What is the best thing that I love about my work?
I love discovery. I find that, when I write, the characters tell me the story. Even though I have a basic idea of the story to begin with, I find myself discovering it, just as a reader would, when I write it.
What is my idea of happiness?
I teach people that happiness is a skill we learn and maintain through practice. Happiness is maintaining peace within yourself by discovering and removing your own personal blocks to happiness. One of the major deterrents to happiness is chasing happiness. It is not something we find, and nothing or no one outside of us can grant it. It is something we have to create and we are each 100% responsible for our own happiness.
What is my greatest fear?
I guess no one really likes to be criticized or hated. Still, we are not in control of who loves or hates us. I lived so much of my life in fear of other’s opinions of me. I also feared death and it was a challenge to overcome it, but 1987, a close friend died of AIDS, four of my family members died, two others were diagnosed with terminal cancer, I broke up a relationship and had a major car accident. After a nightmare in January of 1988, I realized I needed counseling. I began talking to my minister, and in the late spring of 1988, I was ruminating about dying when I heard a voice in my head say, “What difference does it make what you die of or when? Everybody has to do it.” At that point, I let go. Ultimately, fear is a fantasy that something bad is going to happen. Anxiety is the emotion produced by that fantasy. All we really have to do to overcome fear is pick a better fantasy.
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?
My anger. It has been one of my greatest challenges in life. I had a friend in college who used to tease me about “fuming”. She helped me start the process of battling my tendency to snap, and carry resentment, but it has been, and continues to be a challenge to overcome. Many people would tell you that they have never seen me angry, but those in my closest circles have seen it, and have seen me struggle with it. I’ve come a long way, but I still have a way to go.
Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?
Well, she is not living, but I had a very great admiration for Maya Angelou. I had hoped that I could, one day, meet her, but I missed my chance for that part of my bucket list. Of someone living, I think Tyler Perry. Beneath the comedy, is a strength and an essence of a very good man, also a hero with his own journey. My favorite film by him is, “For Colored Girls”. The entire dialogue is poetry, a beautiful film!
What is my greatest extravagance?
I adore really good sushi. So, going out to a nice Japanese restaurant is a great treat for me. Outside of that. . .Chocolate! Besides the gifts of love and life, Chocolate is God’s greatest gift to humanity. . .at least in my humble opinion.
On what occasion would I lie?
To save anyone’s life, including my own.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?
Having to market myself and keep up with everything that entails. If it only amounted to speaking engagements, book signings and podcast, radio or TV interviews, I love that, but when it comes to keeping up with social media, keeping up with my website, networking, and keeping up with emails, it can get pretty frustrating. I need a personal assistant, but I’m not at that point yet.
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?
I was happiest when I finished my first novel at the age of 58 and realized that it was actually good. I was getting attention for it, encouragement to publish it, positive feedback, great endorsements and it won an award. It was then that I realized I could actually be an author. At the time, I was living in a small town in Missouri. I never thought I would ever finish a novel. I had tried for years, but couldn’t get past the first few chapters, but that novel finished itself for me and showed me that I really could be an author.
If I could, what would I change about myself?
Physically, I have been embarrassed, since childhood, about having a lazy eye, and I felt that it kept me from looking good in photos and on film, but I have never pursued surgery to get that fixed. My self-consciousness about it kept me from pursuing a film career, but so did my self-doubt. Now, I think about the fact that Stephen Colbert has a floppy ear, but that never stopped him. Why should I continue to even concern myself about it? Besides, the older I get, the less I care.
What is my greatest achievement in work?
I think, so far, that would be my first novel. However, since writing is my retirement career after having worked for forty years in mental health and addictions treatment, I am just getting started. I am assuming that my greatest achievement is yet to come.
Where would I most like to live?
I dream of living in a warm climate in a house on a hillside overlooking the ocean that has huge folding windowed doors opening to a screened porch accessing the view. Since hummingbirds are found only in the Americas, and I love them, I don’t think I would want to live outside the Americas, but I have considered the south of Spain, and if it didn’t get so cold in the winter, I very much love the United Kingdom.
What is my most treasured possession?
The first thing that comes to mind is my grandmother’s quilts. I have a few of them and I know there is love in every stitch. Otherwise, I don’t know that they could be classified as possessions, but I treasure my cats. They always break my heart. I fall in love with them again and again. Then when they die, I am devastated. I grieve and grieve hard. Then, I move on and fall in love again. No two are ever the same, and the relationship is never the same, but I fall in love with them over and over again. However, I could never be one of those crazy cat people with fifty of them in the house. That’s not really appreciating them, because you can only have true relationships with a couple at a time.
What is my most marked characteristic?
I am direct and honest. I may hold off for a little while, but not for long. I may be congenial when I say it, maybe not, but more than likely, I will tell you exactly what I think and why I think it, especially when things are screwed up.
What is my most inspirational location, in my city?
My back deck. When I sit out there and listen to the wind chimes and watch the hummingbirds or tend to my plants, I find that I am pulled away from most of the frustrations and difficulties of the day. I once said, that I feel closest to God when I am thinning the marigolds. We don’t have many of those in South Texas, but I have my attempts at bonsai and there are multiple other flowering plants for me to enjoy that also attract the hummingbirds. Besides that, I love to find a secluded place by the bay where I can sit and watch the birds and listen to the waves or walk along the shore looking for sea glass.
What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?
There is a Japanese restaurant downtown called Aka. It was the first place I ate at when I moved here, and no other Japanese or Asian fusion restaurant has been able to hold a candle since.
What books influenced my life and how?
Back in the 70’s I read, “Love is Letting Go of Fear” by Jerald Jampaulski, and “Illusions” by Richard Bach. Marianne Williamson has also been a big influence on my life with her book, “A Return to Love.” These books gave me a new perspective, a different way of looking at life, at myself and at spirituality.
You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
Definitely Motown. When I was fourteen, I got a transistor radio for Christmas and I learned that if I sat out behind our Smoke House on our isolated farm in Northern Arkansas and aimed it just right, I could pick up Motown stations out of Memphis, Tennessee. I fell in love with Motown and still today, I think it is the best music that was ever written. I wish young performers would discover it and bring it back.
Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?
It took me a while to think of one because, truth be told, I have never read much fiction, even though I write it. Most of the books I have read have been either self-help books or books of curiosity. However, when I think about it, I think about the character of John Coffey in “The Green Mile”. Other Stephen King stories I have appreciated are “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Delores Claiborne”.
Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
I love Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Colbert, Marianne Williamson, and of those who have passed on, I love Maya Angelou, Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi.
Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?
“Gandhi” with Ben Kingsley. It is based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and is a powerful movie, a brilliant perspective into the human condition and the role of spirituality in creating unity.
What role plays art in my life and work?
As well as being a writer, I am an artist, and I’ve won some minor awards for my art. I am not a trained or a professional artist, but my art had some attention in Nashville back in the 1990’s. My art tends to be whimsical, colorful and primitive. One of my paintings was used as the cover for my first novel. However, I love the art of others, especially surreal art. I love to visit art museums and stand in front of a painting for long periods of time, trying to draw it all in so I can discover the thousand words that are portrayed in that one picture.
What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?
Perhaps that should read, “You are the creator of your own life.” Even though we only have the power of choice as human beings, when we learn to utilize that power effectively, we can have a tremendous influence on the course of our lives. We all have a choice over what we will think, say or do and that is the only power any of us possess.
What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?
I am a living example of what that means. I have written since I was a little boy, and edited the campus literary magazine when I was in college. I have written for regional magazines and other venues throughout the years, but never finished my first novel till I was 58 years old. That first novel and the fact that it was as received as well as it was, lit a fire under me. It taught me that I really do have what it takes to be an author. Now, when I finally retire from my day job, I will be able to make writing and art my retirement career. The passion has been there all along, like wood gathered for a fire waiting to be lit. It was the spark of my first novel that lit a fire under me and I don’t foresee that fire going out until, at last, I go out.
Which creative heroes should Peter invite to tell their story?
Justin O’Keith (photographer)
Ada Vox (Singer, American Idol Contestent)
Toni Chritton Johnson
How can you contact me?
My links are as follows:
NOTE: Be sure to catch my daily mini-blog on Instagram
Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Hero’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 HERO’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 Hero’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 Hero’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 110 excluding VAT per session. The Hero’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.
Who can sign up for The Hero’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 Hero’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.