3 tips on how to exceed yourself in 2018

Posted on 04.01.2018
As a female entrepreneur, spouse, mom and like-minded soul, it is one of my New Year's resolutions to inspire and empower you, help you reach your goals and further develop your inner potential.

Years of experience have taught me that a very powerful source of inspiration lies hidden in everyday encounters and the stories that cross our path. So even if at first sight, the relevancy of the particular story I am about to share with you, might not be entirely clear to you, I would like to urge you to nevertheless sit back, and spend 5 minutes of your time letting it sink in.

Because at the start of this new year - a year full of new opportunities - I am convinced it will give you the energy you need to "go for it", to turn 2018 into a successful and happy year!

During the Christmas holidays, my son Tim (9) took part in a camp that was organised by Nong Jang, the Taekwondo club he has been training at for the last 3 years. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, characterized by its emphasis on fast kicking techniques. The last day of the camp I decided to go and pick Tim up myself, and I made sure to arrive an hour early because I really wanted to see him in action. As I was standing there, watching, I was not only pleasantly surprised by all the impressive moves my son had learned; it equally dawned on me what an extraordinary man his trainer (and driving force behind the club) was.

As a recognition expert, I know all too well how important it is to regularly express your appreciation for what people do. And yet, all of a sudden, standing there, I realized that I had never actually taken the time to thank this man for his engagement towards my son's training during the past three years.

That is why at the end of the session, I walked up to this man to personally thank him. We started talking, and during our conversation I experienced one surprise after another; that everyday encounter turned out to be one of those powerful sources of inspiration!

23 years ago, Rudy Pelgrims (now 46) decided to take over a Taekwondo club with a view to turn it into something special. His dream was to teach children how to grow into healthy and sporty adults that know how to build a balanced and happy life for themselves. That is why his mission up to this day has been to teach children what it means to persevere, and to show them how perseverance leads to powerful results. But the beauty of perseverance is not the only thing Rudy wants to teach children: he also wants to teach them other important life values, such as politeness and respect. That is why, in his club, he aims to bring together people from culturally diverse backgrounds. And it is simply marvellous to watch children from all these different cultures "lovingly" train together!

In the course of these last 23 years, Rudy's Taekwondo club has gained an amazing reputation - worldwide! - and he has taught so many boys and girls what it means to be dedicated to their practice and training, to never give up, to be disciplined, to have patience and to improve themselves one step at a time. And in doing so, Rudy has managed to give these children one of the most valuable gifts one can give: self-confidence! Because self-confidence, believing in yourself and self-appreciation are the most important prerequisites for being able to fulfil your inner potential as a person.

What makes Rudy even more extraordinary, is the fact that he has been doing this for so many years on a voluntary basis and that he has even given up part of his daytime job (and financial income) to be able to do so. Today, he holds down a 67% daytime job, and dedicates on average another 15 to 20 hours a week to further developing his Taekwondo project. He has managed to gather a team of no less than 11 trainers, each of them doing his or her very best on a purely voluntary basis as well. As a result, Rudy's Nong Jang club has won many medals.

So Rudy has consciously made the choice to not only focus on making a financial income; he has chosen to equally focus on making another kind of income - one that is very important to him, one that gives him a deep sense of fulfilment and joie de vivre and a lot of energy.

When I asked him what gave him the greatest sense of joy, he didn't think twice: "The fact that I get to see children grow their Taekwondo skills and that I can help them become mentally stronger, gives me the strength to give 200% of myself - time after time. And the fact that even children with a mental or physical disability can flourish in our club, truly gives me wings."

I asked him whether he also sometimes experiences difficulties in the realisation of his dream. To that question, he answered: "Sometimes, children I have trained for an extended period of time, all of a sudden don't show up anymore or change clubs - just like that. It hurts when that happens. You give these children your all, and then from one day to the next they vanish, without feedback or explanation in any shape or form. I don't need great words of thanks, but a little recognition and respect go a long way - believe it or not, even a trainer has a need for these! Other than that, I adhere tremendous importance to justice. Even in fights. Injustice drains me."

Rudy's story is a beautiful story about 'leadership' and 'giving'. Rudy clearly found his mission in life, and this gives him a deep sense of fulfilment. Day after day, wherever he goes, he leaves a positive footprint, a 'plus'. And this is extraordinary.

So as we embark on the adventure of a new year ahead of us, what can we take away from this story that might help us reach our goals this year, and further develop our inner potential?

1. What about a healthy mind in a healthy body?Practicing sports is very important to help us all grow both mentally and physically. Playing sports makes you strong. All too often, we have too little patience and when we don't make big enough strides or things get a little rough, we tend to throw in the towel. Patience and perseverance are two attributes many of us have lost. And this is a pity, because it is only by persevering that we will eventually - step by step - make progress in life. It is perseverance that catapults us into an upward spiral: it creates self-confidence and, as such, has a self-reinforcing impact. Because self-confidence is the foundation of all success!

2. What about "thank you"?We take a lot in life for granted. It is so important to once in a while create some space in our busy lives to feel and express gratitude. We are in fact surrounded by so many people who dedicate themselves to making our lives better in one way or another. But because of the way we are living our lives, we seem to have lost our ability to notice that. Sometimes I get angry with myself for not giving enough thought to this myself either! So the next time a trainer, a teacher, a volunteer, or maybe even one of your colleagues and/or your boss crosses your path, perhaps make the effort to express your appreciation for what they do for you. We tend to be so absorbed by technology these days that we forget all about 'the human touch'.

Maybe 2018 should be the year in which we all look a little less at our smartphones, and a little more around us? What if, this year, we would all consciously make the effort to give a compliment or say 'thank you' to someone who didn't expect to get one?

3. What about your income model?See the start of this new year as an opportunity to think about the job you do. What does it bring you? Is there a balance between your monetary income and the income you generate for your soul? Do you feed your mind with enough positive energy? Do your professional activities lift you up? Do they leave you with a sense of fulfilment that warms your heart? These are important questions to ask yourself! Because if your income model is out of balance, in the longer term, this imbalance will have a negative impact on your energy levels. So be honest with yourself. "Money alone doesn't bring happiness", is what my grandfather used to say. And it is only now, so many years down the road, that I have come to fully understand what he meant by that. So this year, come up with an activity that truly makes you happy, try to incorporate it into your daily life and see what happens to your quality of life!

HAPPY NEW YEAR - may 2018 be a happy, healthy and successful year for you!

Nathalie Arteel
Leading Angel
Recognition and Motivation Expert