What Trail to Follow?

What Trail to Follow?

The story goes that when I was a little girl, I would pull my baby-brother out of the buggy and would sit in it myself. Walking just was not my thing.

Why walk when there is a car, a buggy or a metro, hey these things were invented for a reason.

Going hiking for me is like going camping, so to say, it is just not my thing!

Every year I make a list of 100 things I would like to do. That is a list of new things and/or repeating things I have already done and want to do again. This year it ranged from hugging a tree to going swimming in the sea (which is a super challenge for me, which  I will tell you about another time) and what was on the list too: The Scottish Highlands

Don’t know what happened there, but I feel drawn to them, pulled and they have been on my list for a few years.

Beginning of this year it all became real, as I stepped onto the platform at Waverley Station in Edinburgh, these beautiful mountains came closer and I felt them in the air around me.

Just before I left for the UK, my friend Heleen, gave me a T-shirt: She is super creative and uses airline expressions on über-organic items. She really thinks it all through and best of all, these shirts are beautiful, soft and lovely to wear.

The shirt she gave me stated: “Doors may be opened”

Heleen said: “Jenn, go explore on your walkabout, be brave and do things you have not done before. You never know, doors may be opened… ”

So while driving from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye, passing the Lochs, crossing Mountain ranges of the Highlands, seeing the barren landscapes, breathing the fresh air, it became evident that now was the time.

I stopped to buy myself some hiking-booties, the ugliest in the shop for sure, or do they actually come in pretty I wonder?

Quiraing a mountain-ish ridge all the way up in the north of the Isle of Skye.

After a fabulous breakfast at a lovely B&B, I asked the host and she was adamant, that it was a beautiful place and that there was so much to discover on that mountain. “the views are stunning – the weather is great today – you should go! But don’t park at the carpark, there are so many tourists, but stop at the cemetery and just walk up the hill from there, you will find the path easily!” “And this gentleman wants to go too, maybe you two should go together!” Ehm okay…

So there I was, next to the cemetery, tying the pink laces of my new ugly walking booties, zipping up the fleece-jacket, which I bought with the booties, dressing my lucky scarf around my neck and getting another woolen mantle out of the car. Steve had a backpack, so I popped my water bottle in there and my handbag in the boot (as it would be very odd, I realized, to bring my handbag, which I normally carry everywhere)

The Isle of Skye does not have the woodlands I know from home, but more shrubs and everything is covered in a green glow of grassland. Absolute beauty especially when the rays of sunlight hit the greens, it almost glows.

I left the pavement and the car behind to step onto that green glowing grassland, little rolling hills, with the Quiraing towering above it. Something was doing somersaults in my stomach and it was a slightly nauseating mix of exciting anticipation and urge to run back to the car and hide.

Whispering to myself: “Jenn, remember Heleens words: ‘Doors may be opened’”

And as I felt the soft fabric of her T-shirt on my skin, I took a deep breath of the crispy fresh air and took a step and another step and another and another and let myself fall in a rhythm of breathing, stepping, walking, following, trusting and then the noticing I was actually enjoying myself.

The hill got steeper, now I was using my hands too, selecting where I was putting my feet, as Steve told me not to step on the rubble and loose stones, to avoid gliding. Okay… gliding is a nice word for slipping and falling on your ass or something else and then waking up at the bottom of the mountain with loads of scratches on my face, if I am lucky… okay okay… stop thinking about the worst case scenarios Jenn… not helping!!…. Focus on what you can control … putting one foot in front of the other… keep up the rhythm.

We reached the ridge where the footpath was, close to the rough cliff towering high up into the blue sky. Well footpath, I was secretly hoping for concrete or bitumen or something, but nothing the like… it was an uneven, earthy path with big and small stones in it and even a stream to cross… ehm Jenn focus, while I watched the pink laced booties following it around another corner. Cliffs on one side and a steep drop on the other…

We stopped and sat down to have a sip of water, Steve told me about his free-climbing hobby and stories about other hiking trails he had taken… I just sat there being silent, while my inner Jenn was having a rant: “Are you nuts, why on earth have you set out on this trail, and with an experienced hiker AND free-climber, you have no right to be on this mountain!” I took another deep breath of the crisp cold air and told myself: “Yes you do have a right to be here, living life is all about enjoying and see where the trail leads you and you are very lucky that you have an experienced climber with you, as having a buddy like him, you can go even further out of my comfort zone, so get up and get into the rhythm, trust Steve and for Peep sake trust yourself woman, lets make this the best out of your comfort zone and see how much you can learn and enjoy it while it lasts!”

What I haven’t told you that where we were sitting was at the end of a sheep path, on top of an overhanging cliff, with a 200m drop behind me and me battling the upcoming feeling of a fear of heights. And breathe…

“So you ready?” “Born ready!” was my immediate answer. “Now that is a good answer! There is a place here called the table, it is apparently quiet a scramble to get up there, but worth the view! You up for that?” Quiet a scramble?? You English live life in understatements….

A wee bit later I was looking at a steep incline, with my pink booties back on that now safe earth trodden path. I saw a few grass pollens sticking out, the black cliffs leaning ominously over it all and a raven pair circling in the air. While Steve was studying his map, he mumbled: “I think it is up here, but I can’t see the path anywhere, well let’s take the short cut up here then!” Like for real man?! My eyes must have been the size of plates in complete disbelief… which he luckily did not see, as he set out on to the steep incline of grassy bushels… as he was ten steps ahead, I tentatively put my booty on a grass bushel too and followed him onto the incline. “Hey it is quiet easy when you follow the bushels!” ehm okay… so that is what I did… follow the bushels, one at a time and getting back into that rhythm.

As I nearly bumped into Steve, leaning casually against the cliff, I saw the joy on his face and turned around on that last grass bushel… oh my the view… wow absolutely breathtaking. The glowing green grass, the rugged peaks and then the smooth and soft mirror like ocean just behind that and the breathtaking Highland Peaks, almost dark blue in the very far distance. A few slithers of mist and scattered clouds across the blue sky, a breeze of salty air, crispy fresh, my heart beating fast and loud and I notice the short intervals of my heavy breathing. “You are city lass, aren’t ya?!” “Yup! But oh I love this!”

With ‘this’, I meant the view… the hiking was, well I was just getting acquainted to.

The next part was even steeper and across black rubble and loose stones. He pointed at the rocks I could put my booties on safely and how to use my hands and put my fingers in goves in the surrounding rocks to give me that extra hold. “Trust your legs, they will hold you, hold you arms straight and use them as leverage”

And up we went. Standing still to breathe for a moment I noticed that my one foot was about at the height of the knee of my other leg. “Ah this I know well, that is when I feel most comfortable when skiing!” and a flush of excitement and joy hit me. Oh this is actually fun, just different from what I have known until now.

Yes we did make it to the table in the Quiraing.

Yes the view was absolutely stunning.

Yes the Quiraign mountain range is breathtaking.

Yes the weather stayed perfect during the hike.

Yes I made it back down to the car in one piece without scratches and new scars.

Yes Steve had a little heights-fear moment on the way down, as I was perfectly fine “skiing down” in pink laced booties down another steep hill to get to the earthy trodden path.

Yes I am proud of that and all of the above.

Yes doors may be opened when you trust.

Yes, just keep breathing while you’re in the middle of it.

Thank you Steve for this amazing experience and the trust you oozed, so I could join you on this adventure. Well he did not know he was hiking with a newbie until we got back to the car. His reaction was priceless: “Ah well done then lass!”

Thank you “Top 100 list” to make me go to the Highlands and trust you to go on this hike.

Life is an amazing hike, when you open up to the possibilities it presents you with. Choose, and even choose something you normally would not do, then get into that rhythm, keep breathing and enjoy the ride, well hike in this case, as there are many more to come. I got a real good taste for it now.

With pink walking boots, lots of love for you,

Jenn

PS: Which hiking-trail did you enjoy most, that should be on my list?

A Messy Business

A Messy Business

I have always blamed it on my German genes. Hitting puberty it got progressively worse. Whether is it was cold or hot, it did not matter.

And somehow for men it is sort of okay, while for a woman it is so not done…

The peak was when I started spreaker-training, ready to start my business and be on stage more and more. The lights on stage increased it tenfold… and then the (possible) smell…

By now I am an expert in hiding it. Wearing the right fabrics and even particular patterns make that it all less visible. Then a scarf or long shawl draped over the shoulder. Jackets in particular colours, even if or because it is warm. Just so no one would notice.

You guessed it right, it is not a messy business, but a sweaty business.

The stains, the patterns, the white rings on black shirts. Have you seen the stains on the picture? (I still can’t believe I am sharing that with you). Then the awkward hugs and touches, while I was feeling sticky. I was always thinking ahead, what to do, how to avoid sweating or even the possibility of sweating. I.e. leaving a party early, standing in a darker part of the room, wearing cardigans, jackets and scarfs even with 20 degrees outside and so on.  And you get so used to it, that you just don’t even notice it anymore, it gets to be second nature.

 

But avoiding is the most time-consuming and energy draining thing to do, as you try to anticipate a million options and make choices on assumptions. It literally sucks all the joy out of anything really.

So to get rid of it, I started testing deodorants by the case load, upgrading to medical deodorants heavy loaded with aluminum, changing soaps, addressing my eating pattern, mindfulness training (as someone suggested it could be stress-related) and even considering Botox, to give those sweat glands a time-out.

I found a way between dressing a particular way, avoiding strategies and a medical deodorant that worked for me.

Until a friend of mine asked me to try the deodorant she had created for herself. Free from aluminum, free from all the messy stuff and based on pure products.. “ehm okay” Still in the back of my mind, “This one will not work either, as I have tried so many..”

 

But lo and behold…this stuff hit the bulls-eye, it took me just a week of use, to actually notice that the amount of “water” reduced and the overall sweating got progressively better. I felt more confident and even started to reduce the amount of times I reapplied it during the day and my experience is, that by using less of this new deodorant, the sweat reduced too.

And this is NOT a commercial, this is NOT sponsored.

Now I feel free and light and have so many more options in life, as I was able to see the avoiding circle I was in and break through that one too. And it is just a deo-stick.

But it is not just a deo-stick, for me it was the best choice ever to get out of my comfort zone and try something new, to give it a chance and to therefore give myself a chance.

So here I am talking to you about my sweaty business, which I have seldom shared publicly, as there is still some shame involved, I have to say. But hey, we are all human and one of the bits that go with being human, is feeling shame. And you know the best antidote for shame is… telling the story, share it all, so here I am and here we go.

And this is just the beginning, as I have been hiding, not only about this, but about other things too, for far to long. So more blogs and posts are coming, and I invite you to join me: Start sharing your stories, the stuff that scares you the most, that make you feel full of shame, that give you the creeps if others would find out… Holding on to them, makes them control you and being controlled by somethings is not a good thing, it makes you do stuff you don’t want to do. As I got myself into that avoiding circle and not fully enjoying life anymore.

 

Join in, speak up and let it out.

It will set you free.

Giving you a non-sweaty hug and lots of love,

Jenn

 

PS: And if you want to know more about the sweaty business and the tricks I accumulated over the years let me know. Happy to share those too. And maybe you have some too to share.

PPS: By the way, the deo is called Loveli made by my fabulous friend @lindabot @loveli.care

 

 

 

Everything is Easy when you Enjoy it

Everything is Easy when you Enjoy it

Noticing The Hamster Wheel and Stop Hiding, Aligns Amazing People

I love my job, I love what I do and I love my company. Started it about 6 years ago and am happy that I now live exclusively from what I love: assignments for companies, lectures on success at schools, masterclasses and coaching one-on-one. Lately I joined the international stage as a public speaker, talking about the topics: Happiness and Success. It feels amazing to build the life I always envisioned, helping and supporting women to live their full potential, all over the world.

Looking for possibilities to improve comes naturally to me, so to step up my business, I focus on how I attract my clients. I realized that the assignments rarely came through my website, they were based on direct contact or through someone else, who had been taking part in one of my trainings or lectures. So word of mouth is my kind of marketing, but if I want to spread the word and connect more women and fulfil my mission, it is time to step up AND step out.

So I decided that it is now time to realign my website. Realign it to my passion, my work, my mission and to me. Which also means that it is time to share more about what I have been doing and share more about what my mission is and my journey.

This is not easy for me, as it feels like running about on Rembrandt Square naked!

Why? you might ask?! Well, because what I do is personal, my company is me and I am my company. I put my heart and soul in what I do, which makes the product I deliver the best I can give.

So changing my website and aligning it, means a transition from an informative website to a site that shows more of Jennifer and what I do. Because I am the product my clients get and building a business is a very personal journey as well. There is not just the brand LifeEngineer and Jennifer the public speaker and trainer, but there is a real person behind all of this. A real person with feelings and fears inside, sadness and hope, happiness and celebrations. This is what makes me me and what makes my company what it is today.

Ready to step it up and step out I decided to show more about me, my journey and what it takes to build a business. As life is not perfect and only about the brand that is shown, life can be messy and weird, but I can also be wonderful and amazing. All of this together makes and forms who you are. Who I truly am is definitely not perfect and I am not HappyHappy JoyJoy all the time, sorry to burst your bubble 🙂

These ‘dark moments’ make who I am as well as all the ‘happy moments’. It is the combination of it all that is expressed through me as who you perceive Jennifer is.

Trying to get all my personality across on a website in 2D is hard. I feel limited, bound in grids and setups and most of all it is so hard to explain and find the words. I struggled with this for a few months, typing lengthy monologues, trying to capture my personality on a page or even finding the right words. Nothing felt right, nothing showed me to a T, so I deleted it at the end of the day, to start over the next day. This is a very tedious and exhausting process. I felt like a little hamster in a wheel, continue and continue and not getting to the destination.

At that moment I knew I had to get help and find someone to get me out of my hamster wheel. As writing from my heart and soul is totally new to me, I noticed that it is hard to find the right words and even harder to talk about myself. Something that is totally normal to me, might be just the thing that I need to talk about, as that is what clients want to know. But I don’t know that, as it is so ‘normal’ to me. So I had to find someone to help me express myself in words and help me figure out what is good to share, I knew I had to find a mirror and word wizard.

Knowing that, I started to look around and talk to people in my tribe, as I feel that they know me best. And guess what, when you start to express what you want and share what you are looking for, it comes to you. That is the moment to stop hiding and show more, which is rewarded with just the right kind of people. I did not know there was a copy writer and hamster wheel stopper, as well as a communication specialist right within my tribe.

So here I am, learning how to write, what to write and express myself, like I have not done before. And it feels great to do more of it and align my website exactly that way to show more about my journey, my business and my mission.

Deciding to stop hiding, is the beginning of expressing yourself more fully and while it is not easy, make it easier and more fun by finding the right people to enjoy the journey together. “Everything is easier when you enjoy it” Right?!

Check out www.insideoutcopy.com to get to know the hamster wheel stopper. 🙂

Comfortzones vergroten – What a concept?!

Comfortzones vergroten – What a concept?!

4 jaar geleden was ik enorm bang om in open water te zwemmen. Zwemmen in zee was echt geen optie en ik deed er alles aan om te voorkomen het water in te gaan.

Op het strand liggen is heerlijk, lekker een boekje lezen. “He Jenn, ga je mee even afkoelen in het water?” “Eh nee, ik ga wel even drankjes halen. Wat willen jullie?” Echt, die strandvakanties werden dan een best dure zaak. En dat alleen maar om er onderuit te komen om het water in te gaan…

Het idee alleen al: Monsters die me de diepte in sleuren, niet kunnen ademen, zeewater inslikken, vissen die in mijn tenen bijten. JaJa, ik weet het, het zijn allemaal heel onrealistische taferelen. Maar dat is Angst nu eenmaal: Onrealistisch.

De angst begon zich ook al te manifesteren in bad.. serieus?! Ja, mijn hoofd onder water houden was geen optie. Mmhhh, toch tijd om er misschien een keer iets aan te gaan doen…

En dan schuif je het lekker voor je uit, want ach hoe vaak ga je naar het strand om te zwemmen, Toch?!

Tijdens een introductiedag van de NLP Academy, kreeg ik de mogelijkheid deze fobie op te lossen. Ik had namelijk weer eens nieuwsgierige vragen gesteld en uiteindelijk mijn angst voor water als voorbeeld genoemd. Nou daar zat ik dan voor 40 deelnemers en werd ik onder handen genomen. Eigenlijk was het gewoon een gesprek dat ik had met hem en hij stelde me steeds vragen en zo waren we soort van in discussie. Na 15 minuten kon ik met alle wil van de wereld geen voorstelling meer maken van de angst die ik had. Briljant!
Die zelfde avond ben ik nog in bad geweest… wachtende op de oude bekende reactie en stressgevoel in mijn buik…. Niets! Hé?!

Dezelfde zomer ben ik in de Middellandse Zee gaan zwemmen en het was heerlijk! Ik heb genoten van het open water, de ruimte en de vrijheid en het zilte zeewater smaakt heerlijk! 🙂

Onlangs ben ik weer gaan zwemmen in dezelfde baai en ik heb me daar gerealiseerd hoeveel het me heeft gebracht. Ik ben uit mijn comfortzone gestapt, heb ervoor gekozen om geen angst meer te willen voelen en heb daardoor mijn wereld kunnen vergroten. Ook al lijkt het “alleen” de stap om te leren zwemmen in open water,  het heeft me zoveel meer gegeven. Meer zelfvertrouwen, meer genieten, meer kracht om die dingen te doen die ik wil.

Nu, 4 jaar later, ben ik zelf NLP Master en geniet ervan zelf deze geweldige technieken toe te passen met anderen. En ik zwem nog steeds graag in zee.

Wil jij ook weer in zee zwemmen, of een andere angst overwinnen die jou belemmert? Boek dan een gratis intakegesprek voor je eerste handvatten om jouw comfortzone te vergroten. Leer hoe je het zelf kunt toepassen.

 

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Stille wateren, diepe gronden

Stille wateren, diepe gronden

Vorige week zat ik bij een vriendin in de tuin met een kop thee lekker in de zon bij te kletsen. Opeens viel ze stil, keek me met een glimlach aan en zei: “Jeetje Jenn, wat ben jij opgebloeid sinds onze opleiding”

Dat was het moment waarop ik erbij stil stond en me realiseerde wie ik nu ben, vergeleken met vroeger.

Ik ben opgegroeid in het conservatieve Zuid-Duitsland in een provinciale stad en ik kan me mijn schoolfoto’s nog herinneren… oh mijn hemel wat een Fashion-sense. NOT!

Ik was nou een typisch muurbloempje. Net iets te lang voor mijn leeftijd, met ledematen slungelig uit proportie, daardoor verlegen en wat teruggetrokken, me altijd afvragend wat anderen van me vinden. Zelden kwam ik op voor wat ik vond en wilde. Daardoor werd ik ‘De Stille’ genoemd en kreeg ik zelfs op een schoolkamp een certificaat met “Stille wateren, diepe gronden”

AAAHHHH! Ik leerde de kunst van het zich-aanpassen, doen wat anderen van mij verwachten en wat als goed en correct bevonden werd.

Ik was niet happy, maar bleef me aanpassen omdat ik het zo geleerd had. Het was een overlevingsmechanisme geworden.
Maar één ding weet ik nu: overleven is verre van leven! Overleven is je kleuren verliezen en elke dag grijzer worden.
Ik heb me gerealiseerd dat het stille opgelegd is en een label is van buiten af. Dat ik niet stil BEN, maar stil lijk. Dat er veel meer in me zit dan wat anderen vermoeden en dat het tijd was om die Jennifer eruit te laten en zichtbaar te maken.
Niet meer te zijn, waarvan verwacht werd dat ik het ben, maar te zijn wie ik ben en wie ik wil zijn. Van zijn die je moet zijn, naar zijn die je bent. En die Jenn zat afgelopen week in de tuin bij haar vriendin.

Dank je wel Auke, dat je me hebt laten realiseren welke weg ik heb mogen gaan en dat ik nu extra geniet van wie ik nu eindelijk mag zijn van mezelf.

Als extra boost daarvoor heb ik onlangs speeches mogen geven op de beide verjaardagen van mijn ouders voor ruim 50 personen. Vroeger had ik dat nooit gedurfd en nu deed ik het met gemak en had er plezier in. EN kreeg ik ook nog complimenten van de gasten na afloop.

Zoals Elvis zong: “Ich hab mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren”… nou ik ben het nooit verloren, in tegendeel, ik heb het weer gevonden in Heidelberg en ben intens blij nu mijn hart te volgen in dat wat ik doe.