2018 in a nutshell: Willem & Wendy brainstorm session

2018 in a nutshell. Above: Willem & Wendy having a brainstorm session about starting up their own company after an interesting and highly intense year with Tearfund in Iraq.

I can still hear Wendy say ‘We really have to post a blog soon…’. A few weeks later the same message comes from me and so we continue to follow each other without picking up a pen. We have only posted two blogs and the first was in February of this year. But now, dear friends.. in the last weeks of this year.. of our period in Iraq.. as an employee of Tearfund it’s finally there.. 2018 in a nutshell: A blog!


Sometimes I hardly dare to write. Feeling guilty about the fact that we have been so quiet. In the first six months in particular, we were socially rather antisocial. In 2017 I often prayed for a new challenge. Well, let me tell you one thing… Beware of what you pray for. Because we have gotten that challenge! And how!

Unique challenges and lots of change

To start with: We are doing well. We are tired but satisfied. Feel healthy again both physically and mentally. Can exercise frequently, eat healthy and live in a beautiful apartment two minutes walk from the office. We have devoted the majority of the past year and the hours spent in a day, to work, work and more work. Of course we knew that when we left for Iraq with Tearfund, that we would work a lot and that there was a big challenge awaiting us. However, we did not expect that there would be so much to do! The amount of changes that have been made in one year have been unique for us (and believe me, we are quite used to change).


The challenge with emergency aid projects is not just about the fact that you may have to live in dangerous places. That it’s freaking hot or just as cold as ice. You have to deal with rules that can make life very complicated. And where everything around you constantly changes. There is more… For example, finding qualified people who want to serve in a country like Iraq. The impact of a lack of employees means that you sometimes have to perform multiple roles for too long a period. In addition, you have the non-stop personnel changes going on around you. On average people do not stay for seven years, but only for about one year. And there are many different and understandable reasons for this.


The program in Iraq is Tearfund’s largest project. When the situation escalated with ISIS in 2014, Tearfund came to Iraq and in four years the organisation in Iraq has grown from nothing to a $ 10 million portfolio with around 110 employees. The team worked very hard to serve people in Iraq through CASH, Livelihoods, Protection, Social Cohesion, NFI and WASH projects in various places in Iraq including Mosul and Kirkuk.


2018 has been a year of continuous change but also a year of stabilization. A year in which we switched from a top-down to a bottom-up mentality. Having grown enormously in terms of capacity. Working as a team on a five-year strategy for Iraq. Helping more than 30,000 people… A year in which… you know… I can continue to write but how can you process almost 1 year in 1 blog? This would be a story in a nutshell. So in short: a lot of nuts have been cracked!


When you go through a phase of intense stress and continuous change, there are also those moments when you withdraw from it all. Taking rest and reflecting on all of what happened is crucial. Such moments can even lead to new dreams… and for those who know us a bit, we do not like to keep it with only dreaming. We dare and do. And that has led to something new. News that may be a surprise to many of you (maybe we apologize again for our non-social behaviour). This news is the same reason to make a blog or vlog again soon because we might have stirred up the curiosity…

Are you ready? We will come back to the Netherlands from January for a longer period and to start up our own company. More information soon.

The Pump - fitness centrum - workout routine

Today we had a wonderful workout at the The Pump; One of the trainers Tony Prajapati said: ‘You guys become better every time, because you keep the routine!’


People regularly ask us how we keep to it, how we persevere. Then the only answer is: discipline, commitment and results. Somehow we all know this already, but thanks to Discipline Sports, I’ve really been able to get this into practice.

Often you start with a good intentions and full of motivation with your workout routine, but often you get demotivated, or you think you have to spend too much time on it, or you do not feel like it, or you come to the conclusion that the desired results are not achieved. The consequence: less motivation to go to the gym, which is something you obviously want to prevent. Your willpower can literally leave you. I also do not always want to go, but regularity and discipline is the best way to prevent that. After two or three weeks your discipline becomes routine. You do not have to worry about making the decisions every time: will I go to sports now or not? Because you have learned that it is good and after the sport you always feel great! That gives a lot of energy and satisfaction.

But what if the results don’t come?

Transforming your body is something that takes a lot of time and requires a great deal of discipline. It is important that you are aware of this. Try looking at yourself realistically, compare your old situation with the current situation. Are you feeling any better? Are you able to perform better or do more than when you started? Do not expect to achieve your final goal after only a few weeks. But see the small steps. This helps enormously.

Willem started learning pull ups six months ago. He could do two at the beginning and in the meanwhile he is at ten. That cost him six months, which might look like a long time, but it is a huge achievement. If you don’t even see the little steps, then check if your training schedule is right for you. It is important that all muscle groups get enough rest for example and that you have a good combination of workouts. There are several websites that can give you good training schedules. In addition, I highly recommend a personal trainer because I’ve noticed the difference and I feel so much better!

Workout routines

Soon we will publish some nice workoutroutines, but for now two little movies with Willem (pushup with clapping hands) and me (situp or crunch with ten kgs extra) in action! Enjoy…


You can find lots of nice workouts on PopSugar.

Sports is part of a healthy lifestyle, but your eating habits are at least equally important. More about that soon…

commitment. doelen. get it done

Commitment and setting goals… what does it mean? 
In this guest blog by Joost Struijk of Discipline Sports you read more…

This morning my alarm went at 04:30. It was time to go and workout. “At this hour already?!!” was my first thought followed by “lets go!!!” I hear you thinking: why would you train so early? Because it’s a mental challenge, it’s uncomfortable and so I challenge myself physically and mentally. I do this because I also ask my trainees. Everyone who works with us has a personal purpose, and for most people, achieving it is a physical and mental challenge. It’s uncomfortable, otherwise no progress will be made.

A goal must also be concrete. “I want to feel better,” is not measurable and not concrete. Your feelings can vary day by day. Wanting to run ten kilometers is concrete. There must also be some time pressure on your goal. If you want to be two kilos lighter at the end of 2017, you’re not going to get started now, but to lose two kilograms this week, you’ll have to change your lifestyle instantly. Finally, your goal should also be interesting for the long term. If it fails, there is no longer any willingness to do the job and the result is lost. For example, to lose eight pounds, you need less food and you need to exercise a lot. In order not to fall back, you will have to set a new goal. Distributing a bigger goal in weekly and monthly goals keeps you sharp.

Must versus commitment

“But I already ‘have to do’ so much,” I hear people often say. I then ask them to think about what they all need and what those things give them. We mainly do things that feel comfortable. Lose weight, exercise, change your lifestyle, feel uncomfortable. As we step out of our safe zone, we often show apostasy and apologize. But to achieve something, sometimes you will have to do not so fun things (commitment). It’s the only way to get where you want to be.

Ask yourself what is valuable to you. What would you like to change or improve? A better condition? More energy? What are you doing now? Whatever it is, the right time to start is now!

Wendy has entered into a commitment and after six months intensive guidance from Mark Flemming, Joost’s colleague at Discipline Sports has achieved a lot of goals and is still not regretting one bit one year later! 16 kg’s lighter, committed, sporty, more focused and feeling so well. Do you want to change something? Then investing in a coach is a first good step: contact them.