Category Archives: career

Second guessing

In 2006 I made a big decision to quit my lawyer job to leave to Ireland a few months later with only a guitar and a backpack to explore the unknown, knowing there should be more out there! I knew for sure I loved music as I was playing some local festivals already (see pics, Haagse Bos Summertime Festival 2006). A friend helped me with moving all my belongings into a storage space since I also had given up my apartment. Some belongings weren’t suitable to move into the storage, like my five guitars and two large plants, so I stalled them at friends’ houses. The friend who helped me moving at the time suddenly texted me a picture last week of the plant he still looks after! That one pic of the plant brought back so many memories of the packing up time and just going blindly for my passions.  Like suddenly meeting the younger me again.

It’s mainly in our teens and twenties that we dare to take big steps without much thought. Gathering experiences we tend to think longer about everything, or we often reconsider decisions we already made.  Even though I can still fall into the habit of searching for ‘serious’ jobs at times, I never ever regretted that decision to leave, It was the best experience ever. Second guessing ourselves (I love the word, we don’t have it in Dutch) can be a very bad habit and a sign of perfectionism. Trusting our gut feelings and daring to go with them often brings us into the best situations. That old plant of mine reminded me of that in many positive ways this week. And it’s even better that it’s a growing plant, and not just a thing….

What are the biggest decisions you have ever taken for your life course? And do you recognize the bad habit of second guessing your decisions? Even if you do sometimes: never give up believing in your dreams!

Two sides of the brain

When I tell people I graduated as a lawyer and became a professional musician people always look at me as if something doesn’t add up. Usually when strangers judge me they don’t believe that I’m also a lawyer. Apparently I look more like a musician (don’t know if that’s good or bad haha)….

People like to put others in boxes. But I have always had many interests. I found it fairly hard to pick a subject to study after school. I did exam in five languages and was good at maths and science. I still love history, reading about holistic healing and plant medicine, about nature and animals, so many interests! How does one combine these things? In an ideal society I would probably do all of that in one day, every day. But we usually don’t. Specialism in work is rewarded.

Even as a musician I found playing guitar, bass and piano confusing so I ended up mainly playing guitar, the only instrument of the three that I never had any lessons in funnily. Oh and then I haven’t mentioned choosing between all these genres that I love, from Irish to Spanish, folk, pop, country….from covers to writing songs…

I have to force myself to focus on a daily base to not get distracted. And to not go insane. Still, to combine skills is very valuable if possible.

The past month I successfully helped out a friend with a legal case and I found it very interesting to think legally, logically, strategically, and to attend a court case again. It’s just a whole different side of the brain being used, so different from making music.

I am curious to hear about your own skills and interests? Do you feel you are mainly using one certain side of the brain? Do you have hidden talents that noone knows about, very different from your daily activities? That you would like to develop? Tell me!

 

What’s your career story? 

At the age of 17 I moved to Maastricht to study European Law & Language Studies. Specialising in Dutch Administrative Law I hoped to realise my idealistic ideas in environmental law. In my Master thesis I researched legal ways to differentiate a ‘public property’ of common goods from private property. Shortly after I was offered a student-assistentship teaching all first year Bachelor subjects in Maastricht University.

At 22 I was sworn as an Attorney at one of the bigger law firms in The Netherlands. I enjoyed the intensive work experience, but something was missing: time to breathe after all these years of studying, and time for my big passion: music!I decided to give up my job and home to leave to Ireland with only a backpack and a guitar.

I have worked as a singer/composer, recording artist, guitar/vocal coach, tour organiser and promotor of events since. I am lucky to have shared the stage with national and international artists like Tim Akkerman, Perry Blake and The Dubliners. I have supported my music with several PA/PR/teaching positions in international environments. It’s been an exciting ride over the years, back to the essentials of it all having lived on a farm in the ‘middle of nowhere’, and overcoming health struggles en route. A crazy adventure!

Besides giving concerts I love inspiring people in their own careers, having a diverse experience in two different worlds. I offer coaching sessions and vocal workshops to spark your inner voice.

So tell me, what’s your story?

www.hannekelaura.com