Anna-Marie Philander: Reviving a Broken Dream

Anna-Marie Philander has lost a lot of sleep, but it’s been worth it. At 48 years of age, she retired early from a long career and cashed in her pension to start her own business. Today, as the proud owner of Dun Dile, a coaching business that transforms lives through personal development and wellness, the single mom is a model of perseverance and determination.

“To pursue ones’ dreams and passion, one has to be willing to sacrifice a lot – I’ve lost a lot of money, sleep and comfort in this process, but I’m so proud. I had a dream that was bigger than myself and I conquered my fears to achieve it.”

Philander has always had an inclination to “fix” people around her. The fourth of six children, growing up in a small town in Namibia, she felt cared for but not particularly loved. “My parents did what they could under the circumstances but they also came from homes where they did not receive love. So from a very early age, I’ve always wanted to make sure that people were fine around me, that they felt loved and comforted as I did not.”

A natural extension of her desire to help and inspire others, Philander’s career began in education, but after two years she left teaching to join Air Namibia where she took on a different care-taking role as a member of the cabin crew and later chief cabin attendant.

IMG_1774 (1)Towards the end of the 19 years she spent with the national airline, Philander fell into a deep depression. Her marriage of 17 years had ended, robbing her self-confidence and ability to perform on the job.

“Courage can be the master of fear. You might have a broken dream and fear that you will fail again, but even if you are scared, be brave and do it anyway. That will make you stand out from the crowd. Just remember: if the past was dark and unknown, then the future is bright and promising.’’

“I had suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem, and felt restless and inadequate most of the time. Employee wellness focused mainly on the physical side and not much attention was given to emotional health, where I was suffering the most. The company was spending thousands on general wellness programs, such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis awareness, and offering employees training and development support, but when people have no personal purpose or are suffering from emotional hurt, their employer won’t be able to help them.”

Philander with her son
Philander with her son

After several months of struggle, Philander finally realized that only she could be responsible for healing herself. She relied heavily on her faith and got a life coach, a counselor, and prayer partner all of whom played a part in helping her to overcome her depression, balance her life, and craft her personal mission: to launch her own life coach and personal development consultancy.

“I knew if I could overcome my giants, God would enable me to help others to do the same. I named my business Dun Dile after my children, Duncan and Odile. The company trades as ‘’Done Deal’’ and our slogan is ‘’IT IS DONE’.’ So, daily when I pray for my company, I actually pray for my children!”

Philander with her daughter
Philander with her daughter

As she emerged from her depression, she enrolled in an MBA program with the goal of retraining herself to enter her new found field and launch her coaching business. Degree in hand, she resigned from Air Namibia and took early pension, all of which she invested in Dun Dile. Using her life savings, resulted in many sleepless nights and worry over whether she had made a mistake. The money was definitely a challenge in the beginning, but having recovered from her depression Philander was confident and – importantly – surrounded herself with people who believed in her and reminded her to be patient … that good things would come.

“Courage can be the master of fear. You might have a broken dream and fear that you will fail again, but even if you are scared, be brave and do it anyway. That will make you stand out from the crowd. Just remember: if the past was dark and unknown, then the future is bright and promising.’’

Philander uses her own experience to help her clients overcome their obstacles, deal with stress, and build confidence. She’s a public speaker and works with companies doing team-building and personal development initiatives. While the “always on” of being self-employed can be tough, Philander has a vision in mind.

“I see Dun Dile evolving into a well-known brand in Namibia and even outside its borders of Namibia. I believe God wired us to dream big dreams and instilled greatness within each one of us. All we need to do is to search ourselves and find it,” Philander says before adding: “Don’t despise the day of small beginnings because even the smallest seed (a mustard seed) grows into a large tree.”

Ann-Marie’s tips to fellow sisters starting a businesses
  • Acknowledge God as your ultimate source
  • Believe in yourself – never allow people to define how you feel about yourself
  • Embrace your fears and ‘’do it anyway’’
  • Be willing to pay a price ( some sacrifices will occur)
  • Find your passion – that might just be your ‘’niche’’


10 thoughts on “Anna-Marie Philander: Reviving a Broken Dream

  1. Wow wow wow!!!

    I do remember loads of conversations we had and you have always been positive and gave good advise.

    So glad you doing well. God is Good Always.


  2. Annie, as I called you at our previous employment, I knew you as an over-commer, an inspiration to many, with the Brightest smile.
    I am happy for your achievements, GLORY TO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, and wish you all the best in whatever you do…

  3. Iam touched by the power of “Passion” and the ability to find out who you are, your character strength and then discover your “Talents”.

    Once you do that in life, success, wealth and happiness knocks by itself on the door! Iam inspired by your story!

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