When I realized that wasn’t me or the grey suit story
What the law of attraction has in common with my stomach
Sometimes life is funny. While you are busy making plans, striving for excellence, and believe you are in control, something happens. Life has other plans. Detours ahead.
John Lennon already said: “Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans.”
I love this quote because it is so very true. We are so damn busy making plans, that we don’t open our eyes to what is right in front of us. It’s there. We just need to reach out and grab it.
That next opportunity. That career move. Your true passion. Your dream job. Your dream life. It’s just there.
I’ve been several times at that inflection point which I call my decision making intersection. A point in time where I feel I need to change something, but not really sure what, when, or how.
It’s been like magic. I felt unsatisfied with my current work situation, sad down and formulated my ask for change to the universe (yes, I believe there is a higher something), kicked back and relaxed, knowing that something would happen.
I guess you could refer to this process as manifestation (yes, I love The law of attraction theory). Formulate it well, and it will happen.
I used this process all my life. Manifestation combined with following my stomach feelings, and things just happened. Magically.
The story I’m about to tell you started exactly like this. Even though I had to send a job application for this job, I simply knew they would hire me. I knew it. Even before I had once spoken to the hiring manager, HR, or anyone in that organization. I already saw myself sitting at a desk within that company, having that role I desired, enjoying work and life. Strange, isn’t it? Maybe, maybe not.
90% of my jobs I got through were approached by that company, a headhunter, or a friend referral. For the remaining 10%, I applied, not knowing anyone within the company, knowing at the point of mailing my cv, that I got the job.
So this time it wasn’t much different. Long story short, I got the job, signed the contract, and started the following day. I’ve been super flexible since my girlfriend (now wife) and I moved to another city where she started to study and wanted to change industries and move away from the fashion industry into IT.
When I realized that wasn’t me 1.0
It was such a refreshing change. After more than 10 years in the fashion industry, which I loved at first. But when I got into sales, which was my dream from childhood, as my dad has been a sales rep and manager all his life, I realized quickly that wasn’t me, but couldn’t find a way out.
Until that day. I woke up not feeling well. I had that strange feeling in my stomach, but got up and got ready and headed over to the showroom to meet with my colleague. I started to work as an independent sales rep in his showroom for about 2.5 years. It’s been a great start for me as I could utilize all his assets, clients, and existing vendor contracts. Only caveat, because he held the vendor contracts, all payments went to him. I had to invoice him, in order to get my respective commission I worked for.
I drove up to Düsseldorf (Germany) where the showroom was at the time. That was the late 1990s. Parking my car, I already noticed my colleague’s car, which irritated me, as he was hardly ever so early here. Anyway. Pushed that strange feeling away and went up.
Opening the door to the showroom, I see him sitting there with lots of papers, greeting me with “Hey, good morning. I’m early as I need to talk to you. Been with the tax advisor yesterday.”
Ohoh, that wasn’t a great start to the day. But did you notice my strange stomach feeling? Keep this in the back of your mind.
He jumped straight to the point: “We are in trouble. One vendor is in financial difficulties and can’t pay commissions for now, maybe never. As I need to manage my finances as well, I can only pay you 50% of your commission for the foreseeable future.”
That was a bummer. In my head, I did a quick calculation, and it was apparent. With just half of what I should get, I wouldn’t be able to cover my cost. That’s when my stomach kicked in again: “You wanted to get out of this, here is your chance!”.
What can I say, I took it. I finished it there and now.
I can’t tell you how relieved I felt. Finally. There was that sign of the universe DO IT!
And I did it.
My colleague, while sad seeing me leaving, but happy about removing me as a cost from his P&L, me, as I knew this wasn’t me, and my girlfriend (now wife), as she wanted to move back to where her family lived, to start her university studies.
Only caveat, despite a different agreement, my colleague never paid my outstanding commissions. Because I didn’t have anything in writing, trusting him and our gentlemen’s agreement, there was no way I could take legal actions, so I didn’t.
Even though this put a big whole in my pocket, I learned an important lesson for life: GET IT IN WRITING.
When I realized that wasn’t me 2.0
What can I say? I can only apologize if I confused you. My brain is sometimes all over the place when sharing stories. So I hope you can bear with me for a little longer.
Back to where I left the story about me getting into IT. I got that job, started the very next day, and simply loved it. Everything I was dreaming of being there: Amazing colleagues, fixed working hours, defined work processes, a super interesting company and industry, and most importantly, no more sales pressure. All I had to do was show up on time and do what needed to be done that day. Period.
How refreshing after all this sales numbers pressure in my previous jobs.
I started on purpose in purchasing, despite my boss wanting me to join as a product manager, I wanted to learn everything from scratch within the IT industry, and more importantly, I didn’t want that sales numbers pressure.
You guessed it. It wasn’t long until I got promoted to European Purchasing Manager, then relocated from Germany to Brussels (Belgium), promoted again, moving to the top IT company in the world, spending 7 years there, before being made redundant, exactly at the point where I noticed, that wasn’t me. My stomach knew it, as did the universe.
You know what’s funny? I wasn’t even worried one day about what’s next.
And because the universe knew, I signed my new contract the day after signing the separation agreement with my previous employer. All good, despite the fact that I had to move the family from Brussels to Dubai, which wasn’t easy after having lived there for almost 10 years.
I followed my stomach feelings and pushed all these worries to one side.
Despite a bumpy start, we quickly started to enjoy the life down there. We love the sunny summer weather, so this wasn’t too hard, while the summers are super hot.
I worked for two different companies while in Dubai, and could even while in the first job, start hearing that voice in my head and strange feeling in my stomach. I decided not to listen, moved to the second company, and shortly after that feeling became stronger and stronger. Not only that, my body started to react physically. I got sick all the time.
When I got the second pneumonia in only three years, I knew something was wrong. At this point I started to listen to my stomach again, and what can I say. It was 5 to 12.
This is when I realized this wasn’t me.
I did it again. I got so excited about the opportunities that opened up in front of me (my decision making intersection). I took what was presented to me, knowing somewhere deep inside me, this wasn’t me.
And what can I say. Shortly after, I was made redundant, once again.
Here you have your answer. I needed to change, manifested it, and it did happen.
Still today, I strongly believe that if I would have powered through, it might have killed me.
Short summary to make sure you can follow:
- When I realized that wasn’t me 1.0 = I left the fashion industry
- When I realized that wasn’t me 2.0 = I left the IT corporate industry
The moment I had to buy that grey suit to attend that first sales conference, I had that strange feeling in my stomach. There I knew it already, this wasn’t me. It took me nearly 20 years to finally listen again. Listen to my inner voice, my stomach feeling.
I don’t know why I forgot how to do this. It’s so easy. Ask my stomach if it feels right or not. It doesn’t take a lot. But maybe I didn’t want to hear what had to be said.
Maybe I’ve been afraid of the truth. A truth that meant I had to change everything, once again.
Today I know, ignoring my stomach feelings was a big mistake. Despite the fact that I learned so much, I could have achieved so much more following my true passion, helping others.
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