The start of a great adventure, following my heart

From dive instructor to trainer & coach!

For the past two years, I have worked in Greece on the island of Rhodes as a scuba diving instructor. This was a dream of mine that I always wanted to fulfil and it finally became true.

It was June 2018 when I felt that, I was no longer happy in my job as a headhunter. I decided to quit my job and to go to Greece. It was a decision made from the heart. I felt so strongly that it was the right choice, I even dared to let go of my fears and those of my loved ones and just left. I left, not knowing how long I would be away for or whether my friend with a scuba school in Rhodes had a job for me. Little security, little planning and no income guaranteed, plus still having a high rent to pay in Amsterdam. It was exciting, risky, but oh, it felt great.

I felt free again, just like I had felt earlier in 2018 when I took my three-month sabbatical and went backpacking in Australia, another dream I had realised! When I returned to Amsterdam, I had a new position at the company where I had been working for five years, but within two months I felt very bored and at the same time very stressed because everything that I needed to do for this job gave me no pleasure and hence no energy.

During my backpacking trip in Australia, I also obtained my scuba diving instructor license. That was another dream, which I fulfilled along with my journey. For years, I made sure I kept my scuba diving knowledge up to date, because I always felt like there had to be an escape to freedom. I always felt I needed to have an alternative job opportunity that I loved, temporary, when I no longer liked my office job. This is why I had already become a Divemaster seven years earlier, which is the level under Open Water Instructor.

Many years before, I had already seen a vision of myself during a visualisation exercise in a training. I saw myself sitting on a boat. I talked to people, and I explained things with a big smile on my face. I saw myself in the sun at sea on a boat… Yes, that was actually just that boat, George's boat in Rhodes, where I had been on holiday. Now the vision was going to become true, because once I for there I heard there was a job available!

During my stay in Rhodes, I changed enormously in a positive way. I felt relaxed again, despite having to work hard. I also listened to a lot of podcasts about self-development and I had the energy to feel and dream again, what did I want to do next?

I have always loved self-development, and now I had more energy to do it, because I was no longer so mentally exhausted and stressed. In addition, the two years before my sabbatical trip, I had a very heavy time due to the passing away of my father. After the sabbatical, I felt better, and I also felt that I was ready to take new steps!

On the days when I worked on the boat or in the water, I was physically exhausted, but in a relaxed and calm way. After work, I often went to rest for a while on the bed and I would listen to podcasts. I learned a lot from the different types of subjects and interesting people in the shows. It opened my creativity, I felt that everything was possible again!

Most of my life, I knew there was much more to life than it seemed. More than what you initially see as options that you get from the things you learn at school, and from what you hear and see in society and on TV. “If you have this and do that, you are happy blah blah blah”. Well, it doesn't work that way, Newsflash! I didn't have any of that now and yet I felt freer and happier than ever!

I changed from the inside and I started to follow my heart a lot more. In the winter of 2018-2019 I came back to the Netherlands for 4 months. Waiting for the next season, wondering what I wanted to do after another season of teaching diving on Rhodes. I felt that I wanted to work for myself. I also wanted to investigate whether I wanted to live in Greece, perhaps a combination was possible. However, I didn't come up with any ideas yet, but I followed trainings and programs online to develop myself more in this area. This made the visions, dreams and love for life flow even more.

The 2019 season I stayed in Greece for the entire season. In total I have been there for eight and a half months. I had actually decided that I would stay there and then, suddenly in November something didn't feel right.

I felt a sort of darkness, a doubt in my heart. My head said to me, "You wanted to stay here so now you have to stay here," but I just felt that something was wrong and that I had to move. It was time to go!

I had contacts in Malta, because I had helped them as a freelancer with the start-up of a technical company of an acquaintance of mine. This person was disappointed that I did not want to come and live in Malta and work for them. I just didn't want to get back to doing things that I could do well, were useful to others but didn't give me pleasure.

Although I had already said that I did not wanted it, I still decided to visit Malta and see it with my own eyes. During the conversations about what I wanted, the idea suddenly came up, the idea for Cheering with Birgit. Giving training & coaching, taking people out of their comfort zone and enabling them to do more than they think they can do themselves. That's what I enjoyed as a scuba dive instructor, and in the side jobs I've done in tourism in the past.

The idea stayed with me, so at the end of December 2019, I already announced that I would start my own business. I was so sure in my heart. I didn't know what and I didn't know how yet. I just knew it had to do with taking people out of the comfort zone, overcoming fears, and helping other people follow a heart.

This resulted in Cheering with Birgit! Currently, I am creating new podcasts every week and I have created an awesome online training program: “Start before you are ready” which will be launched several times a year.

Get inspired: Sign up for the Cheering with Birgit podcast (in English) here and follow my stories about believing in yourself, overcoming your fears, traveling alone and dealing with yourself in difficult times.