The art of persuasion

Have you ever asked yourself: Why do we have mental breakdowns? I experienced a full-blown meltdown a couple of years ago. I’ve gone over it over and over again asking myself how on earth I got there. The only answer I can come up with is this: failing to take responsibility for what happened. One word: avoidance.

“I really want Google now,” I am talking my head off to my Doctor friend. “Will be bummed if I don’t. Are your sarnies selling well?”

“No. There is more bla bla here then there,” the Doctor tells me pre-occupied. “But I am negotiating to rent kitchen space. On Monday I do new trials.”

“Yeay,” I cheer him on as it does all sound promising although I am wondering why it is taking so long. Or on the other hand I keep asking myself if the Doctor has a better sense about setting up a business than I do. I’ll just observe for a while, I decide.

“Today I bake for new photos,” the Doctor goes on.

“Do people like them?” I ask him again.

“Yes they do,” the Doctor nods at me pleasantly.

“Posting photos to social media?” I want to know why he needs these photos. Is it digital marketing material, or is it content for his menus? “I bet they do.”

“Perhaps,” the Doctor avoids my curiosity.

“Do you make them happy too?” I prod further for more answers. “Can I order a sarnie with charisma?”

“I don’t know about that,” the Doctor eyes me suspiciously. “Yes when I come back as an employee as a mentalist for Google after you get the job. Going to get supplies. Back in half an hour.”

“Oooooh I m not sure I want you to come back,” I smile sweetly peering into my webcam to gauge his every reaction. “It’s always great seeing you and talking to you. Love having you around. Like really love the feeling. It’s comforting, soothing, nice, motivating. But dangerous too. And there’s Debbie and your sarnies. But would love to taste a sarnie with charisma. I really want that too. With or without Google. I want Google too though. And to become very, very rich.”

“What do you think will happen to you if you become very rich?” the Doctor turns to face me head on in the camera. He had been pottering around his study before this turn of conversation. “Are you ready for those problems?”

“I might lose touch with reality again?” I ask a little worried. “I would like to create businesses. Travel the world. Sponsor charity work, maybe start one myself.”

“You need to be more clear than that,” the Doctor points out to me.

“I will continue working as a consultant part time in my own consultancy agency,” I start out doing my utmost best to be very specific this time. “I will hire and educate young people in digital marketing. Heleen will be my office manager. I will also start up my Center for Inspiration, branches in Keerbergen, Mechelen and Brussels. Bring meditation to busy stressed out people. I will also open a shop selling designer clothes for kids. I will travel during school vacations with my three kids and the au-pair. We will tour South America. Also Asia, Japan, Bali, Vietnam. Stuff like that. And Scandinavia. We’ll blog about it too. And create immense Instagram following. I will start a charity for kids. Bring digital education, a center where kids can turn to: get food, clothes and comfort. Starting in Belgium and then other places along my travels. Maybe also teach them to make sarnies. I will sell my house and buy a new one, bigger, more modern, more center Keerbergen so my kids can go to school by bike. I will also do stuff with art and photography. Like workshops for kids and travel camps. That’s what I will do when I am rich.”

“Ok good enough,” the Doctor shrugs pretending not to care, but I can tell my the twinkle in his eye that he liked my answer.

“What will you do?” I ask him in turn.

“Consider risks, as its hard work to begin with,” the Doctor gives me a wise look urging me to pay close attention. “I will protect my money. Invest as best I can. Keep trying to grow my capital. Be wary of those trying to take it away. Mix with winners only and adopt their attitudes to success. Teach my kids to do the same. To achieve is better than a life of Reilly.”

“Ok will cogitate on that,” I tell him as I do think his advice is pretty sound.

“Think about it like this,” the Doctor looks at me sternly. “You work for longer periods than you vacation. This makes vacation special. If you vacation for long periods you will need to demotivate yourself to work.”

“Well yes there are long periods during school time,” I defend my cause. “But okay make vacation rare and special. I’m hoping I do get Google. I’ll be able to have paid vacation! Real vacation without a computer. Without being always on. I haven’t had that in years.”

“Yes I really hope you do,” the Doctor nods. There is something about the air around him that makes me feel insecure now.

“I will by a loft by the sea and organise meditation retreats,” I continue laying out my future plans, doing my best to shake the creeping feeling of insecurity. Why am I feeling this gut feeling? What am I not acknowledging? “Me too. Any magic spells?”

“Yes but they don’t work in Belgium,” the Doctor dissuades me of any hocus pocus. This also shakes me as I would expect my pure desire for manifestation to be the ultimate secret to getting what I want.

“They don’t?” I ask him annoyed. He obviously wants me to work for it. Maybe that was my uneasy feeling. “Where do they work then? Need to make this work. I’ll just have to trust that will happen what is best. Whatever is on my path. Sounds so fatalistic.”

“Spells work best among superstitious people,” the Doctor explains. “No you must make it happen. Pray a lot. Ask for it. Be clear on what you are asking for.”

“I want to be a top executive at Google,” I decide there is no time like the present to be clear about what I want. “It will give me the visibility and credibility I need to sell these training videos and to be successful. It will allow me to expand my career, learn, and have security. Security is good for me and my kids. It will reduce stress. Top pay 150k plus, indexable annually, car and fuel covered so I can get rid of my car costs, med coverage so I can save that cost too, pension and shares for later.”

“Yes. Plus you get to brainstorm with like-minded people,” the Doctor reminds me it’s not just about the money but about the satisfaction of working on something meaningful. “Just be selective on who you sleep with. Don’t go for low level management until you are at the top of your game.”

“Paid vacation is a ball,” I know I keep repeating myself but this is one of the perks I am really looking forward to. “I’m sleeping with Wim. But true. Sleep with top management?”

“Yes. You are,” the Doctor nods. “Things change.”

“Hmmmm yes,” I look disgruntled.

“Ok so focus on this position and what you can bring,” the Doctor changes the perspective for me to consider all sides to the story. “Ask for it in clear terms. Don’t worry too much about your contribution as it will fall into the scope. Ignore the vacation aspect, it’s a perk. Focus on the job only.”

“I want the job,” I repeat like a moron. “Conversion optimization evangelist. I want to be a Google evangelist.”

“Find out who you need to get to know to get support from them,” the Doctor gives me ideas how to keep working towards this goal.

“Quite amazing,” I cheer happily. “I would be like my analytics heroes. Never thought this was possible.”

“Keep that picture very focused in your mind,” the Doctor preaches. “Talk about it. Do your homework and due diligence. Meet the relevant people. Get to it now.”

“Okay,” I skip around merrily.

“You have the knowledge and skills,” the Doctor coaches me. “Go forward. Ignore the past. Recreate your history to make you look amazing. It’s in you. I felt it.”

“Yes,” I am beaming all over now. Feeling invincible. I like that. “Ha now BNP wants to negotiate too. And I don’t want to sleep around. I want to marry Wim.”

“You sound sure,” the Doctor prods me to get me out of balance on my last statement. “Well BNP is in your hand so negotiate. If Google comes resign and move on. Don’t turn BNP away in case Google happens some day soon. It may not.”

“Good plan,” I smile, but not inside. I don’t like what the Doctor just said. What does he mean, Google might not happen?

So instead of taking responsibility, I spent my time on sillies like the secret manifestation and other oddities I picked up from courses with Deepak Chopra. Just hoping the universe will listen and chanting mantras will not bring me the job. It’s hard work and doing your homework and research that will. That’s the part where I was supposed to be taking responsibility.

If I am ever to climb out of this pit I believe a reset of my way of thinking is in order. No more magical BS and unicorns for me. No sir.




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