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Seeing Opportunity in Times of Challenge with Simone Noordegraaf
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Seeing Opportunity in Times of Challenge with Simone Noordegraaf

“Mindset has everything to do with how you approach anything in life.” 

— Simone Noordegraaf

In a recent interview on the Career Builders Podcast, iPEC Europe CEO, Simone Noordegraaf, discussed mindset, opportunity, and fear, and how these three essentials are what ultimately move you forward. 

Are you feeling stuck and frustrated? Maybe you’ve given up on creating the change you know in your gut is needed because everything seems to be working against you. 

Is it in your relationships? Your career?

It makes sense because you’ve done all the things you’ve been advised to do. And yet, inside you still feel overwhelmed. 

The solution isn’t in what you’re doing—it’s in how you’re being. 



When Simone began coach training, her driving goal was to get more out of the people in her organization. How do you get people to fulfill their highest potential? Was there a newer, better seminar, book, or team-building exercise that would make the change? 

She reflected in the podcast episode, “When you make space for that change, it appears.”

There isn’t a “doing” that will magically shift the potential of a team or an individual. The change must happen in their mindset. 

Mindset is the sum of all the lenses, filters, and perspectives in which we view the world and our experiences. People can view the same experience in completely different ways, based on their own lenses. 

By learning to be aware of how these lenses affect and shape our experiences, we can then learn how to consciously choose the mindset that best serves us. 

There are opportunities for this conscious shift everywhere once you choose to see them. 



May we recommend a mindset shift? Rather than being stuck by “challenges,” let’s agree to call them “opportunities.” 

This seemingly small, semantic change makes a world of difference. Challenges create feelings of frustration and being blocked. Opportunities, on the other hand, create feelings of openness and curiosity. 

Curiosity did not kill the cat. Let’s just remove that line from our vocabulary. Curiosity creates the space for change to appear. 

In opportunities, the “what” that is blocking you is replaced by the solution-focused mindset of “how” this opportunity is creating change. 

Simone shared the metaphor of the iceberg; there’s always much more going on below the surface. By becoming more aware of what’s underneath, you’re more capable of seeing the opportunities for change. 

How do you start to understand what’s below the surface? Through emotions, presence, and honesty.


Pay attention to what emotions are coming up for you with curiosity. “Feel the feels” if you will, and practice not reacting to or immediately responding to them. They may not be based in truth, but by being more aware of them, you can learn from them. 

Simone suggests, “Have your emotions but don’t become your emotions.” 


It may feel scary to sit with our emotions. But it’s hard to see possibilities when doing all the time. Have you noticed how disconnected from yourself and others after an exceptionally busy week? Simone encourages you to sit and be. Instead of being afraid of your emotions, simply sit with them. 

Investigate and ask yourself, “Is there a value of mine that is not in alignment? Where can I make a shift?” 


Then, be radically honest with yourself. It’s easier to be untruthful with ourselves than it seems. Remember, those unconscious, habitual filters from which we view the world appear even when we are looking within ourselves. 

It can be scary, but daring to look at truth makes a change. 



The fear of failure can be paralyzing. Even after paying attention to our emotions and being honest with ourselves, there can still be a fear of failure that keeps us from taking action. 

Consider why you’re getting stuck there and ask yourself: 

    1. How is this showing up in other areas of my life?
    2. What am I afraid of?

By answering these questions with honesty, you can examine if that fear is real, or rather, a story you’re telling yourself. 

Simply put by Simone, “Fear is the totality of the stories you tell yourself.”


Possibility is everywhere if you’re willing to see it. Keep your eyes and mind open, curious, and solution-focused and you will learn every time. 

You might not experience what you expect. Some people might label this as a failure. You are still learning. 

Simone reflected, “In everything I’ve done, I’ve learned.”

Connect with Simone on LinkedIn here.

Wondering how iPEC's Coach Training program can change your mindset?

Request a call with one of our Admissions Coaches!

About Heather Doyle, PCC, CPC, ELI-MP


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