5 attitudes that will make any ambitious dream come true

Students & Alumni Corporate

vic swerts.pngAt the end of June, AMS Master students graduate and at the ceremony we award an inspiring example from outside of our school with an Honorary Master.

In 2016, this honor was granted to Vic Swerts and AMS defined his career using the '5 attitudes'. Jan Jacobs, Master in Public Management graduate, was there and now reflects using these 5 concepts. Jan is the general director of Iona vzw and works as a coach on the side. On his website you can read various articles on making you dreams come true. 



After two years of intensive studying, I was awarded my Master’s degree at the 2016 Antwerp Management School Executive Masters’ Graduation Ceremony. That had long been an ambitious dream of mine. Vic Swerts gave a keynote on how he realized his own dream, and received an Honorary Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship for his 50-year career.

Successfully realizing your goals

In his keynote, Baron Vic Swerts explained that he once started a business out of necessity – to make a living. He wanted to earn money to start a family, and to subsequently create some kind of prosperity for himself. That turned out somewhat differently: Soudal is a producer of building specialties, which has become a global player in sealants, polyurethane foam, and glues. The company employs over 2100 people and has an annual turnover of over more than half a million euros. A major corporation, in other words. Even though he is now 76 years old, Swerts doesn’t think about giving up. He only recently signed a contract for another 20 years, as he explained laughing. However, he knows the laws of successfully realizing your goals better than anyone.

And it is very true. If, 10 years ago, you would have told me that I would have a family with three children and be the head of a wonderful enterprise with about 100 employees, I would have a thriving practice, I would have written a book, I would have been awarded a master’s degree in public management with honours, I would have run a marathon, … then I probably would have said that you’re crazy. But the reality is (to my own amazement) that, since then, I have reached it all. That is something I’m very proud of, and so grateful for.

These were all dreams I once had, for me as well. Experience taught me that every result was once a dream, and the road to that dream consists of a few important steps.  


5 attitudes


Every successful result starts with a wish, a desire, a dream. The starting point is knowing what you want, and being honest about it (with yourself, but with others as well). To get in touch with your wishes and your desires, it is important to make room for them. Busy people who constantly hurry from one thing to another are usually not in contact with what they truly want. Or they’re too fully engaged with what other people ask of them or expect from them. Making a “Bucket List” and a “Fuck-it List” is already a good place to start.


If you just dream, and you don’t do, nothing will happen. The next step is figuring out the smartest way possible to realize your dream. You’re probably standing at the end of a long line, so how have the people who preceded you tackled this issue? If you want to run a marathon, for example, the internet offers you many tips and tricks regarding training, food and drink in order for you to be able to run your very first marathon. If you want to level up, then a coach will definitely be a good idea. So, how are you going to realize your dream?


Every single person who decides to undertake something will feel conflicted within themselves, since making a dream come true also implies leaving your comfort zone and doing things that may have seemed to be impossible at first (otherwise, it wouldn’t have been a dream in the first place). But this cannot be taken for granted, because we feel most comfortable within our comfort zone. Consequently, we always head back to what we already know, and things that feel familiar. That’s why daring is certainly an important step in the growth process and in the realization of your dream.


Without the doing, the dream will only be an objective for the rest of your life. It’s quite simple: no action, no results. You have to start somewhere and work for your dream to come true, because that doesn’t just happen all by itself (unless you believe in fairy tales). Moreover, others aren’t waiting for your dream to become reality, so others aren’t going to help you. In fact, others are often a hindrance for your dream. So, do you want your dream to become an objective and a successful result? Then start doing!


Every success consists of 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Willpower and decisiveness are key factors. Everyone will sometimes reach a situation where it’s no longer any use, it starting to get too heavy, and you even thinking of giving up. You wonder why you should even try to continue. For me personally, that situation was the first marathon I had ever run. After the 32nd kilometre it started wearing me down and every cell in my body thought about giving up. However, I persevered and now that I look back on it, I cannot believe that I had ever thought of giving up. Giving up is not an option. Unless, of course, persevering is harmful to either you or others.




Baron Vic Swerts listed another extra attitude, ‘gratitude’. On the one hand, he wanted to express his gratitude for the recognition he bestowed. On the other hand, gratitude is in itself an important step (or “law”) for successful people: being grateful for everything that crosses your path, positive thinking and serving a higher purpose; being grateful for the people who surround you, believe in your, and support you. Honestly, my successes wouldn’t even exist without all the beautiful people who surround me.


More inspiration? 
Read more AMS alumni stories here!