I worked for the ‘Korps Commandotroepen’ (Special Forces unit in the Netherlands Army) for 14 years. It’s like a fast train; hard to hop on and hop off. Time had flown by, while I worked on and off in 3-year contracts as an operator and PTI. In the operator years, I spent just under two years in total in Afghanistan. I learned a great deal over this time, which is not always easy to summarise in a skill or two.
After leaving the military things weren’t great for me mentally. Although it started really cool - going on a bicycle trip around the world - I soon felt lost in the chaos of normal life. At the time, I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, but in hindsight, it’s clear that I missed a sense of belonging and grew complacent that civil life was ready to receive me with open arms. Boy, was I wrong! I had to dig deep to understand that society was unable to see how the skillset I built up in the military, could be of use outside that specific environment.
So, to get things on track again, I recently started working with four P’s that cover many of my values:
Potential: This covers two aspects that go hand in hand; Personal growth and professional development. Am I growing equally as a human being, as I am within my career?
Purpose: Am I of sufficient value to the people around me, to the things I do and to the business I work for?
People: Working with people in different ways. I love working in the customer service industry in combination with physical activity; helping people to reach their goals and empowering them to become their best selves. Additionally, working with colleagues. Am I working with the right people? Is there mutual respect and appreciation? Both groups are assets!
Pleasure: While contributing, does it give me a sense of joy and satisfaction? Am I passionate about it?
Having been literally ‘all over the place’, I ended up in the UK in November 2018, after meeting my beautiful girlfriend Laura, who is currently pregnant with our boy.
I felt very welcome when I first came to Be mIlitary Fit. This started with the first session in Cannon Hill Park, with Nasir Unia. His enthusiasm ignited an immediate fire: This is what I want to do! I was looking for a suitable job since I entered the country and BMF immediately resonated with my personality. Nasir quickly introduced me to Craig Davies, a man with the same energy and passion for BMF. As a GM he supported me tirelessly in my role as a self-employed part-time instructor, giving me plenty of hours to get back into the groove of training and coaching a group of people.
BMF also provides me with a lot of variations, particularly as I have three different roles. I provide quality classes in Warwick, support challenged parks and inspire lead-instructors towards the franchise. I also help the Academy design new Military Fit Programmes.
As a PTI, I was well-aware that the people I was training would go into very challenging circumstances. I wanted them to be ready for anything. Although BMFers won’t find themselves in the same circumstances, I still feel the urge to ‘prepare them for life’ the best I can. This goes deeper than just ‘beasting’ them. It’s about empowering members through training, which hopefully transfers to other aspects of their lives, making them better and enhancing their personal growth. I would say there’s a lot of psychology involved and it is too simplistic to think that the link between training and a military environment is solely about the drill instructor shouting at people or that it’s only about formations and transitions. The real link comes from ensuring that individuals succeed and reach their goals in any which way possible.
I love working for BMF because, in short: It covers my four P’s. I really appreciate the opportunity that the current management is giving me, to channel my skills in a certain direction. It has taken me out of my comfort zone in many ways, but I love that because that is where the magic happens.
Working for BMF as an instructor has also helped my well-being. The bottom line is that I love working with people, this includes both members and like-minded instructors. I am a people-person, I thrive on interacting, building relationships and listening to people’s stories, which gives me a sense of belonging.
By Arian Van Helden
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