What is the best thing that I love about my work?
Communicating someone’s ideas, vision, passions, pursuits. It’s the magic of someone trusting you with their work, their stories and their dreams. And, yes, I do also want to write the next great novel, one day.
What is my idea of happiness?
“I don’t have to be happy in order to be happy”. Juliette Binoche, the French actress, said this once in an interview. Happiness is not a destiny to reach, a goal to achieve or a permanent state of being. It’s the all-encompassing experience of being human. Of being alive.
What is my greatest fear?
In Transylvania I have earned myself the nickname “Leonika fara frica” which means as much as “fearless Lee”. Not entirely true, but close enough. I do like: “if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough”. Sounds ballsy.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
I can be quick to jump the gun, so I am always learning to rein it in, tone it down. On the upside: My quick judgments did get me out of a sticky situation more than once, and when it comes to first impressions, I have rarely been proven wrong.
Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?
Vivienne Westwood. I was invited to work for her when studying in London. She has always been the embodiment of what fashion means to me. Carol Joyce Oats. Working on Michele Aboro’s biography -a 7-time world champion boxing and kickboxing- Oat’s collection of essays “On Boxing” is my bible now.
What is my greatest extravagance?
Chocolate. I sample it from all over the world and spend fortunes on cocoa blends. I can talk about it for hours. The thought of climate change possibly making the cocoa bean extinct fills me with a slight hint of panic. Actual panic.
On what occasion would I lie?
Telling a white lie is a bit hit or miss with me. I may want to spare someone’s feeling but I also suffer from foot-in-mouth-syndrome. I have a very ambiguous relationship with the truth. All we can strive for is to be as honest as we possibly can. I do count on my friends to tell me the truth.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
When people question and challenge me non-stop during the process. Trust me. I know what I am doing. It’s also the ones who challenge and question who are the one to make me evolve the most, and who then also get the best out of me. So, it all evens out nicely in the end.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
It’s like watching a night sky with shooting stars. Little sparks here and there, but you have to pay attention to catch them. The last few seconds before a catwalk show starts, back in London. Painting with a bunch of toddlers in a field in Romania, watching a child accidentally mixing blue and yellow, discovering it turns green. Talking to Michele about her life, in and outside of the ring. There is stardust everywhere.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
Absolutely nothing. Because even the slightest change would alter the course of my life irrevocably. I live, I learn, and I trust that I change accordingly, the way I am meant to. I believe everything is as it should be. Attached to nothing, connected to everything. Faith.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
Any time I have sparked a change for the better, opened someone’s eyes, ignited enthusiasm, inspired confidence, provoked courage, then I am good too. Other than that, simply being alive is my greatest accomplishment. And for that I can only take part of the credit.
Where would I most like to live?
Oarba de Mures, Transylvania. Right across from the cemetery. Planting a row of garlic as we speak. Just in case. When I retire, I will move to Favignana. A tiny island of the coast of Sicily, where I will devote my last years to the art of Limoncello. The Sicilian lemon is the closest thing to perfection.
What is my most treasured possession?
In my twenties my house burnt down and I literally lost everything I owned. I joked I was on a crash course in Buddhism, and cheating. As denouncing all worldly goods had been taken care of in one fell swoop. I am materialistic only in the sense of appreciating the practical, aesthetic or symbolic value of things. I don’t have to own anything to value it.
What is my most marked characteristic?
Autonomy, I would say. Someone else said: “Your coffee, that is strong enough to tarmac roads with. And your incomprehensible outfits.”
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
I am in a tiny village tucked away in the hills with a view of the river Mures on the left, a tiny pink church in front and orchards and meadows to my right. My backyard, where I am cultivating my own small food forest on 1500m2 around a traditional wood and cob house.
What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?
My friend Ad serves a mean roast lamb, my next–door neighbour the best “sarmale”, cabbage rolls stuffed with rice, minced meat and dill, served with sour cream. One of my friends brings by truffles on occasion. Aunty Mina has the best bootleg. Her homemade tuica (plum gin) is a fabulous cure for anything from heartache to a sore throat.
What books influenced my life and how?
Joost Zwagerman, “De ziekte van jij”. Poetry that makes me blush, cringe and cry. If it has not been translated into English I am volunteering right now. I still can’t believe he is no longer with us. “Eline Vere” by Louis Couperus for its insufferable melancholy and Arundhati Roy’s “The God of Small Things” I will reread the rest of my life, for its tender beauty.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
All My Tears, Ane Brun. And in my case, I will do that twice. I once already had to write out my funeral soundtrack.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
Jessica Jones. She is badass.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
Professor of oncology, doctor Verheijen at UMC Utrecht. From 2011 to 2016 he was right beside me, through all the stages of cancer from a good prognosis, to a terminal diagnosis to a miraculous spontaneous remission. He is not only a highly skilled surgeon, but also an incredible human being. I literally owe him my life.
Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?
Lilya 4ever. If you can stomach it, because watching it is like a punch in the gut. Human trafficking, especially for the sex trade, is one of the most underestimated issues of our time. Having worked in an all-girls orphanage in Romania it is sadly a topic I can’t escape.
What role plays art in my life and work?
Like the air I breathe. I can’t imagine my life without it. The urge to create requires an exaggerate sense of self-importance, and the human ego is an ambiguous thing. Art is our saving grace, the only thing that makes up for our equally destructive nature.
What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?
I have a thousand stories to tell and I am not even half a century old yet. Stories made us evolve, so it is at the base of all culture, it is what weaves our lives together from generation to generation. But I also believe in completely unravelling the personal narrative. Give yourself a blank page.
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?
Stella and Chocolat. My two dogs. We are members of a very small mutual adoration society. One was kicked out by a local shepherd, the other I found abandoned at a gas station. I think they came to rescue me.
Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2020?
Any company with sincere sustainable goals I can work with. No green or red washing; if you are the real deal, I am here for you. For Harper Collins to publish Michele Aboro’s biography, now that would be epic. Moth: publish stories in this iconic literary magazine. They do competitions, so it’s all on my this has not happened yet. I love profiling people. So, on top of working with Michele I would love to write for magazines and newspapers again. VOGUE, New York Times. Would love to travel the world and talk to people, catch them in their essence through words, the way great photographers do in pictures.
Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would I love to meet in 2020?
I would love to meet Vivienne Westwood again. If only to just give her a hug and thank her for a lifetime of inspiration. She recently partnered with Canopy to fight for reforestation. I am working with a very passionate local forest engineer to replant forests on degraded land in Romania. Every time I walk into a new passion, it turns out she was a step ahead of me. Phenomenal lady.
A few years ago, I researched human trafficking extensively and I would want to do more, to raise awareness, to change. I met with Yolanda de Boer back then, who was at the time a prosecutor solely working on trafficking cases and talking to her was both enlightening and encouraging. If I meet anyone working in this area I will be at their service.
In 2018 I was given the 1st place award for Social Entrepreneurship in Fashion (EU). It’s where I met Fashion Revolution’s Orsola de Castro. Anything I can do to contribute to a better fashion industry you can wake me up for.
What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?
Michele’s book, my house & garden and the trees. I am always told I want to do too much too fast, and my list is a lot longer than this…
Where can you see me or my work in 2020?
My website is under construction I am off social media for a while. You can find me on LinkedIn though.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
I will most likely write, talk, create and grow things until the day I do actually die.
Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?
Elise Klinkert. She is a great stylist, photographer and artist.
How can you contact me?
Or come stay, in Oarba.
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.
IS THE HEROINE’S JOURNEY COACHING FOR YOU?
You are a creative leader or creative professional who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.
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.
You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.
You are curious and want to engage in online learning.
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).
WHAT’S YOUR COACHING QUESTION?
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.