Change Maker Zoë Papaikonomou

Zoë Papaikonomou is a journalist, researcher, teacher and writer about diversity, equity and inclusion. You have published two great books, one about inclusive journalism and one about inclusive workplaces. In this episode, Zoë shares her vision about inclusive leadership, collective vs individualistic leadership and the art to listen, be open and be vulnerable. Leadership is about creating space for other perspectives, not so much about posing your perspectives on others.

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Change Maker – Ayan Biswas

Ayan Biswas is a seasoned manager and leader. He is the Regional Hub manager in East Africa for Akvo, an international NGO providing data services and technical solutions for development. Ayan shares an inspiring story about his leadership journey. From India to East Africa, from a steady comfortable position, to a complete new adventure. It is a very personal story of a transition with ups and downs. Ayan explains that leadership can be summarized in 3 key indicators: Creating Clarity, Inspiring Others and finally Unconstraining Others.

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Change Maker – Onno Hamburger

I had the honour to interview Onno Hamburger, one of the thought leaders on happiness at work and leadership development. He published several books and many articles. Onno coaches people and gives advice to organisations about happiness at work. Also he trains and educates managers and Chief Happiness Officers at the academy of happiness at work and is a frequently asked guest in webinars, conferences and podcasts.

In this podcast Onno elaborates on the definition and meaning of happiness at work, and why it is important for you and for organisations to explicitly reflect frequently and create a work context that enables you to flourish. We also dream a bit and look into the future. What would be the impact on sustainable development if many change makers and leaders invest actively in happiness at work?

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Change Maker – Karin Weber

Time for the second episode of the Change Makers podcast. So excited to share this with you, because I had the privilege to interview Karin Weber. Karin is the Senior Policy Advisor of the Taskforce Women’s Rights and Gender Equality at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

She worked in various places in the world, mainly in Eastern Africa. But also in Vietnam for example. She has been involved in the work for the Dutch government, the United Nations, various NGOs and you had your own enterprise. Always striving for gender equality, sexual reproductive health and rights.

This interview is all about trusting your inner voice, taking opportunities, curiosity, and the importance of working with great managers and teams in an international work environment. 

Hope this inspires you to follow your inner voice and be your authentic self.

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The Change Makers Podcast

It is with great pleasure to announce the Change Makers Podcast. I will interview inspiring change makers about leadership and happiness at work. We will discuss what it takes to drive change and what this means for personal and leadership development. The first episode is an introduction by myself, about my own river of life. This explains my framework and cultural lens. How I perceive and look upon the discours of leadership, happiness at work and sustainable development. Enjoy Listening! Double Click on the icon below or listen via Spotify or Apple podcast. http://

Why ColourFields

A year ago, the concept of Colourfields was born and early this year I really kickstarted my coaching practice. What a fantastic journey so far, with beautiful coaching experiences, trainings and workshops. I'm exploring and learning every day, and it is a great adventure. This picture of lovely autumn colours was taken last week in France, where I had some time to relax and reflect on this amazing journey. 

It reminded me of the question: Why did I started ColourFields? 

Because I want to empower more people so they can make more impact. See if you can be more happier in your work and life. Let your leadership flourish, so that you can generate more impact for yourself , the people around you, your organization and your environment.

Why the name ColourFields? 

Last summer, sunset, with a glass of wine on our terrace in our house in France. We were brainstorming about names and......ColourFields was born: 
ColourFields refers to the horizon; to colour, growth and diversity. 
In addition, it is a symbolic link to the art movement “colour field”. This art movement strived to rise above fixed shapes and mindsets. A nice metaphor for coaching and training. 
Finally, it is a reference to my surname, van der Velden; Velden being the Dutch word for Fields.

5 x A

Over the last months, I spoke with several people that were out of energy and stressed. Not sure where it started, not sure how to solve it. Instead of doing the things they love doing, they focussed on work that drained energy and felt that they were out of control. Although rationally thinking, they were perfectly capable of understanding that relaxing, or other outside work activities would improve their wellbeing. But it was so hard to create space to relax while feeling stressed and had so much work to do. How to turn the wheel around if you do not feel you have time or headspace to turn it around?

Most of the time you cannot solve work pressure on your own. However, there are things you change within your scope of control. You can start turning the wheel around. 

  1. Accept that you are not working optimally at the moment. By ignoring the fact that something is not going well, you deny your wellbeing. In the end, this will not help you to get sustainable results. Most likely the situation will not change by itself. 
  2. Appreciate your acceptance and feeling of vulnerability. It is not perfect now, but the fact that you acknowledge the situation is the biggest step. This situation will bring you new insights, ideas, wisdom, knowledge, and a compass to navigate. 
  3. Allow yourself to take time to figure out what you need. Talk about these issues with peers, friends, family, coach, manager, or boss. See if they can support you in doing things differently or changing the system around you that changes the situation. 
  4. Amplify the things that give you energy in work and outside work. This prevents stress better compared to only focussing on the problems you face. It enables you to recharge your battery and take the wheel and drive. If you feel healthy, fit, and have a positive mindset, you are much better equipped to face challenges and stress. 
  5. Applaud the fact that you are in this process of change, applaud the fact that you try new things, applaud the fact that you take care of yourself.
Accept, Appreciate, Allow, Amplify and Applaud

Behind the Wheel

What intrigues me is the balance between happiness and unhappiness. The two are always connected. Only sometimes one is more dominant over the other.

Striving for happiness, without unhappy moments, does not exist in my opinion. It is our resilience that makes it easier to embrace moments of unhappiness. In times of lockdown and a lot of uncertainty around us, our resilience is sometimes put to the test.

When I talk to my coachees, they often start to appreciate unhappiness moments. Frustration, anger or fear are recognized. They are not pushed away anymore. It often provides insight and provides a key to approach things differently.

You are behind the wheel again, instead of led by negative patterns that we all have in our backpack. By trying to do things differently, and being open to small experiments in your daily life, makes you build up your resilience. Those small steps help you to break through patterns and anchor new ones.

Do you want to know more about this and you want to break through some patterns, send me a PM for intro meeting (free of charge)  

Weer achter het stuur zitten

Wat me intrigeert is de balans tussen geluk en ongeluk. De twee zijn altijd verbonden in mijn ogen. Alleen heeft de een soms de overhand op de ander. Maar het streven naar geluk, zonder ongeluk bestaat volgens mij niet.

Het is de veerkracht die maakt dat je momenten van ongeluk beter kan omarmen. In tijden van lockdown en veel onzekerheid om ons heen, wordt deze veerkracht soms op de proef gesteld.

Er ontstaat er vaak waardering voor ongeluk of ongelukkige momenten tijdens mijn coachingssessies. Frustratie, boosheid of angst worden herkend door de coachees. Ze mogen zijn in plaats van weg te drukken.  

Het geeft vaak inzicht en een sleutel om dingen anders te bekijken en aan te pakken. Zo zit je weer achter het stuur, in plaats van de negatieve patronen die we nou eenmaal in onze rugzak hebben zitten.

Juist door dingen anders te doen, te proberen en open staan voor kleine experimenten in je dagelijks leven, maakt het dat je de veerkracht opbouwt. Het zijn die kleine stapjes die patronen doorbreken en nieuwe patronen verankeren.

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