This was previously published in Basic Goodness.
Hong Kong, China.
It is 11.12 am (or 23.12) and I am a bit tired but really feel I should write something. I feel that I am in the middle of an epic adventure but I have been so busy that I really couldn’t find time to write. So what is going on? I would say business is booming in Hong Kong. I have never had such a full agenda in my life, I never had clients find me so fast and easy, never in the existence of Basic Goodness I made so much money in one month and I never had the feeling that my coaching was so effective and spot on.
Would this be the turning point in my life?
Last Monday and Tuesday I faced the most difficult task I had ever seen as a facilitator. I was asked to ‘open up’ a team of predominantly Chinese computer programmers. The Chinese are very introverted and so are most programmers. The deal was to do 3 morning sessions of 3 hours each but if the first morning would consist of long painful silences the client had to right to pull the plug. Only if the team would decide as a group that a 2nd or 3rd session would be beneficial we would follow through. This meant I had only 3 hours to open up a group that consists of mainly incredibly shy and guarded people blended with a few fairly blunt white people. Let’s say I was not 100% sure if I would succeed and neither was my client.
To go short: the first session was a big success and so was the second. Everybody opened up more then they had ever done before, including every single one of the Chinese guys. It was both mind blowing and heart warming. I asked my client after the first session if the results were satisfactory. I asked him to rate the session between 1 and 10. He gave me a 7 to 8 for the beginning and a 9 to 10 for the conclusion: I passed my exam with honors. I am rarely proud of what I do but that Monday I felt really, really proud. Once again I have proven to myself that I can work under the most difficult circumstances and can deliver results. My previous high point was when I was in Iraq and had to work without one second of preparation with a group that didn’t speak English after being dumped by my girlfriend and with explosions and gunfire on the background. This time I had to break through a massive cultural and emotional barrier and try to connect different cultures that seem to be light years apart. Plus I stood my ground business wise: I kept my back straight in the financial negotiations.
I came here 3 weeks ago, alone with just a backpack, a lot of intentions and one friend who supported me. Three weeks later my agenda is full, I live in a beautiful hotel room, I have given 2 corporate sessions, a meditation course, 6 workshops, 8 private sessions, coached 2-3 couples and gave 2 Skype sessions. Oh, and I write on this website, have been interviewed on a Hong Kong radio show and now there is a Dutch writer/ journalist who is considering writing an article about me. Because of the contrast between India and Hong Kong I see for the first time that what I am doing or achieving is quite remarkable: I have managed to create an adventure in every country, every time starting completely from scratch. And in every country I have managed to make an impact, to give something back. It was hard to see in the beginning because I was afraid to not be appreciated, to fail, to be unable to survive. But it is changing; I am starting to feel proud of myself, to appreciate myself. Even with all my insecurities, doubts, disappointments and sorrows it becomes harder and harder to deny to myself that I am doing good things, that I am valued, successful and appreciated. Damn, can you believe it?
Last night I had dinner with one of the leaders of the Asian division of Philips in the Hong Kong Yacht Club, this morning I had a meeting with one of the directors of ING in Tower One of the IFC (International Financial Center). I am learning that there is a demand for my services inside big corporations. They are impressed with my work. Their approval gives me the trust that I will be able to sustain a family one day. I am no longer afraid that I won’t be able to pay the rent. I can contribute to the growth and transformation of people and be a provider simultaneously. It is a big step for me.
Now I am getting ready to move on. I will take the next seemingly counter-intuitive step: I will leave the gold mine and step into the unknown once again. It gives me great joy to write that sentence. I feel freedom and rebelliousness. I feel no temptation to extend my stay only because I am successful. In fact I am looking forward to create a completely new experience, first in Thailand and then in Australia.
The world has become my playground. I really feel that. I am not limited to Holland or Amsterdam and not to Hong Kong, Bagdad or Beirut either. It never crossed my mind that working internationally was a feasible option. Sure, I hoped to be ‘good enough’ one day to receive an invitation from abroad. But by just jumping on a plane and giving it a shot wherever I land I changed my whole paradigm. Because my mind has changed my reality has changed. Facing my fears, keeping my heart open and my back straight is starting to pay off.
Photo courtesy of the author