When your dreams become non-negotiable

At the beginning of summer, in 2009, I had just finished highschool in Romania and was sending out applications to the architecture universities in Germany I wanted to attend to.

At that time my mom was working with a foundation doing beautiful projects in the Romanian villages and employing different amazing experts for these projects. One of them was an architect from Germany that my parents really appreciated.

On one of these summer evenings my parents and I attended a small dinner gathering organised by the foundation where this architect and his wife were also present. If I remember correctly, she was a teacher.


Sitting at the table together, I started talking to the architect and his wife. (I hadn’t met her before.) She asked me what I wanted to do in the future and I told her about my plans to study abroad, in Germany. I remember exactly how, very concerned, she told me: “maybe it’s better for you to start studying in Romania and then see if you want to still go abroad, because it could be too hard for you to start directly at a German university.”

Now imagine the quickest way you can lose interest in talking to someone. Double that and that’s how fast I lost my interest in talking to her. :))) I thought “she knows nothing about me, how dare she say that!”.

The truth is what she said went in through one ear just to get out through the other in the next 2 seconds. I knew what I was going for and it was NON-NEGOTIABLE and I was not interested in what anyone had to say about it.

And this is what came out of it:

1. I got accepted into all universities I applied to.

2. I was among the first 5% of top students to get in at the university I chose to attend.

3. I got my Bachelor’s degree with a perfect score for my Bachelor’s project. When the professor came to see my presentation, before I had even begun, he said “this is the most beautiful architecture model I have seen in years”. He was not just a professor, he was the dean, loved and feared by many, because he would be so harsh sometimes that he wouldn’t even listen to the presentation if he didn’t like it.

4. Two years later I got my Master’s degree with a perfect score for my Master’s project with two of the most beloved professors of the university humorously telling me: “It was clear to both of us that the project was a 1.0, we just had to pretend we needed to discuss a bit for it to not be so obvious”.

Both my bachelor’s and master’s degree where unusual, innovative projects using unusual materials and breaking the typical style of designs most students were presenting. One of my friends told me how they heard one of the tutors saying after my presentation: “we need more projects like this at the university.”


If you are anything like me, small goals don’t get you out of bed.

The truth is I could never enjoy being mediocre at anything. If I didn’t feel the burn to go for excellence, I knew it was not my game.

If I don’t set big goals for myself to activate my ambition and light my fire, my energy goes low. It took me a while to understand this about myself and I often believed it’s something I needed to change, but now I know this is just who I am.

The pleasure and joy of going ALL IN for one goal is incomparable to anything else in my world.

The search for new realms of potential,
the iron discipline,
the laser focus,
the ability to follow through,
the not giving up when things get tough,
the “stubbornness” to keep going,
the decisiveness to find solutions rather than problems,
the courage to be the first one breaking the pattern,
the commitment to doing what it takes to reach the goal,
the precision in vision,
the humility to stay teachable and be ready to have one’s reality broken to pieces to be able to form a higher one!

– all needed on the path to excellence.

But before it all, there comes something else first! And that is. . .


The fear to set goals is a lack of self-trust.
The fear to go for excellence is a lack of self-trust.
The fear to commit to one’s dreams is a lack of self-trust.
The fear to invest in one self is a lack of self-trust.
The fear of not being worthy of one’s dreams is a lack of self-trust.

Staying where we are, not daring to win at life, not daring to even try is based on a lack of self trust, a lack of trust that we can bring commitment to the table, that we will stay on track, even when it gets hard, that we don’t lose faith in ourselves when we don’t get it the first time.

The moment we choose to trust ourselves is the moment we light our fire to go for our greatest goals. Because we know, with us being unconditionally by our own side, EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

If we don’t move the power of “everything is possible” within and believe it comes from the outside, we will always keep ourselves from reaching our highest potential!

Our life can only be as solid as our relationship to ourselves. If we don’t trust and believe in ourselves:
firstly, no one else can
secondly, every opinion out there will influence us.

Can we trust that we will show up for ourselves today, tomorrow and every day? Can we trust ourselves so much as to be our biggest fans and biggest investors? The quality of life depends on these two questions.

Playing this game of life and excellence is what we do in THE ATHLETE.

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