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  • Writer's pictureAnnemiek Veentra

#1 - I made the choice and joined!

In this blog, you'll meet Annemiek. She recently said YES! to challenging herself in The Challenge Club. This choice has already meant a lot to her. She takes you along on the journey of her decision and the movement it has sparked. In the coming year, you can follow her journey through herself and the world. Enjoy!

A few weeks ago, I made one choice, and since then, everything has changed. I can still hardly believe it, but I'd like to take you as living proof of the power of choice.

My name is Annemiek, I'm 25 years old, and I come from a small village in Groningen. I'm about to embark on the journey of my life, partly because I followed the Challenge "Ready, set, GO." In that challenge, I felt that it was time to say goodbye to things that were holding me back from fully exploring and living my mission.

Let me take you back for a moment to how this decision came about. For that, I'll dive right in and go back to when I was fifteen. Fear and depression have been a significant part of my life since that age.

For ten years, I went from therapist to psychologist, from workshop to session. I experienced my first panic attacks when I was in my final year of high school. This led to my first depression at a young age. Looking back now, I can see it clearly, but back then, I didn't know what was happening to me. I felt alone and misunderstood. Now, looking back on all these years, I see a clear pattern: as soon as I feel like I have no more freedom of choice, I get stuck.

Freedom of choice.

What is that, really? The answer to this question might be different for everyone. For me, it means the following: "I feel the freedom to listen to my needs and desires and take focused steps from there."

This is evident in small things. I like to make plans with people "tentatively." This means I have the space to check on the day itself if the appointment still works. We seem to find it normal to always have a full schedule and make plans far in advance. That makes me feel trapped.

How can I know so far in advance where I'll be and what I'll need in that moment? Do I have the space to meet someone? Or do I need to do my own thing for a while? By taking that space in the way I make plans, I always choose myself. I really had to learn this. Before, I found it very difficult because I was always in service to others. This often led to panic attacks because I pushed past my own limits. I went to appointments and events that were actually too much, and I worked hard to do what everyone else seemed to find easy.

In those moments, I feel stuck in the situation. I want to choose for myself, but I don't dare or I don't even realize that I have the possibility to make that choice. So, I don't choose and I stay put. Stuck. Paralyzed. I sustained this for long periods, which eventually led to feeling more and more depressed. The light within me slowly faded. I did what was asked of me because I thought that's how it should be. That it had to be that way. But I didn't feel anything anymore. I numbed my feelings to go along with the expected flow.

I also felt this way in my studies and work for a long time. Because you have to go to school, right? And you can't live without a job, because you have to support yourself. So, I have to be able to do that too! This also showed up in my relationships. I thought: now that I've chosen to be with this person, I have to make it work. I took all the responsibility onto myself.

The power of choice.

The power of choice often worked against me. I believed that when I chose something, I had to be loyal to that choice at all costs. That's why I didn't see other possible paths, and I didn't know (anymore) what my own voice sounded like. I felt only fear. There were periods when I had panic attacks daily.

Until I came to a complete standstill.

At nineteen, for the first time, I was home for nine months. No work, no studies, no activities. Burned out and depressed. During that time, I went to the psychologist twice a week. And eventually, I always found my light again, my immense zest for life that always helps me find new ways to endure. I tried everything. Different types of jobs. Different studies. And every time, I went all in. But I kept falling back into fear and depression. Sometimes quickly, sometimes after a longer period.

Until the beginning of February this year, when I found myself at home again with yet another burnout. For the first time, I had that one thought. Thinking back, it moves me. I decided to try one last time, or I would quit.

I love life. The people around me. The adventure. Nature. I love this life. So, the choice was clear; I chose to put everything I had left into a new path: regression therapy. In this therapy, together with the therapist, I discovered that my own energy was buried deep within me, far, far away. Somewhere in my abdomen. And the rest of my body was suppressed by the energies of others. I had absorbed them all and carried them with me. I was completely open, and everything and everyone rushed into me. In this therapy, I was able to make space for my own energy. I learned to recognize and listen to my own voice again.

Through meditations, yoga, and breathwork, I literally gained new space in my body. This felt very good. I finally had my own energy back!

With that new energy, I wanted to make choices that would help me stay in my own energy. I wanted to create a life that resonates with my own voice. I became anxious again when I thought about my future, especially about work. What should I do? What suits me? Why am I here?

As if it were meant to be...

After all my hard work, not giving up, falling and getting up, and continuing to ask myself questions, someone must have been listening at this moment, because while scrolling, I came across a "Purpose Test" in my Instagram ads.

To be honest, I usually scroll past ads quickly, and the word "Purpose" doesn't usually resonate with me. But now I was curious and wanted to discover if I could learn something about my purpose. The test promised to provide answers in just a few minutes, and I was quite desperate. Little did I know that this would lead to many beautiful things.

After filling out the test, I kept receiving various emails from the so-called "Challenge Club," who had created the Purpose Test. I caught myself reading the emails and being inspired by what I read. The questions they asked, the statements they made, and the knowledge they shared.

As interesting as I found the emails, I had convinced myself that I could never join. Because of money, because it's probably not genuine, because they will likely steer me in a certain direction, and more of these limiting thoughts filled my mind. And yet, there came a day when I scheduled an intake. After 15 minutes, I already knew for sure: I want to be part of this!

A new beginning.

I felt yes, yes, and yes again! My fire began to burn. That same day, I made a powerful choice again and became a member of the Challenge Club. The next day, I could start with the first challenge: "Ready, set, go," where you give direction to a vision, dream, or wish and transform it into a clear goal. I learned to work with objectives in a completely new way and opened myself up to unprecedented results, because that's what I can expect according to Alex. I experienced what it's like to set myself in motion and create flow, with a clear goal but without a plan. I felt that I had the choice to determine how I would shape my month, and for the first time, I discovered how the power of choice can work for me instead of holding me back.

My choice was that by the end of the month, I wanted to experience more freedom in my working life. At that moment, I didn't yet know that this would have an effect on literally every aspect of my life. That's because, in the Challenge Club, I was challenged to choose an experiential field: "It's not about the goal, but about the journey, so what experience do you want achieving this goal to give you?" I chose that I wanted to be able to receive, and with that choice, I felt how I opened myself up to the opportunities that arise. From the moment I made the choice to try one more time, many doors opened for me. It all started with my regression therapy and eventually led to the next steps:

  • After three weeks, I quit my job. A job I did with a lot of love, but which never really brought me a sense of fulfillment. Just like all the jobs and studies I had done before. I slowly discovered that I made most of the choices from the expectations of others, society, my family, my partner, and my own expectations. The expectation to strive for the perfect "white picket fence" image.

  • I'm going on a trip, indefinitely! I bought a plane ticket, packed my things, and I'm ready to embark on this adventure. Something I've dreamed of for a long time.

  • I ended my relationship. This is accompanied by a lot of grief, for who I was and what came with that. But also grief for what I had envisioned "didn't work out." I felt that it's good to let each other go with love.

The predominant feeling is gratitude. Because even though it's tough and painful right now, I'm grateful that with a lot of new knowledge and the most beautiful people in my circle, I can enter a new phase.

This whole process is part of my entry into The Challenge Club. And that feels incredibly powerful! I'm not alone. In the online sessions, I was motivated to stand in my new energy. I received tools on how to create structure in what still feels big and scary. And now, six weeks later, I feel like a completely different person.

Transformed, empowered, heard, and seen.

I went from not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, feeling aimless and unmotivated, to jumping out of bed to see what the day will bring. That feeling is priceless! Since making the choice, I haven't experienced panic attacks for the first time ever, and this is my biggest win at the moment. I now know what the panic attacks have been trying to tell me all this time:

Listen to your own voice!

I'm ready to listen to everything my voice is going to tell me. And I can't wait to share this with all of you.


With love,

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