A few months ago, I started a website that only focuses on personal development books, their summaries, and reviews (see: www.dev-yourself.com). When I created the ‘About Me’ Page, I knew that I wanted to write something about my life’s experience and what the concept of Change means to me, but I didn’t know where to start.
A few days later — in the middle of the night — everything became clearer. I wanted to talk about my life’s experience and how Change showed up at my doorstep and my relationship to it.
So I based myself on four values that I found was the most important to me until now, leading me to create the following story.
I believe that real Change happens through:
After graduating from high school at 18, I was supposed to follow a university program in Paris near my home place. After going to university for four days, I decided to quit because I felt that the program and I weren’t a match.
As it was the beginning of the scholar year, no other universities had a spot, so I decided to ask myself, “what do I want to do this year?”. This question helped me realize that I had two goals: learn English and make some money. To get both, I decided to become an Au Pair Girl in the Netherlands for seven months.
During this period, I went to two different families as the first one wasn’t a complete match. Even though I had some enjoying times with the second family, I also felt at some times that living at someone’s place isn’t always easy, but I knew that I was on the right path.
“Choose what you want, and Effective Change will follow.”
During my time as an Au Pair, an opportunity showed up unexpectedly after one of my mother’s friends told me to check the Bachelor’s programs at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
As a French native, my English level was really poor. A long journey was waiting for me by getting into this international and high-level program. The first year was tough, a lot of students dropped after a few months, and I failed some of my exams one after the other.
From morning to evening, I would work on my English level, academic writing, and program content. At the end of the year, I was missing 19 ECTS to get to the second year. I had to defend my case in front of the Board of Examinators, which was quite scary. Fortunately, I passed.
The second-year, I caught up with the other students, got better results, and went to the third year. One of the most gratifying moments was when a student of my program asked me for some advice regarding writing a paper.
My first thought was, “She is probably not asking the right person… Is she aware of all the failures I went through during the first year?”. A few weeks later, another student asked me to help her with some assignments. Both of them got good grades, which made me realize that something had changed in the way I approached my courses, academic writing, and English level.
Finally, the third and last year was meant to write a Bachelor thesis. After months of work, I failed due to some miscommunication with my supervisor. It felt like another fallback. With the support of my family and friends, I paid for a while in the fourth year to only re-do the thesis.
Being almost at the end of this second round — in summer 2019 — I felt highly pressured by my supervisor until the last day before the deadline. At that time, my relationship with my boyfriend wasn’t going well either.
Moving from Maastricht to Amsterdam (at his place) a few months back, and spending that summer in France at my mother’s place, it felt like I didn’t know where my home was. These two events impacted me on such an emotional scale that in July 2019, I blocked my sciatic nerve. For a week, I wasn’t able to walk or even crawl, leading me to spend a whole week and a half stuck in bed, not even able to shower for the first few days.
Without realizing it, I spent most of those days sleeping, day and night, letting all the emotions go. I felt exhausted. I was exhausted to hold the emotions back, to find solutions for everything all the time, and to please everyone around me.
This was a time of real change, and I hadn’t seen it coming. I felt lost, stuck, and tired. After a few days, it seemed that the more I was letting those emotions go and rest, the more I could move my legs and start walking again.
From that day on, I made one clear promise to myself: Whenever I would feel psychological, emotionally, or physically tired or stressed, I would rest and express those emotions before doing anything else. Because if I don’t take care of my body and mindset, how will I be able to achieve all the things I want in life?
A few weeks after this realization, I finally passed my thesis. My boyfriend and I took a new step in this relationship where communication, vulnerability, and understanding are part of our everyday life.
“Commit to whom you want to become and Efficient Change will happen.”
Spending the weekend at my boyfriend’s place, I discovered a book on one of his library shelves that was offered to him and that he didn’t have yet read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. This book represents the ‘official’ beginning of my self-development journey.
Since then, I’ve read about 16 personal development books next to my studies and countless articles, podcasts, TED Talks, and documentaries. And I’m not ready to stop. From this moment on, I became a whole new person: more confident, balance, optimist, peaceful, and healthier — I have found my passion for coaching and personal development.
In 2020, this passion led me to combine my Master’s research with a 6-months internship at an international Coaching and Training company in Amsterdam. The CEO and his wife offered me the chance to participate in numerous training for free (from Public Speaking, Leadership training to Coaching Skills, and NLP Practitioner Training). I feel very grateful for such an opportunity and I am looking forward to using that knowledge as a coach.
Some say that opportunities show up by luck. Still, I believe that we find them based on where we decide to look and by how much we choose to open ourselves to the world around us.
“Be curious and Surprising Change will take place.”
By reading, watching, and listening to many self-improvement books, videos, and articles, I felt that not sharing my knowledge with others would be wasting it. So I decided to create a Facebook page (@howtodevyourself) and an Instagram account (@dev.yourself) on which I would daily share various self-improvement tools, mindsets, and techniques.
However, I believed that this step wasn’t an end in itself but rather a means to an end. For the last five years, something has been bothering me. Each time I wanted to find a new self-help book to read, I couldn’t find a website offering summaries and reviews only about the best personal development books.
That would categorize them through life’s aspects. After all, if I wanted to learn about finances, where should I go? What was the right book for me, as a beginner? Or if I wanted to learn about spirituality, with which book should I start?
These books contain a lot of jargon based on the area of life it touches upon and can get quite complicated quickly. For instance, as a beginner in finance, if you start reading Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins, instead of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker, you might find the language, vocabulary, or knowledge behind it quite complicated.
So I decided to create this website, and it seems that everything I have chosen, explored, and learned about, led me to this new project. And finally, I also created another website (www.dev-yourlife.com) followed by its Instagram account (@dev.yourlife) to coaching tools, insights, and exercises, leading me to set up the first stones of my coaching business.
What this journey showed me is that everything I focus on grows, and I am looking forward to seeing what life brings me (or should I say: what I decide to receive and welcome in my life?).
“Cherish your dreams, yourself, and others, and Healthy Change will follow.”