Essentials of Happiness

May 12, 2011

The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
– Allan K. Chalmers –

Pretty obvious, right? How come so few people actually do it then? Right! Most people have something to do, but do they love what they are doing? Are you doing what you love to do? If you don’t know the answer, chances are that you don’t. If you do, are you sure? You see, most people think they love what they are doing, but are actually pretending it or are rather feeling stuck in their everyday life. And they fail to admit it. But that’s not you, right?

So, tell me what do you hope for? World Peace, a clean environment, winning the lottery and traveling the world to spend all you money? Mmm, I see. Most people keep on dreaming and take no action towards their dreams and hopes. So, what action are you taking? Are you willing to share? Let’s hear it!

And of course, you are wondering what the deal is for me, right?
Well, I love what I do : create, connect & contribute. Starting our newest program : Generous Networkers (in Dutch) really fits in nicely.  On top of that I also love to give presentations, workshops and trainings on networking, LinkedIn and of course Genius Shortcuts!

I love Tonia, my wife and soulmate. And of course, my family and friends too!

I hope for improving this world and creating more happiness. And I take consistently action to make this happening. I know, I’ll do it my way…somebody else’s famous quote 🙂

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Forge new habits!

January 25, 2011

Do you also find it difficult to create a new habit? Is it a challenge to stay disciplined? Of course, you are motivated, but we are living in a hectic world and you (sometimes) forget about your great New Year’s intentions?

I used to be like this. Not any more! I found a Genius Shortcut to solve it the easy way : Habitforge.com

It takes 21 days to forge a habit. Some say it takes 30 days or more. Others say change happens in a heartbeat. Anyway, it takes quite some discipline to keep up and to stick to your plan.

How does Habitforge.com help you? What do you need to do?

Step 1 : You enroll and share a goal or desire. If you could do one thing every day that would change your life for the better, what would it be?

Step 2 : Habitforge will send you a daily email. They’ll ask you if you were successful the day before at doing that one thing. From within the email, just click “yes” or “no” and Habitforge will do the rest.

Step 3 : Succeed for 21 days in a row. Do that one thing you’ve committed to doing. Skip a day before succeeding for 21 days straight, and Habitforge will start you back at day one (oh yes!). Succeed for 21 days in a row, and you can enter monitoring mode. But by that point the action should seem second nature, right?

Did I mention Habitforge is FREE?

Wishing you all the best with changing you life for the better and forge a new habit that makes you happy!


Be Generous

January 1, 2011

“Generosity during life is a very different thing from generosity in the hour of death; one proceeds from genuine liberality and benevolence, the other from pride or fear.”

– Horace Mann –

What is generosity? Wikipedia has it right : “Generosity is the habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return. It can involve offering time, assets or talents to aid someone in need.” This is completely in line with what we teach at Networking Coach with the first fundamental principle of Networking : the Networking Attitude also known as “Give and Receive“. To me it is in essence a sincere desire to make others’ lives easier or more pleasant.

Why would you want to be generous? “There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.”

– Peyton Conway March –

It is a fact that generous people are happier in life. They feel that their life is more meaningful and they appreciate it more. Being a generous person will help you feel better about yourself and the world around you.

Now, what does it take to Be Generous? In fact, very little. Here are 5 steps on how to become more generous :

  1. Start with being generous to yourself. By doing that you are able to be open to and respond to the needs of others. Because most of us, do not actually start with themselves, here is my personal tip : start this week, undertake one pleasurable activity for yourself and one equally pleasurable activity that will benefit another person.
  2. Continue to give, even if it is small stuff. Remember : It’s all about the small stuff! Give things away that cost you little or nothing. Have you recently walked around? Did you notice how few people actually smile? What is the effect of giving a smile to someone? Right! Here is something else I do : when drinking something in a bar and I am about to leave, I also pay for another table of people I don’t know. Of course, I don’t tell them and just leave. You see, it’s not about me giving it, it’s about them receiving it. How much does it cost? On average about 10 euro (13 $). That’s all it takes to make people happy! 🙂
  3. Grow into “being” generous. As you are consciously generous to others, it will get easier and easier. Soon the time will come when you are automatically generous. A pleasant side effect is that others will be more generous to you. You will experience that “what goes around, comes around.” A simple approach is to reflect on what you have in your current life. What do you really need? What did you spend money on that you do not need (anymore)? Start giving it away to others who really need it. Or sell it and give the money to charity. Have you heard about “Random Acts of Kindness“?
  4. Give it forward. Being generous is also contagious, so if you show generosity towards one person then that person might show generosity towards somebody else. If you have not seen it yet : Pay it forward. Watch it and think how you can help generosity forward.
  5. Change the world. One step at a time. One person can change the world! Are you that person? A great example is Bärli von Toggenburg. With his Colour the World Foundation he made a big impression on me. With his 9300 km solo-bicycle expedition from New Delhi (India) to Switzerland he raised 180,000 euro (240K $) for leprosy-sufferers in India and Cambodia. You surely remember the Star Thrower (Read this short version). Bärli made a big difference for those leprosy-sufferers! Are you willing to step up too?

Yes, I am committed to step up and be more generous! In 2011 another big step forward in being generous will be achieved! A very promising program will be launched : The Generous Networker. Stay tuned and participate too! Now that you know what my next steps are, what are yours? How generous will you be? What will you do to be generous in 2011? Are you a person that will change the world? Let me know if you need any help, ok?


It’s fab to fail!

December 23, 2010

It’s fabulous to fail! Yes, that’s right: It’s fab to fail!

Why? The more you fail, the more likely you are to succeed!

For most people, failure is considered a (very) negative thing. As with fear, many people get paralyzed by failure. By avoiding failure, we end up limiting our success. Just to be clear: We need to focus on trying to succeed, not trying to fail!

You see, instead of handling failure poorly, we should handle it in a better way: it’s a learning opportunity! Be happy with yourself for trying…Why did you fail? What lessons can you learn from it? What can you do to make sure you avoid failure again?

For me, failure is bad, if indeed we don’t learn from it. If we don’t change anything and fail again (and again) the next time.

I sometimes look at failure as a test. “I thought I had a great strategy, but apparently it wasn’t the case.” I will get up (again), learn and tap into my creativity to unlock new approaches and better strategies. To overcome failure, something must change, so you start to analyze, examine and scrutinize. You adapt and grow!

Another common reaction to failure is this one: “If I don’t succeed perfectly the first time I try, I have failed.” Nobody will try out something new and do it perfectly the first time! Remember how long it took to learn how to ride a bike or drive a car? Right! As an ex-perfectionist, I also advise you to avoid perfection! One way of doing that is to let go of the outcome. Easier said than done, I agree. Still, there is a way: Create a better set of rules for yourself. “As long as I learn from what I am doing wrong, I am succeeding” or If I give it my best shot, regardless of the outcome, I succeed!”

If you keep in mind what happens in the movies, you will also agree that sometimes heroes are not as successful as they appear. Every hero is successful at the first try. NOT! They often fail (more than once!). What they do differently is they keep pushing forward. They learn from their mistakes and adapt. They sometimes fail spectacularly, but yet they push further and they ultimately get what they want. It can happen to you too! Only if you are willing to learn from your mistakes! So, it’s fab to fail, because you will discover new insights and you are about to have a breakthrough. You are in the process of growing and another step closer to what you want!

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

– Thomas Edison –

My final question is: Look back at your last failure. What did you learn from it? Thanks for sharing!


Winners never give up!

December 6, 2010

It is easy to quit! Some say that “Loosers are winners who quit”.

Some people just need a small excuse to give up. Sometimes you come across people who are very close to achieving their goal. Even when the finish line is in sight and looks hardly attainable, they refuse to give up.

In this video, you will see Holland Reynolds, a 16 year-old cross-country runner in California, collapse just a couple of feet away from the finish line at the state cross country championship. She finished the race by crawling past the finish line. Impressive!

She did not win the race, but she won! How? Despite complete exhaustion, Holland Reynolds pushed herself to honor her coach (diagnosed with incurable Lou Gehrig’s disease) and advance her team. She not only completed the race, overcoming her cramps, but thanks to her effort the team won the national championship!


Willingness to Look Foolish

December 1, 2010

Everytime you are on stage or before an audience, several fears sneak up on you. One of them is the fear of “looking like a fool”. The last thing you want to do, whatever it takes, is to look like a fool, right?

Chances are that it will never happen to you! However, if you want to increase the chance of success, I suggest you create a willingness to look foolish. Why? Well, if you are willing to look silly, the fear won’t have a strong impact on you any more. The fear will dry up. And you know what? In case it really happens, you probably will laugh with it, rather than to try to hide it or  to minimize it. By facing our fears, you might be able to solve them!

Let’s take it from another point of view. Can you think about an opportunity that you have missed out, because you were afraid of looking foolish? Perhaps you did not ask for the appropriate advice or you did not approach that big potential client, because you might look silly? Let me ask you another question: To whom do you care about looking silly? What most people are answering me is that they are afraid of looking foolish to people they don’t know (yet)! I get that. I used to be like that too ( and sometimes I still am).  So what you are actually saying is that we don’t do the things we want or we don’t fulfill our dreams because we are afraid of what people whom we don’t know might think!  Wow! They don’t know us, but they are ruling our lives…

You know what? They probably don’t think you are foolish at all! So, why let them take control? Instead think about all the joy and knowledge you are bringing with your message. Of course, you could also remember not to take life so seriously! That’s what I do 🙂


Time is Limited

November 18, 2010

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

– Steve Jobs –

Too many people are living someone else’s life. Over and over again I meet people in my coaching practice who are stuck. They are stuck because it became impossible to keep up with the rat-race. Burnout or worse! Most of them come to the conclusion that they are actually fulfilling someone else’s dreams. What happened? They took over dreams and wishes of someone else and made them there own. They thought they needed a bigger car, a nicer house, a boat, etc. Now they need to face the fact that they don’t like their job. They lost their family (or nearly) because they are never there for them. They have a significant amount loaned and probably no idea how to keep paying for them, besides working even more.

Why did this happen? I am surprised at the number of people who have no clue about what they want with their life. They have no clear goals or dreams. So, they copy the ones from others, thinking it will be ok. Only to wake up a number of years later in an unsustainable situation. Is this you?

Time to wake up! So, I invite you think about your life. Are your living the life of your dreams? Are you having fun every day? What needs to be done to achieve that? Right, make up your mind first! Start with a list today. Give your own dreams a chance and write them down. Share them with your family and friends. Share them with your network. You might be surprised who could help you achieve them…