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A new generation of business leaders

How authenticity, creating a business and personal identity became a game changer for health and wealth 

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Illustration by Martina Poiana


Feeling fulfilled through the different chapters of our life is tied to our capacity to embrace growth and evolve.


Whether that is in terms of career, personal, loving relationships, family life, a particular skill set, exploring the world, or any other form of mastery; We all have individual goals connected with our human needs.

However, the pursuit of happiness and success is not particularly known for its friendliness, comfort, or compatibility. Instead, it will test how well you react to reality, your capability to adapt to change, and whether you can keep an open and determined mind while you handle 'failure' before your vision gets the chance to turn into reality.


When we face these challenges, it is crucial to create clarity of mind and anticipate rather than be reactive so you can prevent becoming emotionally and mentally exhausted. 


I have seen that creating a clear distinction between personal and business/career identity based on authenticity, which means not compromising your morals and values, leads to more fulfillment, career success, mental and emotional health, and wealth. 


The beauty is that the more aware you become and start implementing this in your life, the less receptive you become to mental and emotional structures such as anxiety, depression, burnout, and addictive behavior.


This has to do with the simple fact that you create an emotional and mental mind frame that has no time and space for those structures. Of course, there are nuances to the story, and any of us can acquire a trauma causing mental challenges; I am not saying it is an all-time solution to all these problems, but I have seen people dealing with these problems overcoming them fast and not falling back using our methodologies. 


But there is no doubt, for any ambitious and career-driven person, if you have a profound understanding of your personal and business/career identity based on your morals and values, this is a game changer. 

Let me give you an example of why your business or career identity should not be the same as your personal identity. In business/career life, respect, authority, competence, and confidence play a more dominant role than in your personal life.


Imagine you would always act from authority with everyone in your private life; I bet you will not always get the wished-for results or a healthy connection in your relationships. The danger of not placing and honoring those ‘rules’ for where they belong could jeopardize your goals, relationships, dreams and could leave you vulnerable to obtaining emotional and mental scars that are harmful to yourself. 

'Authenticity means not compromising your values and morals in your personal and business identity'


I've witnessed people walk away from major deals simply because they were not aligned with their morals and values. They were not willing to compromise their authenticity at any cost because they understood the long-term price they would pay.


And For some unexplainable reason, their courage and bravery were rewarded with even more significant opportunities in ways they could not imagine. The first time I experienced that myself, was when I bought a music recording studio at the age of 29.  

Henri Meijer | Founder Safe House

Photo by Jasmin Steidl

End 2012, I acquired a known music recording studio in the Netherlands from the money I earned with my first company Song Analytics. Song Analytics helped semi-professional artists and bands to uplevel their songs before they would go and record them in a music studio.


When I bought the studio, I only had two microphones, a laptop, two studio speakers, and no money left. But I had people that believed in my vision, and even an A&R of a major label joined our team. After a few weeks of opening the studio, he came to me with an offer where we could have a B-brand supplying us with all the equipment we needed to set up the recording studio properly. I was very thankful for his offer, but I had to decline. Leaving some of the people I worked with stunned and questioning my sanity.


However, I firmly believed that building a music recording studio on infrastructure on B-brand equipment would not create what I envisioned for Song Analytics. But I have to be honest,  after one week, I started to doubt myself (and my sanity) and felt insecure about my decision. But just two days later, that doubt was swept away.


Holding on to my vision paid off, and what happened exceeded my wildest dreams. Don Willard, whom I had just befriended two months before (Don owned the recording studio in the past and recorded the in Holland Album of the Beach Boys), overheard the conversation I had with the A&R declining the offer and did something I will be forever grateful for.


Ten days after declining the offer, Don and his son pulled up with a truck in front of the studio and told me I should come down and open it. When I opened the truck, I could not believe my eyes and was completely lost for words. I was staring at the music history. Not only was the rarest vintage music equipment lying there, but there were instruments of the beach boys and Rolling stones, including the original Rhoads Mark II, on which Willy Nelson wrote his hits.


Don smiled and said, ' Henri, I will not give you this equipment and instruments, but as long as you run this studio, you can use them.' The Song Analytics Studio was born, and I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life that I still use to this very day. Don would have never offered his equipment and instruments if I had gone for the B-brand. And I realized that authenticity, vision, desire, and belief are powerful forces when they are combined. 

How to stay on top

Fast forward ten years later, I had the chance to work and collaborate with the establishment and start-ups in various creative and commercial industries over the last decade. I started to notice why the establishment stays on top and why many start-ups won't make it.

Besides that, you need to have a profound understanding of your personal and business identity connected to your authenticity. Another factor that plays a huge role in obtaining success and maintaining success is innovation.


Not innovating your craftmanship and career while you are on top, is a silent killer.

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Illustration by Martina Poiana

Especially in the entertainment industry and start-up world, success and fame can gradually fade out because of the lack of innovation. And you won't even notice it if you don't know where to look.

What the establishment does differently from individuals with one or two-time success is they constantly innovate. They force themselves back to the drawing board and think about how they can evolve in their craftsmanship and business.


Not only do philosophy and vision play an important role there, but also being up to date about the latest trends, collaborations with people who have momentum, and keep educating yourself are crucial.


This is not easy to do when everything is comfortable and seems to work independently. But Innovation is something other than opportunity. And Innovation is a choice of moving forward evolving, independently of your success, so that you become the creator of your opportunities and have personal fulfillment because you evolve.


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