Pretty much all of you reading this right now is doing so from your place and space of lockdown. For the first time in our generation we are all globally facing the same challenge, no matter your race, culture, religion or financial status.
What we did not foresee and now find ourselves confronted with is that your space of lockdown is not limited to your four walls or your property boundary. Most of us after a couple of days found ourselves in a ‘lockdown’ with yourself. Not your personality, but your character and habits. We are also confronted with the people sharing our lockdown space, most of whom are also in lockdown with themselves for the first time. No leaving for work to escape the atmosphere, no visiting friends for a gossip relief or hitting the gym for an outlet.
The first time I was forced into a ‘lockdown’ with myself was the night I wanted to take my own life. After losing my job, all my money and my marriage in 2004 at the age of 34 it seemed like the only way out. I was in a lockdown with myself and did not like what I saw, and my life was the result of what I saw within myself.
When I was confronted with my lockdown, I realized just how unpredictable life is. How I went from being very successful and things just working out for me, to castles falling all around me when life happens. I thought I had it all figured out, and in the eyes of the world around me they thought so too. It is easy to pretend, to paint this picture we want the world to see, we have become masters at it with the help of social media.
Two things greatly affected me during my lockdown. Firstly it was the intense uncertainty. I had so many questions, no answers and certainly no clarity. The other was the realization that I was not in control. This is exactly what we are facing right now, the massive uncertainty of what the world, mostly our own world, is going to look like on the other side of Covid-19. The fact that we have no control over this, when it will end and what I am allowed to do, nor the impact it is going to have on my life and my future.
How did I get through my lockdown and found the life worth living right now?
I realized that the only thing I have control over, and some form of certainty, is me and my relationship with myself. I was faced with one simple yet immensely powerful question: ‘When others look at me, what do I want them to see?” I am not referring to material things here, but character. What does the character picture look like I want to see within me and therefore have others experience from me?
I realized that life, and therefore my life, consists of numerous relationship contexts which all influence my reality and my future…my tomorrow. My life, me, Johan Koornhof, consist of various relationship contexts including my health, marriage, work, kids, spiritual, friends, family, etc. I needed to realize that these all have a life of their own in terms of being healthy or not, but the most powerful realization I had was the multiplication effect of these relationship contexts. When I improve the level of my health context it had a positive impact on my marriage, my social life, my business and my kids to name a few. The opposite is also true. When my marriage context got unhealthy if negatively influenced my health, my work, my relationship with my kids, etc.
To improve my life, to get rid of all the potential regrets I had in my life, I had to change my perspective in life. I needed to focus on relationships….starting with myself and my character.
In my work today I am often confronted with people talking about their legacy, how they want to leave a great legacy. Let me ask you, what legacy do you want to leave behind when you move on one day….when your final day on earth gets engraved on your gravestone?
I am blessed today, following my lockdown in 2004, with a great marriage and two awesome boys. I have my own business where I get the opportunity to speak into the lives of people across the world through talks, mentoring and consulting. I have another company with my best friend, and most important I know who I am.
What legacy do I want to leave? I want my wife and my boys to talk well of me when I am not present, to be proud of me for who I am and not for what I have. Anything more than this, building a big company or helping others is simply a bonus. #Character
The secret to moving from my 1st life to my current life is something we all know, but very few ever pay attention to. It is the single most powerful principle in the world: “What you sow you will reap!”
Success relies on relationship, relationship relies on character, and character is the core focus of sowing and reaping. If you do what is good, goodness will follow. If you do what is bad, bad things will happen to you. We are not in control of this principle. It is no respecter of people, nor money, titles or power. It simply works whether you like it or not. You can either wake up, take responsibility and make it work for you or you can stick your head in the ground, ignore this truth and see what happens.
What will your relationships look like at the end of this lockdown? What seeds are you sowing into the relationship contexts in your life? The way you treated your spouse today, are you expecting a good harvest from that behavior you sowed? Cause you will reap the harvest…if not already… you will soon enough! What seeds are you sowing into your own health with what you are eating or drinking?
Who do you want to see when you look in the mirror? Character filled with fruits of trust and love? Take this time to lock these down within yourself.
What marriage do you want? Sow the seeds that support that. Build trust and love. The next time you get the opportunity out of frustration to blame your partner, have a go at them and raise your voice, choose to seek understanding first and a soft-spoken word. In that moment you sow seeds that will reap the fruit your marriage wants and needs.
What experience do you want with your kids? Sow seeds of character to support that. The next time your child throws a tantrum, instead of reacting and telling them off, rather choose compassion and find out what is troubling them. Create the opportunity for relationship.
In 2010 I got my second chance at life when I miraculously survived a horrendous mountain bike accident. You have your second chance today, right now in this very moment. The next interaction you have with your spouse, you will never have that moment again! Use it to sow seeds you wish to reap in your marriage. Your next interaction with your child, you will never have that moment again, use it! What was the last experience you gave your wife? Did you sow good seed on fertile ground? Don’t leave poor seed to take root…time is not your friend.
How do I go about creating the life worth living? In your very next action, the very next choice you make, the very next word you speak. In that moment you will have the opportunity to do something about that life. What is it going to look like?
You are worth it!
#Courage #Relationship #Mentor #MakeItCount