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Financially free but emotionally bankrupt TEXT: MAYA WITTERS  |  PHOTOS: BART VAN DEN BELT AND PEXELS

Bart van den Belt is a renowned Dutch author, speaker and business coach. He now focuses his attention primarily on entrepreneurs and C-level executives, helping them to reach the same success in their personal lives that they enjoy professionally. “Many top executives are financially rich but emotionally bankrupt.” Van den Belt is no newcomer to the world of business. As the founder of the Dutch ‘Zakelijk Succes Academie’ (Business Success Academy), a top-rated entrepreneurial degree course, he has plenty of first-hand management experience as well as ample coaching prowess. “My aim is to help executives find themselves again in the sometimes overwhelming maelstrom of their career,” attests van den Belt. 48  |  Issue 73  |  January 2020

Emotionally bankrupt “These people spend years working to gain success, status and money, only to find out that these are not the things that make them happy. I see so many highly successful people who are incredibly unhappy in their personal lives, or struggle to maintain good personal relationships outside of work,” Van den Belt explains. “There’s nothing worse than climbing a mountain for years, only to find that you’re on the wrong mountain when you reach the top.” Many executives have no trouble being decisive and directive, but that doesn’t always help them in their personal lives, explains van den Belt. “They tend to be strategically strong, but they don’t know how to stay emotionally connect-

ed – even though that can often get you further, especially in a family situation. It leaves them in a position of emotional bankruptcy, in stark contrast with their professional success.”

Letting go of ego To help executives escape this state of limbo, van den Belt’s aim is to help them find their sense of self again within the many demands placed upon them. “Often, people in leadership positions get the feeling they are literally unmissable: the company would be lost without them, so they can never switch off from work and, as a consequence, they underinvest in their personal and emotional development.” Van den Belt admits that this is a lesson he too has had to learn. “We’re having a

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Discover Benelux, Issue 73, January 2020  

On the cover of our January issue is Dutch singer Duncan Laurence, who won the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest and heads up our ‘Sounds of 2020...