For Arjan Erkel the word freedom gained a whole new dimension after being held prisoner, in appalling conditions, for 607 days by Muslim rebels in Dagestan. His hostage was a long battle against uncertainty, loneliness and lack of confidence, security and comfort.
His experience gave him a new perspective on the possibilities you have in your life, your own responsibility in it and how you can create a new reality.
Erkel’s abduction story will be told as an example of how to deal with change in a changing world and how to excel. His story is an inspirational example of someone who dealt with crisis, survived and shows resilience.
During his hardship Erkel managed to increase his influence, reach his goals, keep his independence and to build trust with his abductors.
Arjan outperformed himself and showed personal leaderships. The baseline in his story is how he links freedom of thinking and acting to maximize personal and business opportunities.
It is a story that has made many people think about their own lives. For the past 14 years, Arjan has been traveling both nationally and internationally as he is booked as a speaker by both multinationals and small companies, army and police. During seminars, team building exercises or workshops he talks about taking your own responsibility in life, but also how you can activate that in someone else’s life so that they too can optimize their talents. After all, the freedom of creativity and the courage and confidence to let go of things, or to pick them up and start acting on them, is opening up and creating new possibilities, both personally and professionally.
Lesson for the public
- Looking into patterns blocking progress.
- Finding solutions and steps to take to improve result and team.
- Addressing flexibility
- Working on personal ambitions
- Increase of shared responsibilities
The freedom of creativity and the courage and confidence to let go of things, or to pick them up and start acting on them, is opening up and creating new possibilities, both personally and professionally.
A Reading with music
Music helps to strengthen emotions. Arjan did not have music, but he remembered many songs and used to sing them out loud. The music that was most important to him, among others, was music from the pop group Normaal. He wanted (as they say in the song) live “Oerendhard” (Work the hardest to be able to continue living) . The last guitarist of the band Normaal, Jan Wilm Tolkamp, performs together with Arjan. This makes the impressive story even more intense, but it also gives the audience a moment to reflect.
“Dear Arjan, Your session went down well. Participants got plenty of reflective moments.”
Peter Versluijs ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
“Hi Arjan, Thanks for your very inspiring workshop at our Professional Developoment Day in Rotterdam.”
René Notten Van Lanschot Bank
Dear Arjan, thank you so much for your input during our workshop. You knew how to transmit and transfer your lessons learnt during your hostage situation into lessons and inspiration for us as individuals but also as team member. It definitely contributed into an increased group cohesion and personal leadership.
Boudewijn Siemons, Managing Director, Vopak Oil B.V.
Unbelievable good feedback from our team members. The workshop had many learning moments and it was a pleasure to have you here. Also your story about getting into action was top of the bill. We already used your lessons in several of our team meetings. “How would Arjan have done that?” Many thanks.
Rudi Houthuijs, Contracting and procurement manager, Shell.
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