At a young age, I was happy to be in the spotlight. As an 8 year old girl I played in musicals and I participated in the “playback” show at school. At the same time, I was shy when I visited friends at their homes. It was especially challenging if I had never been there before. At school, I felt at ease, but if there was a substitute teacher or during a school trip, I noticed and observed everything and I would be very tired afterwards. At home there was space to relax and therefore it did not have to be named HSP. Moreover, 30 years ago it was not as well known as it is today. As a child, I enjoyed playing with a little shop and I was creative and crafted beautiful things. I combined this with selling homemade necklaces at the flea market. Bringing and inspiring other people (on stage), creativity, aesthetics and commercialism played a major role at a young age.
“Making customers leave the store with a smile on their faces.”
My childhood was accompanied by several bumps and hurdles, so school was not always a priority. I moved from HAVO/VWO to VMBO, and then MBO Detailhandel. I spent many hours as a saleswoman in various stores. I enjoyed that because I could put a lot of my qualities and passions into it. How do I ensure that customers go outside with a well-filled bag, preferably with more than what they came for. And especially what made them happy. The most important thing for me: making sure customers left the store with a smile on their faces. Then they will come back, I soon discovered. I thought that was a sport.
But it wasn’t enough, because I also wanted to think, I wondered “why?” and “how?” and in the store these questions weren’t answered for me. I went to study HBO Applied Psychology and I discovered a lot there, my curiosity was satisfied and challenged, but there too, my “why?” question was not answered. I moved to Groningen to study Psychology at the University of Groningen. I was in the right place there. My “why” questions were answered and even better: I learned to ask the “why” question more often. I learned to research, question and observe differently. I learned that I was good at (counseling) conversations, in presentations and providing information. I discovered that the more people I could speak to, the more I liked that. I liked to give mentoring lessons and lessons in conversation. I was able to put my empathy and creativity to good use.
“I ended up in a state of mental chaos and couldn’t continue my study anymore.”
How do you do all the fun and interesting things when your system says it reached the limit. When will you act on that signal, if it indicates “error” or “code red”? Then I lay sick again in my bed, with a popping headache or feeling ill. Or I no longer understood it all, I ended up in a state of mental chaos and couldn’t continue my study anymore. I wanted to experience everything and especially all the fun things, but in the evening I regularly would be at a party or in the pub with an inflated belly from gas or pain. Poor sleep due to dreams and processing was the rule rather than the exception.
This is not how I could function, so I started reading about HSP, talking about it to people including my mother and trying out what worked for me. I discovered that the sooner I sensed the signals my body gave me and act accordingly, the less recovery time I needed. For example: after a day of studying at the faculty, with the plan to cook and eat with friends and then go out, I made sure that dinner was not at my house, but that I first went home myself. I would say I would need to bring my bag home, or put up the laundry. Sometimes it was an excuse, sometimes it was really that. After dinner and before we went out I also went home. Then I could go to the toilet, change clothes and relax. I also did this sometimes with the excuse that I didn’t want to go into the pub with my good shoes, or that I had to hang up the laundry because I had put it in the washing machine before dinner. And sometimes I honestly said that I needed a break, depending on who I was with. I discovered that I had to do something with my high sensitivity. High sensitivity is an important factor in growing up and discovering and developing yourself, becoming who you want to be.
“I discovered who I am, what I find important, what I want and what my dreams are.”
In those few years in college I read a lot about personal development, leadership and mindfulness. I discovered who I am, what I find important, what I want and what my dreams are. This is not static or completed because I believe it is always changing. I still discover and develop every day. With small and large steps.
My work is also always changing. In recent years I have been looking for what makes me most happy, how I collaborate best and also alone and what my talents are so I can further develop them and use them here. In the meantime, it has crystallized pretty well and it will always be fluid.
“It is all about movement.”
For me it is all about movement. In my career until now, from the store to the office, from MBO to the university and from individual coaching that I occasionally do to the venues on which I speak for hundreds of people; a common thread runs through it and that is movement.
Movement in the sense that I like to get people moving. To investigate what it takes to get moving, and how someone moves from A to B. In a lesson or training it is how someone moves in their development, learns something and makes it their own. In coaching, it is how someone moves from burden to strength and from problem to talent. In business operations it is how I can move people from a dream and a wish to the result. They all have something in common, namely moving and continuing towards a dream come true.
For me it is all about movement. In my career until now, from the store to the office, from MBO to the university and from the individual coaching that I occasionally do to the venues on which I speak for hundreds of people; a common thread runs through it and that is movement.