The Heroine’s Journey of Ningli Zhu

What is the best thing that I love about my work?
Since I have studied art & design and been working as a visual designer, I would say the good thing for this industry is creativeness, openness and innovation. It helps me to discover, understand the world or culture in a different way. Besides, I would keep questioning and looking for my inner self. Who I am? What is my dream?
What is my idea of perfect happiness?
After experiencing many things, including failures, achievements, pain, depression, etc., Keep a quiet and peaceful inner. Told myself,” See, that’s fine, I can make it!” As a Chinese saying “不以物喜 不以⼰悲”
What is my greatest fear?
If I lost myself, my own path;
If I am negative or depress for a long time;
If no one loves me, or I can not find that one in the end;
If I become Numb about my life;
If I stop fighting or chasing my dream…
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
Too serious to live my life.
I don not want to be one hard-working, sensitive, not social or confident.
Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?
I do not really have a most admiring one, but I found lots of inspiration from many different professors.
What is my greatest extravagance?
Without responsibility for life, doing things without limitations.
On what occasion would I lie?
Very seldom like a White Lie. To protect others or myself.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
I am not working somewhere full-time yet in this period. But if speaks generally about the art & design industry, I would say I don’t like some Superficial social activities, which seems like a hypocritical bubble. I think everyone should be humble and
open to other fields.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
If I create something that I like, If I spread value in work, if my work helps or connected to someone else.
For example, I imagine one day I could confidently have a professional speech in a event.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
I want to be more social, decisive, self-love, intuitive.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
There is no greatest achievement yet. I believe more in process.
Where would I most like to live?
Different places, where have a vivid living culture and open-mind people. A place surrounded by friends, family and love.
What is my most treasured possession?
The sense of self, which partly inherited from family and mostly developed with the live experience.
What is my most marked characteristic?
Thoughtful; empathetic; caring; serious..
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
In my hometown, Nanjing, I would say XuanWu Lake, which is a central city park.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?
In my memory, all the street food and restaurants nearby my middle school, high school, and university.
But the best of the best food is always at home.
What books influenced my life and how?
Not really one that kind of changing my life. But for this moment, some psychology books are great to read.
Who are my favorite writers?
For example, Chinese: 余华Yu Hua, 贾平凹Jia Pingao
Western: Le città invisibili, David Foster Wallace
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
I am what i am 张国荣

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
Many… such as The character in run Lola run
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
My mother?!
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?
A lot…..
Under the skin;
Kim Ki-duk’s movie: e.g.. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring

What role plays art in my life and work?
It seems a profession thing, but it was more like a belief, thinking way or vision for me.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
I don’t really know.
Whom would I like to work with in 2020?
More creators and dedicated professionals.
Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2020?
Such as Hito Steyerl
What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?
The self-research topic about “Affactional Storytelling” in the AI age, the psychological study of our digital life.
Where can you see me or my work in 2020?
Now, I am still staying in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
As a designer. My work is mostly digital and accessible online, I hope to offer you more work, including media art & design,
speculative writings…all online or in some exhibitions, hopefully.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
Reflect self, know yourself, bravely and honestly being that self in different periods.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
Aiwen Yin:
How can you contact me?
Email me:
Visit my website:

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 


Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?

Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.


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    You are a creative leader or creative professional  who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.

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    You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.

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    You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.

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    You are curious and want to engage in online learning.

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    You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.

These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:

How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?

How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?

How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?

What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?

How can I manage my time and energy better?

How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?

How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

individual coaching for leaders


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.


Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?

Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.

Should I choose 1:1 coaching?

Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.

If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.

What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?


Can I buy coaching for my organization?

Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.

Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.

Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.

Where will the coaching sessions take place?

Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter a mail to to start booking your coaching sessions.

How do I pay?

After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.

How do I book and reschedule sessions?

Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.


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