My name is Caroline Baan. I am professor of Integrated Health Care at Tranzo, Tilburg University and I work at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Up to now, I was director of the department for health care research and recently I am appointed to Chief Science Officer at the RIVM. Had you mentioned when I was a student, that I would work in such leading positions, I had not believed you at all.
· Why is that?
All my life, I have done what I thought that was expected: behave nicely, do my best at school, listen to my parents and other adults who of course knew what was best for me. I choose a study with good prospects to find a nice job afterwards. I always colored inside the lines. I learned to use my brains, and lived almost all the time in my head.
Almost all decisions I took were rational and not taken by heart or intuition. I was too much focusing on the opinion of others (my parents, teachers, friends, colleagues). I was insecure and dependent of the opinions of others. I completely forgot to listen to my inner self and my inner knowing.
Pleasing and search for the harmony was my daily work. However, it was harmony with others, not harmony within me. Decisions on next steps in my career I took by the expectations that others had of me. Even if a voice within me said that I should do something else, I did not really listen to it.
· What changed?
I felt more and more that I was not aligned and that there was something missing. In the leading positions I worked, I attended several leadership development trainings. In one of these coaching’s trainings, I got in touch with Tiara International coaching and their vision to help women to live their life from inspiration.
Due to their ideas and their community of wise and supporting women, I discovered my values, my inner source of inspiration and my own power. I discovered my unique way in all the roles I have in my life. I learned that there is no compromise in this; there is no way back to retire in my shell again.
· Inspire others
Now I am truly in a leading position: leading my own life from inspiration and by doing that, I inspire others. My story is not an unique story. Everywhere, I see (young) women struggling with being connected with their inner source of inspiration and live according to that.
Because I understand their journey, I can help other women to find their courage and strength. I have compassion for their journey and I share non-judgmental reflections.
This way I help women to find alignment and encourage them to continue to search for their own unique being. This journey is never ending, and that is why mentorship with other women is so important.