The power of conversations

Twitter convo

(source: Twitter)

In the last month I have followed a four-day training on discovering my skills and getting job ideas that fit those. Some of the exercises were based on the Richard Bolles book What colour is your parachute, for example telling a story of personal success that made you happy. What was the problem? How did you tackle it? What was the result? And then looking at that story from the point of view of the skills that you used.

This exercise is already powerful when conducted on your own. Though it is far more powerful when two other persons that you have just met listen and write down all the skills that they hear in your story! It’s far more than just a mirror, as this way you obtain insights in skills you never thought off, let alone thought you have yourself. It also leads to analyses of seemingly opposing skills that you both have and like to use perhaps in different situations. For example being structured at work and spontaneous while travelling. Also, telling people you just met your personal story, provides you with a reflection and feedback on how much you have already done and achieved, both personally, educationally as well as professionally.

The power of conversations also applies to having open and authentic conversations in general. Some say ‘good conversations work as a magnet’. As through these conversations with others, you can reflect on what matters to you (what do you love talking about?). While at the same time attracting (exactly like a magnet) new insights, resources, network, methods etc. from the other, exactly related to those topics that matter to you.

Through these conversations you therefore really help each other. So if you worry about what you have to offer…? Exactly that! Your listening, feedback, insight, experience and knowledge will help the other person as much as it will help you.

For finding (purposeful) work this means better not stay at home and struggle with your (online) search. Instead, go out there, meet new people through visiting events, meetups, conferences etc. Or simply ask to meet for a coffee to share stories. If you have met the person before or can refer to common connection, that is of course great. If not, sending an open email on what you are doing at the moment and why you would be interested to meet, works in my experience 9 of 10 times, even if you don’t know each other. And the 10th time a no, is also totally fine.

Be open and authentic in your conversations. Really listen to each other, provide feedback and share your experience, knowledge and network. Then reflect on the conversations you find interesting. Is it a certain topic? The type of people you speak to? Feeling connected? Helping someone? And search more of those conversations. And continue to reflect what makes them so interesting. This will help you figure out what type of work you would like to do, while networking at the same time! And it helps you to realise you are not the only one on this search. It will therefore motivate and inspire you to continue and take new steps. And who knows… it may even help you find your ‘tribe’!

A new cookie jar


cookie jar

(source: Pinterest)

This open discovery is starting to pay off.. I found a new cookie jar! Meaning an exciting topic which combines skills, knowledges and interests I already had, redefines and combines them in a way I hadn’t considered before, while also adding new (to-be-developed) knowledges and interests. It really feels like having access to a new cookie jar. And pretty confident that in this cookie jar is my new work! 🙂



New work is actually also the right description of my topic. In German they say so nicely ‘neue Arbeitswelt’, with which is meant the changes in the current workforce that are occurring. From flexible working hours, home office, job sharing, digital nomads to self-organisation, no hierarchies and employee decision making. As the current typical organisation set-up, developed in the industrial revolution, is no longer feasible for most organisations and the people that work for them. This is also visible in the trend of people looking for more meaning in their work, and no longer only working for money (hence this blog :)).

So it’s time for a new work revolution! Which is already happening in terms of holacracy organisational structures being introduced, reinventing organisations movement, agile way of working, design thinking methodology and more flexibilities for the employees.  But still at the very beginning, and I’m excited to be and become even more part of it!

How did I get there? I already had an interest for the overall topic (as you can also see in previous blog posts). So when visiting meetups related to this topic, I met someone who is implementing holacracy in her organisation. This I had to hear more about, as I had never met anyone with that responsibility. Very simple, I asked her if she was interested in meeting to talk more about this topic. She of course coincidently happened to work around the corner. Over lunch with her and another girl interested in this topic, not only did we have a lot of common interests and very good conversations, I also received so many inspiration in terms of books I had never heard off, other people and organisations working on this topic, meetups, facebook groups etc. Like I said; a new cookie jar! And in talking with some of her contacts, I got further reconfirmed that this is an area I want to work in.

What’s next? Further exploring this field in terms of meeting more people and organisations working in this field, discovering new ways of working and new methodologies. I have also started to draw my own ideal job description, which I continue to add things to in terms of working conditions, skills, impact (see what colour is your parachute). At some point I would like to try out some jobs in this area, perhaps via shadowing someone or helping out on a specific project. In order to get a real feel and of course also some experience.

So word of advice.. follow your interests (even if you don’t think about them now as work) and meet as many people as you can related to those interests. As in meeting people, new doors and worlds will open that you haven’t thought about yourself before!

Final note, if the above makes you think about any books, movies, articles, organisations or what else, then of course I am more than happy to receive those suggestions!

How the negative can help

To me it seems a new trend of thinking about the negative opposite in order to motivate yourself. And this is not negative thinking! But by asking questions like ‘Why not?’ and ‘What will happen if I don’t do it?’, you can visualise what you don’t want and go for the opposite and achieve what you do want.

This article by Fastcompany goes one step further by focusing on planning your failure in order to succeed. It describes the following steps:

  1. obstacle-ahead

    (source: jmacrev)

    Think about your top goal.

  2. Write it down.
  3. Give it a timeline (preferably a fairly short one).
  4. Imagine all the potential obstacles you will face in achieving that goal.
  5. Write those obstacles down.
  6. Now come up with an if-then response you will have to each of those obstacles.

It is important for you to be committed and intrinsically motivated about the goal. Also ensure the obstacles and if-then responses are specific, so that whenever that situation occurs you now what to do in order to proceed.

The entire How planning to fail can help you succeed article can be found here.

Why do you actually work?

why leafs

(source: wallpapershacker)

The other day I had a conversation with a group of people about why we actually work. This question is at the core of finding work that gives you purpose.

The topic came to the table as for non-workers (like me currently), the worry can exist how HR managers and recruiters respond to a gap on your CV. But as Warren Buffet said; Taking jobs to build up your resume is the same as saving up sex for old age. Not just start jobs for the sake of making your resume make sense to others (whom all have a different look at it anyway). Do things you enjoy and are excited about and then your resume will follow (even if you don’t get paid for it – this actually brings me to the question ‘what defines a job or work?’, I’ll safe that for later). It is your resume after all.

Of course the bottom line is you need to live. And for that you need food, housing, clothes etc., which can be best obtained with money. And money you can best get by having a job. But without the money reason; why do you then work?

I must say I find this an intriguing question that I have never asked myself before. It’s just one of those things that fit in the entire life line of being born, going to school, studying, graduating and then finding a job… I guess that’s why it’s an uncommon question to ask.

I know I don’t work for status, as I have an allergy for that. Recognition is nice, but that to me is not related to work per se. The closest I get now is to saying that with my work I would like to create a positive social impact. Through being connected with people and also by connecting people with the resources that they need (human, informational or what else). Next step, finding a job or creating one that comes close to that 😉 And lingering a bit more on this uncommon big question, why do you actually (want to) work?

Let’s start something new…

So there you are. Nice idea, a blog which collects stuff that inspires you on this search of finding out what work gives you purpose. But it also means this. A first blog post.

try newBut as with all beginnings, it just means starting and then the rest will follow. That also applies with figuring out which work gives you (more) meaning. Just start somewhere. What is it that you already want to do for a long time? Be it travelling, a new hobby, redecorating your house, going to a certain event etc. Name it and do it. As starting something will also lead to new things, that you otherwise would not discover.

To point out in hindsight where and when it exactly began, is not that easy. So this may also mean that you have already started! For myself the beginning was probably when I took a 3 months sabbatical and travelled through South America. With a sabbatical you really get away from work and your day-to-day life. And inspiration is everywhere! In the sights of the countries, cultures, traditions, languages, meeting locals and other travellers etc etc. It makes you realise that there are a zillion different ways to do things and that all of them are ok. Upon returning I then looked differently at my job. More from a distant so to say, being less of a control freak about it.

My sabbatical then led to many other things, including my decision to quit my job and move from Amsterdam to Berlin. So here I am, focusing full time on finding out what work I would like to do. Visiting events and meetups, meeting new people, approaching interesting companies, following training, reading books and articles, doing a drawing course, going bouldering, learning to code and much more. Being completely open minded on whatever comes my way. And then further investigating the things that appeal to me. I haven’t found my new purposeful work yet, but the puzzle feels to be slowly falling into place. And until then, and probably afterwards as well, I am fully enjoying this discovery!

This discovery does mean a lot of beginnings, with starting a blog being the beginning of today. What will you start today?