As a life coach in Amsterdam, I have the good fortune of being bombarded with positive messages through social media.
Here are 8 people who I was surprised by in 2014 (in no particular order.)
1. Robin Williams
I always knew him as an actor and comedian, but after Robin Williams died of mental illness I was struck with how he made so many others laugh while he himself was in agony. After his death, and still to date, I learn more and more about him that makes me smile. Like the work he did for the homeless, and him putting inside his contract that homeless people were to be hired in every project he entered into.
2. Pope Francis
Given his influence on a billion Catholics, I feel this man made a serious effort to soften dogma, rejecting Islamophobia, and fighting for social justice; in many ways going against the common hierarchy of the Vatican, and a serious influence of world wide change despite the backlash of the convervatives.
3. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Frans Timmermans & MH17 passengers and their family
As a life coach in Amsterdam, I felt I had to mention this year’s event which The Netherlands is most known for in 2014. After the downing of flight MH17, these two politicians worked day and night to bring our people home, keeping their cool and refraining from pointing fingers while the rest of the world’s politicians did just that, and not demanding war. This event hit the Netherlands harder percentage wise than 911 in the United States. Putting as a priority not political agenda, but bringing the remains of 298 people (193 from the Netherlands) home, whilst the bodies and belongings were being removed by the suspects. Access was denied, and last of the wreckage and remains were released December 2014 (approximately 5 months after the event.)
4. Teacher John Masterson
Next to being a life coach in Amsterdam, I am also a teacher. I adore teachers! This social studies teacher in Roswell (New Mexico) talked down a 12 year old gunman who walked into the school’s gymnasium, preventing massive bloodshed. He simply sees himself as a teacher doing his job.
5. Dr. Maya Angelou
There are certain people you could honor every year. Dr. Maya Angelou is one, who unfortunately died this year. She was an incredibly wise woman, racial justice activist, poet, author and teacher. She was, and continues to be, an inspirational life force for many life coaches and their clients.
6. Marianne Williamson
As a life coach in Amsterdam, I often look across the pond as to who my life coaching heroes are. One for sure is Marianne Williamson. For me she makes the list this year, due to her efforts to run for congress in the sate of California (mind you California is one of the largest economies in the world.) She knew she had no chance to win, I suppose, but raised some serious questions as to how government could be run, and it raised a lot of thought processes for me as to what the USA would be like if it were ran by a motivational speaker, life coach, and without bipartisan politics. What would happen if you brought money out of politics? And if a politician stood up against corruption of our food supply, stuck up for women’s rights, and eradication of child poverty?
As a life coach in Amsterdam (in a very small country) I prefer to support small groups of people, who without big corporate salaries, marketing and lobby make the world a better place, allowing more than 90% of funds raised to go directly to the good cause. For this I pick the people who manage the Sjakitarius foundation that I personally support as a life coach in Amsterdam who also will be training coaching on Bali starting in 2015. These are people like us, who from the goodness of their heart, decided to start a foundation aiding mentally disabled children on Bali in Indonesia. What I admire is that the program is mostly run through volunteers, and has as an aim to be self-sustainable. It focuses on educating parents and teachers. There is a school, a restaurant, and a tourist shop all run by the children. It is not easy without a serious marketing budget and a corporate office full of helping hands to make something like this work. It requires hard work, sleepless nights, and passion.
8. The 1.5 Million Orphans of the Tsunami 2004
What always troubled me that most with stories of the tsunami or the heroes surrounding it, was a focus on the tourists. But now 10 years later, aside from the 500 million people becoming homeless, 1.5 million children were orphaned, according to Unicef. Those children who made it through the past 10 years are my unsung heroes without a shadow of a doubt. I can’t imagine what these little children had to go through.