ 

‘What if I fail?’

 

Well…

 

I’ve been there

And more than once!

 

I remember many years ago 

When I was managing Quality Programs in EMEA for a contact center

I was asked to go to a client in London

To do some consultancy

 

I had never really done that before, and was wondering what I would need to do exactly, would I be able to answer all questions? Would I be able to notice everything? Etc. etc. 

Even though I welcomed the opportunity and said ‘yes’

I was full of doubt…

 

I went there for 2 days

Spent time with the client and their employees

And the feedback I received afterwards

Was that the client had been impressed by me!

 

What did I do?

 

I did what I knew, 

I used my skills and knowledge

I stayed true to myself

And I believed in me

 

Sometimes, we have to kill that ‘little voice’ in our head

Because we can be our own enemy…

 

Have you ever been in such a situation?

What did you do to kill those negative thoughts?

#vlvcoach #mindset #Leadership

 

This post was shared on Linkedin

 

Some dates we never forget…

Some dates are always ‘special’ to us and we never forget them… These dates are the milestones in our life that remind us we are alive.

For me, this special date was yesterday, 14th August.

 

Many years ago, I had a terrible car accident.

I had to lie in bed for 6 weeks without being able to get up or even sit down

Then I ended up in a wheelchair 

And had to learn to walk again like a baby.

 

It stayed a total of 3 months in the hospital

And it took me a total of 9 months before I could get a normal life.

 

Doctors thought I would be paralysed

Then they told me I would probably limp

And did not allow me to wear high heels any more.

 

A few years later, I learned to dance salsa

And it saved me!

 

I now dance at an advanced level with high heels 😊💃🏽

 

I wrote a book to share my story, to help and inspire people who may be in a similar situation

 

The name of my book is ‘My revenge on life’ (or ‘Ma revanche sur la vie’ in French). The books are available on all Amazon marketplaces (for US: English version, for French version / version francaise)

 

The lessons from my story are the following…

 

Whatever the circumstances

Never give up❗️

Believe in yourself ❗️

There is always light at the end of the tunnel

This post was also shared on Linkedin.

#vlvcoach #nevergiveup #mindset #thinkpositive #believeinyourself

Breaking stereotypes

We should never judge a book by its cover, nor a person by his/her own appearance. Yet, we all have many stereotypes in our head, many bias that we should not have…

How often do we think ‘This person cannot do this!’ or ‘This is impossible, he/she will never be able to reach this goal!’

Audrey Hepburn said it: ‘Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! 


This video is another  proof….

 

Whatever people tell you

Believe in yourself

Work hard

And never give up!

 

⭐️ As Amanda LaCount says it in this video: “If you love it, DO IT!” ⭐️

 

A short version of this post was posted on Linkedin.

#vlvcoach #leadership #nevergiveup #mindset #believeinyourself

 

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Relax and recharge once in a while!

For 10 days, I took a break from social media to relax and recharge my batteries. This explains why I have not been much on internet lately. I needed to forget everything, focus on something else and re-energize.

And what better way to do this than attending the biggest Salsa/Bachata Festival of the world in Croatia in Rovinj (also refered to as the Summer Sensual Days and Croatian Summer Salsa Festival)! 💃🏽

I love dancing salsa (and bachata) 😊

Dancing is one of my passions.

It is my workout, my emotional and physical stress relief.

It also allows me to connect with people in a different way. One more reason why I love so much dancing salsa is the diversity of people I meet.

During 10 days, I danced days and nights with people from all over the world: China, South Africa, Serbia, Norway, Sweden, Poland, UK, US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, India, Suriname, etc.

We all had one common language and one shared passion: dancing. It is truly a universal language.

Salsa in Rovinj

I’m now back all refreshed and ready to tackle the second half of 2019 😉

My advice to you all: Do not forget to take a break once in a while to relax and recharge your batteries!

vlvcoach diversity salsadancing

One year ago: My revenge on life

Exactly one year ago, I published my book ‘My revenge on life’ (‘Ma revanche sur la vie’ in French) on all Amazon marketplaces.

It tells my story, the story of the serious car accident I had 20 years ago, how I spent 3 months in the hospital, with all the doctors thinking I would be paralysed, and how I recovered…

This book has been quite an adventure:

– It took me years to write/finish it

– I struggled with getting it ready to publish

– I did not market it as much as I should have

And no:

– It did not become a bestseller

– I did not write it to become rich

I wrote this book mainly to inspire and help others, who may be in similar circomstances. My goal is to bring hope to people who are in what seems a desperate situation, and to let them know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Would I do anything different when I write another book?

Yes!

But I am proud of what I have accomplished. It’s been a great learning experience and the book is now there ‘forever’.

If you have already bought the book, or plan to buy it, please do not hesitate to leave a review on Amazon. I would really appreciate! 🙏🏽

#vlvcoach #inspiration #motivation

What my burnout taught me…

Even though I would not ever want to be back in this situation, I am grateful I had a burnout and that it happened to me as it gave me a very valuable lesson: to make time for myself.

How often do we say we do not have time?

How often do we disregard the signs our body is giving, thinking that ‘it’s just a phase’ or ‘it will be over soon’.

I learned to not only listen to my body,

But also to take time for myself to recharge my batteries.

If you’re watching TV in the evening, stop watching, even for one hour.

And if you’re not watching TV, because you just don’t have time,

What about starting your day one hour earlier?

Think of what you could do with that one hour:

✅ Read a book

✅ Exercise or go for a walk

✅ Learn something new

✅ Meditate/pray

✅ Or spend more time with your family

One hour per day = 365 hours per year!

❓❓❓ Have you ever thought of what you could accomplish with these hours❓❓❓

These hours can be YOURS and YOURS only

So that you can really

✅ Fill in your ‘energy tank’

✅ Feel better

✅ Be healthier…

#vlvcoach #inspiration #personaldevelopment

 

A few years ago, I had a burn out

A few years ago, I had a burn out

Not so much because I was working long hours

But more because I was doing a job I really did not like

I was always afraid to make mistakes,

To make the wrong decision which may cost a lot of money

After a few months/years, I had the impression my brain was not functioning properly

I was more & more tired, getting frequent headaches

I remember standing twice in front of my computer

Having a blackout: I could not remember what I was supposed to do next

The more stressed I was, the less I could sleep & the more tired I became

Because I could not sleep, I no longer went to dance, which was usually my stress relief

And because I was not releasing my stress,

I could no longer sleep properly to recharge my batteries

I was in a downwards spiral and did not seem to be able to get out of it 😔

So I had to break the circle 💥

I stopped working for 2 months

Tried to relax, sleep, exercise and go to dance again 💃🏽

Then I started to work part time, till I could work full time.

What this taught me is:

‼️ LISTEN TO YOUR BODY & THE SIGNS IT GIVES YOU

‼️ Do not wait till it’s too late

‼️ We only have ONE health

⭐️ OUR HEALTH IS OUR WEALTH ⭐️

 

#vlvcoach #mentalhealth