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  • Gilbert Kruidenier

Poor life choices



I am done trying to fit in. For the past year I’ve been stacking compromise upon compromise until I hardly recognised my own professional profile any more. I’ve become what I never set out to be, a change manager, letting others define who I am professionally, so I could have a chance at being mediocre. That’s going to stop.

My descent into blandness happened gradually and the strange thing is that I did notice and still allowed it to happen. Why? Because I wanted to belong. In a city of millions and a community of thousands, I felt misunderstood, out of place, disconnected and so very alone at times that I thought of turning my back on a profession I’ve come to love. And then I got very angry. With myself.

I applied for jobs I did not even want and was becoming everything I detested in the worst of the worst of change professionals, while surrounded by shining examples (who I won’t mention as they would just be embarrassed). And for what? Money. Acceptance. Acknowledgement. Security. That’s where my anger turned to disgust. With myself.

Getting to this point was easy, it required no effort at all. You just go with the flow and fly under the radar, keep your clients happy and every time you feel the unease creeping up, you remind yourself that you lead a truly blessed life (which I do, no kidding) and you should be grateful for the opportunities you are given. And that’s the problem right there.

Because getting by, respecting the status quo, going with the flow and blending in, yeah, that’s never really been me. When did I become a person who needed to be given anything? Sure, good things happen to me all the time, I meet wonderful people, get to do amazing stuff, but I generally create my own luck and never needed someone else’s permission to do that. I’ve been kidding myself that if I just made myself really small and non-descript, I could build connections, expand my network, do some so-so jobs and eventually someone would recognize my strengths and give me the right job. You see the flaw in that strategy right? If I pretend to be something else, how can I expect people to recognize me for what I truly am? Okay, this was clearly not my best strategy ever. Time for plan B.

Daryl Conner talks about Character and Presence, Jason Little recently shared some international examples of Lean Change manifestos and Helen Palmer talks of Self unLimited. I decided to blend them all together and ended up with this personal manifesto that is close to my heart.

I am a helper who builds foundations for growth and here’s how I do that:

1. Giving over getting, I will be part of the solution, doing good is its own reward.

2. Others over status, I will focus on others, the rest will follow eventually.

3. Purpose over profit, I will choose making an impact over making money.

4. Creating over wishing, I will make things happen, especially the things I wish for.

5. Wonder over worry, I will focus on possibilities instead of problems.

6. Inspire over impress, I will do what I do best and show up as my true self.

It might not be the most inspiring thing you’ve ever read and that’s okay, you write yours and I’ll write mine.

I feel better already.


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