>> 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company <<
I’m not the only one with a story. But my story is unique. As is everyone’s. And in all those stories, there is so much to find: hope, encouragement, wisdom, inspiration, motivation, connection and love. I know I have a “rich” personal story that at that moment in time, was an anchor. But now I transformed it into an accelerator for others.
Aspart of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company” I had the pleasure of interviewing Myrte Scheffer.
Myrte has already been on an entrepreneurial journey since she was 23 years old. Being only 36 now (May 2021), she already accomplished a lot as a Strategic and Trusted Advisor for National (Holland) and international parties, where she guided board members and whole organizations to the next level, mostly from a Corporate Social Responsibility perspective. With clients such as Mercedez-Benz, professional football clubs and the director of the National Football Association in the Netherlands, she already made name in her country and her unique strategies and concepts are still being used as an example, both nationally and internationally. Since September 2020 she decided to use all her knowledge and experience to follow her heart-business: traveling the world to find, enrich, empower, guide and connect mission driven leaders all over the world to help them maximize their impact on society by strengthen their soul, spirit (mind) and strategy. At the same time, she travels the world this way, to collect all the wisdom they held inside, for the higher goal: inspire the next generation to lead and create impact from the heart. The movement is called Global S.T.A.R.S.: (S)he Triumphed Adversities & Rises. The payoff is “United by Uniqueness”.
Myrte uses her professional background as a Dutch award-winning strategist, an international entrepreneur, coach, mentor, as well as her personal story as a sister of a multi-disabled girl who is no longer physically with us, (officially former) foster mom of a beautiful teenage girl — as the source for all her work.
Myrte is currently traveling through Spain to find the perfect place for a physical place in Spain to host purpose driven leaders, CEO’s, entrepreneurs and organizations to reconnect with themselves, to enrich their leadership skills and to re-strategize their business/organization. This unique and life transforming experience, will be available from September 2021. This place will also be the place where families and individuals can follow specific programs to help them to live with a disabled sibling and to process personal losses.https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2F_OIox2B_k4Y%3Fstart%3D5%26feature%3Doembed%26start%3D5&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D_OIox2B_k4Y&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2F_OIox2B_k4Y%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=a19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Iwas born in 1985 in a small town in the middle of the Netherlands. As the oldest of 4 children in total (with the youngest being multi disabled), I was already doing a lot on my own from a young age. As early as two years old, my flair for entrepreneurship already sparked. I remember my mom telling me that I used to pick-up the phone for my dad and give messages and knew exactly what to tell, who to call back, and what was the call about.
Then at the age of 14, I had my first job as a car polisher. I recall asking the people who work there, why they do what they do, what’s the reason they like it so much; and found myself coaching them from a really young age. I was always curious about people’s intentions for working, and I already decided back then that I was going to work for myself one day.
I vividly remember whilst I had that job, that I didn’t see myself as an employee. Seeing those people going to the same workplace every single day, revealed something in me that wasn’t the kind of role I’m called for. That’s when it started.
We also have a family business which my father founded when I was six years old and grew into 70 employees now, so I have always been exposed to business. Both my younger brothers are in the business with all their heart, only it wasn’t my path. Although I tried when I was younger, however in my family, I am the most adventurous entrepreneurial spirit and I always saw myself in a more “fluid” business.
As I said, I started my official first business when I was 24 years old in September 2009. When I was in my last year at the University, I was asked by Mercedes Benz to do a qualified market investigation for them in specific parts of the Netherlands where I lived. Since then, I decided that it was the moment to start working for myself.
Since then (September 2009) I guided so many organizations, helped (re)building businesses (small and big), designed processes and strategies for change for B2B and for non-profit organizations and I did a lot of work as Strategic and Trusted Advisor on board level for top level CEO’s.
Today, I’m combining al my knowledge and experience to guide mission driven leaders, CEO’s and entrepreneurs forward, so they can create — even — more impact on society.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
My aha moment was a very personal one and one with a huge impact.
Aren’t they all…?
In April 2020 I lost my twins due to a missed miscarriage. Also, still in the grieving process of losing my disabled sister only 3 years before, this was the last push I needed to be able to say: enough is enough.
I didn’t want my life happening to me anymore, I wanted to stop existing and start living. Even though I already accomplished a lot on my age, I didn’t feel any fulfillment or satisfaction. I needed to transform myself back into myself, and from there rebuild a professional mission around it.
So, that’s when my own transformational journey began. One with a lot of ups and downs, victories and tears. But mainly one with priceless life- and business lessons. The most important lesson and decision I took was to from now on, only live and work from my heart.
And exactly that is what I’m guiding my clients with; guide them in building THEIR dreams. I do this by designing unique, transformational experiences for my client.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
In my 12 year of working for myself, there’s a lot that crossed my path. The good and the bad. However, I don’t see it as “bad” anymore, it was all part of the learning process. The hardest time though, were during the “bad” moments where I was betrayed or misled by (potential) clients or fellow entrepreneurs. For me, losing money for example, was not the hardest part back then. It was more the loss of trust in other people and the self-doubt that came with that.
I look back on those situations with gratitude because it showed me two very important lessons about myself:
1. I don’t want this dishonesty in my life or business
2. I’m glad I don’t want that in my life or business, I’m very proud of myself for being true and honest.
It paved the road for who I had to become.
And yes, I thought of giving up sometimes. But more in terms of: I wish I could just work in a 9–5 job and be perfectly happy with that. Only, that’s not me. So, giving up was never a serious option and therefore quite hard to handle sometimes. When you feel there is so much inside of you that can help others, it’s hard to keep going when things aren’t already manifested in the way you would want to.
What kept me going was the idea of how I felt when I was “down”; I want all mission driven leaders to know how amazing they are and how much they have in store for the world. I see it as my purpose to enrich, empower and elevate these people so they can create even more impact in this world.
The idea that that goes to waste, kept and still keeps me going.
Whenever you feel like giving up, remember why you started in the first place.
So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
First of all, thank you for asking. I’m glad to say I’m doing AMAZING!!
Currently (June 2021) I’ve been already traveling for 4 months between various Spanish Islands (within the restrictions of course), such as La Gomera, El Hierro and Mallorca. In July I will do a road trip with a friend (former female leader at Mercedez-Benz), she in her campervan and me on my motorcycle (Indian Scout for the people who want to know) and along the way, I will keep working with my amazing clients of course!
After an intense retreat with myself where I was processing the personal losses as said before, I realized how proud I am to do this for myself and therefore inspire even more people. On my journey I already met so many beautiful people on a similar mission.
With one of them, I’m currently mapping out a very unique retreat: on a catamaran! Ten days of reconnecting with yourself, with nature, with each other and also on your business strategy. It’s a very complete experience with priceless outcomes for every mission driven leader, CEO or entrepreneur. On personal, emotional, spiritual and professional level.
We will organize two pilot editions (5 days each) for this in October 2021, with 3 clients per edition (don’t hesitate to reach out when you are interested!) and we hope to sail all over the world next year. We call it: Sailing the STARS.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
First of all, creativity. I love to organize authentic, personal and unique experiences. Only then the impact will be even bigger and more sustainable. Using traveling, motorcycles, catamarans; you name it. Plus, the higher goal for me has always been to inspire the next generation of STARS. That’s also a big reciprocity in the business case.
Secondly, I think it has to do with intentions. What do I mean by that: there are so many businesses, organizations and leaders with the intention to make money. When I decided to take myself and my business to the next level in September last year (2020), my first action was to move to London and build the business from there. However, I noticed myself — again — being stuck in a system that just is not working for me.
I’m now traveling whilst expanding my businesses. I decided to do it differently and follow my heart that always wanted to live in, and work from Spain. I’m building this company from scratch and that takes time, energy, falling, rising, money, effort but mostly my deep sense of knowing and feeling that this is the way of doing business. Honest, vivid, creative, from the heart and therefore very sustainable. It might take longer this way — although the business world is more and more ready for this approach — but I truly believe it’s much more rewarding in the end. In every way possible.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
I don’t know if it’s funny, but it’s definitely worth sharing. A couple of times, when I was still searching myself, I made the mistake to take advice from the wrong people. And by wrong, I mean their intentions weren’t as pure as they said. It cost me a lot of energy, money at self-esteem at one point but also some very valuable lessons and takeaways:
My biggest lessons I can share with you on this are:
1) Stop underestimating yourself
2) Start valuing yourself more by taking care of yourself in every possible way
3) I don’t fit in a system way of doing business. Period.
My biggest takeaways from that are:
1) Always trust your gut feeling
2) Be cautious who you ask advice from and who you share your story with
3) The confirmation that the way I wish to live my life and run my business, really comes from the bottom of my heart and I’m SUPER proud of that!
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
As I said before, when I was in the beginning of my transformational journey, I moved to London. I went from one system to another, whilst I knew it wasn’t my way. But I was confused, lost maybe and I took on advice from professionals who said: follow this system to create your own and that’s what people will buy from you.
Could it be more out of line with who I am and what I wanted to achieve? No. You see, that’s the problem. I’ve been guiding people on all levels, and the one thing my approach always has in common: I start with you. What is your story, what is your wish, your mission and very important: how do you want to design your life and business?
So, that advice to follow a system was definitely not the right fit for me. Don’t get me wrong, maybe others benefit from it, but not me. And not clients that work with me. If any, they all feel that the system is holding them back.
But sometimes you have to experience that again before the lesson is fully learned right? 😉
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
1. Visionary — See beyond the existing Ever since I can remember, I had a visionary mind. In college for example, when we were asked to do an 8 week assignment, I knew on day one what the outcome would be. I was fighting for 7 weeks with my group before they all said: aha, now we see what you meant.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing special about me. However, there is something special about the way I can see and look at things and see and create things that are not there yet. From purpose to plan and from structures and strategies to sustainable business models.
In my professional career this similar situation occurred multiple times and basically, I’m in the same situation now again: I’m building something that is not visible for many people yet. But I know it will.
That’s the profile of a genuine Game Changer I found out recently (according to the GC Index). I’m always creating new ideas, transforming the future of a person or a company with unique ideas and strategies. I’m lucky to also be a strong strategist as well so I see structures, I can connect the dots and I combine all of the above to create unique outcomes.
2. Authentic — Be and stay true to myselfThe best story I can share here, is the first 34 years of my life. I was not true to myself, not at all. Even though I accomplished a lot in those years and there were elements that were mine, I was always in the service of someone else. Even as an entrepreneur.
That might come as a surprise for many people, but it’s really how I feel it. Only now I’m finally free from that and more passionate and determined than ever to live my purpose.
The road to become and stay true to yourself is not a crowded road, but it can be a noisy road. What I mean by that, is that it’s a pretty lonely journey and at the same time, you therefor can easily get distracted with other people’s opinions or well-meant advice.
Stay focused and keep tuning in with yourself, all the answers are already inside you.
3. Inspirational — Live courageous and stay open-hearted (transform pain to power)I’m not the only one with a story. But my story is unique. As is everyone’s. And in all those stories, there is so much to find: hope, encouragement, wisdom, inspiration, motivation, connection and love. I know I have a “rich” personal story that at that moment in time, was an anchor. But now I transformed it into an accelerator for others.
My story is not mine to keep (anymore), it’s mine to share.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
* See beyond the existing
* Be and stay true to yourself
* Live courageous and stay open-hearted
* Stay curious and remember to keep playing and having fun
* Ask for help before it’s too late
* Don’t be afraid to fully be you
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
1. Only focus on the content or your expertise, will not get you there.
You also need to look at the processes and “flow” of your business. What is your goal, what do you want to contribute, how do you want to design your business for yourself and for future employees?
2. Hire the available people, instead of the right people for the job.
We’ve all been there. Expanding your team because you have too much work or you have to do things that are not in your area of expertise, and you hire the first one available (and affordable probably). It’s going to cost you more in the end. Period.
3. Compare yourself to others.
Don’t do it, you are shortening yourself on so many levels
4. Listen to family or friends without a business.
Like, really? Please stop that. You don’t ask medical advice from your bookkeeper either, right? Don’t get me wrong, you need your family and friends to support you and maybe even brainstorm with you (also be cautious here as well), but when it comes to real business advice… go to an expert.
5. Picking the first advisor available.
I get it, it hurts now. Only, the worst situation you can find yourself in, is the one even worse than you were in before you asked for advice. Please be careful who you trust your business (and life!) to. For every question, every problem and every person, there are things that don’t work and things that work. You need to be very clear on your question or you need to find someone to determine that question(s) in the first place. Look for an advisor who is independent of the outcome and at the same time, who is willing to do everything to create the best possible outcome!
In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
- I think running the business in general: the whole process of starting, scaling and growing the business, the lonely road, the late nights, the doubts that come with that, the uncertainty in the beginning, working all hours a day and still have a growing to do list etc. etc.
- The different stages you go and grow through as a leader or CEO. You are definitely being challenged along the way. You direct your organization through different layers of growth and then you realize the same thing is happening with you! As a leader, as a person. You grow. And once you know that you also need to deal with that. That’s something that you don’t take in consideration when you just started.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- It is enough, I am enough. How much time do you find yourself asking the question: yes, it’s nice what I’m doing, but is it enough? Does anyone want this? It’s probably not good enough. Stop it right there. Be the one you always missed yourself and ask yourself this: would he or she be enough for me back then? The answer is probably YES. So, there you go. And now go and be amazing.
- The most sustainable business model is the one from the heart. How many times have you tried to run your business by following the shiniest systems? And how many times did that work? How many times were you really proud, satisfied and fulfilled by the way you ran your business like that? I hope the answer is “not once”. Why? Because only then you’ve experienced what doesn’t work for you, for your business or within the organization you lead. Now it’s time to do it the way it DOES work for you.
- It’s ok not to know it all yourself, it’s necessary! Remember all those late evenings, trying to figure out someone else’s expertise in one night? Or all that money that you saved by not asking help with your bookkeeping, your strategy and your business fundamentals to name a few? What a money down the drain. You are much more valuable (see bullet 4) when you can do exactly that thing you are MASTER at. Don’t waste your time on things that others studied years for.
- You are the most valuable asset of your business (and your staff of course!) Do you recognize this, when you look at the generation before you. Either your entrepreneurial parents, family members or your clients; they were brought up with the idea that only when you work hard (“working hard never killed anyone” — excuse me?!) you are successful. When you are tired, don’t think about it, don’t nag, just go on. Stop right there. Says who? How in heaven’s sake are you going to bring yourself and your business to a higher level when your own energy level is low? When will you realize that you are the glue? Especially in the first years. You are the most valuable asset of your business or organization, and you should treat and protect yourself as such.
- There is not one right way, there’s only the right way for you. I cannot say this enough: find the way that works for you and the work finds you. And the happiness. And the clients. The joy. The money. The growth you are seeking for. Everything will come to you once you do it your way.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Well, that’s simple: Global STAR Mission of course!
As said before, I’m currently (June 2021) traveling the world to find, enrich, empower, guide and connect mission driven leaders all over the world to help them maximize their impact on society by strengthen their soul, spirit (mind) and strategy. At the same time, I travel the world this way, to collect all the wisdom they held inside, for the higher goal: inspire the next generation to lead and create impact from the heart. The movement is called Global S.T.A.R.S.: (S)he Triumphed Adversities & Rises. The payoff is “United by Uniqueness”.
How can our readers further follow you online?
Since the movement just started, we are still in the process of setting up all the proper websites and all social media platforms. We are currently working really hard on those platforms because we want to reach out and help as many Global STARS as possible — across the globe — so bear with us and in the meantime follow us on:
Facebook account (personal):
Facebook Public Figure page:
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
LINK TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE: https://medium.com/authority-magazine/myrte-scheffer-of-global-stars-5-things-i-wish-someone-told-me-before-i-began-leading-my-company-7c6c221ad034