My story, hopefully as an inspiration for others!

I've been doing personal coaching beside my work as a doctor, a physician, an MD, for several years. Now I'm focused on being a 100% professional Certified Interbational life COACH. 

But who am I? Read my story here...

I was born in the fantastic city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I first went to primary school, of course, then high school. There, at high-school, things went terribly wrong. I tried 3 different high-schools from when I was 12 to 15, didn't manage to pass any year at any of them and then crashed very unelegantly right out of school.Forget about the reasons.

So how should I live now? I left my familyhome, and started to move about, doing dayjobs or jobs for a week or so. Through private employment agencies. From work in many factories, through repairing roofs, being a fireman i the shipyards of Amsterdam and many, many other different jobs. I finally, having reached the age of 23, ended up as an ambulancedriver and a doorman at the emergency-ward of Europe's then biggest hospital.   

But before getting there, I had worked in England, my first jobb abroad, in Eastbourne, at a hospital. From there I moved to do some work in Austria just to get on to Norway after that again. Norway caught my breath. What an extraordinary beauty! I wanted to stay there. No way, said the imigration authorities. No education, no work, no place for you here. The year was 1972, I think. 

I left Norway, but decided I'd be back. But how? Of course, get an education! Not so easy for a dreamer on the move. Without a place to stay. So I carried on having small jobs that moved me around in Europe, me being interested as I was in exploring new countries and languages. You meet people, you follow up their invitations, you move. But Amsterdam was my safe home. I always lived in rented rooms. But no job, no money. No money, no room. And that's how I landed out on the streets of Amsterdam, sleeping rough. 

I could sleep in parks, in shop entrances, in open stairwells. Or just out on the pavements. Wrapped in my long afghan coat. I still remember I'd lay just far enough from busy streets to not be kept awake by the lights and noice but still near enough to experience a sort of feeling safe, being "near" people. Usually I had my stuff in a locker at the railway-station. So when I had work but no housing, I picked it up there after work. Friends? Yes, I had many. Sometimes I slept on couches at their parents' homes or at their places. But I was ashamed, didn't want to be dependent upon the goodwill of others. So often, when it was getting late, they asked me whether I had a place to sleep. And I would say yes, leave them, and start looking for place out on the street for the night, lonely.

But guess what, there's always an upside. This wouldn't have had to happen, had I just accepted the dayjobs I was offered. But I didn't, after Norway. I wanted to go back there. I needed to get better jobs, jobs where I could use my intelligence, maybe get an education! But me being 197 cm /6ft5 tall and a strong man, the employment agencies wanted to pin me down on jobs for physically strong men, refused to offer me the type of jobs I now had started to ask for, better jobs. They said they didn't have such jobs to offer me. Still I heard and saw neigbouring job-searchers at the agency get exactly those jobs. So I decided to start to refuse the strong man jobs. And that landed me on the streets.  Because they'd press me, deny they had any such jobs, just to get me to accept jobs I didn't want anymore! I refused, but that was my own responsibility. Landing on the streets for the night was my own responsibility. And for that same reason I never went for unemployment money, money from the social services. Never. Because I was proud and not having work was my sole responsibility, no other people should have to pay for me!

As you can imagine, I'm a strongheaded man. On the streets, on and off, I finally landed a job as an ambulancedriver at a hospital. Worked 2 shift days. Before doing that, my best friend and I had started a paper course to get our high school exams. Travelling about in the world, between jobs, I thought that would be a super flexible solution to get an education. Unfortunately, it turned out not all lessons reached me where I was, so that I, for instance, had lessons 2, 3 and 7 but not those in between! End of paper course.

Once on the ambulance, I one day had a stop at the emergency ward. A physical fight was going on there between staff and a visitor. I had been fighting before in my life, even did some martial arts training. I got in and helped to solve the problem. After that, they offered me a doorman job with only night shifts. 7 nights on, seven off. Waaw! Problem solved! I could go to school!

Because I now could take evening classes. I did. 3 nights a week I went to school from 5 pm to 10.30 pm. And after nearly 4 years I got my high school exam! And the possibility to study at a university! I was 28 yrs old now. Life was about to take a great new turn... 

Well, an international job( me moving to Norway) requires an international education. My mother had wanted to study medicine before ending up in a japanese camp in Indonesia where she was born, we had talked a lot about that, and during my time as a doorman I had connected with many doctors and seen much medical work at the emergency ward, observing and learning a lot. The decision was taken.

I tried to get into medical studies, but the first year I actually didn't come in. So I had to carry on working. But the next year, I had better luck, I was 29 years old.

I started to study medicine in Amsterdam, at VU university, worked quite a bit on the side, but finally got there. 6 very tough years, 7 all together included waiting in between practical periods, had paid off. I was a doctor! An MD! A real physician! Can you even understand how proud I was of my self? That day I thought of all those people in my life that had said that nothing would become of me. Ha!

Before my final medical exams, I spent some time in Norway, where a friend, a dutch MD I met at the emergency ward when we both worked in Amsterdam, who had moved to Norway, let me be at his radiology-ward and learn the (medical)language. There I met my future wife. I even prepared for my final exams in Norway!

And so the dream was coming true.

I finally moved to Norway, shortly after my medical exams, in 1990. 18 years after I first decided I wanted to live there. Soon 30 years ago now. We married, were blessed with 3 fantastic children. I have very happily worked as a GP, but had to find solutions when I got problems with my eyesight. No fun for any patient to have a doctor with double eyesight sewing up cuts!🙂

Therefore, for the last 15 yrs I've been working in child- and adolescent psychiatry. Work that requires just the craftmanship that is needed for coaching as well, only from a different angle. For that reason, neither individual talks nor guiding groups  is new to me as is the case for analyzing situations. Communication techniques is a part of training for that sort of work, of course. I was doing coaching on the side whenever asked. Or I offered. Because I'm extremely interested in supporting positive people. Because, with my history, I know you really can get there. In the end. But I also remember my lonely fight, a fight that lasted many years. No-one should have to go through all of that. Looking back at my life so far I would lie to you if I said it always was a happy life, it wasn't. But it definitely has been an experience that has taught me how to win, how to fight for my victory, trust in myself, feel self assured and balanced. As I feel now.

Within a few months from now, in february 2020, I'll stop working as a doctor. And start my professional life as an international coach. I know I've got very much to offer you! And I'm sure you'll reach your goals. The fact that your reading this means you're already on your way from thinking, planning to handling. That's very good! Well done!

As for Amsterdam and Norway: I simply love Amsterdam deeply, still do. But these last 30 odd years I've been living in this astonishlingly beautiful country Norway. I fought my way there. I'm happy for that every day. My house is on an island in a fjord, with 550 people living there. I have to take a ferry, but no probs, it actually feels like a new wonderful cruisetrip every single day🙂 And I've touched down in Andalucia in Spain too. 

There, I offer person-to-person training with a stay in the very beautiful village where I live. Life's fantastic!

How's that? Well, from 2020, I'll be seeing a lot of Amsterdam and Spain. And I'll do my coaching all around Europe, wherever the job takes me. I very much look forward to physically work with private persons and groups, here in Norway or any other place. I'll come to you if a project needs that. I'm still exploring, still very curious, love using all my different languages.  Still the internet will probably be my main workplace since I can do that from anywhere 🙂 So..welcome to get in touch with me!

Nyeste kommentarer

06.01 | 05:16

Ben is a fantastic coach who’s focus is on results, positive change and a confidential trust based experience. I would recommend Ben to anyone, without hesitation. Diana (Canada & Mexico)

23.12 | 18:03

Ben has done several good jobs for my executive staff in our global family business. Highly recomended

04.12 | 20:36

Ben’s exceptional at pointing out areas where I stand in the way of my progress. My go-to coach when I need honest eyes that listens and asks questions to fast-track my goals. Ellis, London

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