Pains of succession
Succession is inevitable. And painful.
The Bert Hellinger Institute Netherlands was founded in 2000. The first pain came after about eight years, when the institute slowly began to expand. A phone call came in at the office. I answered carelessly with my name: “Jan Jacob Stam speaking…”. I heard the silence of disappointment on the other end of the line, followed by the words: “… I thought I called the Hellinger Institute.” For a moment it flashed in me: “Yes, but …. Í am the Hellinger Institute”. Later that evening I realized that Jan Jacob was no longer equated with the Hellinger Institute.
Painful, but also good news: the Institute is now on its own two feet!
For a long time I unconsciously searched for a successor. When I saw Barbara Hoogenboom, somewhere in 2013 I think, something in me knew it was her. The next pain came when I handed over the directorship to this same Barbara in October 2018, on a mountaintop here in Slovenia, a kilometer away from where Im writing this now. On the one hand, an enormous relief, on the other, painful, that first time Barbara was presented in the media as director of the BHIN. Such a feeling of Au! Now I am no longer needed.
I knew it would happen, that pain. I also knew how important it was to hand over the systemic work in the form of the Bert Hellinger Institute Netherlands to the next generation in time. I am incredibly happy and grateful that the latter succeeded.
And then the departure. Literally let go of the strings three weeks ago. Au! Three days ago my wife (and current owner) Bibi and I drove out of a village in Slovakia. Dovidenia, it said on a sign. Farewell. Again the pain sliced through my heart and soul.
For years I prayed that someone or something would tell me in time when it’s time to go. Nothing as embarrassing and sour as being there past your expiration date, especially if no one dares to draw your attention to it.
Freedom is having its price
Pain apparently belongs to succession.
I knew that, but to actually feel it is a different story.
I will continue to do systemic work in two new companies. I very much hope that someone or something will point out to me when it is time to go there too.
August 7, 2020
Jan Jacob Stam
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