Influencer Ivan Maurice De Windt: patience and caring

Interview December 2018

“I was born in Holland 28-12-1980 and I have one sister, I am fond of my immediate family. I graduated in “Finance and Computer Science” at the Manhattan Ville University in the Westchester County in New York and I also had a special interest in Photography.”

Why did you do photography, while you were studying Finance and Computer science?
“I did this because I love the creative part of Photography and I enjoy capturing the world as it is. Btw, I was inspired to do this because of my sister Lysayé, whom also loves photography.”

When did you came back to Curaçao?
“I came back to Curaçao in 2014 and from February till September 2014, I was spending alternatively three weeks in Curaçao and one week in New York at CITCO. In fact, I started working immediately at CITCO in New York, 15 days after finishing my graduation. In hindsight, I would have preferred taking some time off before I started working at CITCO. In this transition period and transition year, I started setting up a gym as a side job in Curaçao, but after a short while, I decided to dedicate myself full time to the gym, I set up with two other business partners. I decided basically to become an entrepreneur, because as we speak now, I also am shareholder of a Real Estate company together with my wife and also run an Import Export company currently importing Solo Coco, an organic Coconut oil due to my focus on healthy living. 

This has become my central theme for some time as I developed this interest as I was a student in the US. It originated from my love for sports. I was practicing different sports while in the US, I played tennis and I was involved in swimming and I did some recreational basketball. As I was so passionate about sports in the beginning when I was in the US, it never occurred to me, that I would end up setting up a fitness facility in Curaçao as a business entrepreneur.”

From graduating in Finance and Computer Science, to becoming an entrepreneur, isn’t that a major career shift?
“Yes indeed, it was a major career shift and it was one of the most decisive moments of my life until now. I was leaving behind the safety of a fixed monthly salary working in a business sector where I could use my knowledge and skills acquired at the University, namely in Finance, but I wasn’t feeling happy doing that job. I had to overcome a lot of fear and go out, follow my dream and vision and use the road never travelled to get there. I had no direct role models in the fitness entrepreneur sector, and what I envisioned was a total new concept in Curaçao. I have overcome all of that and this makes me feel very empowered at this moment in time.

Was this an instant epiphany or did it grow over time, this interest for Cross Fit?
As I mentioned before, I was passionate about sports and from this originated my love for working out in a gym in the US. Then, I got to know the CrossFit methodology as an approach to fitness that made so much sense to me. It incorporates all the ten general physical skills human beings need to stay fit and healthy. Check this link for 10 general Physical Skills | CrossFit

Furthermore it can appeal to all age groups and levels of fitness, from professional athletes, to the elderly and kids. Basically, it is very inclusive and by getting myself more involved in crossfit, I gradually got involved in other aspects relevant for a more holistic approach for our clients. We are just now preparing the launch of a new logo for 5 triple 9, as our theme has evolved and our business model now entails three parts of fitness:

1. a physical;
2. an emotional and
3. a mental part,
that need to be in complete balance and that enables our clients to master the art of their fulfillment.

I said “evolved”, because after going to the motions of getting the gym consolidated, I noticed that clients at times had other issues that were blocking their personal development and standing in their way to fully and consistently grow and become more fit. And this became my mission.”

We know that you are permanently educating your-self in the self-development area? Where did that came from?
“I was always interested in personal development mostly inspired by my mother. She was reading books like “The power of Now”, by Eckart Tolle and “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus”, by John Gay. You know, as I don’t like reading my Mom used to read parts of these books and discuss them with me. And then I discovered audio-books and I still don’t read a lot of books, but I do listen to audio books a lot and by doing this via space repetition and absorb the quintessence of these books on personal development. I have a very inquisitive mind. I do a lot of self-reflection and one way to learn is, that every book I go through at times multiple times, I checked out what works. So, when one of my clients is having a need, I really do my utmost to address this need. So, I literally distil practical tips from the books I work through and this adds value for my clients.”

Can you give an example on how you work?
Ok, I tell clients for example, to identify their true identity and we will brainstorm on this and then once this is determined, the client must start to live according to this identity and share their actions with 5 accountability partners for accountability reasons and support. Once the client accepts this identity, they will have to live according to their true identity and ask them self what this identity would buy in the supermarket, how would they walk and feel like and this creates a structure for sustainable changes. Basically, we are priming them for their success.

And ultimately, if we can’t come up with a solution, we refer clients to other professionals to address their issues. If we can’t offer something specifically relevant for our client, like for example yoga, we refer them to one of our contacts in our network.”

What is your BIG WHY?

“My Big Why is the lessening of the unnecessary suffering I see around me because of lack of knowledge and professional guidance. My aim is to empower clients, our methodology is basically educational. And we tell our clients that if you don’t need us anymore, our work has been done well. But then they keep coming back to us, because they love our ambience, the fun part in our gym and they see that we are modeling the correct knowledge based lifestyle.

But my inquisitive mindset, this love for self-reflection on “what I could have done better” and my caring, my drive to help our customers the best we possibly can, at times becomes my challenge and it can become contra productive. It costs time and this time sometimes comes at the expense of my other goals. Following a leadership course module of LMI with Roxana Croes-Berg, made me aware of this. My challenge is to create a win-win balance between those two polarities.”

Where would you be 5 years from now and do you have international ambitions?
“This mission we have is not limited to Curaçao. What we offer, I haven’t seen around elsewhere in the world. So, we do have international ambitions. But for the coming 5 years I visualize our own location offering all the services I mentioned before.” 

We have come to understand, that you also are an advocate of intermittent Fasting. Can you tell us something about this?
“My approached evolved into a more holistic approach and one of the methods we suggest is Intermittent Fasting. What is it exactly? Intermittent fasting is a type of diet where you eat within a specific period of time, and you fast the rest of the time. With Intermittent Fasting, you fast for 16 hours and eat two/three meals within a 8-hour window. Other combinations of fasting are 20 hour fasting and a 4 hour window or 16 hour fasting and a 8 hour. Our body only really exists in two states – the fed state and the fasted state. Either we are storing food energy, or we are burning it. It’s one or the other. If eating and fasting are balanced, then there is no net weight gain. In the “hunters gatherers”-era of human beings, we didn’t every eat the whole day. It is only recently in the “Information” age that we start eating the minute we roll out of bed, and do not stop until we go to sleep, we spend almost all our time in the fed state. Over time, we will gain weight. We have not allowed our body any time to burn food energy. To restore balance or to lose weight, we simply need to increase the amount of time we burn food energy. That’s intermittent fasting. In essence, fasting allows the body to use its stored energy. After all, that’s what it is there for. The important thing to understand is that there is nothing wrong with that. That is how our bodies are designed. That’s what dogs, cat, lions and bears do. That’s what humans do. If you are constantly eating, as is often recommended, then your body will simply use the incoming food energy and never burn the body fat. You’ll only store it. Your body will save it for a time when there is nothing to eat. You lack balance. You lack fasting.

Now before I go any further I would like to elaborate on the science behind this fasting method. Burning off unhealthy fat— and also with other health benefits, including a faster metabolism, better blood sugar levels, and lower risk for certain chronic diseases — this may explain some of the health benefits associated with fasting.

One last remark on intermittent fasting: Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist, has won the 2016 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine for his discoveries on a process whereby cells essentially eat themselves. The process is called autophagy, and though it’s essential for your health, By recycling part of the cellular content, autophagy allows our body to cope with starvation and with all types of stress.”

What would you want your loved ones, family and friends want to say about you when you turn 60?
I want them to give two-folded answer, proud of me of what I created as a entrepreneur and proud of what I have meant for them on a personal basis.”

How would you describe yourself in one word or one sentence, if you would meet someone in a bus let us say in New York?
“Patient and caring. I can see it in a lot of things that I do, I am very generous in giving other people time and being compassionate. Recently the lady that cleans our home now for 2 or 3 months, told me that.”

What makes you optimistic about the future of Curaçao?
“Yes, I am optimistic about the future of Curaçao. II am an entrepreneur and I belief that is what is happening here in Curaçao is cyclical. You have to take charge of the situation and create value to the society yourself. My belief is: “You got to buy when the market is down, it is a cycle, that is what I do. I firmly belief in a future in Curaçao.”

What are your strong points?

“I have a lot of patience, I have lots of determination and can see through possible interrelationships creatively between things and that serves me well. I have a degree in Finance, so I know numbers, but I migrated into health, sports and personal self-development area. This ended up in the business model we have now.”

Whom has inspired you the most in your life?
“In the area of self-development, as this is now part of my business model, it was my mother whom I deeply admire and has inspired me. For years on her interest in self-development and self-improvement triggered my interest and enabled me to deal with life challenges by upgrading my knowledge and skills level tools kit.
My sister I deeply admire because of her courage to leave her job where we both worked and follow her passion, being photography. She inspired me to leave CITCO also and also follow my passion, for as where I worked I wasn’t happy.
My father I admire deeply also because of his business abilities, networks and capacity to get things done.
Finally, my wife because of her ambition, drive and daily work ethic that really motivates me.”

What was your biggest challenge and lesson learned up to now?
“My biggest challenge in what later on became my biggest lesson learned is, my first experiences working with 2 other partners, starting our business. I was the majority shareholder, but it didn’t work out. I was disappointed because in my drive to get my vision implemented, they were not having the same enthusiasm as I did and maybe trusted for too long, that they would go along and see and believe in the vision. But anyways it is a lesson learned and in that sense a blessing. Now I am the one responsible for the decision making I feel like things can move along better and that feels great. I would follow my gut feeling more in the future instead of rationalizing my decisions, self-reflecting too much and overthinking. When something doesn’t feel right according to my gut feeling, I should follow my intuition. Hopefully I will keep following my gut more in the future.

For more information on 5 Triple 9 go to:

One of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao
As the core group of Share2Uplift we love and deeply respect Ivan Maurice de Windt, because of whom he is, running his businesses and serving our community especially in the wellness and life fulfillment area. We definitely consider him one of the 250 ethical leaders of our Island, that continuously works at creating value for the whole of the society.

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