Exist as your true self: The first step to following your purpose with Monique de Wit

Fiona Duffy
Humans of Happy Startups
7 min readDec 19, 2016


As a part of our quest to champion purpose-driven entrepreneurs across the world here is the story of Monique de Wit, the third of our Humans of Happy Startups Series.

Monique at Summercamp 2016

The Happy Startup School first met Monique (call her Mo for short!) at our annual gathering of business hippies, Summercamp 2016. A 3 day magical weekend for startups and creatives.

Monique de Wit

Traveller, writer, teacher
Originally based in the Netherlands, currently exploring Vietnam

Monique, your twitter bio says you’re a woman on a mission! Tell me more about that mission you’re on…

A while ago, I found myself singing along to ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon on youtube while reading the lyrics. As I was singing the words, my heart started to ache and tears rolled down my face.

Many times before had I heard the song, but not once had I truly felt what he was talking about. I had never really listened.

What led to that beautiful crying session were various talks, with like minded friends, about how we would love to live in a world where we share more. Where we do not identify so much with our possessions. Where we share these possessions and make actual connections with people around us, no matter what race or culture.

We are, after all, connected one way or another. So it led me to think, what could I do?

The answer turned out to be quite simple. Just be yourself.

I believe that once you find that inner peace and give into the person that you are, accept and love yourself for who you are, a ripple effect occurs and happiness automatically spreads across the globe like a positive virus.

So now I’m in Vietnam, looking to be inspired by other people’s stories. When I’m inspired, I write, which makes me feel happy. By sharing my writing, I hope to inspire others to consciously implement whichever small or big things they take from these stories into their lives too. To truly feel good and to build towards a world where happiness is the lead character of this play we call life :)

What a great story. Lucky you, the world is your office. I’m curious, what does your routine look like?

I’m a person that likes lots of variety but somehow I have built in this routine that makes me excited to start a new day.

Every morning, I wake up with a little breathing exercise, followed by a yoga session to stretch those limbs.

Next, I meditate with the ‘Daily Calm’ app (love this app!) to set an intention for the day followed by a different breathing technique.

Preparing a nice healthy breakfast and taking the time to enjoy it, is a routine I hardly ever break.

After that I go about my day which currently entails a lot of exploring and writing.

At night I volunteer and teach English to kids and young adults. Being able to actually make a difference and help them improve their English is quite gratifying and feels amazing.

Another routine that is ingrained before going to bed is to write in what I call “My little booklet of Gratitude.”

The tiny book is divided into two sections.

In the front, I write down the things I would like to do/get done the next day. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, wanting to turn around and sleep some more and then I remember all the things I wrote down the night before and it inspires me to get up bright and early and do all these wonderful things that I love.

In the back of the book, I write down what I was grateful for that day. Once I’ve noted these moments of gratitude, my mind is clear, I feel great and I’m ready to quietly fall asleep during a nice guided meditation.

Love the gratitude book idea Mo! What a great habit to build into your day. How are you finding life as a new digital nomad?

I’m not sure yet. I don’t even know if you can call me a true digital nomad. I’m not making any money and I’m spending every penny I own on this project. Right now I’m struggling a bit to find the right balance. I do believe once I’ve found my way that I’ll be enjoying it to the max!

So far it’s been amazing to experience the Vietnamese culture. Living with a family that has customs I’m not used to, is exactly what I had hoped for. It takes me completely out of my comfort zone and pushes certain boundaries. Whenever I live abroad I learn more and more about myself and really see a change happening.

You encourage many to “Be Who You Are” on your blog Truly Feel Good — do you think this message is important to people in business, and why?

I believe that being who you are is so important regardless of whether you’re in business or not. I feel it’s our life’s nutrition and leads to everyone finding their purpose in life — being happy.

Once people learn to accept themselves and appreciate who they are, egos fade away and teamwork actually transforms into truly building something together. When egos are no longer in the forefront, the need for approval becomes smaller.

Subsequently, there will be less fighting just for the sake of attention or to prove a point. Hence, there will be more synergy, communication runs smoother & faster, leading to a high quality end result, which eventually generates more profit. It goes full circle.

Mostly though, I believe that people will just be happier and more motivated to try their best — together.

Great outlook :) So if a new entrepreneur asked you for advice on bringing more happiness into their routine, what tips would you share?

That depends on the type of person and their specific wants and needs.

Generally, I’d say for one create your own “Booklet of Gratitude”.

The planning section makes you organized, focused on the things you really like and it empowers you to get up.

The gratitude section makes you feel satisfied. At the end of the day allow yourself to take a moment to write down what you are grateful for. It can be that nice warm shower you just had or just knowing you have a roof over your head (whether it is yours or someone else’s).

After having a crappy day, the best way to let go is to write something like “I’m grateful that this day is over and tomorrow is a brand new day” Accepting that you feel like crap and realizing that this feeling too passes, is so powerful. It allows for a good night sleep and we all know how a well rested mind and body is a productive one :)

My second advice would be to play.

Reconnect with the kid inside of you. It gets you energized and opens the mind up, allowing your creative juices to flow naturally. Sometimes I just sit and color or I dance like a maniac in the living room (that’s one of my favorites) and I sing out loud on the street balancing on the sidewalk as if it’s the bar from gymnastics.

It never seizes to amaze me what a difference these little things make. That’s also why I started the project “Truly Feel Good”. Kids inspire me and show me time and time again how effortless life can be, if you let it. How much joy you can get from noticing and appreciating the little things that come for free in this life.

Last but not least, move that body when you’re at work.

Taking a little time out, stepping away from a problem and focusing on just exercising provides clarity. You’ll come back refreshed and energized, ready to tackle whichever problem. Exercising is like an organic happiness pill : )

One thing I Love about Vietnam, is that they have many outdoor gym parks. People of all ages come here during their lunch breaks or whenever to get their booty shaping on! Fresh air and exercise for free- what’s not to like?!

Thanks for sharing your story Monique :)

At The Happy Startup School we’ve been helping thousands of other creative people like Monique, discover their potential and bring their whole selves to work. If you enjoyed this post, please click that little green heart and follow our Humans of Happy Startups publication :)