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Pedalling Forward: Adventures in Entrepreneurship

Pedalling Forward: Adventures in Entrepreneurship

It's almost a year ago that I'm sitting on the train from Amsterdam back home to Rotterdam. A loud group of men enters. They've been to a concert and are evidently still in the concert afterglow. A smile appears on my face, ignited by their enthusiasm. We start talking about life, work, dreams, entrepreneurship.

One of them is the founder of a company in Rotterdam, and I ask him what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur. He replies, "You have to overestimate yourself a bit. You think you can do something better than the status quo. Then you're crazy enough to actually do it, and when you're in the middle of the process and it's not going as planned (and this will happen), you have the balls to keep going." This sentence touched the rebel in me, and that flickering flame grew a little stronger. 

Fast forward a few months, I had quit my job and hopped on my bike. Embracing the adventure, exploring the unknown path. Over the past half year, I've cycled almost 3000 km alone through Europe. From Stockholm back home and from Albania to my Yoga Teacher Training in Greece. There, for three weeks, I immersed myself in yoga entirely—from movement to meditation and from anatomy to philosophy. Especially when it came to the biking part, people thought I was crazy, didn't understand why I would do this voluntarily, and found it dangerous that I was cycling by myself in this mad world. Another recurring question concerned the status of my relationship, was everything going okay; why else would I go on such an adventure alone?

And don't get me wrong, I also have people (including my amazing boyfriend) who, despite finding it a bit strange, encouraged me. I received voice memos that I listened to on tough stretches, could call friends or family when I was struggling, strangers honking or shouting encouragement from their car windows, people offering me a place to sleep, inviting me for dinner, offering water in various languages or with a universal sign language. Oh, I've experienced the goodness of humanity.

I wish everyone could experience such an adventure. Space was created to listen to my heart's desire. I tried and experimented. That's how I started writing these blogs, even though I didn't know if anyone would read them. Now I know that it has inspired others to do something different. I realise now that during this time, I developed a significant gift; I taught myself that entrepreneurial mindset—the "I think I can do this" mentality, even when it gets tough. There I was, again, pushing my bike uphill as dusk set in, a car stopped: "You look tired."  A little voice in my head answers “Yeah, thanks, I know that much”. But when I moved past my initial tired response, I smiled and had the encouraging chat. There I was again, pedalling. The next few hundred meters on that 17% steep hill with a 40kg bike below my butt, while the fast Mercedes zoomed away. I have the courage to keep going.

And now, now I'm home. With so many lessons in my bike bags, yes, a sabbatical costs money, but I’ve come back home much richer. With a healthy dose of courage, countless ideas and the mindset to build. Ready to listen to those whispering voices of my heart's desire. The decision to extend my adventure feels logical: I'm going to embark on a journey of entrepreneurship. The flame is lit, the dose of courage filled to the brim, and the muscles are trained for the long haul. How exactly it will take shape is a story for another time.  I'll continue to focus on development at organisational, team and individual level. Working from the heart, helping to find the confidence to act, so we can climb that mountain together. Because now I can say that after every mountain great rewards follow.

Interested in working together? Let's grab a (digital) coffee ☕.