You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy. After 15 years of lovingly following my dear husband, Hans Denissen‘s, dream… I finally found my own career-path match that I was looking for.

You can be on top of the world and it can change in a blink of an eye. For months I have been on a roller coaster ride due to the sudden passing away of my father. On top of that, we moved after 9 years of living in the United States, back home to the Netherlands with our two kids and 13 year-old cat .  As you can imagine that is a lot to take in, in such a short amount of time. My husband abruptly retired from his professional soccer career and we decided to start all over in our home country with a lot of new knowledge, experiences and only 8 suitcases.

After all this, I really had to pull myself together and make a new plan for my family.  There was no option to dwell on what happened. We decided to switch things up and I would be the one who gets the food on the table. My husband supports every move I make and with switching the roles in our household, he finally gets the opportunity to be with his kids. Something he missed a lot over the past years due traveling for his job. I definitely did him a solid with that one.

We all grieve in different ways, and each of those ways are totally okay. I chose the path of my dad’s inspiration. He was a well-respected man and taught me a lot of things including what hard work and perseverance is, and most importantly how to use your power with being yourself. It gave me the energy and the will to enjoy life even more. I wanted to get out of a situation that I was stuck in and did not want to be depending on a strange country anymore where I had no influence on the rules and that included my husband’s job. I felt it was time for me! I needed my own control back… So I made a killer resume and I went for it. 

I got a lot of interviews and with many I stuck till the end. I am talking about companies that are very well known in our country and me having interviews with people in high positions. Unfortunately it all ended up with the same feedback. Too ambitious, too strong minded, too far in life and no current experience in the Dutch business culture. “You should start something for yourself” was often the advice. What can I say… They are not wrong. Only… I have a dream and a goal and to get there I want and need to work for a company so I can learn and grow!

Then at the same time I had to deal with all my ‘Debbie Downers‘ around me.

It seemed like many felt obligated, without asking, to force their opinion on me how I should act and be. How to apply for a job and what to say and what not to say and what kind of position I had to apply for etc… I had one goal and I am proud that I stuck with it until the end! I believed in myself and didn’t let anyone sidetrack me. I am guessing they tried in their way to help me, but they hurt me deeply with their comments. I traveled and lived for 9 years alone in one of the most powerful countries, taking care of my family and business and living the dream with many obstacles… Ever been confronted with yourself for 9 years? I mean give me some credit… I know exactly how I want to present myself. I know I’m not for everyone and I like it like that. I just want support and love, not people’s own insecurities projecting on me.

Your perception of me is a reflection of you

I deliberately kept my circle small with people who believed in me and where I felt safe with. Friends and mentors raised me back up in my life – that includes people who I maybe haven’t seen for more than 15 years! No drama or unasked advice and no distractions from the outside anymore.

Every time I got a rejection, I needed to pick myself back up, do something with the feedback and had to keep going to pursue my goal of finding the job I wanted with the right company.  I had faith in what was happening and the courage to face the situation. There is a saying “before you succeed you must first learn to fail. If you fail 1 or 2 times and you stop pursuing your dream you weren’t ready anyway”. Couldn’t be more of the truth in this case.

And then THAT day came… that I had to choose between two companies who offered me a job. My gut already knew the answer, but I got sidetracked by status on paper, security and earnings from the other company. I literally cried my eyes out and was afraid I would make the wrong choice. But then I remembered one very important thing that an old friend kept telling me … Having a click with the company and your new boss/manager is the most important thing if you want to work every day with a smile.

And it’s true… What I felt with this company from the moment I spoke to their recruiter, the friendly managers who interviewed me and later my new boss, was so different compared with all the other interviews I had. This was also the first time I genuinely wanted the job. At my last interview there was in front of me an inspirational power woman who knows who she is and was honest about why I was sitting in front of her and what she was looking for in the role I applied for. I couldn’t have been more myself at that moment. If there is one lesson I learned in this journey is that your own happiness is the ultimate success! If you believe you can do it, you can get it.

If you put effort, you get seen

It was a long emotional search, but I am grateful for all the applications that came by, the recruiters who tried to push me in the right direction and all the final interviews, as well as the offers and the rejections. And what I’m really grateful for is the feedback I’ve received with every conversation with the interviewer. It allowed me to grow into the company I feel so at home now over the last couple of months.

When you start doing what you truly want to do, you start living a different kind of life. I am unstoppable.

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