11 September 2019 ... min read Listen

Arianne van Dalen

Your purpose is the compass you want to follow

Arianne van Dalen was closely involved in the preparation and set-up of the programme, took part in a pilot group and regularly supports managers in the purpose module of the Think Forward Leadership Experience (TFLE).

Arianne works in Global HR as a change execution professional. She is extremely interested in the development of leadership – for managers and non-managers alike. “I thought for a long time that the purpose training should be available to everyone,” she says. “So I’m very pleased that’s now happening.”

Common thread

“As a participant I took the training some time ago. With a group of colleagues, you take an in-depth look at who you are and what shaped you. You share the bad times and the very best experiences of your life. As you think about it and colleagues reflect on it, you identify the common thread that runs through your life and discover your purpose, your real motives. Put simply, this is who I am and what I carry with me in my work and private life. Your purpose is the compass you want to follow. That’s important, because if you constantly do things that conflict with your compass, there’ll be friction and eventually it will break you.”

No one-woman show

“In the training everyone identifies a purpose and describes it succinctly in a single sentence. In my case those words certainly didn’t come instantly; a whole process was involved. But here’s what they were: ‘To be the magic Munchkin that helps you celebrate your birthday party’. The magic Munchkin goes back to my youth. The Munchkins are the inhabitants of Munchkin Country in the Wizard of Oz. They welcome the main character Dorothy to their city. When I started my first year at secondary school I auditioned for the school musical, the Wizard of Oz. I was one of the three shortlisted for the main role. I didn’t get it, but I did get a good supporting role as a Munchkin. I was really pleased! In the newspaper photo I was in the front row and that’s typical of me. I don't need a one-woman show, but I do like attention and sharing it with others. When I go for something I go for it 100% and with my enthusiasm people see me shine. It was also a symbolic break with my primary school days, when I was bullied. At secondary school I was able to shine.”

Special moments

“‘Celebrate your birthday party’ also comes from my young days. My birthday falls in the middle of the summer. As a child I found that a big advantage, because we were often on holiday with the whole family. I could always do fun things and was able to choose where we went to eat. I still think it’s important to celebrate special times and I like helping people to do that.”

Shining and letting others shine

“I see a lot of parallels in my profession. As a project manager I have a facilitating role. I make sure everything’s in place for training courses and events, but of course I often have to go on the stage, for example to introduce the day’s events. That’s my opportunity to shine, after which I can direct all the attention to the participants. In my private life too, I have an eye for the big little moments. A short time ago my friend had been running his own business for 10 years but would never have arranged a celebration himself. So, leave it to me: I organised a complete surprise day for him. I believe such a milestone absolutely should be celebrated and I think I have the aptitude to let the other person shine on such an occasion.”

Purpose as inspiration

“My purpose gives me inspiration for what I want to achieve in my work. It’s my anchor point, my compass. In 2018 I recorded the ambition of bringing the purpose training to all members of staff. When I return shortly from maternity leave, my purpose will once again be the common thread in my job and in my development. I want to be the magic Munchkin in every job I take on. The training had a real impact on me. I discovered that if you know your purpose and act accordingly, it can make the difference between ‘just’ having a nice job and having a really great job in which you can excel, because you're doing what’s right for you.” 

Back to top