First the pancake, then the light.
Or: "First the sh*t, then the shift."
Hey you, lovely human!
Yes, there was some more time between the previous adventure blog & this one - the New Zealand story needed some more time to process I guess. I also decided semi spontaneously to do a weekly Instagram live every week on Friday - which is in Dutch but needed some preparation & adjusting in my schedule. Done and dusted now! Want to know what's been discussed? Sign up for the news letter, I provide a translation the next week!
So, where was I with my story?
Right, I decided to become a Zumba teacher when coming home after 4 months New Zealand adventure.
I decided and planned the whole thing when still in New Zealand, to actually do the training back home in Belgium. Not necessarily the easier way (with having sold my car & everything) like that, but at least it would keep me from falling into a downward "I lost my freedom once again" spiral - as happened previously after 3 months on my bicycle. That Basic 1 training to become a Zumba Instructor is exactly 2 years ago now - perfect timing, isn't it?
For 2 days I took the bus and another and another from my home to the training spot, which was an adventure in itself, but I absolutely LOVED every second of it! In the first ten minutes I knew the money I paid for it was more than worth it. And as soon as I received the Instructor Certificate, I couldn't wait to actually apply the tips & tricks in ‘real life’.
And that's what I'm doing now - 2 years & 2 more training badges added on my Zumba page - both virtually and in real life with all the energy & enthusiasm I have available to share. Do you want some more information about that? You can find that here.
That Zumba Instructor Basic 1 training was not the only adventure sitting in my back pocket during the long flight home from New Zealand to Belgium (with a stop of 2 weeks in Hungary, but that's another story).
During the time I spend on my bicycle touring through Europe, at some point I was cycling through Slovenia and stayed for just one night at a camp site just outside Postojna. This campsite was brand new, and the woman running this place clearly had quite a few years of experience in business.
She didn't really know me that well, but already offered me a job for the next Summer - the Summer I returned from New Zealand. So that was exactly the next adventure waiting for me when I got back home in Belgium after taking the Zumba training. Still in New Zealand, I send a message to the camp site lady and we basically already arranged the whole thing right then & there: from mid June to mid September I was going to be part of the team running this new camp site. I would get a bit of money, a place to sleep, food & and old but very cozy car to drive around with on my non-working days.
Sounds good, no? Yes, I was totally excited to get started! I didn't want to take the plane once again - my ecological footprint was already mammoth big since all those flights in & out of New Zealand - so I found an alternative. I had been without my bicycle for four months, so as you expected: I cycled.
I cycled to the Netherlands, took a Flixbus from the Netherlands to Germany to Italy and then cycled to Slovenia on the what I thought was the hottest Summer day of 2019. I got there though, and I have to say: it really is an amazing spot! Great food, beautiful nature surrounding the place. And I experienced another great adventure, while being paid for a job I really loved - for the majority of time. I was teaching Zumba, welcoming people, bringing great food & drinks around, sharing information about the surroundings in different languages... And on my non-working days I took that cozy car (which might have been about 50 years old but it brought me exactly where I wanted to be), and drove to the mountains or the sea and lived in the perfect version of #holidayalldayeveryday. I met so many lovely people, on the camp site & during the hikes. Sounds good, no?
Yes, it really was! Until some stuff became a bit icky. I was allowed to welcome people on the camp site, but not the Slovenes. I was allowed to go on a trip, but not just with anyone I just met. I was allowed to eat with them, but not too much. And quite often, communication in the team was done in Slovene language - which I solved from my side to try and learn the language which actually started going well after 3 weeks already. But also that was something that wasn't really welcomed.
Right before one of those trips to the mountains, I had some kind of feedback moment with the camp site lady and apparently they didn't enjoy me being there as the other way around. The conversation was a bit odd, but ended on a constructive note - at least I thought it did. So I went into the mountains and had a great day time as always, but when I turned on my mobile data again the day after, I received a work schedule for the next 3 weeks where my name was nowhere to be found.
You can see it coming already: apparently they decided they didn't want me there anymore after all. I got a really vague reason why they fired me & a payment for the work I did and they gave me 3 more days to pack my stuff and get going again.
Oh, dear. I don't know if you've ever had the experience of getting sacked, I honestly really felt awful about it. It feels a bit like failing, doesn't it? And okay, I did have my tent and my bicycle which was exactly what I had the year before when I was changing plans every single day. But this time, I wasn't planning on changing plans, I was planning on staying there for the next 2 months. So I started sending messages around like a lunatic to try and find other touristic spots in Slovenia, where they could use an extra set of Belgian hands. In that whole list of sending messages, all of a sudden I got the message they kind of wanted to see me leave asap - aka the next morning.
That's what I did, with basically no thank you or good bye and a big failure tears.
I just got started with discovering the beauty & coziness of Slovenia, I just got started with adding tourism experience on my list of things to try out. But that fairytale ended a lot quicker than I expected & quite abruptly.
I didn't want to give up & go home that quickly though. At some point, I met this cozy Slovenian guy. Andraž (read: Andrahzj or something like that) did speak a bit of English, but as I shared with you before: connection is not something that necessarily comes from a common language you speak.
So in that moment of big failure tears, I called Andraž with the weirdest question every, because you know, we kind of met maybe 2 times. And I asked for help. Also that is something I shared with you before: at times when you feel lost and you don't know what to do, asking for help is totally okay and you will receive it one way or another. Fortunately (big gratitude towards this guy still!) I could stay at his place for a few days to enjoy Slovenia a little while longer and to try and buy some time to figure out the next adventure. Because since I had quite the financial setback in New Zealand, I wasn't going to spend another Summer without a working & receiving some income once again.
Trying to find a tourism job in the middle of Summer high season in Slovenia as a non-Slovenian speaking person proved to be quite the impossible task. Plus, I did have to find myself again after quite the unexpected and unfortunate loss of this awesome job. So, I decided to cycle home again.
Not all the way home from Postojna, just from that spot to Italy and then once again (a month after arriving) Flixbus'ing back home. Apparently that one day that I originally arrived in Slovenia was not the hottest that Summer. Do you remember the crazy heat wave there was all over Europe during the Summer of 2019? I do, I was cycling through the hottest part of Italy, cycling from Slovenia to Milano.
Anyway, just before I decided to leave and go home, I had quite a long phone call with Sam. And this brings me to the inspirational bit of this week's blog post, because: “First the sh*t, then the shift”.
Both Andraž and Sam offered me help when I needed most - which I'm still crazy grateful about.
Andraž offered help by looking for solutions I wasn't really able to see at the time. He gave me a place to sleep & good food, helped me look for a job and made sure that I still had the chance to visit the - in my humble opinion - most beautiful part of Slovenia (Triglav National Park), with my best Florre who (Coincidence? I don't think so!) was right there in Slovenia at that time too.
By the way, it's right then that those beautiful mountain pictures were taken by @florencesglobe - which I'm also utterly grateful for.
Sam offered help too, when talking on the phone him from Iran and me in Slovenia on the other end. Why Iran? He already started his adventure of "Let me grab my bicycle and start cycle from Herentals, Belgium until the point my bum hurts too much" which appeared to be Japan in the end, but I'll tell you about that in one of the next posts. From Iran, he didn't have the possibility to help me look for solutions for my situation. And still, he actually helped me out more. In that sense that, Sam and I kind of new each other a bit longer already and he, consciously or not, could understand at that point that I just lost the believe of "I can do anything I set my mind to" at that time. I might have shared it with you before: in general I'm pretty solution-oriented and optimistic. But at times like that one, I really just wasn't - like we all feel resourceless at time. My insecurity & doubts are so strong that I can't see the solutions anymore, which is the 'empty pancake' version of me as I call it now.
What Sam did was not handing me the solutions, he just made sure I went back to the version of me where I could actually find the solutions again myself. Sounds quite simple now, just putting me back in my best powerful & optimistic version
How did he do that? No idea. But he lifted me out of me being an "empty pancake" and lighting my positivity & solution-oriented version again.
Maybe it makes so much sense for you too now that you can see those versions for yourself too, maybe you got lost in the pancake woods. Well, allow me to take your hand and walk you through how I got to this knowledge about myself so you can see how this applies to you.
My anti-version: that's me being an empty pancake. It makes you feel good for 2 seconds, but afterwards you just feel bloated and insecure. Haha, still love the metaphor now. Anyway, I'm insecure, I find negative feedback in every single thing other people say, I eat all those things my mouth does but my body really does not enjoy, I ask for validation from literally anyone close to me (which was Sam, Andraž and Thim at the time - but that's a whole other story), and I try to do everything & anything at the same time while actually not getting any stuff done. My language, my body language and my focus just bring me further down the negative rabbit hole. My best version: that's me being a power light house - being confident and steady, shining my light & sharing it with others. I love listening and sharing, I'm curious and driven, I care for (all parts of) myself and others, I'm focused and I trust that all is well as it's supposed to be. My language, body language and focus bring me where I want to be - to a kinder me & a more cozy world.
I am both of those versions. They exists, they are two sides of me. It's not that black and white, sometimes they flow into each other.
Those two versions, you are those two. Not exactly those, with the names & traits, but in your way you are those two versions too. Ever since I wrote those two versions down ( because of an exercise I did from Eva Daelemans' book Woman Up - it's in Dutch, sorry!) and learned how I could deliberately switch between the two (during one of many trainings I did with Tony Robbins - the coach of all coaches), my growth expanded as never before.
As I said: “First the sh*t, then the shift.” And I can't say it enough. Every deep & dark hole you crawled through and out consciously will leave you with a strength you didn't know you had. Something you learned wabi sabi-wise (Google it!) and makes you a better person, which in turn creates a more interesting world.
Alright, time for the exercise! Who are you in your anti-version? That version of you that pops up once in a while and just really doesn't serve you & the world.
Write down the name, traits & behavior of you in that version. What do you focus on? Which language do you use? What does your body language say? Add a drawing if you feel like it, to make it even more specific.
Who are you in your best version? That version of you that you are when you're in a flow state and you feel like you're on top of the world. Find a name ("I AM..."), write down the traits & behaviors. What do you focus on? Which language do you use? What does your body language say? Add a drawing if you feel like it - the more specific it becomes, the easier you'll recognize the versions and know how to switch between them.
Oh, wait a minute. Did you think this was just another blog you could read and then close and never think about ever again? Think again! I share the exercise for a reason. It's a story, but I want you to get your life lesson out of it too so we can create this better world together - starting by the (wo)man in the mirror.
Does that mean I'm always my best version now? No way! But I recognize the empty pancake way sooner & more clearly now, and I know exactly how to light up my power light house again.
And of course I teach my coachees, who very quickly notice and choose between the two versions too. They are grateful for the growth they've experienced and open & honest about which part of them can still become better.
So try it out now, because it's free coaching right here! And let me know your two versions, because as you know: I'm curious!
Are you super excited to try this out in an actual coaching program too? Let me know! Because with a guiding light next to you, it's a lot less dark and moody to dive into those two versions of you.
Oh, what did I decide to do when my power light house was lit up again back then in Slovenia?
I send an email to V-Formation. That's a story for next time!
I'm looking forward to meeting your best version soon!
Lots of Love,