Today's Guest: Yvonne Dam
Today, I interview Yvonne Dam who had many years of work in the corporate world which conditioned her to speak and act in a certain way. She didn’t feel fulfilled because she always felt so pressured to fit in and not speak out of turn.
One day, she had enough and decided to leave the corporate world for the chance at a life that really held meaning for her and allowed her to open herself up. Once she began to unlearn the corporate way of thinking, things began to open up and she was able to focus on making her own fulfillment a priority.
She now coaches others to “amaze themselves”!
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Transcript of Interview
Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast
Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing
Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com
Episode #30 Yvonne Dam
“Making Fulfillment a Priority”
(00:35) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Hi, this is Dr. Doreen Downing and I’m with the Find Your Voice Change Your Life podcast. And we get to interview, and my listeners get to listen to people that have had some experience struggling with stage fright with not having a voice in some way in their life they came to realize that hey, you know, where’s my voice? And how come I’m not speaking up? You know, what was that all about? And today I get to interview somebody that I met about a year ago here on the internet and her name is Yvonne dam and she’s from Amaze Yourself Coaching. Isn’t that a wonderful title just there amaze yourself coaching? Let me read a little bit about what Yvonne has said about herself. She’s an online business coach that helps driven business owners and executives to double their income and not their hours. But it’s hard to go forward because that’s so exciting just to hear that, Yvonne, but let me go on. She has over 25 years of experience in the corporate world within finance, HR sales, and change, plus performance management. The golden thread in her career is and has always been coaching. And that’s from executives to teens to now ambitious business owners. And guess what, she was also a recovering workaholic herself. And so, she’s all too familiar with the downside of being a driven business owner, and everything and everyone had to move in the past for work. Not anymore. She now has optimized her business model, allowing her to take long beach walks and enjoy time off. Through implementing specific tools, she has a financially booming business, and these tools and techniques are captured in her recently published book, How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance: 50 Proven Tips. Why I can’t wait to get into all of this, Yvonne. But first we always like to—you know, because people here on my show have are listening to my guests because they know that there’s been something that held them back earlier in life. And that’s the story I would like to start with today.
(03:15) Yvonne Dam:
Sure, well, first of all, thank you for having me. It’s really a pleasure. And yeah, I really lost my voice, I kind of lost myself for a long time while I was working in the corporate environment. Because there where I worked was a very large organization. It was a multinational International. And I thought, because I can’t say it was expected, but I thought it was expected of me to behave in a certain way, to not always voice what I was thinking, kind of be very “following.” And it was so bad that in the end I worked a lot, I didn’t speak up I really you know, I let it get to me and it led to burnout where I completely lost myself, I lost my energy, I lost everything. And it took me a long time to recover from that but also to realize that living, pretending to be someone else, and silencing your voice is really, well, devastating. So that’s in a nutshell what happened to me, and again, I can’t say it was the organization, I can’t say it was expected of me, it was more my view or my perception that I thought it was expected of me. And I see it with many clients happening as well, you know, we often think we need to be certain way, and we push away who we really are. We don’t say what we really think. But it never works.
(05:11) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Wow, yeah, I understand that what you just said that it was your own frame of mind that made you model yourself in such a way that you thought that was the way you would get ahead, or recognized, or whatever the value was in the corporation. But I can imagine so many people being coming into a new job and saying, yes, oh good. You know, here, I’ve made it. I’ve been hired, and… whoops! And so at that moment, well, I’m sure it wasn’t a moment, but do you have any memories of how you figured that out? That you couldn’t speak up?
(05:55) Yvonne Dam:
Well, yes. I’ve got plenty of examples there. But you know, I’m recalling the image in my head, as you can see, most likely, but, you know, there were like larger gatherings where there was the whole leadership, and the board, and you name it. And then, you know, you were asked to speak up, but you could tell that if you ask the wrong question, that was frowned upon. Or you would say something in your enthusiasm thinking, hey, they’re asking for my opinion. So I’m giving my opinion, even if it’s contrary to what you know, going around here, normally, I’m just saying what I think is happening. And you would hear that back, you would be told off later, “That’s not how we do things.” And you would learn rather quickly, to kind of, don’t speak up, make sure that your voice is what is happening. And that’s basically how you learned to adjust.
(07:11) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes, the whole idea of one tape at a time over your mouth. And pretty soon you have so much tape, you can’t breathe except for through your nose, which doesn’t give you quite enough air for yourself to be more fully expressed. What an interesting kind of situation to be in, you know, spirited and say, Here I am. And I get to share, and then later, it’s almost like a school getting a scolding.
(07:45) Yvonne Dam:
Precisely. Yeah. That’s that’s how it felt a lot of times.
(07:49) Dr. Doreen Downing:
And that scolding is, it doesn’t quite make sense because you are just being yourself, you’re being your natural spirited itself. And yet, it was not– well, in a way, you know, on a younger sense, it would be you were punished.
(08:07) Yvonne Dam:
(08:09) Dr. Doreen Downing:
And then with enough kind of slaps on the hand, or, you know, the whole idea of “you aren’t to do it in this way, this is the way you should do it.” And to learn it, it’s interesting that you’re talking about having a good sense of yourself, and then how that diminished over time, and it was a slow process. Because you didn’t arrive without a voice or without a sense of yourself. You arrived with probably a lot of good thoughts about what you can contribute.
(08:47) Yvonne Dam:
Yes. It’s, it is very interesting, how you– we always, you know, from our histories that we always want to fit in a group. So, if you work somewhere and the group’s behavior is like that you will try to fit in. And I recall my last corporate role. I was older then, and of course, but I was assigned to work. I was based in London, and I was assigned to work in Bristol. And I had to stay overnight, because you know, it’s too far to travel back. So, I stayed there in a hotel, but I had a little one and she was, I think four or five and I had to hire a nanny to take care of her, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not against a nanny or how people raise their children, everybody on their own, but I missed her like crazy. And I thought okay, but I didn’t put my child on his world just to see you in the weekend. And I just want to be with her. So, after three months, which I thought was quite lengthy already, I said, “Listen, I want to rotate off, I want to go back home, I want to be with my kids, you know, this is not my life.” And they said, “okay, sure we can make the work.” And I was rotated off. And then they said, “You just committed suicide for your career. That was it. You weren’t supposed to rotate off. After three months, you were supposed to stay until we told you to go.” And for that time, I was like, “Fine by me. This is really not my thing. I know what matters to me most. And if that doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work.” But you know, would I have been younger and earlier in my career, I most likely would have been devastated. And that’s just one example of how you grow and how you, I think, choose what really matters. And when you do that, you have to speak up because I was truly like, this is my chance. This is what what matters most. And if it doesn’t, then that’s okay. But this is what I choose.
(11:13) Dr. Doreen Downing:
That sounds like a values clarification came to play right then and there. And that is so astounding, a stunning, stunning story that you just told about the moment, more of a wake-up moment where you, you re– that’s partly what you talk to people about and your coaching, I think is what are your values? And are you living them, and if you aren’t, then you aren’t lined up, and you can’t have a voice and be more of who you are meant to be. So, you said “Well, screw you folks, that’s fine. Let me out of here.” And so, I’m sure it wasn’t just overnight, was it? I mean, how…
(11:57) Yvonne Dam:
You know I must say, you know, I have been coaching executives, and since 2004, so that urge never stopped, before that, I coached team members. So, I had been having this dream to start my coaching business for five years already. And we were moving from South Africa to the UK. And my question was, really, am I going to go for it? Or am I got to go back to the corporate life? And I thought, Okay, well, it’s a new thing, because I haven’t, I haven’t been a business owner. And I don’t really know that many people in the UK because I’m from the Netherlands. So maybe let me start in the corporate world first. And I said to myself, I give myself one year, one year to set up my business, kind of like, behind the scenes. And then when it’s set up, I quit my job. And this happens, I think, I don’t know when it happened, but quite early in that year, and it was just an accelerated to make sure okay, I’m out. This is not my view. I’m gonna get out of here. So yeah, after one year, I quit. I started my business and never looked back.
(13:09) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Oh, but I like the dream and beginning to strategize early, you know, it wasn’t just “Oh, someday I will or when I leave this job, then next I’ll step into it,” this whole idea of the door that closes in the door that opens isn’t it’s sometimes not so, so obvious. You know, it feels like you gave yourself a year to be on the threshold of change.
(13:35) Yvonne Dam:
Yeah, it’s, it’s one of those things I had every house we moved, and we moved nine times. So, every house I went like, okay, so this is going to be my coaching room, and I’m going to set them up. And then I thought, Okay, now it’s getting ridiculous. I either do something with it, or I don’t, but it’s not this, you know, dream on repeat that I never worked with. So that’s why I gave myself and an ultimatum or give some time to really make it work. And when I felt more confident, and I had a plan, and I had a program, that’s when I launched.
(14:11) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yeah, I like that message to the listeners is that a plan and a program, even if you still are in an unsatisfying situation a job, if you have a dream, there’s always one that’s what coaches are about. So anyway, it sounds like let’s start talking about how then, because you were, you had your plan and you stepped into– what did you call your business? Amaze Yourself Coaching then, too?
(14:42) Yvonne Dam:
Yes, yes. Because I really like for me, it is my clients who are amazing and who amaze themselves. They come to me thinking, you know, either they can’t get their business off the ground, or they had a dream like me, or they have a successful business, but they never have time. And they go like, “I’m stuck,” right? “I don’t know how to continue.” And then when we start working together, they truly amazed themselves. That’s, that’s what they always say. And that’s where the name comes from. It’s really amazing yourself.
(15:21) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes. And I would say that that is true, I think you are amazing. And that’s one of the– I do a lot of work with essence and essence appreciations and finding the spirit inside of somebody. And I feel like that we have connected because of your spirit. And my spirit is kind of like the amazing-ness found each other. And I think that people who are listening today to the podcast feels like they are probably going, hmm, amazing. What does that mean for me? And I hope they do, I hope they tap into an essence quality inside of themselves that they feel like, I am amazing. I agree with you, I am so in this world to help people discover what is so amazing. So, tell us a little bit about how you do do your work then.
(16:20) Yvonne Dam:
And so well. Most people that work with me, they feel they don’t have enough time. So, they feel overwhelmed. And they have big ambitions, doesn’t really matter what they you know, what they’re dreaming of, most of them, they really want to grow their business. And they find themselves in this situation where their business is going well, but if they continue to grow their business like they do, they know it’s not sustainable. They work so many hours. And as much as they love what they do, they do realize there’s more to life and, you know, I want to grow, but how do I do it? And what I help them with is to actually kind of take that step back. Okay, so very precisely looking at what are you busy with? And is it all worthwhile? Is it what you need to do? Is it what you need to focus on? Or do you need to delegate, automate, stop, that’s also a very powerful one that we often forget. And I look at the business model they have set up, the business that is running, where are the bottlenecks? What, how can we make it more smooth, and we can we make it more easy. And I can’t tell you enough how rewarding it is to see someone that, you know, comes to me drained, feeling like they headed wondering how did they get themselves here, and then slowly but surely, I see this, it’s almost I think, comparable to what you do, you know, they see the light again, they feel better, they are able to take a day off to go to the beach. I get often these messages like “I’m at the beach, now I’m enjoying myself,” you know, or “I took the afternoon off and I’m sitting in the sun catching some rays.” And that’s really what makes my heart think because I truly believe that, you know, you’re we’re all in this world to make a difference. But not by working 24/7. But really by taking care of us enjoying our lives. And when you do that, and when you allow yourself to be who you are… Yeah, you really can do a lot of amazing things. That’s how I work with my clients.
(18:56) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes. And I have to say just looking at you because we, we’re on video. For those who are listening, you probably hear in Yvonne’s voice, a smile, she is glowing as she talks about how she works with her clients. And there is something about what you said of people working so hard that there isn’t a more of life and I have this image of people suffocating themselves, their business becoming that which is suffocating them.
(19:33) Yvonne Dam:
Yes. And that’s the sad thing because it’s their business, they started it, you know, from the heart. They know that there’s something there but it’s almost to the point where they start resenting it, and then they resent themselves because they founded it so how can you resent something that you founded and that in a way brings you so much joy? And then you go like what, how do I do it because this is what I’m born to do, I found my calling. But now I’m working too much. So, it’s really this situation where you find yourself in and you go, like, how to continue, you know, I, this is my own goal. And that’s why they’re so passionate, they care for their customers, they always want to give more and more and more. I never have clients that say like, “oh, well let them come back tomorrow.” You know, I wish they would say that more, but they’re so driven and passionate, and I love it. But they tend to forget about themselves. And when you forget about you, the quality of what you deliver, the output you can give, it diminishes considerably. So just to give you an example, I started working with one client, and she was in a situation I just described. In the first month we worked together, we cut back her hours by 55 hours a month. 55. Her pipeline increased with 60k, just the pipeline, but the likeability of succeeding that 60k was 95%. And that was after one month with working with me. And that, you know, she has a house at the beach. She goes there now more often. Yeah, that just makes my heart sing.
(21:32) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Mm hmm. You’re, you’re in your life purpose, living it and delivering it. That’s great. There was one thing that you did say when you talked about “delegate”, and you also said, “automate” that the word that kind of stuck to me, and I don’t think your example with this woman probably says it, that you said, “Stop.” And that’s a strategy. Say a little bit more about that.
(21:59) Yvonne Dam:
Well, we often think we have to do a lot of things, right? Whether it is something that we came up with, or whether it’s something we heard. And to be honest, is often the latter, it’s often we hear someone say, “Oh, you need to do webinars,” “Great. I’m going to do webinars.” Or, “you need to do a podcast.” “I’m going to do a podcast,” or, “you need to do networking,” “Okay.” “But when you network, you need to do one on one meetings.” And it all works. Every, you know, every person that tells you “do this”, and who’s becoming successful with it, they have a story that works. The question is always what works for me? What do I like? What is really easy? What’s almost my second nature? For you? Clearly, you’d like to talk, right? So, a podcast makes a lot of sense. But too often, I see my clients trying to do it all. That’s the one thing and without really thinking about strategically. So, what comes natural to me, what’s effortless for me, what have I done again and again? And when we look at what they’re all doing, I’m also asking, “What are the results that you get from it?” You know, so for example, if you’re networking, there was the example of my client, if you’re networking, great, but are you getting things out of it? Even though we know networking grows over time, but in the end, are you getting things out of it? Do you like it? Do you feel appreciated? Do you feel valued? Do you feel seen? Well, if it’s all “No”, then there’s a very simple thing to do, you stop. And too often, we’ve been trained with this, “you can’t quit, you always have to go on, you never give up,” which is very true, but not for everything. And I work with the type of clients that aren’t quitting from themselves. Because they’re so driven, they’re more like, how, “I’ll take it on, I’ll do it.” And for them to hear, “you could also stop”? You can imagine that needs a bit of time to sink in, and to really allow themselves and that’s why I always like it to connect to the results. Because if you spread yourself too thin and you don’t get the results you’re looking after, then you need to stop doing a lot of things and you need to focus on what’s getting you the results and most likely, that’s what you enjoy the most too.
(24:47) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Well, that was the one that stood out to me, and I thought that was the most dramatic and wanted the listeners to hear what you had to say about “stop”. And then what you said about me, yes, I’d love speaking. And as a psychologist, I love hearing people tell the truth of what is inside. I also love, as you do too, finding what’s amazing inside. So, this podcast is perfect for me being able to show both the struggle, but also, well, you could call the success, that is possible when you find your voice. I would like to, we’re near the end, give you an opportunity to have some last words.
(25:32) Yvonne Dam:
Okay. Well, I really enjoyed being on your podcast. So, thank you for that. And for those who are interested to, you know, get some help with creating more time for living a fulfilling life where to actually have all because that sometimes we think we can’t have it all. We can be successful and work and then have a loving family or, or spending some time with friends, and you want to know how to reach that. Connect with me because I would love to help you to give you some tips, to share books, or there’s so much information I can share with you. But I think life is too short not to enjoy it.
(26:19) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Yes. And I think that I’ve even signed up for something that you have, it was a free offer. It was a– several pages and gave me lots of ideas like batching. So where do we, what is that? And how do people find that?
(26:34) Yvonne Dam:
So, if people go to my website, which is AMAZE-YOURSELF.COM, you will find the entire page with inspiration, where you find indeed my complimentary guide, which tells you how to do a lot more in less time and you can win back two to five hours each week. And it’s all waiting for you to scoop it up and to use it.
(26:59) Dr. Doreen Downing:
Wonderful. Well, thank you, Yvonne. We’re near the end. And I also want to thank the listeners who have been doing the reviews on Apple Podcasts for the Find Your Voice Change Your Life podcast, and we already have over 20 reviews, all five-star, that enjoy these real conversations that we have here and enjoy listening and also learning, listening and learning, today. Thank you, Yvonne.
(27:31) Yvonne Dam:
Thank you so much.
Also listen on…
Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.
Podcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.
Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.