Marline Brink is a person of remarkable resiliency, buoyant personality and entrepreneurial spirit. Having weathered a childhood and early adulthood marked by tragedy and abuse, Marline has built a career around sharing the life lessons she has learned and inspiring others to overcome challenges and achieve their dreams. Marline launched her latest venture, called De Beste Versie, earlier this year. She is now 49 and lives in Leiden. 

“I have started a new company called De Beste Versie … it has mainly to do with three things: the written word, the spoken word and body language.”

“The written word is that I help people with text for websites or flyers, things like that … I can take [existing text and] make it better, make it different. But I can also write the text from scratch.”

“The spoken word is more when I coach people with questions about ‘I have some dreams, but how can I live my dreams?’ Or ‘I have a job, but I’m not happy with it so how can I be better in it or do something completely different?’ … I help people to make goals of their dreams. The tagline of De Beste Versie is ‘from dreams to goals’ … for so many people dreams are unattainable. And when you make goals, you can put it in little steps. And then you can go step by step … and I think then you can accomplish it and you can live your dreams.”

“And I think body language is also very important. Because when you’re healthy in your mind it’s also important to be in contact with your body. Because the body tells you a lot of things, and I think many people are not conscious of these things.”

As part of De Beste Versie, “I also give massage, and I do sport and activities with people so they are in contact with their body … I give two kinds of massage, for relaxation and for transformation. I can trigger some points and then you become different inside, you feel different.”

Marline has certification in both coaching and counseling, through a professional training institute called CIVAS. But she feels her life story and empathy help set her apart from other “life” coaches. “I have a strong desire to help people because my life was not easy. I had a rough life, and I have learned so much from life.” Marline’s childhood included, among other traumas, sexually and physical abuse by her father and foster father, her mother’s suicide three days before her 13th birthday; her romantic partner took his life a few years ago.

“I want to do something with this experience. I have transformed my negative experience to positive experience, and I want to share that. I really have so much empathy for other people because I experienced a lot … my mother took her own life when I was a little girl … I wanted to help people because I know how difficult it is to wrestle with your issues.”

“The feedback I often get from people is ‘you can really read me’ … when I see or hear someone I really listen … I can read between the lines … because of my empathy and my need to understand people.”

In addition to coaching and counseling, Marline has studied clinical psychology. She also has an understanding of psychology from clinics she went to in her youth. “I saw a lot there.” In 2011, she started a business called Brink Brightlife, which offered support and guidance for people with psychological problems. Through Brink Brightlife, Marline provided trainings, workshops, courses and private consultations to companies, schools, and individuals.

“One of the things I offered was recovery training for people with psychological problems. Recovering doesn’t mean that you are cured because you have these issues for a lifetime. But the trainings focused on how to live with these issues, how to discover who you are and how you can build quality of life. How to live according to your own wishes and needs.”

Brink Brightlife is still going, but Marline is phasing it out in favor of De Beste Versie. “My main business there was to help people with psychological problems and I don’t want to do that anymore … I hope to work with people who are healthy, but who have questions. They are searching for something in life, but they are mentally healthy.”

Marline decided she needed a change after her partner died in 2015. “He took his own life … after his death I wanted to do something lighter and brighter … something not so heavy anymore, not working with people with psychological problems … I did my best, I helped a lot of people, and now it’s time for something different … at first, I thought I wanted something completely different … not in the business of helping people. I followed a wine course. (laughs) … I just wanted to do something light.” But then she realized her talent lies in helping other people.

“So I was thinking about what I should do, and then the [De Beste Versie concept] popped up. And the name came in two seconds.” Marline also decided she could help people with the written word because several friends complimented her writing. “A friend asked me to help with the text of her website, so that was the beginning.”

Marline has developed a variety of techniques and exercises to help clients with the spoken word and body language. “I have a lot of funny names. For example, I do a Walk-Talk. That’s a conversation in a park or on the beach or in a forest. Because I think this type of environment strengthens the conversation … I also have a suitcase exercise … you bring your suitcase with some clothes, some books, some music you listen to. And then we go through it and we see ‘OK, what do you want in the suitcase, what is your goal, who do you want to be.?’ … I also have the Brainstormbaan. Instead of a ‘stormbaan’ or obstacle course in English. We will go to a park here in Leiden or to the Boulderhal, and we will do some sports and brainstorm at the same moment.”

“One of the goals of these trainings is for people to wonder again … it’s the most important word for my new company, together with ‘cherish’ … with all the social media and all the tunnel vision, people have forgotten what it is to wonder and cherish … I offer trainings that are very interactive and energizing … the goal is to help people do things with attention. That makes so much difference … helping people with getting their own insights from what is underneath. When you discover what it is that makes you sad or insecure, then you can change it.”

Marline’s new business is just getting started, but she’s already dreaming big. “Five years from now, I hope my company is really successful … growing through my website and positive word of mouth … and I hope the massage part of the business is going very well … and maybe I will write my first book. It’s been a dream for such a long time to write my own book … and also I’m happy with a man and a dog and a house near the water.”

Information about De Beste Versie is available at at www.debesteversie.comThe website is scheduled to be launched on 16 June, 2018.