STEP FIVE: I AM FREE TO CHOOSE – In Conversation with Anique van Lent

In a series of conversations with fellow transformers, leaders and influencers, we want to introduce you to the Ten Steps of Transformation. You’re getting a sneak peek into how The Heart Revolution can be your companion through transformation: helping you transforming your work and organization, by transforming yourself. You can always start with the latest here, go back to revisit the previous post in the series or catch-up from Step One.


For “Step Four: My Mindset Matters Most”, I’m joined by Anique van Lent, Talent Development and Culture Manager at Nike.


Step Five: I Am Free to Choose

What is Step Five?
When we feel we have little or no options, we react as we normally do; our habitual mindset is running us rather than we are running it.

We choose our response to everything that happens to us. When we embrace the big idea that we choose the mindset we hold moment by moment, we gain more freedom into (how we experience) our life and our company. Instead of wasting moments nagging about problems – we let it go – and instead we focus on the value we can bring to any moment.

We might not have a choice around our context, but we always have a choice how we respond to it.


Do you sometimes lose your temper or check out because a situation or someone triggers you?


Transformation has been a big part of Anique’s work for a long time. But recently, it’s taken a new form as she shift from being a contributor to taking on the role as a leader – making her reflect more on herself, who she is and the impact she has on others.


In business, Anique has high standards. She expects a certain pace and level of work – and when it doesn’t go that way, she admits it can be frustrating for her, and she may start pushing people too quickly. However, Anique also recognized it her frustrations and standards that reflected her experiences. They can be great ones, but by limiting herself to just her standards and her own pace, she realized she was closing herself off to other possibilities.


As Anique goes through that transformation of contributor to leader, her focus is more about the contributions she can facilitate – and is seeing greater opportunities unlocking that way:

“It’s the piece of ‘how do get even more voices at the table?’ And how do I put myself past the frustration of ‘that’s not how I would do it’ to actually pause and invest in what’s really happening in that moment – and I’ve just seen that unlock so many more possibilities!”


Anique’s observations really resonate with me – especially with my own experiences of where pushing people for speed, can sometimes mean we end up slowing things down instead. It’s truly the essence of Step Five: it’s about the choices we make in those situations that could otherwise be so frustrating – and how we can, through our mindset, actually choose how we react and leave a positive impact instead of wasting energy on getting mad or frustrated.




A wonderful and simple piece of advice that Anique shares with us all is to give ourselves grace. Transformation doesn’t happen right away, and you won’t be equally great at it all the time. Anique shares openly that she herself hasn’t always been equally good at following or implementing this step! It’s a journey and it doesn’t simply end one day, so you have to give yourself grace and space for it. Beautiful.


When I ask Anique why Step Five is her favorite, she says something that really sticks with me and shows how powerful it is:

“It empowers you to be happy. And it empowers you to have such a positive impact on the people around you”


She really embodies how it’s all about mindset and choice, also in our personal lives, sharing how she went through a difficult time after a breakup – and how there came a point where she decided she couldn’t let that sadness keep holding her back. She understands that she gets to decide how to look at it, so see the opportunity and take the learnings from the experience and choose to be happy.

“In the big moments and all the small moments, where you choose to put your attention just makes a massive difference”


I love her openness and vulnerability as she shares her experiences and the choices she makes in her professional and personal life to leave a positive impact.


How will you choose your response that leaves a positive impact?




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