Dreams Freedom Values

Yesterday was not a good day

Freedom is a core value of mine. Freedom in all its aspects, ranging from freedom of thought to democracy and the ability to determine one’s destiny.

Yesterday, everything I believe in got a hit, starting with the right to freedom.

I am deeply disturbed by the war that Mr. Putin started yesterday.

I woke up with the news yesterday morning before heading home after a brief vacation. For the rest of the day, I was off my usual self.

Freedom is a core value of mine.

Freedom in all its aspects, ranging from freedom of thought to democracy and the ability to determine one’s destiny.

For many people, that prospect changed yesterday, and it’s disheartening.

In 1985, I went to East and West Berlin to witness the consequences of war and the consequences for people living on either side of the wall.

In 1989, I followed the news about the wall coming down intensely, and I couldn’t be happier for those people who were now able to build up a life for themselves in freedom.

In December 1994, when I got the opportunity to move to the Czech Republic and be part of a country growing and developing on democracy and free-market principles, I went for it, and I never regretted my decision.

Yesterday, everything I believe in got a hit, starting with the right to freedom.

I’m passionate about helping people, leaders, and teams be the best they possibly can be.

I like to work based on dialogue, feedback, exchanging perspectives, listening to the other person, and finding common ground.

I live by a quote from Susan Scott, who I met a few times personally as a Fierce Conversations facilitator:

“Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can. Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.”

Susan Scott
One conversation at a time.

For many people in Ukraine, that conversation stopped yesterday, and their prospect of a better life was taken away.

Many Ukrainians were hoping that their country would be part of the European Union one day. Hoping to diminish the chances that they ever had to go back to a life full of suppression, fear, unable to speak their mind, unable to live in freedom.

That hope was taken away from them yesterday.

Many Ukrainians live and work in the Czech Republic. They are doing jobs that we don’t like to do ourselves anymore.

Our house was built for a big part by people from Ukraine. We have a Ukrainian lady cleaning our house once a week, next to her day job at a pharmacy.

I’ve never seen people with such a work ethic in my life. They work six to seven days per week to be able to send money back home to their family.

Helping them to build a better life for themselves.

While many people are trying to flee the country, many men are returning to fight. Fight for what they have started to believe in. Fight for freedom.

For many people here and in other western countries, reality has not sunk in yet. It feels far away, even here in Prague, but it’s closer than ever.

A friend in the Netherlands asked whether I was getting nervous, suggesting it was closer to me than him. My reply was that we both should get nervous.

I know the news will fade. I know life will go on at some point. I know a new reality will emerge. And I really hope that reality will not be the one I fear it will be. Primarily for the citizens in the Ukraine.

Yesterday was not a good day. And today will be neither.

I won’t be out much, and I won’t be a lot on social media.

Because there are days that it’s hard to see people laugh and act as if nothing happened. It’s hard to see people behaving like petty jerks while people are fighting for their lives somewhere else.

Naïve? Maybe.

But that’s who I am.

Your turn: How’s your day?

Do more of what the world needs!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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