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Posts Tagged ‘passion

Be aware of your skills to live a passion.

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Norbert, former banker, now bus driver.

Norbert, former banker, now bus driver.

At a certain moment of our life, some of us dream to get another life, to switch to another professional life. We dream to do something totally different, something driven more by passion than by constraints. Such decision represents a major change with some consequences on our life. This is why such change happens often after a period of self-brainstorming.

Such changes we aspire are sometimes the result of a thinking process about our current and passed professional experience. All what we have learned to, all the constraints and the challenges we had to face to, our success and our failures are conditioning our future goals and our future decisions. Like on a sailing boat, we adjust our road function of the new cap we want to reach and function of the wind and streams we are meeting. In a changing environment, the need to learn on an ongoing way is obvious, not only in our own professional discipline, but also in the development of lateral competences. The more we learn, the more possibilities we offer to ourselves. Just remember Steve Jobs in his famous speech at Stanford University, explaining that learning calligraphy by passion, he saw afterwards the usage he can do of such skills, by creating fonts for Mac graphical interfaces.

I would like to relate an article I read on the website www.lemonde.fr, about a Dutch, Norbert de Kramer, who switched to another professional career, and so living an old dream. Norbert, who is now 62 years old, was formerly a banker. He started his career within ABN Amro, was credit analyst, in charge of training, and after, director of a subsidiary in Rotterdam with 40 employees. But his childhood dream was to drive a bus. When he was 55 years old, Norbert followed two weeks of training, and later took a sabbatical leave to do an internship of bus driving. When he was 59, Norbert was proposed to take new responsibilities within the bank. He declined this proposal in order to start a new professional life, to start his passion, to drive a bus. Today, Norber is free-lance drive for a bus company. He is transporting tourists, children, sport teams, and sometimes, ministers.

Some of you are wondering what could be the motivation for Norbert to switch from the job of banker to a job of bus driver. He had probably to face huge challenges within the bank, contributing to acquire and increase his competence level, giving him the possibility to conquer higher positions and face higher challenges.  What can he do now with the competences he acquired in his new job? This is precisely the question the journalist asks to Norbert, what are the common points between the banker and the driver? To that question, Norbert answers as follow: “People”.  Beside the fact to drive the bus, there is the communication side with people. The conversation he gets with them. He explains that some of them are surprised by the conversations he hold with them, and his knowledge of English and German languages.

What is interesting to underline in Norbert new life, is the use of skills in another context. Indeed, he is not a bus driver like another. With his language skills, Norbert can speak with people from different countries, and it brings something stronger in the relationship he can have with his customers. Let’s assume that if he looks for information about the destination where he drives customers, he can play also a bit the role of touristic guide.  The background he acquires in terms of lateral competences represents a real added value for his new job.

What we can learn from such experience is the following. If you want to start a new professional project, you will maximize the chances to succeed if your project is driven by passion. But as you know, to start a new project is a very courageous and difficult decision to take. By starting something new, you become a “junior” in your new market.  Beside the fact that passion gives you the strength of conviction, the use of skills you acquired in your previous experience will allow you to offer something more than your concurrent, something you customers will remember.

Another interesting point to mention is that in our changing environment, some existing jobs can be reinvented. Norber, is not a bus driver like another. With his multilingual skills, he can bring something more to the people he is driving, by giving information about the visited locations in the customer language, and it is for him an opportunity to spend more enjoyable and interesting days. In the way Norber is doing this honorable job, this job has much more value. Combining acquired lateral skills in another context is part of an innovation process.

For those who want to change of professional project, it is important to acquire skills and develop talents, to be curious and open minded. Trying new experiences allows you to open new doors to new opportunities, and to build innovative solutions. Be aware that you can value the skills you acquired in your previous experiences, and that it will allow you to live a hold dreamed passion, and reinvent it by adding your personal touch, making that you will be unique, but also authentic.

Picture from http://www.lemonde.fr

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 18, 2014 at 06:09

Predict the future or make it possible.

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StudentsRecently, I was part of a BarCamp with some entrepreneurs. The topic of the session was the passion of entrepreneurship. During a discussion, one of the members asked me the following question: “What kind of studies would you recommend to your children?” This question was a very good one, in this particular difficult time where in one hand, the level of unemployed people is high, and on the other hand, some countries are facing lacks of talents, as consequences that some jobs opportunities remain vacant.

Nevertheless, what should I tell to a teenager who has to choose studies?  My advice would be that he has to choose studies he is motivated by, independently from the fact that there are job opportunities in that field or not. My answer seems to be a bit unrealistic, but let me explain why I think so. I think and am convinced that it will be more useful and enjoyable to study something you like. One of the obvious advantages to make studies is that it contributes to open your mind, to discover new matters, to acquire knowledge. Each of us remember some matters we discovered during our studies, matters we found very interesting and that probably led us to new fields of interests and opportunities. In such movement of motivation, we can increase our chance to find our place in the society and in the professional world. Think about studies only in terms of job opportunities doesn’t make sense. If you advice somebody who hate figures to study accounting, you will make an incompetent and unhappy accountant, and his chance to convince an employer will be thin, as he will not be convinced himself.

To answer to that question is not so easy, as we are facing a strange paradox. On one hand, we try to predict the future and to organize our career, and on the other hand, we have no idea what will be our world in five years. I remember when I finished my studies, end of the eighties, we never heard about a webmaster, as the world wide web was just invented in 1989. When I finished my college in 1985, nobody could advice to do webmaster studies as it did not exist.  As said Alexandre de Saint-Exupéry with this nice quote, “Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it”. What we can only do is to maximize our chance to get a future job by acquiring a good basic knowledge thru studies. But does it mean that each type of studies enables us to get a job?

We know that today, a diploma is not a guarantee anymore to get a job, but the way we will make the difference by is innovation. If you remember Steve Jobs speech at Stanford University, speaking about “connecting the dots”, he was saying that you never know forward what you can do with something you learn. It is only backward when you discover new things, new interests that you see the value, the application of matters you studied, the opportunities you can catch with what you learned. To do studies can be an serendipity accelerator. Let me give you an example. I knew somebody who studies musicology in Berckley, and had a P.h.d. You are wondering what job opportunities are for such a qualification.  Music was his passion, and he was a fantastic bass player, but he had also another passion, software development. A few years later, he decided to create his own software company and start to develop software to learn music. The combination of two passions can open the doors to opportunities, and here, we are clearly in an innovation process.

Innovation is a key to invent the jobs of tomorrow. I saw around me many examples of people who made a kind of studies, taking interesting professional ways by combining what they studied with other skillsets. Often, they reinvent existing things by having another perception of the world. It is obvious today that in a fast moving environment, we are led to learn during all our live. It is a necessity but also an opportunity to find new opportunities or to build successful professional projects. But such ongoing process cannot be run without passion. Passion is the energy to build a successful life, passion is the key to convince people to subscribe to your project and to make it work. Passion is the only renewable energy.

The answer to the question of studies choice, is to listen to your inner voice, but also to be aware that you will have to manage your career in terms of knowledge development. Most of us will probably have different professional careers, or to do what we do on another way. It is only curiosity, interest and passion that will enable us to build a successful career in accordance with our expectations and our values. Passion is the key ingredient, not to predict the future, but to make it possible.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

June 23, 2014 at 17:42

Age is a question of mind

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There is no age to have an active life.

There is no age to have an active life.

Some of you know the famous quote from Mark Twain “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”. I remembered this quote during a meeting with some entrepreneur friends. One of them is a retired lady who made a career as teacher. When she was retired, she decided to stay active, and developed interest for new technologies. During our discussions, we were talking about the advertising world and the consumer society, where advertising is addressed to a target public, where each person is categorized. She was telling us that when she is hearing or seeing these advertisings, she did not feel concerned by this, because she was not the target of such advertising trying to promote our wellness by acquiring products and services. I can easily understand her feeling, as we are often more considered in our society as consumers before human beings.

By jumping into the world of new technologies and precisely in the internet world, she was telling us that it was a wonderful discovery for her, a wonderful tool allowing us to share knowledge and information by participating to forums on several topics, an unlimited way to expand our knowledge, to conquer our freedom. She did not stay only a user as many of us, but became a real actor by creating a blog, and a militant promoting the accessibility to the web for people suffering of poor eyesight. She attends conferences about web on a regular basis in different countries, brainstorming sessions in co-working spaces, and built a strong network of contacts in different countries. A network of IT guys, entrepreneurs that she had the opportunity to meet, people she could not imagine to meet when she was teaching at school. The teacher became a real connected geek, and is clearly a important member of a community. And what about our discussions about several topics? It is very inspiring and an example of cross-generation relationship.

Such person makes me think about different things about life and self-confidence. We are the owner of our life, and only us, we can decide the way we want to take. A negative point of our society is to make us believe that we cannot access anymore to knowledge or leisure because we are too old, that our life is programmed to do this and not that. The consequences are that we are stuck in limiting thoughts, leading us in a way without goal, in a passive way of life. I remember also this quote from Confucius: “We have two lives and the second begins when we realize that we have only one of it.” There is no age to be aware of this, but one of the messages is that we can discover a passion, of start a project at every moment of our life. The fact to have goals making that you will build a structured life has a positive impact in term of wellness and self-confidence. Our friend realized such goal, such dream because she listened to her inner voice. The age is not a criteria that defines what you can do or not do. It is just a question of mind, and the mind is specific to each of us. We can have the power to follow our own desire and not to be formatted to what others say we should do.

We need to have the courage to pursue our dreams, to transform them into reality. There is no age for dreams, no age to realize them.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

February 24, 2013 at 00:20

When passion comes to you

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Steve Jobs - 2

Steve Jobs, an entrepreneur moved by passion

Time to time, I am used to attend small entrepreneur sessions organized by a partner in her nice small business center, in a nice village in the south of my country. During the last months of the year, some students of a communication school are participating to a training organized by one of their professor. These students are part of small groups spending a whole week to follow the news during 24 hours a day, and building also a personal project. These students are living a unique experience, and few days ago, I saw a comment from one of them on Twitter. She was saying that the useful thing during this week was to discover a real passion. I found these words wonderful, because we don’t read or hear this very often, few people are talking like that.

Passion is something essential in our life. It is an intense feeling we have when we do something, or when we see something. By mentioning that, we notice we don’t hear often people expressing passion. We could wonder what makes that you are passionate by something. Is passion something you have or is it something you have to discover? I remember Steve jobs saying that it was senseless to ask people what they want, when you want to concept a new product, because they have no idea about what they want. I would say that it is a bit the same with passion. You don’t know what you are passionate by, if you don’t look for passion.

How can you find passion? Education plays an important role in the look for passion. Education contributes to open minds, to acquire capacities and knowledge you will use during your life. The more you can learn, the more you will have chance to get opportunities, you will conquer your freedom. But education doesn’t consist only to acquire knowledge and capacities, but also to develop a critical mind, making that you will be able to develop your own system of values, to make your own choices, to take your own decisions. Such process implies that you will be questioning yourself about what you are facing everyday, what you want to do. By looking closely, your life is a range of decision and actions, and by questioning yourself about what you want to do in your life, you will make the choice to take decisions.

The decision process is moved by the whish to do something, but also because an opportunity comes to you, making the right time to try a new experience, to discover something new. This decision is moved by curiosity, and curiosity is essential to expand the fields of your possibilities, of your interests. This is important to see opportunities, to wonder each time what you can to with this. When the decision to act is taken, you start a new experience, bringing you satisfaction or disappointment, but also opportunities to learn, to discover new things you ignore until now. This experience put also a new light about ideas you had about things, and can break your wrong believes. For instance, you participate to a computer training program, and you notice that you have good capacities and intuitions to use the computer and perform tasks with it. The discovery of your capacities brings you a motivation to move your limits forward. Each further step you are doing brings you more and more satisfactions. Satisfaction increases your motivation, and your motivation becomes a real passion.

Passion is not something coming to you but the opportunities leading to a potential passion that can come to you. The facto to will see these opportunities and to take them is just a question of mind. See the fact to try something new, not as a risk but as a chance, the chance to go to new opportunities, and to meet passion. Passion creates a virtuous circle, when passion convinces yourself and convinces the others. You convince the others because you succeed to communicate your passion, you showed the best of yourself, and they see you as an opportunity. Opportunities call opportunities, and can lead you to discover new passions. So, try to discover passion, passion will come to you.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

December 10, 2012 at 21:57

Change of life, yes but….

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Michel Kacenelenbogen, founder of the theater "Le Public" in Brussels, was first a business man.

Some of us are dreaming to change of life, by changing of professional activity, by doing something different from what we are doing now. We see of course the positive side of such changes but there will be also new constraints to these changes. These changes imply to take decisions, to make choices, but these decisions and choices have to be the result of a reflection process and not of improvisation.  There are several things we have to think about before to operate such change and to be sure we are going in the right direction. Walt Disney said “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Nevertheless, we have not to neglect the importance and the consequences such changes can have. What is a dream will become a reality and we have to make sure that we can assume this new reality. I would like here to share some ideas about some aspects you have to think about, if you dream to change of life.

  • Indentify clearly why you want to change of career, of job. Is it because you do not like what you are doing, or because there is another problem not related to your actual position. I remember a single-handed sailor, who was telling that he received often letter fro people who were fed up about life and who want to come with him on board to sail with him around the world. The sailor do never accept to take these people with him, he said, because they have to solve first their problems before to be on board. By not solving their problems, they will come on board with their problems and in this case, it could be a danger.

  • Make sure that the choice you will do is really the one you will be passionate by. If you decide to move to something you are passionate by, it is because you are already doing this activity as a hobby, or you are bringing a lot of interest to that activity, and this is motivating you. This kind of decision is something you decide because you discovered something new that brings motivation. It is difficult to say that you will be motivated by something if you never did it. In this case, your dream could be simply an illusion.

  • Be aware that you will have to deal with new constraints, and you will have to be able to face to them. You can prepare this future activity and  build scenarios, but if you are paying attention, you see that very often, things does not happen as foreseen. I remember friends of my parents who decide to leave Belgium and to buy a farm in south of France. For these two scientists, it was a total change of life, with new positive things but also new constraints to deal with. There is a huge difference to live permanently in another country and to go in this country for your holidays.

  • Be sure that your choice is matching with your values of life or new values you decided to follow. To switch to another activity does not mean that you will only gain advantages. As mentioned before, you will have to face new constraints, and one of these constraints is money. I read in an economical magazine some testimonials about managers who changed of life. Most of them were saying that there were earning less money than before, but they were much more happy with what there were doing now. Such choices make that you will have to move from a passive consumer position to a creative actor.

  • Make sure that you have enough competences to do what you are dreaming of. This is another essential condition to switch successfully to another activity. To start a new challenge makes that you will be a junior in that new domain of activity, and in order to be at the same level of your competitors, you will have to provide intensive efforts and hard work. This is a period where you will have to be strong, and the only things that can support you during these times are your capacities and your motivation.

  • Be prepared to such change and have always an alternative plan. Such change can have an impact on your revenues and your comfort. To move to another enterprise is always a risk, but you can prepare such situation. Determine how much risk you can take and you are able to face, and have always an alternative plan if you do not succeed.

Make a change of career is not a decision you take suddenly. You are lead to make such choice in function of the circumstances of your life. But as a sailor, when you decide to change of road, you have to know first where you want to go, and to be aware about the constraints linked to this new choice, this new road. The new choice you will do will not be necessarily more easy that your present situation, it will be different and more matching your values and expectations.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

September 6, 2011 at 19:28

Education as a passion

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The passion to learn contributes to the human being development.

Education is an important pillar of our society, in term of social, economical and cultural development. Education is the basic tool allowing everybody to be first a human being, to develop himself, to have a job and to be integrated in a society where he can share, communicate with other people. But a statement needs to be done: everybody is not equal in term of education, and some people are not succeeding very well in their studies. The chance for these people to be integrated in the society and to live in harmony is lower.

There are many reasons why some people does not succeed in their studies, in their life. There is a first reason which is a social reason. Children who are living in a family where the parents have a low education level, will face more difficulties to acquire a higher education level than their parents. But it does not mean necessarily that they cannot succeed in their education. There is probably a question of temper. The ones will show more will and perseverance to succeed, the others will be quickly discouraged. Here is the need to have a performant education system, where teachers can play an important social role, contributing to help everybody to meet success in the education.

Let us have a look on the needed ingredients to build a strong educational system. A first condition is to have passionated teachers. As in many jobs, the passion is a key factor of success. The passion brings the motivation to increase your skills and capabilities in areas of interests, and leads you to give the best of what you can do. The passion is something you can transmit, you convince the other because you are convinced yourself. In education matter, passion is something you have to transmit. Some teachers show lack of passion, which is not an example to motivate children or students. The learning process needs efforts, where we have to cross over difficulties, and students have to be motivated to cross over difficulties, to face challenges. Challenges are what we have to face during all our life, and what make us more self-confident. Education has also to prepare the children to face this.

Another important condition to motivate students and to bring them to success in their educational process, are the educational skills of teachers. It is important to be able to explain things on different ways with examples. Some teachers are able to explain complex matters by making comparisons with simple concepts, with concrete things, allowing the students to visualize more easily the teached matters, the explained concepts. But it is also important to explain what is the utility to study matters. What I am saying here, is not that there are useful and useless things to learn. It is not a fact but a wrong perception the children have, and they are wondering why they have to learn things which seem to be useless. They are judging it as useless, because they don’t perceive the goal of learning it. I will take the example of mathematics. I remember teachers explaining theorems, formulas, hypotheses, and logical developments. But at that time, I had the feeling that the only goal to learn these things was to get enough points at the end of the year, to succeed in the examinations, and to have a qualification. I had the chance to have later a professor in the university who was illustrating mathematical concepts or equations with concrete examples. It was much more easy to understand theoretical concepts with practical examples.

Knowledge is the raw material of intellectual and social development. All what we are learning at school, in mathematical, physical, chemical sciences, literature or history, are the basic components to understand or to build more complex concepts or knowledge. But it is also important to show the brought added value of the combination of skills, of disciplines. We can see today new jobs which were not existing some years ago, but which are only a combination of existing jobs and skills. Let us take the example of somebody who is a qualified translator and who has passions of IT and can make programs. By combining two skills sets, he can create translation programs or to work in the online translation industry. The added value of such combination will be a motivation to learn and to develop other skills. For instance, in our globalized world, a stylist who want to present creations in foreign countries like Italy or United Kingdom, could be find more motivation to learn languages, because she has a concrete reason, a concrete motivation to learn it.

As I mention before, education goal is first to become a human being, to build our personal development, to become first the actor of our own life. The role of the education system is also to help children to develop interest areas and to help him to build their own life. The development of interest and curiosity will contribute to develop motivation, and drive people to passion. Passion is an essential component of self-development. Passion leads people to move their limits forward, to encourage them to face new challenges. Passion is also something teachers have to transmit. And to transmit passion, I am coming back to the first point I presented here, to have passionate teachers communicating the passion to learn.As in many areas, passion is a key factor, and the passion to learn can lead you to unlimited new horizons. Let us give the key of passion to learn to the new generations, giving them the opportunities to conquer their freedom.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

May 24, 2011 at 20:48

Those who created their job.

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Luc de Brabandere, enterprise philosopher.

Most of you already heard about that quote from Abraham Lincoln saying that “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This quote have more and more sense in a fast moving environment where we don’t know what will be our future. Today, job security is an oxymoron. As already written in a previous posting on this blog, the only existing job security is to expand our knowledge and capabilities. All what you can learn will probably be helpful for you in order to find and to get new opportunities. More than this, when something seems to begin obsolete, it is time to invent something, to find other solutions, to be creative. It is true for business, for product and services, but also for our career.

Each of us, we hope to meet success in our professional and private life. Some years ago, the success was to join a known company or group, and to make a whole career, joining a stable environment where you were benefiting from a good salary with a range of benefits. Today, such career perspectives are more improbable, in a fast moving economical environment where restructuring processes in companies imply jobs cutting as negative effects. Does it mean that success became also something improbable? It depends how we are defining success.

In our society, work is often considered as a constraint. By seeing work in such point of view, people will choose a job for bad reasons. Is it forbidden to believe that job could be something very enjoyable? It is up to us to decide it. Some people decided to do their job enjoyable, and some of them came to invent, to create their own job.

I will take the example of Luc De Branbandere, a Belgian consultant in creativity. This man has a diploma in mathematic sciences and started his career in a bank. He was quickly interested by all what is related to creativity. In order to move further in that subject, he made studies in philosophy. He wrote several books about ideas and creativity, books that I highly recommend. Luc De Brabandere is defining himself as an enterprise philosopher, coaching and helping companies in creativity processes.

 

Marc Ysaye, director of Classic 21

Let us take another example. Marc Ysaye, who is the drummer of the Belgian rock group Machiavel, made several small jobs during his youth, from taxi driver to trucks driver. He is passionate by rock’n roll music, and his knowledge of the rock’n roll is impressive. He joined the Belgian radio (RTBF) in 1982. In 1988, he created a radio broadcast, “Les Classiques”, presenting a rock’n roll group every Sunday morning on Classic 21, a chain of the RTBF. This radio broadcast is still a success today, and Marc Ysaye is the director of Classic 21 since 2004. Classic 21 is one of the most successful Belgian radio station dedicated to rock’n roll music.

We can find numerous example of self-made man, people meeting success by creating their own job, their own project. There are several reason why they meet such success, and some of them are the following:

  • The passion. Somebody who creates his own job is moved by a passion. Of course, he has to work hardly to build his project, but this work driven by passion make that he is considering his job as a hobby, as a game and not as a binding job.

  • The curiosity and the passion to learn. A self-made man wants to discover, to learn every day. His passion is a never-ending story, and by knowing that he can learn everyday, he has a feeling of happiness and is conquering his freedom day-after-day. All what he can learn and discover will be a strong row material to develop new projects and ideas.

  • Be the original instead of the copy. Oliviero Tuscani said that “We have not only to be the best, we have to be unique”. It is when you build your project based on your own experiences and passions that you build something unique and original. Of course, we are often inspired by other people, but this inspiration has to be only the needed energy to build our own project, our own legend as Paolo Coelho says.

  • Goal and conviction: Building your own project means that you have a goal, your own goal, and that you are convinced by what you are doing. Conviction is close to passion. It is only when you are convinced yourself that you will convince the other people. It is also when you are convinced by what you are doing that you maximize the chance to reach your goal.

  • Pay attention to opportunities: we are used to say that an opportunity is coming one time to you, not twice. It is important to pay attention to each opportunity. Meeting the right people at the right time and in the right place is not something that happen everyday. You cannot miss such chance. We are responsible of our successes and of our failures.

  • Work and perseverance: The most important and main project we have is our own life. It is something we have to build everyday in order to get long term results. By facing challenges and issues, and by working hard in order to find solutions and to reach your goal, you will learn about yourself, you will be more self -confident. It is by learning everyday, by increasing your skills and capabilities that you will be able to move your limits and face bigger challenges.

Is it possible to create our own future, our own job? Yes, it is, but a major point is to know how we define the success. Our definition will be related to our value. Is the success related to the money we are earning, to the projects we are winning, to the satisfaction level we are gaining from our activities? Success will be defined differently by each of us. But success will have to be integrated and found in our moving environment. It will be related to our value, but also linked to our capacity of change, of adaptability. As entrepreneurs of our own life, we need to have always a project in advance, to have always different interests, and to make them growth everyday. Is it impossible to create our future. Some people will answer they did not know it was impossible, so they did it !

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 3, 2011 at 22:34