THERE ARE THREE MAJOR DRIVERS IN MY LIFE: ENDLESS CURIOSITY (HOW/WHY DOES IT WORK THAT WAY?) HELPING OTHERS (TO SERVE), SPENDING PRETTY MUCH ALL MY TIME DOING WHAT I LOVE TO DO (PASSION)
THOSE THREE VALUES DEFINE ME: CURIOSITY, SERVICE, AND PASSION (C.S.P.)
Transformations in my journey of life:
I remember it as if it were yesterday. At the age of seven, I received a letter from the local volleyball team. “We need you!” (I told my mom, “Mom, they need me…”) At the time I was pretty bad at sports to say the least; in school I was one of the kids who were always picked last. The idea of this volleyball team really needing me changed my life. As I took this to be the truth, I started training and learning and getting better and better at sports. I learned valuable skills such as coordination, team play, discipline, and more importantly, that persistence pays off. It wasn’t long before I was the kid selecting the team in school gym classes. From that time on, gym actually became my best subject. How did this major change come to be? Two reasons: One, I felt needed and actually believed this to be true. And two, when I joined this team I had a great coach/trainer who believed in me. He taught me what to do, supported me, and saw my potential.
My very first big transformation
Come to think of it, this was my very first big transformation. After that, sports always kept playing a major role in my life and I went on to compete in several other sports. In life, we go through different stages, and when the Internet and computers got introduced, I convinced my parents I needed a computer to practice my French. The real reason was, of course, that I wanted to play computer games like my best friend at the time. Again, I was blessed to meet a coach in some form: the computer salesman told me, “If you break it, just return it and we’ll fix it.”
So my dad and I (he was driving me) returned four times that very same month. I wanted to know everything about this computer, so no screw was left unturned, no software left untested. It sparked in me a new passion for machines and how they work. How do they do what they do? And more importantly, what can I do with them? The fast-changing world of IT and the continuous challenges of getting everything to work together was like a unwrapping a new present every day. I quit school without a degree of any kind. Remember the conversation with the principal who said I wouldn’t get anywhere in life? I told her, “We’ll see about that.” It wasn’t long before I started a computer service company to do just that. This business ticked all the boxes for me: I got daily challenges, I got to help people, and actually got paid to do it. In the second year of business I discovered self-help on a different level, as this time it was on how I could improve myself and my business instead of improving computers. It started off slowly with a book and some ideas from the book’s content.
As the company grew, my thirst for knowledge on leadership, marketing, communication and pretty much everything that could help me and the business grew as well. This got me to read more books, attend more trainings, go to seminars … I remember the accounting department telling me, “Ivan, this is getting ridiculous.” Little did I know that a new transformation was waiting for me. It was building like a storm. This storm hit me full-on when my pretty comfortable life was suddenly turned upside down. Life hit a snag; my business partner and I got into a fight about the direction of the company. And what’s worse, I had no idea there was a coup attempt being planned along the way. At the same time, my then-girlfriend and I suffered the loss of our then-to-be first child. Needless to say, my world was rocked to the core.
My trust in people gone, my trust in life gone, my trust in myself gone, my passion gone. It took me several years to recover, and out of this grew the understanding that I needed to reframe what had happened so I could use what I learned along the way. Now I see these events as blessings and I understand I needed this to grow, to understand myself and others better, and to be able to climb to the next level in life.
Why do we do what we do? Why does it work that way? And what else can I do with it? So the idea of always engaging in new, exciting, and complex challenges remained, and in that I re-found my passion, curiosity, and calling to serve. I realized that carving my own way and following my ideas and dreams is part of my identity.
So is the need to improve, and help others. (C.S.P)