Here's my story (well, the short version of it)

When I was a toddler* the doctors told my parents that I have a muscular condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy – and that I wouldn’t live a normal life. 
 

Living with SMA means that the nerve fibers that control my muscles slowly fall apart. As they degenerate, I’m no longer able to control all of my muscles.

That means that I’m getting a little bit weaker every year. 
 
As a kid I was still able to do most things, including some sports and riding a bicycle. But I was always the slowest or weakest. And I tended to fall over when someone pushed me just a bit. All of this led to bullying by the older kids. 
 

When I was a young teenager, I had very little confidence or self-esteem left. 

I escaped into video games, TV, designing my own D&D campaigns – and sometimes, I just escaped into my own head.
A lot has changed since I was that scared child who was too scared to make friends.
 
I talk about that journey and what happened in my TEDx talk.
 
It was a long and somewhat bumpy road, but at some point in my life I finally realized something:
 

I did not achieve the things in my life despite my challenges.
I achieved them BECAUSE of my challenges.

I am the head coach at The Art of Charm, an L.A.-based company where I am using evidence-based research to help clients overcome their social anxiety through playful exposure exercises.
 
I am also a public speaker. I have spoken at TEDx, in front of members of parliament, universities, and once in a cinema full of 500 kids high on sugary popcorn – which was a lot more fun than I anticipated.
I am also presenting on psychological topics like
– Social Anxiety (ACBS World Conference),
– Imposter Syndrome (Anxiety and Depression Association of America),
– Values-Based Living (
DGM),
– Advanced Conversation Techniques (
Wise Minds Summit),
– How to be a great Public Speaker (iamgood),
and many more.
 
I am the co-producer of The Art of Charm Podcast and the Strategic Consultant for the Psychologists off the Clock Podcast.
 
I am also the current president** of the ACBS’s Coaching SIG with 700+ therapists and coaches.
In a previous life, I was a character animator working on award-winning movies and TV shows like The Penguins of Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda
 
I worked on my first movie Impy’s Wonderland (org. Urmel voll in Fahrt) in 2007, which felt like a dream come true. Especially when I got to take my little siblings to the cinema to watch it with me.
That was before I realized that helping people live a meaningful life is much more rewarding than working in the film business – even though the long nights in the studio allowed me to brew my own beer in the office closet, an activity I highly recommend to everyone.

So now I am helping those that have the same struggles I once had: zero confidence, low self-esteem, and no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Or how to go about it if I did.

And having a lot of fun along the way.

*) I was an INCREDIBLY cute toddler. 

**) My official title is Jedi Master. My SIG, my rules 😀