When it comes to anecdotes I have the memory of an elephant. Especially if it has to do with a topic that interests me. When I heard the following story, I thought it was brilliant.
The story of my friend
Some time ago, my friend had just heard that he would lose his job and was considering chasing his long-held dream. By coincidence a building- overlooking a nice square – in the village became available. An ideal place for his long-dreamed Bistro. He started thinking about what it would look like: the interior, the terrace, the parasols on sunny days. His clients chatting, enjoying the drinks and some nice food. He saw himself working in and around the bistro, interacting with his clients. Being proud of his own business.
He decided to reach out to a coach.
Together they explored the required steps to realize this big goal. At the beginning my friend was enthusiastic but as the time went by, he increasingly became more dispirited. He realized he had to make space for his dream. This included having to make choices that others might not going to appreciate. Having to take steps that will require him to show who he truly was. Making clear what his wishes were. Regardless of whether others would agree with him or not. He should completely go for it.
My friend felt as if he was getting smaller and smaller. Finally, he admitted: I am scared.
Essential to the story is that my friend was bullied at school when he was younger. As you can imagine this has left its marks on his self-image. Even now, 20 years later he still carries it with him. The news that he will lose his job comes on top of this. He feels miserable.
The coach and the fifty euro note
The coach said nothing, thought for a moment and then without one word he reached for a fifty euro note out of his pocket. ‘How much is this worth?’ he asked. ‘50 euro’s’, my friend answered confused.
Next, the coach wrinkled the fifty euro note. Threw it around in the room. Onto the ground. Jumped on top of it while screaming and cursing. He went nuts on it. Then he picked it up, folded it open and asked the same question: ‘How much is this worth?’
In the meanwhile, tears were rolling down my friend’s face. He understood and felt the message immediately:
– Despite the abuse of the piece of paper it is still worth 50 euro’s.
– Despite the bullying and the loss of his job, his value remains intact.
For my friend this was the first step towards feeling better about himself.
Everything worked out fine for him by the way. He has worked very hard. He still keeps an eye out for others, but he does not ‘please’ them as he used to do. Instead he stands up for himself, sets boundaries and preserves them. Loves himself. To his own surprise he is completely supported by those around him. People are happy to see him grow. Blooming and happy. Being fully who he is.
And his dream?
That has come true: a fifty euro note is attached to the coffee machine in his café: A beautiful bistro located next to the nice square in the village. The parasols are standing on the terrace and he walks around proudly. He interacts confidently with his clients. Proud on himself and his own business. Just as he had imagined.
If you ask my friend which tips he found to be most useful:
– Find peace with your past
– Compliment yourself
– Reward yourself for your successes, even the small one
– Work out
– Surround yourself with positive people
- Karen van Hout
NB. With a huge thanks to my friend. For privacy reasons the original story has been altered so that the main character cannot be recognized. Did you like the story? Feel free to share the blog.