By Fatima Gorezi
Monique Dekker is a Speaker, Coach and Trainer in self-leadership and visibility and lives in the Netherlands. She uses the lessons from her own her past and her experiences to help women to become the ‘leader’ of their own life and to succeed both personally and professionally. Her great mission in life is to support and guide women to not only find the best in themselves but also to acknowledge the best in themselves so that they can focus on all aspects of their life. In this interview she shares with us some tips about how women can take back control of their lives in order to change it for the better.
Describe a typical day for you
A typical day starts with meditation and prayer. I ask for wisdom and guidance for that day and ask that I can be a blessing for the people who will cross my path. I say thank you to all the good and beautiful people I have met and the opportunities I have in my life. I pray for health and for my loved ones. Then I start my ritual to get ready for my working day. An important part of this ritual takes place behind my dressing table. The time I spend there is my quality “me-time”. It does not matter how early I have to leave home, I always get up two hours earlier just to be able to have that me-time while doing my hair and make-up. During this time I put on my ipad and listen to inspirational talks. I also have audio books on my ipad so I listen to the books of Les Brown, Steve Harvey and Stephen Covey.
Then my working day starts. Sometime I have breakfast but I have to admit to a very bad habit of not taking time for breakfast every day. And although I know I have to be better, that is still a challenge I face every day. I try to plan my days to be as varied as possible. So one day I have only online coaching sessions and the next I am standing in front of a group that is doing the Self-leadersip program. In between I answer my mails and try to be active on social media. When working from home I will start cooking around 17.00 and we have dinner around 18:00. At the dinner table my husband and I share the events of the day. By 19:30 he often goes back to work and I also try to work behind my computer on the things I could not do during the day. Around 23.00 we close the day and go to bed ending the day with meditation and prayer.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Starting with my childhood I see my development in persistence and building character as some of the greatest things I have achieved in life. This has set the tone throughout my life. Even though I was faced with physical and mental abuse at school, I never quit. Being threatened to stop getting good grades did not stop me although I knew that I would be beaten after school. It is in those years that I developed self-leadership, and I am grateful for this. During my corporate career I hosted many black gospel music events. One of the bigger achievements in that area is when I brought a group of almost 90 people, containing a choir of 65 singers, to the Netherlands for one week. In that week we gave three concerts in the Netherlands, one at the marine base in Germany and then went on a two day trip to Paris. It was a huge success. Other achievements include having built a successful career by the time I was 30 and walking again when the doctors told me I would not walk again at the age of 23. One my the latest achievements is starting all over again after a brain hemorrhage and taking on the challenge of starting my own business and building it into a successful one.
What are your ambitions in life?
My greatest ambition is to be a great international Speaker and inspire the audience with my personal stories and to share my experience and knowledge about self-leadership. It is my mission to support and guide women to not only find the best of themselves and to acknowledge that sometimes they have already reached the best of themselves and need to focus on other aspects of life such as family and friends. Other ambitions are to write a book or take a long vacation. Or maybe just enjoying some quality ‘me-time’. I am so passionate about wanting to support women in standing in their own light and living the life they really want to live, that it has led to my ambition to speak to and reach women to share my story that will hopefully inspire them to find their own path and help them to embrace their true selves. Another ambition is to give back to Society by guiding women who are insecure or can’t afford coaching and to develop their self-confidence and self-worth so that they can stand up and achieve their own dreams and goals.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career?
I wish I had known in advance how much work the marketing side of a business entails. In terms of content I love my work, it is my passion and I can do that every day, all day long. What I did not take into account was the marketing and promotion that goes with it and the time you have to spend on social media to be visible and stay visible.
What advice would you give to women who need to take control of their lives?
The advice that I would like to give to women is to believe more in who they are, what their ability is and what they already have achieved. Aknowledge that you are worth being seen and heard. Put yourself in ‘first place’ for once. Find a balance between giving and taking time and space for yourself. Just think of the flight attendant’s instruction on board a plane. Always put your oxygen mask on your own face first before you help someone else. That is also the advice I would give to women who need to take back control of their lives. Another piece of advice would be – don’t be afraid to fail. We are inclined to do everything so carefully trying to plan each step of the way before we take the next step. The disadvantage of this is that we get stuck because it is impossible to see all the steps. So believe in yourself, and in your ability to take the right steps at the right moment while the path unfolds itself as you go along. Keep the end in mind and focus on your goal, but don’t wait to see the whole picture. Time does not wait and while we are busy thinking and weighing everything up someone else has taken off with our plan. This makes us angry or dissapointed, but actually, if we are honest, we did not take control and some one else did.
What advice would you give our readers?
My advice for readers is: Do not wait for the right time, because it is never the right time. There will always be something that has more priority. I looked into my moms eyes while she left this life, only 60 years of age, and surely not ready to go. She took so many dreams and ambitions with her that never come true. Having one of my closest friends diagnosed with a brain tumour recently makes you wonder what we are waiting for. So whatever it is that you want to accomplish, start today!
Finally, happiness is…?
It is when you have health, love and humour.