I’m happy to introduce you to the ‘Meet a champion’ blog. It’s about how we, in different parts of the world, look at the topic of ‘Change’.
In this blog: Brenda Hofman from Barcelona in Spain. She shares her thoughts on change with you. She learned that it all starts with that spark called love. Here’s her story.
Time to meet a champion.
- What’s your name? Brenda Hofman.
- Where were you born? Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
- Where do you currently live? Barcelona, Spain.
- What do you do in daily life? I teach English and yoga. I also edit, write and translate all kinds of text (English <> Dutch).
What does change mean to you?
Change is the only constant in life. Change means new beginnings, excitement. Positive things. Positive feelings. Change also means fear and procrastination. Negative things. Negative feelings. They are both sides of the same coin. As everyone else I can be excited about doing new things, starting a new job or moving to a new home. But change also means unknown territory and that usually makes me insecure. When I need to do a lot to accomplish that change (and I’m not forced externally to make that change) I can be very good at postponing things to tomorrow. Luckily, I live in Spain and mañana mañana is everyone’s favourite word here. This doesn’t mean I never get things done or I never make any changes happen. It just means I’m human and sometimes I need a push in the back, a little help from a friend or gentle nudge in the right direction.
What is the biggest change you’ve experienced in your life?
That would definitely be moving countries. Letting go of my entire comfort zone, of everything I knew and I was sure about and the BIG plunge into the BIG unknown. Seven years ago, I met Tim who is still my partner today. When we met, he already lived in Barcelona and for him it was clear that he didn’t want to move back to the Netherlands. Yes, he’s Dutch as well and what are the odds that you fall in love with a Dutch guy in Barcelona, right? After traveling back and forth for quite some time, both of us realised that this long-distance thing was not going to last for us. I decided to move. I gave up my apartment in Utrecht, sold or gave away 75% of the things I owned, packed up the rest and left for Barcelona. Every step of the way took me out of my comfort zone. Only you know what, even though there were lots of hurdles, unhappy moments (tears, homesick and all) I made it to the other side and built a life for myself in a country that now feels like home.
What did it bring you? What did you learn from it?
My move to Barcelona changed everything. From the kind of work I did, to the amount of money I made, to the amount of possessions I have. I can’t even begin to explain what it brought me. What has all of this taught me? I think I learned that you don’t have to stick to the same thing. You can change your position, flow with the things that come on your path. Make mistakes, learn from them. Even when you’re close to 40, like I am. Another big lesson? Material things don’t really matter. Even though yes, initially I felt hurt when I was selling and giving away my things back in the Netherlands. A year after I moved to Barcelona, I looked through the boxes I had left in The Netherlands and after that about 50% of it went off to welfare. I no longer needed it and hadn’t missed it at all. What matters? My family and the connection we have together. My friends, the ones that really are close to my heart. I would like to say: cherish those around you. Cherish them big time!
What was needed to create this change?
One word: LOVE. Lots of it. I don’t think I would ever have moved abroad (though my mother thinks differently) if I hadn’t fallen in love with Tim. That was step #1. I think you could call that ‘the need to change’. I think in order for you to change something, you have to feel the need to change it. All the rest will follow from that initial spark. When we decided I would move to Barcelona, we simply set a date that was reasonable and doable. I made a list of things that I needed to be done and we made it work. Those are the practicalities that come with every change (big or small) that you want to bring into your life. Here’s my plan for change: Spark (need) -> deadline -> list of stuff that needs to get done -> make a plan to make that happen before target date. Does that make sense? Funny enough that’s exactly what our Change Champion e-course teaches you by the way.
What would you like to change in the world?
Don’t get me started! I will reduce my list to a few things, which are a bit related to my story in some way. Let’s take more care of each other. I feel we are angry, on edge. We can see it on the streets, at work, everywhere. I would really like us all to take a step back and treat others the way we like to be treated ourselves. That would already change a lot! And I’m not just talking about us individuals, but also governments and companies need to change how they treat their people. For example, let’s try not to get rich over someone else’s back. Let’s share the wealth in our countries and companies, with everyone. Not just with the 2%. Also, smile more! To anyone on your way and to yourself when you look into the mirror while you are at it! And let’s take care of Mother Earth. She needs it. More than ever! We need to start making conscious choices. And you know what? This all comes from the central point of Yoga philosophy. We are all one. You, me, the earth, every single person, animal and thing on earth. We are all one. If I hurt you, I hurt myself. If I take care of you, I take care of myself.
What’s your advice to others on the topic of change?
Coming back to what I said before: make sure that there’s a spark, don’t put moving to Barcelona on your list of change, just because you think it’s awesome that someone else did it. The change has to start with you. YOU have to feel the need to change. And YOU need to decide on the direction. And YOU need to decide about the road to take to get there. And don’t forget that asking for help is not a weakness. It may very well be a strength. And the best thing you can do. Oh. And enjoy the ride. From the beginning to the end. Don’t get caught up in the result. Enjoy the road that you decided to take. With all of its detours.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’ve shared a whole lot with you already. This is it for now.
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// I, Marianne (founder) am a Dutch girl going global. Even though (the team and) I reread everything multiple times, my apologies in case I’ve made a language mistake somewhere. Just e-mail me about it. I’ll be happy to adjust it if I can and learn from it! //