The best things happen outside your comfort zone!

Before I continue let me first introduce myself.
My name is Donovan and I was born and raised in Amsterdam. When I was a little boy I wanted to become a professional soccer player.
Well, that dream ended faster than the speed of light. I had some good skills, but my mentality was just as frustrating as Robbens missed chance in the World Cup Final 2010 against Spain.
I wasn’t tough and quitting was a favourite word in my vocabulary. You’ll probably ask yourself: Why is he telling me this?”, but later on, I shall refer to this.

Now that’s out of the way, let me continue my story.

The jobs that I had were okay. I made some money, had fun colleagues, but the jobs just weren’t challenging to me. So I knew that I had to do something, otherwise I would end up miserable with a job I didn’t want. But the problem was that I was stuck in a daily routine. I had job security as a service desk employee, I was complacent and a part of me was comfortable with it. It was easy to live this life and it overpowered my need to be challenged. Suddenly I experienced a life-changing moment.

One day a friend of mine contacted me, & made me an offer I could not refuse.
An opportunity to work for myself with whoever, wherever and whenever I wanted in combination with my 9 to 5 job. I just needed to register myself at a certain organization (I’ll spare you the name) and then I could start on a journey that sounded like music to my ears. Now let me tell you this. I felt completely uncomfortable with it. It looked fake. Everybody had to wear a suit all the time even if we didn’t meet with customers. I invested a lot of time and money in it, but their concept just didn’t work for me.
The mindset that they taught me though was priceless. They taught me to truly believe in myself, what the value of freedom is, to never give up and to stay positive in life. If you truly want to achieve something in life, go for it and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone can bring you beautiful things
So I took this new mindset with me and I quitted my job. Yes, the job where I had a permanent contract. I was 27 at the time and I had my own apartment.
I saved some money so I could afford to make this step. For a while now I was interested in online marketing, websites and how they’re being built so I decided to explore this route and started taking courses on web development and online marketing. After I finished a couple of courses I applied many times for web development jobs, but I constantly got the same rejection: you don’t have enough experience.” This really had a negative impact on me and I almost wanted to quit again, but I realized that quitting would just put me back into a miserable position with a job I didn’t want.
So I kept searching and suddenly I got a message from my niece who applied for a Growth Hacking Traineeship at The Talent Institute. Maybe Growth Hacking was something for me. The skill set of a Growth Hacker is so broad and web development is a part of it so I applied for the Growth Hacking traineeship, passed the case tests and now I work as a Trainee Growth Hacker at a company named Alias.

Alias is a recruitment company that has intelligent recruiters who are working in-house (at the client’s office) to get the full experience of a company. This way, in combination with the client’s expertise, they’re able to find the best candidates possible to fulfil the job vacancies. As for the website, luckily for me, it happens to be that there was some room for improvement so I managed to work on some web design/​web development after all!!

The moral of the story is: never give up.
Even if you’re struggling for a long time, please be patient because you’ll get what you ask for. The universe works in mysterious ways. Go for the things that you want in life. Often it’s the wrong mindset or the surroundings that prevent you from giving it your best shot. 

Remember, quitting is never an option. 

And if it is, at least do it so you can look at yourself in the mirror and proudly say:
I gave it my all.

Guest blog by Donovan Hilgen
Originally posted on

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