In 2003 I started a career coaching company and worked as the only employee.
The company did very well, particularly if you looked at the turnover and the ‘front end’ of the company. The turnover grew each year, marketing and sales were doing great and the company was able to do business with small and big companies, building on innovative propositions and good perception management.
Over 10 years, the company grew to be a small multi-millions business with about 50 employees. It was very successful. I see that my qualities – in contacting people, especially at management level, outlining a strategy, developing a vision and inspiring colleagues and customers with it, were the cornerstones for the success.
The Illusion of a ‘Successful’ Company Exposed
But there was also another side. While other companies thought we were big and solid, which I wanted them to believe, the reality was very different. We were actually, at least in the first years, small and not very well organised.
The company appeared to be my ‘dream’ job as it had all the aspects that I enjoyed such as being a leader, marketing, sales and flexibility. I did only those things that interested me and that I was good at, avoiding matters that I did not want to do or that really needed my attention, such as conservatively managing the finances.
I was avoiding leading this company responsibly and spent too much money on keeping up appearances and growth, something I had learned at a very young age from observing my father. As a child we lived in houses that were too big for what we could afford and my father spent money on dreams that often did not come true.
The Comfort of a ‘Good’ Life
But the biggest thing was comfort: the comfort of having a ‘good’ life.
Financially the company was not doing well because I did not want to face the reality of the unsustainable growth. First I did everything myself, then I employed managers who were drawn to the company by my big dreams and the fact that we would grow, sell shares, cash a lot of money and be financially independent. It was the typical dream of an entrepreneur – work very hard and then cash in.
The new management team worked in line with my vision, leading the company but not taking real responsibility or solving and truly managing the financial side of the company. I saw all of this but chose to close my eyes. Instead, and with my approval, I let the management team work out more sophisticated financial techniques and arrange heavy extra loans to camouflage that the company was financially in bad shape.
I was working many hours but didn’t want to commit to doing what really needed to be done. I loved the work but only the parts that were not challenging. I knew I had to face the reality of having to make decisions that would take away the good salary and comfortable lifestyle.
The Beginning of the End
For a year I fought what Serge Benhayon was presenting. Then on the last day of a Universal Medicine course in the UK, Serge walked by me and I cried as I surrendered to the love that I felt, and the love he lives and emanates so unconditionally.
I – or better said my body – felt that I had returned home and found the truth I had always been looking for. My head followed what my heart had felt. Things started to shift in my company.
I became more aware of what was happening and felt what people were really doing. Although I felt that things were not right, I avoided speaking up or taking any action. I avoided taking responsibility because I was afraid how people would react. I was afraid of the confrontations if I was to start to express what I felt and, in particular, the confrontation of saying to a close colleague that I did not trust him any more.
Serge shared with me “Just be ALL of you,” but I chose for a year to not live this, choosing to hide from my responsibility, making myself small, not speaking my truth. Instead I pretended it would all work out fine somehow, without my having to take any action. I talked a lot about what I should do, but in the end I did not do it.
When I eventually started expressing all that was not true and asked my direct colleague to leave, it was too late. This resulted in a management fight, which ended in the two other managing directors leaving, together with some other employees.
That was good… I thought. But I then gave my power away – again – to an interim management team, which said that the company was in such a bad shape that I had to declare bankruptcy.
I was not living ALL of me, not being in my power and not being discerning as to what could be done as a team, following advice almost blindly by excusing myself it was too much of a task for me to get the turnover that was needed to survive. I now see that by being ALL of me, which is living in my power without fear, and by really working together with the remaining employees instead of doing it all on my own, we could have made a turnaround.
As proposed by the interim financial manager, giving my power away once again, I filed for bankruptcy, a scenario I never imagined. The consequences were huge.
The bankruptcy resulted in a financial and emotional shock for many employees and business partners, leaving many bills unpaid. Some people were relying so much on the company that all of a sudden they did not have any money at all, not even being able to pay for their groceries at the shop. When I heard this, my heart crumbled.
All of this because I was avoiding responsibility and choosing the comfortable life, living selfishly.
I now realise that this company could have made a huge impact on humanity if I had chosen to honour myself and my employees and expressed sooner what I was feeling. I could have shown the world a different approach to work, that if you make it about people first, results would take care of themselves.
In the business world, there are so many corporate institutions that are successful because of the people, but these corporations have somehow turned into machines using people (the ‘human resources’) for the sole purpose of getting more and more turnover and profit. My company could have been a living example that appreciating and deeply valuing people is our way forward.
The consequences were huge for me as well, but the biggest effect was that I gave up on life and started withdrawing from the world.
A New Way of Life and Working
Since the bankruptcy, I have had a total astounding makeover as a (working) person, a 180° turnaround. I am learning and do very much appreciate the BIG steps I have taken. I am returning more and more to being the tender, loving and deeply sensitive man that I was as a child, being far less protected than I was.
I have learned what it is to really commit and I am learning to make it about people first and not about turnover and results. Gone is the arrogance that I am the creator of ideas and companies. Success is not something that I create but something that is given to me by the choices I make, and this insight has humbled me.
I have now chosen to live a purposeful life and make it about love, truth and God. Comfort and laziness are definitely out, as I learned the hard way. I am learning every single day. I am amazed to see this loving, tender, caring, beautiful, very powerful man that is surfacing. A new, different leader.
My intention is to – yes, don’t be surprised – start a new ‘true’ company in time. I have learned and won’t be making the same mistakes ever again.
I feel a forever student, who never stops being amazed about the beauty of this life. I am now more committed to continue to learn and evolve: not to better myself and have a better life, but to truly have an impact on this world. Not alone, but together with many people… it’s time for making life about people first.
Thanks to Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon, his family and the many inspiring students of The Way of The Livingness, I know there is another way… also another way in work and how to run a company.
With deep appreciation for the unconditional love, support and teachings of Serge Benhayon. He never stopped loving me, whatever I did or chose to do. Thank you Serge.