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

 

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To BE list

I saw a video in which one sentence really resonated with me:

‘Don’t keep a daily to do list. Keep a daily TO BE list’

How powerful is that???

✅ Be grateful
✅ Be positive
✅ Be happy
✅ Be curious
✅ Be open minded
✅ Be mindful
✅ Be respectful
✅ Be and live your life to the fullest
✅ Be and breathe

And I can think of many others…

What would your ‘to be’ list look like?

#vlvcoach #coaching #leadership #positivity

How something broken can be a good thing

I saw a presentation about ‘kintsugi’. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise (wikipedia).

This made me think of French artist, Bruno Catalano, mostly renown for creating sculptures of figures with substantial sections missing. In 2004, Catalano noticed a flaw in one of his characters. This prompted him to dig and hollow out the chest. To his surprise, this frail character was the first to be sold at his stand. From then on, the rest became history. Famous galleries contacted him and ordered his sculptures. He now sells around the world.

What stands out is that he turned this mishap into an advantage. These hollow sculptures are now his ‘signature’.

So, what does it have to do with you?

These two examples just show that something broken does not necessarily mean something bad, and that you can turn things around…

We all have our ‘flaws’, nobody is perfect, and that is what makes us unique! That is what makes you YOU!

So, embrace your ‘flaws’! Use them and turn them to your advantage, because what you may see as a weakness can actually become your greatest strength!