I frequently lose sight of things. I feel fatigued. A persistent sensation I have had for months. Actually, it is getting worse. As if my light is gradually dimming. And, by the way, am I still doing what I believe in? Am I not allowing myself to be affected too much by what others think?

Who or what actually controls my life and career. In short, what is my compass?

Find your compass and regain control with personal leadership.

As an individual you can exercise personal leadership at three levels that not everyone is aware of. But they do have an enormous effect. My new book 'Personal Spirited Leadership' ( to appear in English in March 2023) explains that there are three forces that determine all your choices and behaviour, namely: your ego, your soul and awareness (spirit). Your interior (ego and soul) affects your exterior behaviour and the choices that you make.

© 2022: Martin Thoolen: Model ‘Personal Spirited Leadership'

Three intervention levels

A vital starting point when regaining control over your life is knowing that you are responsible for your own welfare. Without awareness, long term negative stress can cause burnouts. How do you prevent this? By consciously using three fundamental intervention levels:

1. Soul in its place

The basic energy that enables you to keep whistling on your way to work when your soul feels 'at home' at work. You work with enthusiasm and passion, and your innate talents are utilised or enhanced - your job offers you challenges that motivate you.
Echter sommige werkomgevingen zijn uitgedroogd voor je of zelfs toxisch, daar waar anderen vruchtbaarder voor je ontwikkeling zijn. Soms is het laf om te gaan, maar soms laf om te blijven. Soms zijn aanpassingen van de functie toereikend om deze bezieling weer te activeren of een andere plek in de organisatie. Soms ook niet. Pak je dit niet aan, dan zal dit  sluimerende ongenoegen vroeg of laat toch weer naar voren komen.

2. Ego-management

Experience has taught me that most people who suffer a burnout have a strong ego identification with their inner pleaser, pusher and/or perfectionist (the 3 Ps). If you fail to balance these basic forces another burnout will occur before too long. And they are not always easy to prevent. This is certainly true if your ego is stubbornly searching for permanent external recognition or approval or fears deficiency. However, creating a healthy balance and long-term durability requires you giving being/relaxation side of your ego more space. And that requires ego management, where you make choices involving well-considered sacrifices.

3. Behaviour/skills

You increase the essential relaxation and extra time by applying stress and time management knowledge and skills. There is often a great deal to be gained by recognising (but above all acknowledging and taking the appropriate action) the stress signals that you feel and applying useful time management tips, such as setting priorities effectively.

Would you like to know you yourself can give your work and life new direction?

Take a look at the book ‘Spirited Personal Leadership.’ For more effective work, a meaningful life and a better world.  http://bitly.ws/BQLG

Seethe promotional copy and find out whether my book could help you: https://martinthoolen.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Promo-Spirited-Personal-Leadership_Martin-Thoolen-1.pdf

Would you like to personally experience how you can gain more control over your work and life?

Check the new Master’s Course – Personal Spirited Leadership - here:.

©2022: Martin Thoolen

#personalleadership #inspiredleadership #spiritedpersonalleadership #mastercoursespritedpersonalleadership #coaching #training

You are incredibly busy. Every day. Absent team members are really inconvenient for you.

Always, actually.

Because you still want to achieve those team goals and help your organisation thrive. Without putting too much pressure on your team. How can you, as a manager, prevent burnouts? Or significantly reduce them in any case? So that team members don't collapse but are able to continue working for you. You can do a great deal, but this does require a new approach. Because you, in your position as manager or administrator, have enormous influence over this situation.

You are well aware of what burnouts cost your team: money, extra time spent on transfers and reduced job satisfaction, team spirit and team results.

“Burn-out is a massive energy drain in your team and organisation”

Everybody has their limits. Without exception. That's what makes us human, not robots. Two of the nine characteristics of awareness in my new book ‘Personally Inspiring Leadership,’ are: embracing the polarities (including exertion versus relaxation) and respecting natural cycles. If you follow these natural laws as a leader you will keep your team or organisation dynamic and durable.

Embrace polarities (such as exertionversus relaxation)

In your role as manager, do you accept, listen and act appropriately for what you ask from your team members? That they must achieve targets and carry out (extra) tasks. But is this how you treat their vulnerabilities as people? Even if that is less beneficial for your bottom line? In short, do you embrace both the strengths and vulnerabilities of your team?

In concrete terms do you recognise the signs of physical and mental stress in your staff? Do you know what they are? Or do you keep distance and pay them scant attention? See what happens if you approach them more often or telephone to ask them how they really feel, making sure that you break through the barrier of social acceptability. Then you might be in time to head off burnouts.

If your team members are then honest enough to say that it is actually too much for them, acknowledge their negative stress? Because it is all too easy to minimise or justify the stress signals sent by your colleagues and fail to take action. Why? Because it might be inconvenient for you.

Following natural cycles

After rain comes sunshine, comes rain, comes sunshine, comes rain, etc. After inhalation comes exhalation, comes inhalation, comes exhalation, etc. After exertion comes relaxation, comes exertion, comes relaxation, etc

These natural cycles typify natural life itself and keep us energetic and durable. And this also applies to your team or organisation. There is just one thing that can completely work against this and cause systematic negative stress in you or your team: ego fed by fear. Experience reveals that three ego passengers in people totally ignore natural laws: your inner pleaser, pusher and perfectionist. They may encourage us to go on for longer and worker harder than our body can handle, until the lights go out. Because those who don't want to hear must feel. A terrible pity.

If you don't allow your ego as a leader to constantly dominate you and your team members you will open the door to team vitality and durability. If you respect necessary relaxation and vulnerability your leadership will be so much more effective in the long run.

Would you like to know how to recognise and acknowledge stress signals from your team members and how to deal with them effectively? Would you like to learn practical ways to strengthen team spirit as a buffer to stress?

On 12 January from 4 AM to 4 AM, I will be holding a Webinar for administrators, school heads and internal facilitators in cooperation with Leeruniek: Team vitality and durability.

Would you like to make your team or organisation vital and durable? duurzaam inzetbaar maken?

Yes, please contact me [email protected] or call/app me on: +31-6-15620111

In a free orientation we can look how I can be at your service.

Interested for yourself?

Take a look at this Christmas present: the book ‘Personally Inspiring Leadership.’ For more effective work, a meaningful life and a better world. View or order a copy here:


(English book will appear in the beginning of 2023). Click on Fragment to see the promotional copy and find out whether my book could help you.

Or experience in person how you can improve your work/life balance with the new Personally Inspiring Leadership Master's Course:

©2022: Martin Thoolen

#persoonlijkinspirerendleiderschap #persoonlijkleiderschap #inspirerendleiderschap #mastercoursepersoonlijkinspirerendleiderschap #coaching #training #egomanagement #ego #stress #stressmanagement #werkdruk #burnout #vitaliteit

Kanye West, Prince Andrew, Bill Cosby amongst Dutch celebrities like Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, Glennis Grace, Marco Borsato sooner or later they go too far and the whole truth is revealed. What is actually going on? And what is the solution?

Why are (famous) people visibly going too far increasingly often?

It all revolves around their ego, which clamps itself determinedly to a few ego passengers, focusing on projecting a positive image. But there is no real awareness that this is happening.

One of the three fundamental forces that determine all our choices and behaviour is our ego, as I explain in my new book - Personal Inspiring Leadership. It highlights several points, including the fact that your ego is nothing more than the 'I' that you identify with and think 'this is how I am'. You are frequently controlled subconsciously by a number of ego passengers. You can see your ego as a bus on which each passenger thinks, feels, sees, talks and acts differently. You behave very differently when your inner pleaser pleaser drives the bus instead of, for example, your instinctive, animal ego passenger.

In people who demand a positive public image of themselves you often see the following ego passengers hijacking thoughts and actions: the pleaser, controller, perfectionist, pusher or patriarch The less socially desirable ego passengers are subconsciously left on the back seat or even moved to the trailer of oblivion, starting their own demonic lives in the darkness.

However, everything that you hide in yourself will boomerang back on you eventually. See what happens when you systematically push away your instinctive passenger, just like trying to push a ball ever further underwater. Despite your best efforts the instinctive passenger will resurface with hellish rage, unbridled sexual desire or unacceptable behaviour and insults directed towards others. And all this happened to Kanye West, Prince Andrew, Bill Cosby and so many other celebrities.

“Everything that you hide in yourself will boomerang back on you eventually”

The solution?

We are living in a time of great spiritual transition in which the truth is gradually being unveiled. That which could remain concealed is coming to light sooner and more often. This provides a more complete picture of what is really happening. It is preceded by intense polarisation, but growing transparency helps us see the truth. How do we resolve this polarisation? Simply by setting good examples, at home and at work.

Prevent polarisation and employ ego management - recognise and acknowledge your light and dark sides and handle them more effectively. This requires courage and relentless honesty about all aspects of yourself. For example, do not suppress your instinctive ego passengers, but rather acknowledge, embrace and communicate them. Prevent the accumulation of an emotional dam full of anger or unfulfilled sexual desires. Because when your inner controller runs out of energy and the dam breaks you will be inundated.

Would you like to experience how you can manage this and more?

Check the new Master’s Course – Spirited Personal Leadership - here:

Or enrich yourself with the insights and knowledge that help you in my new (Dutch) book: http://bitly.ws/BQLG

(English book will appear in the beginning of 2023) Click on Fragment to see the promotional copy and find out whether my book could help you.

©2022: Martin Thoolen

#personalleadership #inspiredleadership #spiritedpersonalleadership #mastercoursespritedpersonalleadership #coaching #training

How do you thoroughly expel stress toxins from your mind and body? 

By tackling the problem at its roots.

Negative work pressure is relieved if you use time and stress management, which are handy behavioural skills. However, apparently they may still be far from sufficient. Why? Because you have not tackled the root cause. 

That is what I have noticed in hundreds of clients who I helped to gain vitality and lasting employability over the last 30 years.

The reason is that, beyond behaviour, there are controlling forces at a deeper level, including your ego and your soul, as I examine in my book: 'Personal Inspiring Leadership'.

Most people suffering excessive stress or burn outs often carry a potent combination of three ego passengers in their personality. Passengers that they have worked with for years (frequently being insufficiently aware of them): the pleaser, pusher and perfectionist. If you don’t rebalance these core elements, negative stress can easily return.

If you penetrate to an even deeper level, beyond your personality, inspiration also plays a fundamental role. Because:

‘Every relationship or system that offers insufficient space for the existence and unique expression of the soul imprisons the soul and can cause serious physical illness’.

Work environments can sometimes be healthy for your soul but may also become toxic. (geworden). 

'Sometimes it is cowardly for your soul to go, but sometimes it is cowardly to stay'.

In short, if you want to tackle this issue at the source you can request an interactive workshop for you and your colleagues. I have a wealth of experience in this field, including organising workshops for attorney generals, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and other organisations. Ask for an intake interview and send an e-mail to: [email protected].

Whether you want to help yourself or a member of staff to relieve the negative pressure, take a look at what an individual coaching session can do for you. See: https://martinthoolen.com/en/service/coaching-vitaliteit-duurzame-inzetbaarheid/

©2022: Martin Thoolen

#Stress #Stressmanagement #timemanagement #personalleadership #vitality # mentalheath #coaching #training #duurzameinzetbaarheid #werkdruk #stress#stressmanagement #timemanagement

How miracles come (back again) into your work an life? By opening yourself up to synchronicity and interconnection. Because everything is connected to everything. This is one of the nine attributes of spirit (consciousness) that you will find in my English E-book ‘Spirited Personal Leadership’ that will be released on December 1, 2022.

Alongside practical cases, insights, and exercises about how these cosmic winks can help you with your work, I also share an occasional personal story. This is one of them, it’s almost unbelievable but it’s true.

A stream of synchronicity: 'Just follow the spirits'

It was an unforgettable summer. In 2005 I was traveling in British Columbia, Canada. It was my heart’s desire to be part of a sweat lodge ceremony with only real ‘natives’, and to connect with Leonard George, the son of legendary chief Dan George. What was to happen later exceeded all my expectations. I ended up in a stream of wonderment with a lot of synchronicity, that literally showed me that everything is connected to everything.

In the tourist office in downtown Vancouver I told an associate about my work and my heart‘s desire. After a while she said ‘I never do this but I happen to know someone who can help you get Leonard George’s phone number.’ I walked out the door totally ‘uplifted.’ I made the call and Leonard’s phone number was given to me. However, it didn’t feel like the right time to call Leonard until two weeks later when something special happened.

After literally seeing more bears on the road than people I wound up in the coastal town of Tofino on Vancouver Island. I was spontaneously attracted to a building that had a large eagle painted on the side of it. I’ve always been attracted to eagles and hawks. When I was 14 years old I created my signature featuring a sun and two eagles, which I use to this day. Years later I found out that according to Mayan astrology I was born on the day of Double Eagle (show 11)!

When I went inside, I automatically walked over to an old canoe and held the edge
of it with my hand. Without thinking about it, suddenly a wave of emotions came over me. The only thing I could think was: ‘I’ve been in one of these things before.’ The feel of the wood, the scent, what it looked like, I just knew it. I was so deeply touched that I wanted to know whose building this was and who had created all this art. It was sir Roy Henry Vickers, a chief of the Eagle clan.

A new desire was born: I wanted to meet him. Except, he wasn’t there but somewhere on the mainland and nobody knew exactly where to find him. After I went back outside, I sat for a while overlooking the bay and I decided now it was time to call Leonard George.

Lo and behold, I got a hold of him. We talked for about 20 minutes and I indicated that I’d like to meet Roy Vickers and participate in a sweat lodge. In response he told me: ‘Just follow the spirits.’ Two weeks later it seemed like the impossible was about to happen.

After driving for about three hours from St. Rupert eastward into the mainland, we suddenly saw a black bear cross the road, going to the left. At that moment I remembered the words ‘follow the spirits’ and I decided to make a left turn, deviating from the original plan. After about an hour I came to a small village called Hazelton. Looking for ‘natives’ I ended up in a large bingo hall where I inquired about a sweat lodge. I was referred to band member Mike who was the day-to-day manager of the reservation. He was reserved at first, until I told him I had spoken with Leonard George. The next day a sweat lodge was organized

Mike led us to the sweat lodge, set up a few yards away from the salmon-rich and roiling Skeena river. Mike turned out to be a member of the Eagle clan, just like Roy Vickers. I had just met another pair of figurative Eagles! Just before the ceremony started two actual Eagles flew past the entrance above the river! But that wasn’t everything.

After round two I heard a quad arriving and being parked in front of the sweat lodge. Mike invited the new arrival to be in charge of the ceremony, and the man sat right next to me near the entrance. It was Roy Vickers! Of all places! How was this possible? How could it be that in all of Canada I happened to be sitting next to Roy, whom I’d been looking for, while I didn’t even know where he was?!

My heart’s desire to meet Leonard George, to participate in a genuine sweat lodge and meet Roy Vickers had all come to pass. ‘Just follow the spirits.’

When I returned to Holland, I looked up what day the sweat lodge had been according to Mayan astrology: It had been my birthday of the Double Eagle (show 11)! How was this even possible? For me this was really a sign that coincidences aren’t just coincidences. And that on a spirit level we are always connected. Roy beautifully and powerfully put this into words in a message to me: ‘Friends in spirit.’

More information about Roy you’ll find on: www.royhenryvickers.com

© 2022: Martin Thoolen

From the cradle to the grave, every soul is faced with five tasks that promote living and working with happiness, meaning and enthusiasm.

This is what I share in my upcoming E-book 'Spirited Personal Leadership', which will be published on 1st of December 2022. Here is a hint of what to expect.

Why does your soul sometimes temporarily feel at a low ebb?

The five tasks facing the soul can be derived from the following:

1. Lack of intense feeling and learning from felt experiences

2. Lack of sovereignty.

3. Cultivating soul pain or letting it exist.

4. Lack of soul joy.

5. No development of talent or realisation of dreams.

Lack of intense feeling and learning from felt experiences

When people lose contact with their soul this is usually because they live and work from the head and rationality, but without their heart and soul. All kinds of constructed concepts relating to life and work, such as thoughts, convictions and personal ideologies seem to strengthen their grip on their lives. Why?

Because people often subconsciously choose identification with their rational side and only have (illusory) control over the certain and uncertain. They only want comfort and happiness in life and reject the painful, vulnerable or uncertain aspects. And they want to keep control, trying to make this ostensible success formula work. Then certain ego passengers, such as the rational side and the controller take the upper hand. Your ego has taken the reins, often without you being aware that this has happened.

The pitfalls of fortune-hunters

In recent years, a multitude of books have been written on happiness and how to achieve it. However, you don’t actually need to search for a path to it, because it is already there – if your life is based on spirit or awareness. And that path has always been there. Moreover, we see that fortune-hunters set goals and have expectations for the future that are oftentimes unachieved. It is then just a question of time until something goes wrong and they suffer bad luck or accidents.

As the natural cycles of spirit show us, happiness is always followed by unhappiness. Sunshine is followed by rain, followed by sunshine, followed by rain, followed by sunshine, etc. Incessantly. Furthermore, fortune-hunters want to ‘have happiness.’ And that last word, ‘have,’ is the crux of the matter. This when the greedy child of your ego hijacks your subconscious. It temporarily satiates your desire but does not fulfil it in the long term.

For example, bucket list hunters think that they will be happier by ticking their desire boxes. But when the need has been met (which there is nothing wrong with and briefly makes you feel happy and ‘alive’) you simply return to everyday reality.

This is a case of excessive ego because the inner greedy child starts covertly manipulating you. And when your expected happiness fails to materialise, you feel unhappy. You can bet your life that this happiness house of cards will collapse eventually.

“Sooner or later, fortune-hunters become unhappy.”

The question is how do you handle both happiness and unhappiness in a healthy way? If you only embrace and chase happiness, sooner or later unhappiness will return to you like a cosmic boomerang. The cosmos will then automatically involve you in (unforeseen) situations, bad luck or unhappiness that you will have to deal with and will learn from as a soul. Maybe to wake you up from the ‘illusion of happiness’ that you had led yourself and others to believe.

In short, it is precisely clinging to and chasing your rational concepts and goals, such as happiness, which prevent you from accessing that deeper layer of feeling where your soul speaks that gives you a deeper feeling of peace. Because the gateway to your soul is your heart, not your rationality. Finally, heart and soul are mentioned in one breath for good reason.

“The gateway to your soul is your heart.”

When you actually feel your heart skipping a beat, quaking, bleeding, crying, glowing and shining you are in direct contact with your soul. Euphoric successes and ecstatic, painful and vulnerable experiences will then be a greater part of your being. The fact that you permit yourself to feel the felt experiences and don’t skim over the surface will bring you closer to deepening, truthfulness and individuality.

And then you can be happy with everything that comes and goes. Genuinely happy.

And there is so much more that can enrich your work and life. Check publications on: https://martinthoolen.com/en/inspiratie/

If this looks interesting, send me an e-mail at: [email protected] and I will tell you how to order as soon as the book is published.

And if you want to experience it, develop and contribute even more to a better world in your own way, this might help you: https://martinthoolen.com/en/service/master-module-persoonlijk-inspirerend-leiderschap/

© 2022: Martin Thoolen

Have you ever spent 5 days without access to a telephone and the Internet?

I hadn’t, until this week.

My God, it can be unbelievably boring at times. Boring?
Simply because I am used to something different in the Netherlands 

But it is simultaneously silently, unbelievably impressive and enlightening. 

Imagine if we all ‘worked and lived more naturally’ a little more?’ What then? And how?

My wife is an ‘Indigenous Native’ of the spiritual Karen People 'The Karen People'who have inhabited the border region between Myanmar and Thailand for centuries. They believe that all objects have a soul, which is reminiscent of what I saw when I visited the ‘First Nations' in Canada, BA and other indigenous peoples around the world. One of their most important expressions is: ‘Give me liberty or give me death’. ’ She often tells me: ‘I come from poor people; we live easy.’

‘I come from poor people, we live easy’

After heading North from Kanchanaburi (the location of the famous bridge over the river Kwai) with the car, a ferry and a longboat for 4 hours I find myself deep in the jungle, on her native soil. Up to that time I had interacted with a great many indigenous peoples during my extensive travels, but had never actually lived amongst them for a while, even if it was

The fact that I cannot access the Internet means that I have no distractions. And my lack of fluency in either the Karen or Thai language obliges me to absorb everything in silence.

Just being…which allows a host of ‘felt insights’ to come flooding in.

Merciless mirrors of reflection

Nature as a supermarket

There is not a single supermarket in the entire village and local region. Nature is the cheapest supermarket, and chemical-free. They live off the nature that surrounds them, cultivating and eating: rice, maize, mangos, papaya, vegetables, chili peppers, tamarind, ginger, cardamom, mushrooms, garlic, limes, cucumber, eggplants and bamboo shoots. When something is needed, my wife just picks it from the tree and that’s it. This ‘haute cuisine’ suffices.

And they don’t sell any ‘super-soft’ five-ply toilet paperzachtheid’ packaged in plastic there either. No, you just wipe your backside with flowing water.

Just imagine sustaining yourself with natural foods and buying less plastic packaging. Try it for a while. Feel the positive effect on your vitality and the realisation that you are contributing to a cleaner world, even if only in a small way.

Nature’s alarm clock

The Karen People don’t have alarm clocks. They live and work with the rhythms of nature. Waking at dawn to work on the land, and going to bed earlier, when it gets dark. This promotes great vitality to an extremely old age.

Try it for a week and see what it does to you. 

Interacting with each other ‘live’

As I have absolutely no telephone or Internet connection for 5 days I am obliged to seek contact with the people around me without the assistance of social media. Even though I don’t speak the language, ‘Live’ face-to-face contact is so energetic and so real 

Visit each other more often, even if it takes hours of travel. Leave your smartphone at home. Be yourself during your interaction with others and occasionally share your innermost feelings. See how much more fulfilling real connection can be for you.

‘Living live with each other, makes you alive’

Sharing food and drink

They don’t serve food on separate plates. Food and drink are served amongst and with other families. They just walk into each other’s little wooden houses on poles, dwelling to eat with other people, occasionally bringing food. The meal is eaten from collective dishes placed on the ground in the middle of the circle of diners.

We sometimes replicate this at Christmas or Easter, and it immediately gives us a feeling of togetherness and communal happiness while we eat and share stories. So connecting. Try it more often throughout the year with your family, friends, neighbours or colleagues, even if it is not what you normally do, and see what happens. You will go home with a warmer heart.

Caring for each other and your elders

The 'The Karen People' don’t have Old Age Homes.My wife was shocked to the core when she saw a block of flats used to house senior citizens in the Netherlands. She said: ‘How do you dare to lock your parents up like that!’ And if you stop to think, it is actually a closed house of death where loneliness thrives and the aged die faster. After all, an old tree that is not moved stays healthy for longer.

"An old tree that is not moved stays healthy for longer"

In the Netherlands we don’t have time to visit our father or mother regularly. Why? We are too involved with our personal material, needs or development. However, in the village they care for their elders until they die.

Visit your parents more often and stay longer than you are used to. Just being there for them will enrich you. Remember that they are the ones who gave you this life, just like your ancestors. Honour them, and you will never regret it.

And don’t understand me wrong, you might not find it easy. Here too, egos can obstruct and create unnecessary tension. We are very similar in this way. Like when a neighbour plays deafening music at three in the morning, ruining other people’s sleep. Don’t think that you can tell him to turn it down. The reaction might involve a gun being pointed at you.

So, it is not a paradise, but we can learn to live with a natural connection that we in the West have often lost. It will boost your vitality and happiness.

And that is what I wish for each and every one of you. Try acting on my suggestions more often and feel what it does to you, your friends, neighbours and colleagues.

You will be surprised.

#naturalliving #coaching #personaleadership #personalempowerment 

© 2022: Martin Thoolen

I’m shivering on the platform of Utrecht Central Station. I can’t wait to dive into the warm train. As soon as I get in I notice that the heating is not working. Damn. I am surrounded by miserable faces. At that moment a lively voice booms over the PA:”Holder de Bolder, we will shortly be arriving at the little station in Den Dolder”.

People around me start to smile and talk to each other. It suddenly seems as if the train has become much warmer.

The same thing occurs when you allow synchronicity to happen.

What is synchronicity?

You think about a friend from high school. You have not seen them for 15 years. And they call one hour later. For no reason, out of the blue.

According to the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, synchronicity is the simultaneous occurrence of two or more different events that have meaning for those involved. You can also say useful coincidence. However, what is meaningful for one person does not necessarily have to be so for someone else.

In 2013, Diana participated in one of our retreats in the Ardennes. She is 31, has a loud voice and thinks that she is 20 kilograms overweight. She works 55 hours per week as a hospital manager. This enables her to pay the mortgage on her new home. She is known as powerhouse. She is result-oriented, but her colleagues call her bitch behind her back. In the evening she sits on the couch, zapping and snacking.

On the second day of the retreat she had a dream. Pink flower petals were floating down onto her. She had absolutely no idea what it was about. On the following day she did a visualisation exercise. Once again she saw the pink petals. It meant nothing to her and she was just happy that she did not have to be thinking about the retreat for a while. She and several other participants went to the caves of Han. Just in front of the entrance she walked across a square full of fruit trees. There was a sudden gust of wind, and Diana was covered in pink petals.

Coincidental events reveal invisible connections. Connections that we cannot grasp intellectually. They give you a feeling of connection or unity that supports you. For example, when you sit in a restaurant and think about your deceased mother for a while. It is precisely at that moment that you hear her favourite music coming out of the speakers.

If you allow yourself to be touched by coincidences they can also be signposts for your personal or professional development. They ask that you acknowledge something that you have skimmed over until that time. Or they tell you to tackle an issue in your life, as happened to Diana.

Diana sees what her dream, the visualisation exercise and the walk does to her feelings. She feels emotional and sad. She lets these feelings simmer for hours and examines at them occasionally. ‘What is this sadness about?’ she asks herself. In a flash she realises how she was bullied about her appearance at primary school. She suddenly understands that she had been protecting herself. Convenient, because this meant that she no longer had to feel the pain of rejection. Until now, she has been a powerhouse who buried her vulnerability.

‘What in heaven’s name are the pink petals about?’ The answer emerges from the caverns of her psyche: “It is the softness of the hidden, sensitive girl in me who longs for new contact”. As if she had abandoned that girl many years ago. She now realises in her heart of hearts that she no longer wants this and decides to make more room for her vulnerability as well as her strength. She is unhappy with her body and permits herself to feel sadness again for the first time. She decides to eat more healthily and loses 15 kilograms in 5 weeks. She works less hard and snaps less at her colleagues and patients, but she lets her heart speak.

But coincidence doesn’t exist?

It just depends on how you look and what you accept as reality. What you see is what you believe. If you accept that things just happen to you or that something is ridiculous, then that is what you will believe. Then you will not notice the miraculous fact that everything is connected to everything and that synchronicity offers opportunities for your development. Is synchronicity nonsense? Try the following tips and discover whether the kite can still fly.

5 tips to experience synchronicity

1. It starts with looking, looking, looking
Look at your dream images, at something that you have really experienced or something that has coincidentally crossed your path. Or look at something that you think or feel, like Simon, a HRM manager who drew the same card three times in succession during our Personal Empowerment course – a card with the word power.

2. However ridiculous they are, make connections
Do you dare to compare a card from a game to one of your basic attitudes? At first, our HRM manager did not know how power related to him. He could not figure it out. When he continued searching he suddenly realised that all of his employment conflicts originated in a power struggle. He had heard that he frequently had a superior attitude. And that is pouring oil onto fire in his interaction with his employers.

3. Open your heart
It is easy to ridicule synchronicity, to minimise or even deny it – coincidence does not exist. coincidence does not exist. Zeker als je het louter vanuit je hoofd probeert te verklaren. Dat gaat je niet lukken. Synchroniciteit laat je zien en vooral voelen dat alles met alles verbonden is. Om het te ervaren moet je naast een gezonde dosis denken ook je hart openzetten en je gevoelens toelaten. Of het nu gaat over schuld, opluchting, schaamte, kwaadheid, verdriet of blijheid.

Simon was confronted by the power card three times, which made him curious. Initially, he did not want to face it, but after a short while he put his ego aside and opened his heart. He asked the group for feedback, and the participants said that he did often come across as somewhat arrogant. This made him feel frustrated and sad.

4. Allow your feelings simmer and see what comes up 
We prefer to avoid unpleasant feelings, while it is precisely there that we find keys for new development. Simon’s sadness took him to his loneliness. He considered the issue for several days and then realised that his arrogance was pushing him back into loneliness. It is a selffulfilling prophecy. Now he really wants to adopt a different attitude.

5. Take action
You can call insights generated by experiences that are felt in true depth transparent insights. They are not intellectual or smart insights provided by books or authorities. No – they are crystal clear insights emerging from a personal process. A process of thoroughly feeling what has already been simmering for some time.

From now on, make choices that involve transparent insights. Like Simon: ‘from now on I will not always talk and interrupt other people. I am going to listen more often, even though I do not always agree with others’.

In short

Synchronicity is: useful coincidence. It can give you support and can also give you new experiences, insights and signposts for your personal or professional development.

Allow synchronicity to enrich your life

In the next week check at least three times whether you are experiencing synchronicity in your life, and apply the 5 tips:
1. It starts with looking, looking, looking
2. However ridiculous they are, make connections
3. Open your heart
4. Allow your feelings simmer and see what comes up
5. Take action

© 2015 Martin Thoolen & Wendy Hobbelink

It’s your birthday. You unwrap your gift and find a pearl!
Have you ever been surprised when you unwrap yourself and find the real version of yourself?

What is the as the real version of yourself?

If you work as the as the real real version, you take your thoughts, feelings, intuition and choices seriously. And you express (carefully) what is actually going on inside you.

You then show, for example, what you are good at and what you are (as yet) unable to do, what you enjoy and what irritates you, and you are open and define your limits. This means that you are honest to yourself, find courage and go for what you believe in. It is not the perfectversion of yourself, in which you conceal and improve all kinds of things.

You are in a meeting and think: ‘I don’t agree with this. Say something about it, or am I being Mister say-nothing again?’This is how IT manager Peter puts on his please mask when things become tense and authority shifts around the table. An executive Board member growls that it really is time for Peter to implement the new computer system in the departments. Because time is pressing. Peter’s inner yes-man is ready to go, but something inside him screams no. He actually wants to say no, but he finds it very difficult. Because when an authority has a problem (and especially with him) he has the tendency to make himself smaller, or he sticks his head in the sand.

Why does he do that? Because he has been doing this all his life! His parents argued frequently, and he tried to calm things down and ease the tension. That was the origin of his recipe: Mollification, placation or just walking away. The most normal thing in the world for him.

Normal? Until he discovers that this can sometimes work in exactly the wrong way during a deepening course. He also discovers how he can as the real work as his real version in difficult situations.

How do you work as the as the real version of yourself?

As the real as the real of yourself? You work as the real version of yourself when you, for example, express what you really desire or what really bothers you.

Peter talked with the department heads again, and this time with fresh eyes and ears. “You should have stood up for us better”, is the accusation heard from some people. And he wants to minimise and justify again. But now he doesn’t do it. He just sits there, listens and asks questions, so that everything is discussed.

A little later, at the coffee machine, a succession of images flashes by – frowning, growling department heads with robust feedback in the test phase. An impenetrable 300-page manual provided by the supplier that will take a couple of weekends to read.

The new system is on the agenda again tomorrow and Peter asks himself: ‘What should I do?’

Next morning, he walks into the meeting feeling self-confident, and says “I just do not support top-down imposition of the new system, while the departments are do not unable to work with it”. He lays out the collective concerns and wishes with calm assurance. He demands that the supplier make adjustments. Even though he knows that the supplier is a friend of one of the Board members.

What does the as the real real version give you and your organisation?

Personal and professional strength, clarity and increased effectiveness.

Peter now uses his own strength to make it clear that significant amounts of money and time will be saved if a change is made. Then everyone will be able to work with the new system without a frown. The executives change their minds. The supplier is put on the spot and alters his plans.

Result: a larger base of support amongst the employees and effective implementation of the new computer system. Peter is happy with his as the real real version and the department heads want to start working with the new system.

How can you you work more as the real version of yourself?

1- What social mask do you put on when things get tense?
2- What would happen if you show as the real the real version?

© 2017 Martin Thoolen & Wendy Hobbelink