Tag Archives: Courage

It is Great to Know You don’t Know ….


By: Anja Uitdehaag 

Admitting you don’t know something could be seen as a sign of weakness. What do you do?

First of all relax.

Don’t stress about it.

You don’t come into the job knowing all there is to know about everything.

No matter what is your day to day work, it’s absolutely normal not to know everything. You’ll keep your credibility by saying, “I don’t know, but I’ll check for the answer”, than trying to answers with information you aren’t sure.


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 By: Anja Uitdehaag

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” — Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

All kids dream big. They want to be super famous, super meaningful, super powerful superheroes. (I used to spend quite a bit of time dreaming about doing something special and be famous for making a positive difference to the whole world in my own way.)

As we mature, these dreams are typically educated out of us. With age comes “wisdom” and a more “practical” perspective. We lower our expectations and often fear failure and risk taking.

Such a shame!

Even if not every aspect of our dreams is realized, our dreams herald big results.

What most successful people have in common is that they had dreams and consistently maintained a “think big” attitude.

The beauty of dreaming big is that it means that the best still lies ahead of you. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how stuck you feel in your life, or where you are right now: with big dreams come big possibilities!

And isn’t that what makes life fun and worth living?

A few tips to get you started realizing your dream:

  • Face your fears and acknowledge them. Confronting your fears doesn’t make them go away, but it will build courage. And that’s what courage is: confronting your fears. If you continuously confront your fears, theywill diminish;
  • Realize that anything worthwhile takes focus, dedication, and follow-through;
  • Think big, execute small. Eat the Elephant One Bite at a Time. Starting small helps you break down that big dream into small, manageable action steps. A small step towards a big dream is often the only motivation you need to take the next step, and the next;
  • When practicing big thinking, seek like-minded people who energize you. Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams, encourage your ideas and support your ambitions;
  • Cultivate a “can do” attitude. Focus on the positives, the potential, and the possibilities. Crush negativity (“No, I cannot do that”-thinking)
  • Invest in yourself. This could be something as small as buying a self-help book or enrolling in a business class or as big as traveling across the world;
  • Celebrate Your Failures: Each time you fail consider it a lesson learned. Learn from it and move on because with every baby step you take you’re one step closer to realizing your dream;
  • Above all: Believe in Yourself. Belief is the most important part of realizing your dreams. If you believe it can happen, it can happen. To quote Steve Jobs:

    “Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” 

    Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

    For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Situation 42: Unpopular tasks

A special project team, under supervision of Boss, is working on a business critical project. One of the project members is not pulling his weight and Betsy is gradually picking up more of his tasks. Boss praises Betsy for her flexibility and dedication to the project. Boss decides to take the project member concerned out of the project team. He discusses with Betsy how to best approach this sensitive situation since, according to him, she has very well developed interpersonal skills. Before Betsy knows she is the one who has to break the bad news to the project team member.

(Click on the pictures to see them in full size)

A great leader:

  • Provides support and guidance to build other’s capabilities without taking away responsibility;
  • Is assertive and expresses her needs in a calm, clear and professional manager;
  • Is courageous and willing to challenge authority to ‘do the right thing’.

How to best handle the situation:

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 23: Breakthrough

carl jung2

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

Nothing tangible has actually changed over the past weeks, but things feel very different.

Here’s what’s been going on:

Firstly, a good, honest conversation with the leadership development company I’ve been collaborating with for the past 10 months or so, took place last week. We talked about roles and expectations – ironically an alignment meeting that was long overdue. Somehow, after travelling together, blindfold, on this journey to bring Mirror Mirror to life, this was the point to take stock and address some discomfort that had crept into the arrangement. With all of the experience within our core team about the importance of open-mindedness, trust and teamwork – we came out much better off.

The conversation made me think about the five key characteristics that block alignment:

  •  Assumptions

He never gives me any time to share my ideas – he’s obviously just not interested”

  •  Misunderstandings

But I thought you always wanted my team to comment on the technical aspects

  •  Unconscious biases

I think we need more data so we can be sure we’re making the right decisions

  •  Gaps in understanding

Every time we do this, we get the same complaints – but we don’t have a way to act on it”

  •  Social influences

If they’re not going to the meeting, I don’t think I should go either”

Thinking more about these, I made a short, animated slide show which – if I say it myself – has turned out pretty well. In fact, I think it NAILS the Mirror Mirror positioning – finally! Check it out on YouTube here.

At the same time, the work with the Global Electronic Company starts tomorrow – I have 14 people to interview and have been getting everything ready. And there are some good leads building in the pipeline. There was one call in particular with a global tech company at Anja’s place a couple of weeks ago (thank you for letting me take that call in your apartment, Anja!). The guy – who is quite a senior executive – was super positive. He said it was structured, practical, and unique. He was going to set up a call with his colleagues and talked about getting us on the suppliers list. I can tell you – that reaction gave me a high for the whole weekend!

That’s the kind of thing that really helps me believe that we will finish the Beta Testing phase by the end of the year, and that the business really has a promising future.

The bleak, dispiriting recent months of sales pursuits without the sweet taste of success is over. It’s almost the end of a whole year of Mirror Mirror now and things are getting on track.

This new summery month of June is turning out to be SUCH a different experience than the past few months were and my strength, energy and determination is back in spades.

Mirror Mirror allows teams to develop a shared picture of ‘where they are now’ so they have the clarity, alignment, and momentum needed to progress to ‘where they want to go next’. www.mirrormirrorhub.com

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Every woman can be successful in what she does!


“It takes courage to become who you really are” – E.E. Cummings

Living your dreams mean “knowing who you are, then, do what you need to do in order to have what you want.”

This might sound easier said than done.

Sometimes you may lose your way toward your dreams or even feel like you never had a path in the first place.

Did you ever feel like you were unsure about who you are? What you want? Not brave enough to be who you are or make your dreams happen?

Finding joy in Being You and Belief in Yourself determine how you will make your life journey.

The more often you are brave enough to express who you are, the easier it gets…

We believe that every woman can be successful in what she does if she can generate the courage to give it a go.

Femflection.com is a creative and inspirational personal development website for professional and dynamic women in business and arts of all ages and cultures. We combine motivational leadership with the inspirational creativity of art.

We believe that Art is a language and like any other language it is a vehicle of communication, i.e. self-expression of ideas and most inner/deep feelings. Art provides ample opportunity for imagination and creativity; as such it also turns out to be a wonderful way to tackle important work/life issues and share (self)-leadership lessons, thoughts & experiences.

It is our goal to help professional women to build their courage and put it to good use through reflection, overcoming self-limiting beliefs, gaining self-insight, identifying potential areas for development and pointing out critical success factors. We encourage you to dream big and take practical action to live a life that matters to you!

When you have a few minutes, take a look around at our web address Femflection.com and let us know what you think.


Moving to another country: get ready to be surprised – Part 2


by Nataliya Semenova

Two years I was offered an interesting job opportunity abroad. I decided to go for it, thus I relocated from Moscow to Amsterdam.

It turned my world upside down!

Changing the place of living (even if you move from one apartment to another in the same town) and changing jobs are on top of the scale among the most stressful events in one’s life. Even when all these changes are positive and are for the best, you go through a lot of stress. I know this is normal but nevertheless it is a good reminder during difficult times.

In part one of my article I focused on the practical sides of moving to a new country. Now I will take you through the emotional challenges you might face on your exciting journey: Continue reading


Femsy is attending an off-site leadership training. Most participants are more senior than she is. Participants take turns introducing themselves: Femsy introduces herself as: “I am just the sales manager of a small region in an Art Company called “Colors”.

(Click on the pictures to see them in full size)  Continue reading

If I Were A Boy: I Know When I Am Ready For A Promotion And I Will Raise My Hand!


Research shows that men in comparable positions are much more confident in their capabilities than their male peers even when they are no more competent.

A prime example is that if a man can fulfill 60% of the requirements of a job description, he will apply, while if a woman cannot do the full 100%, she will not.

That goes for even the most ambitious women. Virginia Rometty, IBM ’s CEO, has said that when she was offered a promotion early in her career, she responded, “You know what? I’m not ready for this job.” She reconsidered only when her husband told her that a man would never think that way.

If I were a boy I would believe in myself, have no doubts about my capabilities and raise my hand. I am confident that I can figure out the things I don’t know yet.

Anja Uitdehaag

What Separates The Good From The Very Best

by Anja Uitdehaag

“Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” – James. C. Collins 

Sports can teach us a lot about  goals, determination and hard-work.

According to Nicole Haislett, Olympic Swimmer, the essence of hard work is: “identifying your personal limits, and then pushing past them, and then setting new barriers, and then … repeating the process again and again.” Knowing how hard she had worked enabled her to stand behind the starting block with the confidence that she was capable of winning. And she did: three gold medals! Continue reading

Lindsay’s In Business: Falling in love and whittling down

by Lindsay Uittenbogaard

The high you can get off letting on your own ideas flow is like champagne… I fell completely in love with an art-based concept.  It seemed to take on a life of its own by the hour!

It started with a thought: wouldn’t it be interesting to see feelings (like anger or serenity) be represented in a painting. Surely a series of these by one artist would get attention. There was something there.

What about if set titles were created and artists were asked to paint to those? Each title could start with the phrase “How it feels when….” and end with a description of situations that everyone can identify with, like “… you come home to a clean and tidy house”. The titles could also be about global issues: “… you hear that 50 people have been murdered in a New Orleans nightclub”, for example.  What would the different interpretations look like? Continue reading