Whose life is it?

Erikjan Lantink
5 min readFeb 9, 2024
Why design thinking matters in life and work

Does life happen to us, or do we make life happen? Do we work to live, or do we live to work? Are you living your own life or the life of somebody else? Are you chasing your dream or the dream of someone else?

What is a good life for you?

Did you ever (really) pause and reflect to think through these questions for yourself? Did you ever sit down with the people you love and wrestle these questions to the ground?

When you go with the flow, you’re not moving yourself.

Yes, these are all perhaps philosophical questions. That’s typically the pushback I get from those who tell me: “I don’t have time for these abstract questions. I have a business to run, a team to manage, and meetings to attend.” And off they go.

Before I move on, I’d like to make a few disclaimers:

1. These are not questions for people in a midlife crisis. These are questions we should ask ourselves very early on in life. Perhaps even before we go to university or college. How many people truly choose the topic they love versus what their parents would want them to do because that’s what they studied?

2. Yes, there’s a direct link to business here. People who are intentional and coherent about their goals in life and work are better leaders. Better leaders grow and develop better people. Better people do better jobs for customers. Better customers (loyal, profitable promoters) create better business results. Better starts with who you are. Otherwise put, leaders who are not in the right spot and don’t love what they do harm your business. People often don’t enjoy working for these leaders.

Remember: Self. Leader. Team. Culture. Results.

I was never a great economy student in high school, but nevertheless, I went to study economics. Did I really think that through? No. My father studied economics, I liked business, and some of my friends went to study economics. Plus, I was never a great student in high school anyway, period. Good was good enough. There are a lot of personal lessons here that go beyond the scope of my book, but let me summarize it this way.

I wish I had asked myself



Erikjan Lantink

Business & Leadership coach. Interim Leader. Writer. Speaker. Former Retail Executive (general management; operations; HR)