Karel Van den Eynde is a founding partner of Miss Miyagi, an alternative project developer from Leuven who has specialized since 2017 in innovative real estate projects with added social value. In his spare time, Van den Eynde is, in addition to being a husband and father of two, also an avid runner who recently completed his sixth marathon. “I need walking to keep my life in balance and to be able to switch back in my head after a busy working day.”
What do you consider to be your most important (entrepreneurial) characteristic(s)?
“Collaboration is the only way to a successful company for me. That is why I dare to give confidence to others quickly and I am happy to act in all transparency to regain confidence. 1 + 1 is always 3 for me.”
“I also have a healthy dose of naivety which allows me not to see too many bears on the road, which makes me dare to jump quickly. Thinking too much is sometimes not good either.”
What is your favorite motto?
“In my home there is a work of art titled ‘I take care of you, you take care of me’. For me that also applies in business: respect and care for each other. Very simple, very old and a hard truth. For me, those are two important things in life. Without respect, good cooperation is not possible and without care for each other, the balance is quickly lost.”
A common thread throughout my life is that I have rarely done anything alone. I am always looking for people to do business together, develop together and work together
“A common thread in my life is that I have rarely done anything alone. I am always looking for people to do business together, develop together and work together. Collaborations have rarely disappointed me because I use those core values as a foundation. Then it usually ends well.”
What have you learned from your most difficult moments?
“A marathon is not 42.2 km, but a combination of 4 x 10 + 2.2 km or another variant. You have to split every heavy assignment into smaller pieces so that during such a tough trip or assignment you can build small parties in the meantime every time a new one milestone has been reached. That party – in your head or at the bar – allows you to continue and complete a long journey. The little parties in life make a big difference!”
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
“Hundreds (laughs). But if I have to choose one that gives me the most satisfaction, it’s this one to start the day early. My working day always starts at 5 am. Between 5 and 7 am I work in silence at my desk at home, without a telephone, without incoming mail and therefore with full focus.”
“When I then arrive at the office at 9 a.m., my mailbox has been cleaned out, my thoughts are in order and my day starts without any burden. If you do that 5 days a week, you gain 8 hours a week. That is an extra working day gained and neatly spread. It takes six weeks to learn and you can enjoy it for years. Do it, I say!”
Who do you think are great examples from our world history?
“Here I am grabbing a classic, because if it were up to me, the book would be ‘Steve Jobs, The Exclusive Biography’ by Walter Isaacson should be required reading in every high school. The man combined a special vision with creativity and entrepreneurship and an unprecedented dose of perseverance. In his case, to an unhealthy high level, but Steve Jobs’ way of thinking and acting is so inspiring that our youth can learn a lot from it.”
If everyone learned from Steve Jobs and applied that entrepreneurship to their personal lives, the world would be brimming with entrepreneurship and passion
“We need more Steve Jobs in our world! They should not all become entrepreneurs of the same size, but if everyone would learn from him and translate that entrepreneurship into his or her personal life, the world would be buzzing with entrepreneurship and passion!”
What would you never choose in life?
“A life without entrepreneurship! The world in which we grow up offers so many opportunities and possibilities that it is difficult for me to understand that not everyone in Flanders is brimming with ambition. Ambition is of course not necessarily linked to a VAT number, which can be perfectly translated into other forms.”
“If we all use 80% of our energy to get behind something with passion and ambition: you don’t want to know how many problems would be solved and how much higher the score on our happiness barometer would be.”