When talent & passion come together, great things happen. 

At the age of 12, Marc was sent to a type of ‘innovative secondary education’ due to his ‘unbridled imagination’, as revealed by psychometric tests. They added that, as a result, he would never succeed in a mainstream high school anyway. Therefore, it was better to send him to a ‘special school’ directly, according to the binding advice. This ‘innovative education’ would then guide him through his labyrinth of fantasies to provide an increased sense of reality and perhaps even opportunities in his professional future.

After all, having multiple talents was an impossible notion, it was a ‘diabolical curse’. From an educational point of view, that was impossible (at the time). ‘You can’t be both analytical and creative’, were the opinions voiced by experts. Let alone being athletically talented too.

Nevertheless, the ‘special school’ to which Marc was sent embraced his talents and created an environment in which he could give shape to his ‘unbridled imagination’. His sensitivity to language was noticed, and Marc was encouraged to use this medium to transform his imagination into communication. In this way, he was able to remain connected to others and to himself.

He was encouraged to perform in theatre, to play high-performance sports, to indulge in international mathematics olympics, and to write poetry for the school magazine. Marc was seen for who he is and not just based on his abilities. He was also taught not to lose himself in his drive for perfection without condemning him for it. His fascination to comprehend Nietsche as a 16-year-old was encouraged rather than curbed or considered ‘sacrilege’. Positive psychology avant la lettre. We are talking about the seventies of the previous century.

That this talent approach that shaped him in this way would later become his existential life’s work, was not foreseen at the time.

After all, he studied mathematics but also obtained a master’s degree in theatre studies, taught mathematics at the university of applied sciences and in the meantime taught dramatic arts at the theatre school in Maastricht. He also led Studio Herman Teirlinck to the next phase within the Hogeschool Antwerpen and served there as a drama teacher.

He contributed to the development of an computer language for secondary school students, worked as an IT developer for creating applications, and coached individuals in ‘non-violent communication’.

From this context, he began to guide organisations in radical change processes as a change facilitator. He specialised in executive and corporate coaching and facilitation and is a much-sought-after external facilitator in profound change processes and cultural change processes.

His professional career took shape when he was asked what the difference is between talent and competence from a scientific perspective. And whether talent could be measured by means of a psychometric instrument.

That question resulted in the synthesis of all previous experience and acquired knowledge from child to professional. Where Marc himself has always been fortunate enough to be surrounded by a talent coach who uncovered the talents he didn’t know he possessed and provided space for development, he now wanted to be ‘that talent coach’ for others. This time, it was based on science and included a measuring instrument.

The development of the Tapas philosophy (portmanteau of talent and passion) became his existential mission. From the absolute conviction that ‘everyone has a unique talent that makes them stand out’, and driven by the idea that it is the deontological and social duty to identify people’s talents so that they can live, study, and work with energy. He therefore started to realise the splendid idea to develop a psychometric instrument together with a team of experts.

TaPasCity has since become a strong brand in both business and education circles in terms of enabling talent development based on science.

One thing, in particular, shaped him as a child … he always desperately wished for a dog. It was even promised to him, but that  only materialised in a ‘little stone dog on his bedside table’ which he received from his grandmother out of pure sympathy for his almost inconsolable desire which remained unfulfilled.

Where other men in their forties wish to curb their midlife crisis with a motorcycle or a sports car, Marc adopted his first German Shepherd from the shelter to fulfil his dream. Defamed by ‘connoisseurs of the first hour’ that you could never gain honour with such a ‘shelter dog’ – Marc took his first steps in exploring his talent in working with dogs. It became a passion. He managed to make his dog (Hamlett), who held the least genetically inherited talent, shine in such a way that everyone suspected Hamlett had so much genetic talent that training a talented dog wouldn’t have been a challenge. A severe brain tumour – which Marc is certain Hamlett adopted from him – brought an abrupt end to their unseen existential connection. It took Marc more than ten years before he dared to consider getting a dog again.

Despite the fact that he no longer had a dog of his own, as a scientist he continued to scan ‘the web’ for pioneers who developed science-based training methods of dogs and working dogs. Aside from a few self-proclaimed ‘scientists’, he always remained solitary in his quest.

Until he saw a video film of a certain Nino Drowaert. A somewhat ‘model-like tough guy’ who, when working with a dog, transformed into a sophisticated choreographer skilled at the virtuoso synchronicity of movement between man and dog. ‘This is amazing…’, Marc whispered to himself. ‘This isn’t just magic from talent & passion. This must be interwoven with immense knowledge and science’.

A single encounter with the ‘tough guy’ was enough to convince Marc of the hidden genius in this man. A virtually bottomless barrel of talent, which he himself did not even realise and nourished from an intuition that reminded Marc of the ‘unbridled imagination’ that condemned him.

In a split second, it became crystal clear to Marc: ‘I must support Nino with the talents I have and especially the science I can offer to guide his story into a globally innovative story, which is certain to inspire others! And finally being able to offer a real science-based programme that enhances the talent of both the professional dog trainer and the dog!’

The rest is history. With the STSK9 MASTER VIEW as a scientific foundation and two psychometric instruments that allow the talent of both the handler and the dog to be understood and evaluated according to their unique match’.

The word dog consultant was born…

Marc’s existential story is now also reflected in his passion for dogs…

Proud to be the chairman of STSK9!

Marc Debisschop