"Host" is my word for 2021
As Host, I create and hold space for dialogue, exploration, insight and action to emerge. Read about my journey and the principles, practices and projects that guide me this year.
A host invites people into a space for dialogue, insight and action. He invites people to explore and holds the space, balancing the doing of a lively conversationalist with the non-doing of a calm presence.
I’ve lived the tension between Head and Heart as long as I can remember.
As a little kid, I read psychology magazines - but I also build lego. As a teenager, I learned meditation - but I also programmed my graphical calculator. I studied medicine because I love both people and science. I studied Artificial Intelligence because it combined cognitive psychology with software development. In 2010, I started using Agile & Lean Startup to develop smartphone apps - but in 2013 I started coaching people on their relationships, (self)compassion and presence using Nonviolent Communication. In 2015, I worked as “Tech & Happiness Guru” at YouBeDo.
After years of searching, I gave up on combining “head” and “heart” so I thought “heart” was the right choice to make. Yet, after a deep dive into a spiritual community that caused more pain than good, I wasn’t so sure anymore.
Over the years, I read and experimented with Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, Liberating Structures, Sociocracy 3.0, Theory U, and Art of Hosting. Although they all seemed promising ways to combine head and heart, I could not find much opportunities to practice.
In 2019, things finally started to take off: I became a Learning Officer at Orikami and I started training as professional coach. Last year, I finished the training and became a st!r-certified professional coach. I also started a podcast about human-centered change.
After a long and arduous journey, I have arrived home. And in this home, I host a space. A space for exploration, experiment, dialogue, insight and action to emerge. This year will be about cultivating and holding that space, as a host.
These three guiding principles help me remember my way.
I find it all too easy to get caught up in stress and rush through life. I have many subtle and not so subtle ways to be dissatisfied at where I am, so I push harder, go further and work more. That is why I invoke the guiding principle of Care. To care for myself, to know that I am enough and that I do enough. That is is okay to be right here, that I can stop to enjoy the flowers. And only when I care for myself, I can extend this care to others and offer them a place to be.
True Size - Humble Assertiveness
“Ha”, I scoff, “so what is the big deal about this? I would totally be awesome at this”. I must admit to feeling overconfident at times - especially when I only imagine doing things, but never actually tried them.
Yet at the same time, I can find myself insecure and full of doubt. I catch myself playing it small and hiding behind a thousand little excuses: “Yeah, so, uhm, I am just learning this, and uhm, well…”
So I invoke the guiding principle of Humble Assertiveness: The assertiveness to confidently assert my place in the world, with the humility to avoid bluffing.
Keep it real - Learn from experience
As an intellectual and book-lover, I am prone to arm-chair philosophy and overthink things. If I learn knowledge from books, then I learn wisdom from experience, so I invoke the guiding principle of Keep It Real. To step out of my arm-chair, into the world, fall into the mud and learn from reality.
Practice hosting myself and hosting others
Every conversation is an opportunity to bring a quality of presence and care. To practice hosting myself and trust it will shine through in unexpected ways. And to practice hosting others, meeting them with curiosity and kindness, and create a welcoming space for dialogue, exploration, insight and action.
Practice being where I want to be
After this long journey, and with all the temptations to rush through life, I find it easy to dream about a better place. “If only -”, I ponder, “If only this was different, then I would be happy”.
Yet what would really change? Not me! I believe I can be a role-model for myself and bring the desired qualities of life into the present. That is why I commit to:
- Practice meditation for a focused head.
- Practice (self-)compassion for a caring heart.
- Practice body awareness for grounded hands.
Practice finishing what I start
Buzzing with ideas, I tend to quickly move on to the next idea. With just a little more focus and perseverence, I am confident I can harvest the fruits of what I sowed. And in order to stay focused just a little longer, I have to be deliberate and careful in what I say “yes” to.
Podcasts, workshops & coaching
I will continue my podcast, and plan to do workshops, training and coaching (available 1 day per week). Anything to keep it real and start practicing where I want to be.
I will keep learning in my coaching, facilitation, training and changemaking skills. I might follow a new training, find a mentor or learn from collaborating with peers.
Grow my (online) presence
I will grow my presence - both spiritually as well as professionally. My social life has shrunk due to work, getting kids, corona and my own lack of initiative. That is why I want to find, make and keep friends. Personal friends, friends to work with and friends to work for.
3 ways to help
I am available for 1 day/week for the following:
Ask for personal coaching
If you want a focused head, warm feelings, better relationships or learn professional skills, ask me for coaching. We can schedule a first call to explore if I can help you.
Collaborate and/or mentor
If you practice Dialogic OD, Theory U, Appreciative Inquiry, Liberating Structures, Nonviolent Communication, Meditation - then I love opportunities to work together and/or learn form you.
Give me a problem worth solving
If your team or organization faces a though challenge, I might be able to help out. I can host a space in which your team or organisation can find answers to the most wicked problems. Especially on topics cuch as as collaboration, performance management, feedback, employee engagement, work happiness, innovation, product developent, software development, agile, scrum and lean startup. I can also offer coaching, teamcoaching and training.