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I see them almost daily. People living backward. Or at their best trying hard to keep the status quo. It’s a life where most of our actions are based on the fear of loss. Losing property, status, happiness, money, love.

  • How can I keep paying the bills for my monthly expenses?
  • How can I make sure my marriage or relationship doesn’t fall apart?
  • How do I keep my employer satisfied so I don’t lose my job? (After all that is what I am paying those monthly bills with)
  • How do I combine being a good and present parent with my demanding career?
  • How do I stay physically and mentally fit, even though I am very tired and to be honest in need of a decent break?

So we keep rowing the boat, no matter what. With responsibilities weighing heavily on our shoulders. We dream about looking forward, but the past holds us back. We dream about a better future, but get stuck in surviving the day ahead. We dream about creating the best version of ourselves, but are in fact long glad we haven’t lost most of our own identity by now.

For those amongst us that have any existential relationship to “I need to prove I can do this” or “I need to prove I am good enough” or “I need to be able to do it all by myself”, it does nothing but get even more complicated. It means you are, above all, not only rowing hard and non-stop, but most likely rowing the boat all by yourself. With or without passengers enjoying the view or, without you even noticing, willing to help.

What do we need in order to be able to live forward instead of the above? We need to have a destination plan. And that is more than just keeping your boat dry. And definitely more than to keep rowing around in circles without any specific point at the horizon.

Fact is, in order to live forward, we need to stop for a minute. And that is the absolute hard part. We feel as if we don’t have any time nor opportunity nor margin of any kind to do that. But what if money was no issue? What would you change today? And what if your relationship was indestructible, and the love you feel and receive forever unconditional? What would you do? What if you were sure you would never lose your job? Would you make any changes? What if you are by definition the best mom or dad in the world, no matter whether you bake that birthday cake yourself? How would you divide your work and life? And what if you were guaranteed to be fit, mentally as well as physically, by taking off only one hour a day? Would you allow yourself to do so?

My challenge for you this month:

Dare to stop to look forward for a minute. Stop rowing your boat and get out your fishing gear if you want to. Lean back for just a minute. Enjoy the view. See how far you’ve come. Make a plan, not a survival strategy but an ambitious plan for a(n even more) fulfilling life. What would you do if you could not fail? What is really important to you? Which choices would you make? What do you need to reach those goals? How are you going to invest your time and energy?

I did the same not so long ago by making myself a vision board for 2018. To be honest, I really hesitated to put some of the things on the board. Not that I don’t want it to happen very badly, or that I don’t want other people to know. I was simply unsure if I would ever be able to get there. And then I understood, if I was not even daring to put it in my (personal) vision, it would never happen. So don’t let anything hold you back to dream big. Visualize your dream life. Does that mean I have no sorrow anymore? Unfortunately it is not. I still find myself rowing that boat too hard and too often. But I do believe that we are always right where we should be right now to be able to take that next step and unlock the true potential of our life. The only difference is that I am now focusing on the potential ahead instead of getting worried and de-energized on all there is to lose. And so should you! So whatever your focus, your dreams, your ambitions, live forward. Good luck!


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Don’t know how to start? Attend my FREE WORKSHOP (Gorinchem, the Netherlands) and make your own vision board on February 27th or March 6th (almost full). Contact me for more information:

About the author

Being a certified executive and personal coach, Sofie Varrewaere is associated to the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching team and owner of the global executive coaching practice As a behavioural expert she has many years of experience working with the top layer of several multinational organizations. Her passions include playing her quarter grand piano and messing around with acrylic paint on large sized linen canvas. When she’s not catching some proverbial Big Fish, you’ll probably find her in her daily boxing class or in the swimming pool. She is luckiest doing what she does best, challenging others and herself to perform at their best