Why I do the work I do
I was sitting in my office in the United Nations HQ building in New York. Piles of folders with statements, speeches, talking points, presentations, political updates and other correspondence were on my desk. I had to review them before the Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping would sign them. I was afflicted. As I had worked for many years with leaders in several peacekeeping missions before, I did not believe anymore that those millions of certainly smart words would make any difference. None of it would truly shift anything significant in anyone’s mind. I knew what was missing was any element addressing human motivation, or any vehicle for true connection among the parties involved. My terrific job made no sense to me. My right elbow had been aching for weeks, and I was exhausted.
When I was sitting at my gate of JFK Airport to fly home for Christmas, I looked outside the window – and inside myself at the same time. I began to ask myself “Who am I?” “What do I believe in?” “What is mine to do?” During the flight, I decided not to renew my contract. And then these questions came up in me: “What am I truly good at?” “What do I enjoy doing?” “What does the world really need from me?” I took a sabbatical then, to upgrade myself as a professional mediator.
After that year, I happily accepted a new job in a peacekeeping setting: To manage leadership development for a large mission of the European Union in Kosovo. But again, I found myself wrestling with the highly comprehension-centered, instruction-focused approach of the organizational culture. Though I was proud of some change I achieved, I longed to do more, to go deeper.
So with great anticipation, I switched to the headquarters of an international private sector corporation, to manage their leadership and organizational development. And I was delighted to learn how much more focus they already placed on the inner human dimension, on self-leadership and collaboration. I loved their approach and I advanced it with my work for several years. But then more and more, I realized that I couldn’t fully align with the shareholder-owned “why” of the company. My personal values were often at odds with the priorities of my superiors.
In my work I needed both: A people-focused approach to change including the possibility to work deeply with individual leaders, AND to align my work with my personal values of making a positive difference beyond shareholder interests. What then? I dared to leap into the unknown, and I opened up my own business. Was I ready for that? Of course not, but the time for it had come. I recognized that I was to start working in full alignment with myself.
I focus my work today on helping companies, organizations as well as individual leaders to get to know themselves and their systems better, reduce “noise”, align internally (their values, their own knowing), and build up genuine motivation – so that they can effectively advance what they truly care about, and achieve the change that matters to them.
Let’s explore together what your needs are and how I can support you to identify and move towards YOUR highest potential, as an individual leader, or as an organization. Schedule a first, non-committal call here. I look forward to connecting with you!