Before all of this, I used to be a typical marketeer in a traditional 9-5 job as an employee for a multinational. My job was incredibly amazing, my coworkers were cool, I had a very decent paycheck and it was close to my home. In other words, it had all the ingredients in order to be happy and content. However, halfway through my career, I got struck by all sorts of frustrations, doubts and insecurities. I started questioning the way I was making a living and how my overall professional mission was being completed.
I just couldn’t understand why despite all of these positive elements, my job didn’t feel satisfactory and why the marketing plans we were developing, for sure, got the results, but nobody seemed to be really waiting for them.
And I’m not the only one asking critical questions – Dirk De Wachter, renowned Belgian psychiatrist, faces these facts. In his book “Borderline Times’ he exposes the social issue of our workforce sharing an overall feeling of dissatisfaction, with devastating consequences as a result: “in this country, inhabiting ten million people, 95,000 of us are unable to work due to psychological reasons. That is a very large and increasing group. Moreover, there are a million and one hundred thousand people, one in nine, who are taking psychotropic drugs: sedatives, tranquillisers, antidepressants, and other. Not a problem? That many people need pills to keep going. And not only those missing the boat, even the successful ones swallow pills, only to stay successful.”
Something needed to change. I wanted to know how my personality, skills and expertise could be better deployed in my professional environment. In total, I took about three different types of career counselling, unfortunately the outcome was the same, exactly the same, every time: I was told to fit a marketing position in an international environment with many and various working relationships and with respect for my work-life balance. So, then what was the problem? Clearly, it wasn’t enough.
I was missing a purpose, meaning and adding value.
This concept of purpose, meaning and added value never left my mind since. My employer didn’t leave me much time to think about it. The multinational reorganised, my position was gone, leaving me job-less from one day to the next. Disappointed that, of all people, I had to leave, for sure, but oh-so-ready for a new adventure. Truth be told, I never felt so relieved in my life and my setback would set a series of events in motion that would bring me closer to a lifestyle more true to myself.
In the end, this happening turned out to be an unexpectedly welcome, game-changing point in my life. With getting paid to be you in mind, I left everything behind – and booked a one-way ticket to South East Asia. I got in touch with traveling entrepreneurs, lifestyle bloggers, startups founders, life coaches, yoga teachers, vegan and raw food independent workers, and so on. The common denominator is that they were all able to build a business around their multiple passions and lifestyles ALL THE WHILE offering real solutions to real problems that people are actually waiting for.
Taking this time and distance to figure out my next step, made me realise how I didn’t miss corporate life at all. Following my heart showed me how wrong I had been to stay focussed on the security, stability and salary of a large company job. I had always been so afraid that quitting my day job would leave me empty handed and ruled out. But only the opposite was true. Although I suddenly had to come by with less, I felt twice the satisfaction and twice the productivity being able to take control of when, where and how I worked.
Leaving my comfort zone and escaping the conventional framework, completely renewed my self-consciousness and opened my eyes for what I really cared about and what I’m really passionate about.
New areas of interest and eagerness to explore new horizons grew organically on me. “Innovation” “digitalisation” “new tech” “sports” “work-life balance” “health” “business modelling” “entrepreneurship” were only a few of my new found passions and dedication. None of them seem to be connected at first, so I wanted to create a framework in order to leverage every aspect of me, for I had realised that all those elements drawing your attention naturally are key to finding the ultimate formula to make a living being you.
New technology and digitalisation are further allowing us to make an income based on our own best features and life experiences. The freelance economy is giving us opportunities to create our own jobs, leverage our skills, improve our qualities of life and spend more time doing what we like. As such, this crazy idea led me to a deep-dive into this topic for which I literally devoted all of my time and energy on study, ultimately, leading me to founding Optimize For Happiness.