Maarten van Damme – founder of enthusiasm.be
Did you know that ‘having a sense of purpose‘ is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy? (check ‘Unlocking happiness at work‘) But how to find this kind of purpose, and avoid becoming a ‘weekend-warrior’ ( = people who are only truly living from Saturday to Sunday)? And can you be happy if you can’t find your ‘purpose’, or are you doomed for a life of living for the future instead of for today? We asked those deep questions to ‘enthusiasm’-expert Maarten Van Damme. He specializes in coaching people to find happiness, authenticity and purpose in their life. Curious about his answers? Read on…
How do I find my purpose? What are great tips/habits/exercises to find out?
For me, this has even been my life goal, to find the purpose of my existence. And it still is an ongoing process. My talents and my business naturally drove me towards this niche, which makes it very ‘recognizable’ for our customers. I have been trying to explore this in all kinds of ways and areas. I searched it in material things, in traveling, in (extreme) sporting, in partying, in spirituality, … A good tip for finding that big ‘Why’ is to find the silence within and to listen to your sense/intuition. This may sound a bit too far out there for some, I get that. A good way to try and do this is finding out what touches you, what moves you in daily life or on television. What is it that triggers your emotions? For myself, I learned that when something makes you cry, or at least makes your eyes burn, that it’s your soul that is guiding you to your true purpose. Every human gets a backpack of talents in life to fulfill its purpose. This can be very general and divided into different parts. For example, many people feel the purpose to help others. Whether this means being a good partner, parent, employee/entrepreneur, being involved in organizations, … It is all a matter of finding your silence in a society that is always busy, hasty, and has an overload of information. Go looking for that piece of silence and listen what your heart, your feeling, your intuition and your nature have to say. And when you do find that purpose you keep tuning in on it, because you also keep evolving. The answer is really just hidden within yourself. A book about finding your purpose that I really recommend is “The alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.
What if I don’t feel like I have a real purpose in my life/job? Is that a problem? Or can I just be as happy without a ‘plan’?
Of course you can be just as happy without that purpose. For some, it simply boils down to being happy about their job, their family life, their hobbies without asking further questions. If everyone would just be satisfied about the life they’re leading and be good to others, the world would already look like a different place. It is only when suffering, misfortune, or exhaustion/burn-out occurs that people start asking questions. “Is this really what I want?” For example people who’ve been employed at a bank, but would like to make a switch and help people in another way. Besides all this, life is all about finding the balance between holding on and letting it go. In my opinion there is a bigger force at work guiding us in a certain direction where you have the possibility to explore your full potential and lead a life full of ‘purpose’.
A good way to find your purpose is to check on a daily basis what moves you in life, on television, … What is it exactly that triggers your emotions?
How is authenticity linked with happiness at work according to you?
The more authentic you can be at work and in life, the safer and recognized you feel as a person. Being authentic, first of all, is about knowing yourself, which is a number one condition to be a strong leader in my opinion. Knowing your own strengths and pitfalls makes it easier to work together with others and be more open to feedback. Being authentic also means that you allow yourself to be vulnerable. And happiness? Happiness to me is about being who you really are, good days and bad days. That way you support each other as colleagues. This enables a supportive, authentic culture where there is room for feedback. That, for me, is the description of a happy working environment.
What is your recommended ‘TOP 3 habits’ list for more happiness at work?
- Take good care of yourself: eat healthy, get some exercise, get enough rest, …
- Try and get to know yourself: what are your talents, what is your purpose, how do you want to evolve, …
- Get to know your colleagues well and become a solid team with clear goals and working agreements.
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