For the first part of my working life, I found myself entrenched in an intellectually stimulating and financially comfortable job as a Lawyer, specializing in Real Estate and Criminal Law, with a high profile, medium sized firm in the Netherlands. I wanted to study Law and become a "lawyer" from when I was 8 years old, so it seemed I was on track to fulfil my life's ambition and passion!
I had a major problem: after 6 years, I realized I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing anymore.
Even though I was great at my job, the money was good and the work was intellectually challenging, on Monday morning I looked forward to Friday evening and on Sunday evening I dreaded Monday morning. I thought I got it ‘right’ – I was working hard, striving, achieving, sacrificing, over-committing, specializing, battling and surviving.
It just did not feel right anymore.
One day, after returning from holiday to 2 huge piles of “backlogged” files on my desk, a massive wave of anxiety hit me and I felt physically ill. The realisation hit me – I have to change.
The big issue was: I didn’t know what to do. I did not have an alternative strategy; I’d never learned one, or needed it, for that matter. For the next 3 months I went into deep downward spiral that completely threw me. I knew I was going to quit and had no clue what I was going to do with my life from that point. I couldn’t see any future. The only thing I felt: What I am doing now isn’t it!
So, after a dreadful couple of months, wracking my brain about "what to do; what to do?", I resigned in August 1999, with a 4 month notice period to hand over my practice.
This decision felt good and I knew right away I had made the right choice, even though “what’s next” was totally out of my sight and scared the living daylights out of me.
From there, a synchronistic series of events unfolded that put me on the path I’m on now. I worked out that I had a number of key values, things that were really important to me in life: travelling, preferably around the world, acquiring new knowledge and skills, working in a field that I can practice anywhere in the world, helping people, and having fun. And I decided to have these values guide my decisions from then on.
I was offered some part-time work, and we lived in South Africa for 6 months to study Body Stress Release (www.bodystressrelease.com.au); after returning to the Netherlands, I steadily built my own Body Stress Release practice, while doing some part-time legal work.
In 2001, my partner Simone, our 1.5 year-old daughter Kyara and I came to Sunshine Coast for holiday to visit a good friend I'd made in South Africa, and it immediately felt like home. To cut a long story short: within 18 months -and with lots of immigration luck- we moved to Australia. I set up my Body Stress Release practice, and one day Simone spotted an ad in the paper to study life coaching.
The rest is history. I became a life coach, kept practicing Body Stress Release, and progressed from there. I’ve met some amazing people along the way, such as Glenn Dietzel, for whose company Awakened LLC I became lead-coach, working with clients all around the world. I conducted workshops in Sweden, Holland and Australia. I then started working as a coach and facilitator conducting employability skills training, qualified as a Counsellor and started working with Campbell Page Employment Services as a counsellor. I now work in my private practice and work as a contract-counsellor for Employee Assistance Programs providers Converge International, Acacia Connection, Eudoxia, Workplace Wellness Australia, Drake Workwise, D'Accord PHS and LifeSkills Australia. I have also taught Diploma level Counselling for a private Registered Training Organisation. My top career values still stand, and I still live by them.
Change for the better IS possible I know from experience how daunting taking that first step in a new direction can seem to be. I also know how fulfilling and profitable taking that step can be! If you are ready for you, I am ready for you.