What I Was Thankful For In 2018

In professional environments, and certainly on social media, we are often encouraged to share our successes. It's tempting to attribute those successes to our own efforts and congratulate ourselves with a “job well-done”. Although I don’t think there’s anything wrong with patting ourselves on the back occasionally, the reality is that success is a combination of luck, being at the right place at the right time and your own efforts and skills. For me, a more helpful perspective is being thankful. What am I grateful for?

So here’s what I was (and am) thankful for in 2018:

  • I am incredibly thankful for all the people who decided to join one of our workshops or training or hired us to help them solve a challenge they face. There are so many options out there that it is humbling to see people entrust us with their learning journey;
  • I am deeply thankful for how the User Group for Liberating Structures in the Netherlands exploded. This wouldn’t be possible without the people who offered to facilitate meetups, offer venues and participate in the various meetups;
  • I am thankful for the positive and inspiring collaboration with the people who volunteered to help make the Liberating Structures Workshops possible in 2018; Coen Brouwer, Rasheed Raya, Ruben Klerkx, Max Brouwer and Jordann Gross;
  • I am exceedingly thankful for what I’ve seen happening in people’s faces during Liberating Structures. It strengthens my faith in humanity and my hope that people can connect despite vastly different worldviews;
  • I am grateful for having met Barry Overeem, my companion at The Liberators. We share many values and principles about work and life in general. I am fortunate that our paths crossed and that a constructive collaboration emerged out of that (now formalized into The Liberators);
  • I am very grateful for having learned about Liberating Structures and becoming part of the world-wide community. This community makes obvious that LS is so much more. Rather than a bunch of facilitation techniques, they can help us achieve some measure of wholeness;
  • I am grateful for having learned to better deal with the anxiety I sometimes feel before workshops or classes. I struggled with this tremendously in previous years. A combination of meditation, professional coaching, and the insight that I am absolutely not unique in this regard helped me tremendously;
  • I am thankful for having been welcomed to the Scrum.org professional community. It is one of the few communities where you have a lot of clever and opinionated people that are also capable of putting their ego’s aside to listen & understand;
  • I am thankful for having been part of the team that has been developing Kerkwijzer.nl for the past couple of years (with Roald Schaap, Reinier Sonneveld and Johan Slagboom). With all the work coming our way at The Liberators, I’ve had to step back. But it has been an amazing ride!;
  • I am very thankful for having all these opportunities to travel abroad. I have never been big on traveling — as my closest friends know — so its all the more hilarious that I’m now traveling frequently;
  • I am thankful for having the sheer luxury to take two months off in the summer to visit friends, visit museums, go on vacation, read books and go on city-trips. I love being able to exercise the freedoms that you have when you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur;
  • I am thankful for all those cool things that happened this year, as captured visually by Barry in this post. From building our website to developing the PSM-II class and from organizing two awesome LS Immersion Workshops (and participating in others);
  • I am thankful to Lisanne Lentink, my wife and love of my life, who has been a big support for me this year (and vice versa). I love how we enjoy being together while also having a life of our own. And she is making awesome steps as a freelance photographer;
  • I am thankful for my brother, Laurens. 2018 wasn’t an easy year for us due to a devastating and (sadly still) ongoing conflict in our family. I’m glad that we’ve been able to navigate this conflict together and appreciate how we’ve been able to share worries, fears, and doubts openly. The same goes for my niece and nephew;
  • Most importantly, I am thankful for being in good health. It's easy to take this for granted, but its the single most important thing that can hold you back;