When you ask most people if they are currently doing what they first set out to do, or studied to do, they most likely will tell you something like: “No, I never thought I would end up here,” or even “I had no idea it would turn out like this!” True, there are the rare exceptions where people follow a path which works out every time as planned.
Who is Jan Niemand?
However, most people have come to the conclusion that life can be unpredictable, turbulent and sometimes downright confusing. Truth be told, our modern life is just too complex for us to anticipate each curve ball, surprise and turning point.
My own life journey is no different. It started with studying theology with the intent of going into full-time ministry:
- Bachelors in Theology (Auckland Park Theological Seminary)
- Honours in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (UNISA)
- Masters of arts (Old Testament) (NWU)
- Eventually, the Masters was converted to a PHD in Old Testament (NWU)
During this time, I began to develop a profound appreciation for people – their complexity, motivations, backgrounds, growth, change and ultimately, purpose. After a few (and sometimes traumatic) changes, I realized that life’s purpose is something which one grows into as it emerges.
Currently the journey has crystallised to find expression as:
- Business, executive and life coaching
- Employee wellness consultant
- Leadership consultant
- Professional trainer and speaker
As this current chapter is unfolding, I share it with my lovely wife and two children (don’t forget the two Dachshunds!). We currently reside in Pretoria, South Africa. I am passionate about music, anthropology, neuroscience, human development, linguistics and spirituality. At the very core of my being is being a husband, entrepreneur, researcher and father. My hobbies include hiking (quite seriously), distance running, collecting air plants (tillandsias) and innovative gardening.
Who is Du Toit?
Early in life I really felt the need to help people. This sense developed through my teenage years, and eventually if you would ask me what I wanted to do, my answer would have been “I want to change the world”. Looking back, I can just smile and shake my head at the naïve younger version of myself. Not because of my ambition to change the world but thinking I would change it so effortlessly. What life very easily and quickly taught me, was that I wasn’t all that amazing as I had thought. I soon started to realize changing lives wasn’t as glamorous as I had previously imagined. But rather that changing lives meant being present, being deliberate, being mindful and above all these things, being patient.
In saying this, I believe that the older version of me would one day look at these statements and probably also smile with appreciation for my shortsighted, naïve and yet very hopeful life perspective. I’m counting on it, because that means I would have grown.
The journey…so far
I grew up in the wonderful Western cape, and in my matric year heard that I had been selected to be part of the Blue Bulls under 19 squad the following year. Needless to say, I thought this was the beginning of my Springbok career. Long story short, it wasn’t. I played professional rugby for the next 8 years for both the Bulls and the University of Pretoria, whilst finishing three degrees of which were both an honours in psychology and history, as well as working at a local church leading a student ministry.
To summarize, I was busy. But busy with what?
More than once or twice, I found myself in a situation where I felt that I had no sense of purpose or that I was frustrated with my lack of immediate success.
I got stuck.
This is where I was introduced to the life of coaching. It was coaching that helped me realize that I had more options and a greater sense of agency to manage my own life more effectively and purposefully.
So today I am a life coach that both coach and counsel people. I’m working towards my master’s in psychology as well as a post graduate certificate in education. All of this done to do one thing, walk the journey of life whilst doing something that I believe I want to do for the rest of my life, help other people.
The road ahead
So now that you know enough about me, I want to get to know you.
I want to invite you to start this journey of growth and allow me to have the privilege to walk this life journey with you. Knowing that I fully believe you have what it takes to grow into the next phase of your life and reap the benefits.
May we never stop growing and always remember to be present in the journey of life.