Welcome to my very first blog post. After having written two short books, I’m excited to have the opportunity to share my ideas and thoughts through this blog. Before we kick off, let me start by answering two questions that you might have.
1. Blogs are so 2009. Aren’t you a bit late to the party?
Yes, probably. Many people have moved away from written content and are consuming more audio and video. But I don’t need to make money from this website and I believe (or hope) that blogs are still a powerful way to communicate and inspire, so let’s see.
2. Most people start with a blog and then perhaps write a book later. Why do you do it the other way around?
Also true and this is a question that I have been asking myself as well. Reality is that my first book wasn’t really planned, but it ‘just happened’. This sounds vague and I will further explain it in the next blog post, which will be about my first book. My second book was based on an idea I simply couldn’t let go of. But I must say it is a liberating thought that the next time I have an idea, I can share it through a blog post rather than having to write an entire book.
With those questions answered, it is time to get started.
In this first blog post, I want to tell a personal story to explain why I have created this website. Many inspiring stories are based on some sort of pain or suffering, but mine isn’t. My life has always been pretty easy. I have loving parents who are still together, a fantastic sister, and a great group of friends.
When turned 18, I went to study at the university one hour from my home town in the Netherlands. Studying hard when we had exams, but mainly enjoying the typical student life. After four years, I graduated cum laude and got my Master’s degree in Finance. The natural next step would have been to find a job at a financial institution, perhaps an investment bank or pension fund.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Because for the first time in my life, I didn’t take the natural next step. Instead, I moved abroad to live and work in Prague, Czech Republic. After an amazing year, I traveled through South America for five months, before returning to the Netherlands. That period abroad changed the way I approached life as I had gotten to know myself better.
Back home, my passion for sports and interest in numbers made me apply for a management traineeship at an online gambling company in London. Three years and two promotions later, I’m still in London at the same company. Working as a Brand Manager for four brands, I’m responsible for the global brand strategy, positioning, and producing TV commercials. Pretty much the opposite from a job in finance.
So why am I telling this story? I was happy before, but this journey enabled me to take my happiness to the next level. The first decision to go abroad made it easier to take the next step and the one after that. My time abroad has not only given me incredible experiences, but it also made me more open minded and interested in learning new things. Learning from reading many books, listening to hundreds of podcasts, and watching countless online videos. All of which have contributed to my own personal growth, in all elements of life.
That first move abroad was a decision that changed everything. The idea came from talking to some friends who had already gone abroad during their studies. This conversation sparked the idea to do the same thing. Without it, I might have never decided to work abroad for a year. And without that first experience, I probably would have never left the Netherlands. My life would have been completely different and I would not have been writing this blog right now. This is an example of the butterfly effect.
The butterfly effect is a concept of something small that can have huge long-term consequences. When a butterfly moves its wings somewhere in the world, it can cause a tornado in another part of the world. It can take a long time, and the connection may not be visible, but if the butterfly had not flapped its wings at just the right point in space and time, the tornado would not have happened.
Thinking back, the conversation with my friends who had already gone abroad was the flapping of the wings for me. Something that seemed small at the time, but that turned out to be the butterfly effect of my life, which led me to where I am today. On that journey, I have been learning so much and got inspired by so many different people, both face-to-face and online.
That is why I created this website. I hope that the ideas and insights from the blog, books, and selected podcasts and videos on this website can help to inspire you in the same way they inspired me. What you find here could be the start of something bigger as well or at least contribute to the journey that you are already on. With a thirst for knowledge, you can never drink too much. So stay curious, with a lust for learning, and enjoy the Inspiration Pub.