Nature has near-magical brain healing powers. Your productivity, mental health and hormone levels can be improved by spending time outdoors and reconnecting with nature. Simply put, mother nature is a great therapist. So when your mind feels cluttered, pay her a visit. She’ll welcome you with open arms.

Ecotherapy, grounding and mindful hiking have won major popularity points this last year.

Hippie scams, you say?

For someone with an open mind there is a lot of proof available. The best proof of all is your own experience. But let’s get into the serious science stuff first.

Studies have found that:

  • 15 minutes of walking in the forest can decrease the level of cortisol, or stress hormone by 15% compared to barely any decrease when walking in the city .

You have more important things to do than waste time playing? Well, maybe you’ll be convinced by our good friend Albert Einstein, who also did a couple of really important things in his lifetime.

“So can we kiss now?” he asked impatiently, his body rocking sideways. “Uhm… No,” she giggled; “First I want to go horse riding.” He sighed. “Ok. But after that, we kiss.” One second later, Barbie was riding a beautiful blonde horse which elegantly trotted around the room. After a few circles, she got off the horse. “Ok let’s kiss;” she said in the matter-of-factly voice of a 6-year old. “Yay!” Ken’s cheered. “Mwa Mwa Mwa.” They smooched with their heads turned sideways, just like in the movies.

That 6-year-old voice was mine, back in 1995 when Barbies were not yet…

“Just be yourself,” might be the most frustrating advice ever. But it is true. When you decide to be truly, fully yourself, life becomes a lot more fun. And it all starts with focusing on your strengths.

School likes averages.

In traditional western education the average is the most important number on a report card. Schools are trying to create good “average” humans. Because society likes conformity.

But everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.

Unfortunately, most of the attention goes to the latter. From a young age, students are being told by parents and teachers to work on improving what they are not good at. For me, it was anything that required a good memory. Latin, geography and history were really hard, and I didn’t enjoy studying them one bit. I had to put in much more effort than my…

Your time is all yours.

We spend time, invest our time, waste time and save it. We talk about time as a currency. Because it a currency.

“Time is the coin of your life,” says Carl Sandburg.

But for this coin there’s no banking app to tell you how much is left.

You don’t know how much time you will get in life and, I’m sorry to say, you have no control over the flow of time. you can stop spending when your reserves are getting low. But not time.

Time waits for no one.

A scary thought, but think of it this way: something…

Just why is it so hard to explain what you matters to you the most? Rest assured, it’s not just you. Even the most charismatic extroverts struggle to convey the stories that truly, deeply matter to them. How can you make it easier?

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

The hardest story to tell is the one that matters to you most.

In our personal lives, we stumble over a marriage proposal, or during a teaching moment with our children. Professionally, you might have exprienced how difficult it can be to present your passion project to senior management. Investor pitches, sales pitches, web copy, campaigns … It seems like the more it matters, the harder it is to get it right.

When you’re a start-up or scale-up with growth on your mind, you are faced with this challenge every day. …

Your Stories are the foundation of your business. Build yours, then let them work their magic. A clear vision will motivate you. Choices will get easier. Your audiences become believers. If you need to grow your business, start with your Stories.

Photo by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash

Efficiency-focused marketing types — like me — are supposed to love Growth Hacking. I certainly do. What’s not to love? It is the breath of lean air that was long overdue to find its way into marketing.

And when you’re starting or growing a young company, a lean approach to marketing sounds very attractive. Every day is another chance to “Hack! That! Growth!” But why, then, does it feel so superficial? And kind of all over the place?

What is keeping your business from really lifting off?

Tactical marketing approaches — like Growth Hacking — can only be effective when…

One virus can bring humankind to a halt. In the slowness that follows, silver linings start to show.

My silver lining is quarantine dating. Unhurried, personal, easy-going conversation via digital channels makes me take a whole new perspective on dating. Even after the quarantine will be over.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

It has been 11 days since I have been in solo quarantine.

That would have been a crazy opening statement in 2019, but this is 2020. I miss 2019.

When the quarantine started, I had two first dates to cancel. A bit of a relief, really, because I don’t enjoy dating. In my limited experience it’s awkward and transactional. And oh so predictable. …

Feeling overwhelmed by the decisions you need to make? You’re not alone.

Woman in front of two paths, deciding which one to take.
Woman in front of two paths, deciding which one to take.
Photo by Burst on Unsplash

“Should I have kids? Where do I want to settle? Who with? What job is right for me? What is my purpose?”

At some point, life starts to catapult these big, impactful questions at you. And no one taught us decision making in school.

I speak from experience. 3 years ago, I was living in a permanent state of doubt. Big questions had me constantly stressed out about making the right choices. And there were so many! It was clearly a problem, one that I had no idea…

Six months ago, I started working as a Product Owner. To make a great start I spent some time studying the job, reading articles, browsing job descriptions and listening to podcasts. I was prepared for the role, which made perfect sense to me; “The PO deals with the What, the product team with the How.”

I knew that working “Agile” would be a little hard at first but expected that it would mold myself, and everyone in our agile tribe, into a high-performing machine pumping out valuable product increments in no-time.

Today, I can gladly report that Agile doesn’t transform…

Julie Vandermeulen

Story Builder at Story Flow. Exploring the unpredictable side of life, heart first. It can be scary. But somehow I can’t stop smiling.

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