“Who am I?” Is one of the biggest life and leadership questions you get to ask yourself. Are you able to answer the question without telling what you do? Answering the question is a crucial step towards meaningful and inspiring leadership. Why? Because all you do is motivated by the answer to this one question. Finding your answer might take you a while. The answer will most probably change your life and your approach towards leadership.
Anouk Schaap supports leaders grow in their leadership. Knowing who you are is important for everyone but crucial for leaders who have a huge impact. Anouk shares her journey in finding her answer as inspiration for every leader looking for theirs. Get inspired by her story.
It started at age six
“I remember the first time I asked myself the question: “who am I?.” I was about six years old and I panicked. The question seemed too complicated to comprehend, I even got afraid to confront my parents with the question I had. In that moment of panic I decided not to ask myself the question ever again.
When I grew older the question came back every now and then. I blocked it. Unaware of it, I started looking for an answer in the things I was doing. In my grades, while travelling the globe, the work I did, the men I dated and finally I searched for an answer in meditation, self-love classes, manifestation courses, yoga, ayahuasca and what not. I did find some type of joy in all of these things but my question remained unanswered which resulted in a feeling of emptiness within me.
About four years ago I started my entrepreneurial journey. Building something new and having a strong vision on leadership isn’t exactly the easy road to success. It demands trust, perseverance and guts. Although my mission was crystal clear, my company didn’t seem to really take off. I worked with amazing clients but steadiness didn't come.
At the beginning of last summer I was exhausted from working hard, worrying and doing everything on my own. I remember one evening where I was desperately looking outside of the window, saying out loud ‘HELP’. I didn’t know whom I was asking for help, neither that my call would be answered very soon.
The invitation I wasn’t expecting
A year before this all happened I worked with a spiritual Business Coach. I was a huge fan of hers (and still am), the reason I decided to text her the day after my call for help. I asked her If she had any message or something I could do to help my business finally take off. Her answer surprised me big times.
Her answer was: “Connect with God”. I expected anything but this after knowing she worked with tools from another belief. At the same time I was pretty clueless on what else to do, so I decided to follow her advice. I did an attempt connecting with God by listening to an audiobook called: Conversations with God, which got me busy for a few days.
A day at the beach to never forget
It was 9th July, a very hot summer day. Together with my dog I went to a city beach in Amsterdam. Whilst sitting there I saw a young woman passing in the corner of my eye. She caught my attention as she seemed to have something I never saw before. Half an hour later she was standing next to me asking me what I was doing. I told her and asked her what she was doing. She said: “I was reading the bible”, I looked up in complete surprise not understanding how this was possible a few days after someone tells me to connect with God. She then said: “I am here because God wants you to know He loves you and He wants to connect with you.”
I cried for about twenty minutes.
I wasn’t sad, I was relieved instead. I also experienced a huge amount of love and peace, something I had been longing for my whole life.
A new beginning
All of this happened about eight months ago. It was the start of a new life and He helped me to discover who I really am: I am a child of God, loved for who I am. I am created for a reason and I received talents and gifts in order to fulfill that reason.
The answer is my rocksteady foundation for my personal life but also for my business and vision on leadership. My business is the vehicle to serve top leaders in their leadership. I have the gifts and talents to reach these leaders and to help them grow in their leadership. I am on my journey to transforming the world of leadership, together with God.
I hope my story inspired you to go and look for your answer and to also start living the life you were supposed to live”.
Anouk mentors CEO’s and founders in their leadership and works as Public Speaker.