The power of vulnerability

Dennis Warmerdam, tophockeyplayer

Dennis Warmerdam (25) is a top hockey player who had to end his career prematurely in 2018 because of a malignant tumour in his right forearm. A promising future as a hockey player seemed to be wiped from under his feet. But after a long search for the right treatment he came back.

What role does vulnerability have in your work and your life?

Try to be open. Vulnerability is actually very good to have. It is hard to be vulnerable and to talk about issues that don’t go well. I’ve learned that it’s a good thing to do. People need your emotions and thoughts to be able to help you. If you don’t tell them how you feel and what you think, you won’t be understood and you won’t get the right help in the end.

How does your personal story affect your work?

During my internship I had a scan.The doctors wanted to see if there was something going on again. Those weeks towards the scan are intense moments. You’re not really you, you’re not as sharp as you want to be. So I told my colleagues what was going on. I didn’t tell everything from the start, but at one point I did tell them what was going on. It makes you feel understood. Colleagues say, “If it doesn’t work out this week, let me know if I can help you with anything.”

What tip do you give to students and starters?

Focus on the things you can control. There is always something in your job that you want to get done but you don’t necessarily have any influence on. If you focus on the things you cán do and the things you can control, you will see that it will often work out well.