What if you are highly sensitive? That is what the brand new edition of PSYCHOLOGY MAGAZINE is about. Here you can find an article about my coaching of HSP's (Highly Sensitive Person).

Hier zie je een artikel van mij over coaching van mijn hooggevoelige klanten.

Ben jij professional, manager, CEO/CFO of bestuurder met veel werkervaring? En wil je je persoonlijk leiderschap fundamenteel versterken? En de wereld in je team/organisatie en om je heen ook een beetje beter maken?

In short, do you wish yourself and your team/organization the best that you have and have to offer?

Then the NEW MASTER COURSE Spirited Personal Leadership Spirited Personal Leadership might be something for you, your colleague or friend. Starts October 10th, 2024.

Neem eens een kijkje in de bijgaande weblink en de bijbehorende brochure en je bent van harte welkom voor een vrijblijvende en kosteloos intakegesprek om te kijken of het je past. Je kunt me altijd bellen, appen of e-mailen naar: 06 – 1562 0111 of [email protected].. Meer info op: https://martinthoolen.com/en/service/master-module-persoonlijk-inspirerend-leiderschap/

I am looking forward to this unique Mastercourse together with Jhr. Bert-Jan van der Mieden, which guarantees top quality (see also: I am looking forward to this unique Mastercourse together with Jhr. Bert-Jan van der Mieden, which guarantees top quality (see also: https://www.pyramide.nl/#over-pyramide).).

Kind regards and maybe see you soon! Martin Thoolen

Response to an interactive workshop on Spirited Personal Leadership:
“Martin Thoolens Spirited Personal Leadership Masterclass was a valuable experience for us at GetForward. His ability to make beliefs concrete made the content immediately applicable, and the focus on team reflection promoted deeper understanding and collaboration. In short, highly recommended for those looking for tangible improvements in leadership.”

Do you and your team or organization want an inspiring introduction to the latest ideas about Personal Leadership? See: https://martinthoolen.com/en/service/masterclasses-persoonlijk-inspirerend-leiderschap/

#SpiritedLeadership #SpiritedPersonalLeadership #MasterclassPersonalLeadership #MasterclassSpiritedPersonalLeadership #Training #Coaching #Teamspirit #Teambuilding

Interview from Squire Bert-Jan van der Mieden with Martin Thoolen MSc. about Spirited Leadership (in Dutch).

About Patriarchal and Spirited Leadership, control and autonomy, Life and Death and more.

Take a look. I hope it inspires you. I am curious what you come to think of it and what your ideas are about Leadership of the Future.

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

"In the bud, each of us is a pearl"

'In the bud, each of us is a pearl'. Only we don't always show our brilliance, because we lock ourselves in our ego shells without knowing it. Because of old pain, we may end up live in fear, uncertainty, self-defense, or anger and bitterness. Then we become hardened in thinking and doing towards ourselves, hardened towards each other, and hardened towards Mother Earth who we then abuse. Individually as well as collectively as organizations, or peoples against each other. But it really can be different!

How can we shine more together?

There is so much potential in each of us. Here are three ways we can bring it to light.

1. Through Spirited Personal Leadership

By first shining for yourself. By working and living from soul and spirit. And by using your ego and body as vehicles effectively. In other words, by Spirited Personal Leadership. Do you want to know how?

Download the comprehensive promo copy of ‘Spirited Personal Leadership’ here for free https://bitly.ws/W85A.

Or order a hard-copy of the entire book here: https://bitly.ws/L54n

Or register for the new Mastercourse ‘Spirited Personal Leadership' that will start March 21, 2024: https://martinthoolen.com/en/service/master-module-persoonlijk-inspirerend-leiderschap/

2. Through Creating Teamspirit

As a manager of your team, you can optimally uncover the potential of talents and create team spirit. Your team will then get wings, and with sincere inspiration the results become visibly better. With special team coaching where team spirit is central. If you want to take a step towards team spirit with your team, look here: https://bitly.ws/W86g

3. Through 'Perspectiefvol Leiderschap' (momentarily only available in Dutch)

As a director or leader of a country, people or organization, you have greater influence and therefore also a responsibility to contribute to a 'shining world'. How do you ensure leadership that provides a perspective to a better future and contributes to that world with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Take a look at the inspiring trajectory provided by Squire Bert-Jan van der Mieden on 'Perspective Filled Leadership'.

Download the brochure of the 'Perspective Filled Leadership' trajectory here: https://pyramide.nl/wp-content/uploads/PYR_brochure_transformeren.pdf

Or register here for the 'Perspective Filled Leadership' trajectory https://www.pyramide.nl/perspectiefvol-leiderschap/

In short, let yourself and others shine by:

This way we can make a better world in our own work- and living environment. In small or large formats: 'Shine together'.

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

A different world: more beautiful, more loving, friendlier. Because it looks like the world has become more grim. Within and between nations, in politics, in the media, in organizations or in the streets. “Framing”, “canceling”, polarization and radicalization are a daily occurrence. How can we make the world a better place? At work and in private? In large and small circles?

How did we get here?

It all comes down to our egos. We live and work in a world that has become crowded, and where safety can no longer be taken for granted. Secretly, beneath the surface, our fears and the need for power to create or preserve a safe space for ourselves controls us. We want to protect ourselves and be a person of consequence amid the hustle and bustle, and don't hesitate to use our elbows in the process. Why? Because every human being has a number of universal needs:

Before we know it we unconsciously become attached to ego-labels that we use to define our identity, which then fulfills the aforementioned desires. It is precisely those ego-labels that contribute to further polarization and radicalization.

Ego labels

Ego is the 'I' we use to identify ourselves, but it also sometimes unconsciously separates us from others. Before you know it you identify yourself as your profession, your income, your status, your football team, your country or your religion. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, until circumstances change, or you become so embroiled in your ego that you look upon others as wrong, or less worthy. For example, you're down in the dumps for an entire week when your team loses, you become depressed when your sports career ends or you have retired, or you are disillusioned with your faith when you see how some religious folks behave violently.

If you are connected to your ego-labels with all your heart and soul, the emotional pain and associated emotions, such as anger or sorrow are exponentially more intense or worse. That's when you start threatening the football coach who lost the game, or even menacingly show up on the politician's doorstep. You might even go so far as to issue death threats, like I recently experienced personally. In an article I wrote about “going on vacation”, I mentioned being unexpectedly woken up too early in the morning by a church bell tolling or a loud morning prayer emanating from a mosque, in the context of your own expectations poisoning your momentary wellbeing. Even though I often appreciate the quality and beauty of the Muslim prayer, I received a death threat from someone who misinterpreted my words. That is the danger of passionate ego-identifications that can lead to unnecessary aggression.

Just like some lawyers who are passionately attached to winning for their client and themselves and even consciously distort the truth to do so. And then speak ill of their counterpart if they speak the truth. Not truth, but self-interest then serve and unnecessarily polarize issues that are going on.

However, anyone who thinks evil, speaks evil, consciously distorts the truth or makes threats, is actually contributing to polarization instead of peace and truth. I therefore advocate, for example, that all negative emojis (such as angry icons) be removed from all social media and that personal attacks and threatening comments should ideally be filtered. Because online media, with their policies (perhaps unintentionally), contribute to transgressive behavior and thus feed negativity and separation instead of unity.

Collective ego-labels

There is a collective ego label as soon as a group of people identifies with the same identity. And there is nothing wrong with that in itself. In fact, together you can move mountains. It could be an organization you work for or a football team or for example a country or religion. However, as soon as you passionately identify with one group, then elevate yourself as being better than the other group, or exclude the other group, you are actually contributing to collective polarization and sowing the seeds of enmity and war with the other group.

Way back when, during my Psychology studies, my Professor Rabbi already pointed out the effect of us/them thinking. Even without the presence of a competitive element, people can clash. During an experiment it turned out that the mere division of participants into a blue and a red group was reason enough for people to develop enmity towards each other.

In public I sometimes notice that people from ones 'own group' are addressed as brother or sister, while this courtesy is sometimes not extended to 'others'. Once, during a conference, Nelson Mandela was critically questioned by an American investigative journalist who accused him of accepting financial aid for his anti-apartheid regime from Arafat and Gaddafi, who were considered enemies of the Western world. Mandela pointed out to him that his mind-set was wrong to think in terms of "friends" and "enemies" and that thinking like that is polarizing. When Mandela first went looking for financial aid, the 'friend' USA didn't answer, while the so-called 'enemies' were indeed willing to assist him. Friend and foe are therefore merely collective ego-labels in our own thinking that hinder the development of unity.

"Friend and foe are merely collective ego-labels in our own thinking that hinder the development of unity".

However, you cannot become friends with anyone who persists in labeling you as an enemy. But you can do a lot on your own to contribute to unity and not polarization and radicalization.

Making a kinder world: a solution with ten tips

What can you do yourself to contribute to unity? Whether it is with your country, organization, colleague, manager, customer, neighbor, family or a stranger. I assure you that if you apply these ten tips, your relationships will immediately improve and you will already contribute to a better world in small or large circles, depending on your social position and associated responsibility.

1. Do not think in terms of labels and judgments, but look at your fellow man neutrally

Change your mind set! Because a lot of behavior stems from your thinking in terms of labels. I was watching a comedy once, and when a child was born, someone didn't shout loudly: “It's a boy”, or “it's a girl!”, but: "It's a baby!"

Let go of all labels, such as: friend/foe; right/left, Christian/Jew/Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist, LGBTQ, etc. And try to apply this more often: “It is a human being!”

With light from within, burn off the layers of ego labels from your own eyes and look at your fellow man in a new light.

With light from within, burn off the layers of ego labels from your own eyes and look at your fellow man in a new light.

2. Do not think and act hostile yourself when enmity comes your way

Because then you are doing the same thing, which actually reinforces the polarization. Just like when you're driving a car. You are the way you drive. If someone starts tailgating, let the aggression literally and figuratively pass you by. Stay kind.

"You are the way you drive.”

3. Forgive the other

Don't think in terms of right or wrong, because no one is always 100% right or wrong.

Can you look at what someone has done right and is still doing right? Or do you get stuck in what the other person did wrong? Like 'Once canceled, always canceled'; 'Once framed, always framed.' This doesn't do justice to anyone. Forgiveness is like balm to each other's souls.

“Forgiveness is like balm to each other's souls”.

4. Acknowledge your own mistakes and learn from them

If no one thinks and does 100% right, that also applies to you. How graceful it is when you are open about your own mistakes. And then learn from them. That makes you human, because ideally we should learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we have to make more mistakes, or more serious ones, in order to learn to grow into a sincere, true, talented and peaceful human being. If you don't learn your life lessons, you will just have to come back more often as a soul to learn in the temporary school of life. You are better off doing it now.

5. Give sincere compliments

Give each other sincere compliments without getting anything in return. Even treat strangers this way. As a founder of Voice Dialogue, Hal Stone told me during his international training in the USA that the 'inner critic' and 'inner judge' in people is nowhere as prevalent as in the Dutch. He and his wife Sidra drew that conclusion after they traveled the world for years with their ideas about the psychology of the different 'selves'. Being critical is okay, but not if it means that the positive towards yourself and each other is not forthcoming.

6. Be kind

Your tone of voiceyour choice of words, the way you look at the other immediately betray whether you approach others from a perspective of reservation, suspicion or hostility, or from a place of sincerity, open-mindedness and friendliness. Try to smile sincerely (not cynically) at another person. Even though you may not agree with the other person, try to do this more often and your work and private contacts will change instantly.

7. Stay curious

Even if the other person's opinion rubs you the wrong way, stay curious. Try to find out why the other person thinks differently from you. Agree to disagree.

8. Move towards each other and start a dialogue of your own

It may happen more quickly than you think: Don't look at the other person. Turn around and turn away from the other. Don't really look at the other person or don't look at them in a friendly way. Instead, don't look away, but turn to the other person and look at each other. Do not turn away, but go towards each other. Start a conversation with the person you were against. You can be pleasantly surprised and your judgments can disappear like snow in the sunshine in no time.

9. Listen to each other even if you disagree

You don't have to agree with each other. If you really show that you are listening to the other person, it often has a disarming effect. You gain more insight into why the other person thinks the way they do and you may gain more understanding. Watch what happens to yourself when you notice that someone else really takes you seriously and really listens to you. So extend the same courtesy to the other. But don't assume that the other person will reciprocate. Sometimes others need more time to let your words sink in and they can't really listen to you (for a while).

10. Help each other

A sincere and loving helping hand is often well received. If not, the other person isn't ready, but don't take it personally because it's not about you. But usually when you show good will it improves the relationship with the other person.

And now in practice

You are responsible for how you think about the other person, and how you behave and express to the other person. Even if the other person seems to give rise to anger, sadness or whatever, you always remain responsible for your own behavior and thoughts.

What do you think? What are you doing yourself? Every day, every minute with regard to your fellow human being? Living together becomes so much more fun and enjoyable if you apply these ten tips. Give it a try and decide afterwards whether it worked.

1. Do not think in terms of labels and judgments, but look at your fellow man neutrally

2. Do not think and act hostile yourself when enmity comes your way

3.        Forgive the other

4. Acknowledge your own mistakes and learn from them

5. Give sincere compliments

6. Be kind

7. Stay curious

8. Move towards each other and start a dialogue of your own

9. Listen to each other even if you disagree

10. Help each other

Does this article appeal to you and do you want more people to live better together? It would be nice if you share it.

After all, all your life you have a choice to feed the positive or the negative. The choice is yours. As the following story, that I saw while traveling on an Indian reservation in Kamloops, BC in Canada, shows.

The shuswap legend of two wolves

One night, a grandfather from the Secwepemc tribe teaches his grandson about life. A battle is going on inside me, he tells the boy. It is a terrible fight between two wolves.

One is bad. He is anger, jealousy, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, tranquility, benevolence, empathy, generosity, forgiveness, gentleness, truth, compassion and trust.

The same fight is going on in you. And in everyone.

The grandson thought about it for a moment and asked his Grandfather, "But which wolf will win?" The Grandparent simply replied, "The one you feed."

© 2023: Martin Thoolen

Like to know more?

Take a look at: https://martinthoolen.com/en/

Take a look at this book ‘Spirited Personal Leadership.’ For more effective work, a meaningful life and a better world. View or order a copy here: https://martinthoolen.com/publicaties/en

#martinthoolen #spiritedpersonalleadership #personalleadership #spiritedleadership #coaching #ytraining #elections #beyondpolarity #beyondthepolarity

The sunny and dark sides of many coaches and academies

How do you make the best choice for a course or a coach these days? For example, to achieve Personal Leadership or Mastery?

This was not an issue more than 30 years ago, when I stood at the cradle of (business) coaching in the Netherlands in 1992 as a project developer of Individual Coaching at the Boertien & Partners training institute.

In the decades since, a proliferation of 100,000 coaches has come about, because it is not a protected title and so anyone can call themselves a coach. Just look at the number of current social media posts by some would-be coaches: in particular, earning a lot of money quickly seems to be the priority for some coaches or institutes, ranked above integrity and proven professionalism.

The sunny side of many coaches and academies

How beautiful it is to see that there are so many people who are curious about personal, professional or even spiritual development, and that so many of us follow or have followed myriad low-threshold courses about, for example, NLP, mindfulness, or 'healing'. You benefit from it yourself and want to pass it on to others. And then you become a coach, healer, teacher or trainer yourself and set up your own academy. And that way we can do even more for each other.

In this way, sometimes 'clients' or 'participants' can avoid having to seek help from a psychologist or psychiatrist. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In addition, the stigma associated with the old-fashioned taboo on mental illness has been broken, and people are more likely to ask for mental or spiritual support. Moreover, as a client you do not have to deal with long waiting times while your mental distress is high. The large number of coaches also shows diversity and specialties, which means that more personal customization can be provided. Benefits galore, but there is also a dark side.

The dark side of many coaches and academies

Due to the large number of coaches and academies, you also see a growing lack of quality. Not only that, some approaches can actually be dangerous and cause mental damage, and unintentionally drive people further into depression, confusion, panic or worse.

The hunt for money as well as self-overestimation and lack of self-reflection can sometimes drive the coach or 'Academy'. For example, I recently read a newspaper article in which a coach literally stated that as an 'experience expert' he did not need any training. But then aren’t all people actual experience experts, so would that then make everyone a good coach?

The self-overestimation can stem from fear of a lack of money (poverty awareness) and/or an unrecognized excessive ego or narcissism. With spiritual elevation you hope to get 'in the picture' and win clients and make a lot of money in the process. In what way do we concretely see this - often unconscious and unacknowledged - ego-elevation taking place? A few current examples:

And yes, people are sensitive to these commercial lies wrapped in a spiritual ego sauce. But why do we sometimes stumble into this?

Why do we sometimes fall for this ego horn blowing?

An important reason why you sometimes fall for this tripe is ignorance, and not investigating the quality and experience of an institute, trainer, coach, teacher or healer

Another reason may be that the spiritual need is so great that you grab a hold of whatever looks good on the outside.

And finally, money. Many people, especially in the Netherlands, want everything cheap. Especially in times of crisis, when the money is no longer just tucked in the mattress, they grab whatever is cheapest. And can you blame them? If you can use a (STAP-)budget provided by the government, you won't resist. But are you getting the quality you deserve?

Because the actual quality of an 'academy' or training institute, trainer, coach, healer, or teacher, is ultimately determined by the person you’re dealing with, not the building they are in or academy they are working for.

“The actual quality of an 'academy' or training institute, trainer, coach, healer, or teacher is ultimately determined by the person you’re dealing with, not the building they are in or academy they are working for”.

But how do you make a good choice, so you can really get what you are looking for, for possibly just a little more money? Time for some tips.

7 TIPS for an optimal choice of a course or a coach

Here are eight tips to help you make the best choice for a coach, trainer, or institute:

1. See how many flight-hours a coach/trainer has booked with clients who were looking for the same thing you are.

2. Look at (pre)training, post-doctoral training and certifications.

3. Look at genuine testimonialsfrom previous clients. evidence of years of evaluations.

4. Is the coach/trainer really credible and do they live up to that in their own actions?
(‘do they truly practice what they preach?’)

5. As a client, are you treated as an equal?

6. As a client, do you experience the coach, trainer, or institute showing sufficient self-reflection , in addition to proven expertise?

7. Do not register right away, but first get a free intake consultation.
Get a no-obligation, free intake consultation to find out the nitty gritty on the coach/trainer with whom you will actually be dealing. Experience your coach/trainer 'live' in advance, so that you know what they are made of. Because if you don't hear someone 'live' first, you can be quite disappointed by the bum notes you will have to listen to later.

“If you don't hear someone 'live' first, you can be quite disappointed by the bum notes you will have to listen to later.”

I hope that this will help you separate the wheat from the chaff and come to a choice that will benefit you the most, in your work and life.


© 2023: Martin Thoolen

#personalleadership #spiritedpersonalleadership #coaching #training #coach #trainer #healer #teacher #academy
#teacher #academy #opleidingsinstituut

From a new Fall of Atlantis to a better world.

Anyone can fall into this trap: Thinking you are better than the other. You and I both. Especially if you’re in a leadership position in government, politics, religion, business, or if you’re a VIP, but also if you’re a manager, spiritual teacher, coach, trainer or guru. I see it everywhere, including in myself.

Where does this come from? How do you recognize it? What are the effects, and how do you get past it? What if you have to deal with someone else who has succumbed to it? How do you deal with that? And how do you make a truly equal heart-connection that causes the world around you to become a better place, at work and in your private life?

It’s time to lift this veil of haughtiness: To allow real love and peace to flourish more. In small and large circles alike.

It is said that the civilization of Atlantis fell because of the haughtiness of a few who wanted to create ‘a world based in advanced knowledge and power.’ Haughtiness came before a fall, and today we find our world standing at the exact same threshold. From antiquity until today, people have been falling for it. As it was with the Pharaos of Egypt and Roman Emperors, it is with the government and political leaders of today. But equally so on a smaller scale with VIP’s, directors, managers, spiritual teachers, coaches and trainers of today. Inside your own circle.

Publicly, or more commonly in secret, you may see yourself as exceptional and divinely chosen. You have ‘fallen upwards,’ and your haughtiness is a hidden force that leads you, today’s Fall of Atlantis. You are unknowingly living or working from a spiritual ego, without being conscious of it.

Spiritual ego

If spiritual ego is leading you without you being aware of it, you will use your knowledge, abilities or language to demonstrate that you are ‘above the other’, or ‘more advanced’ in your spiritual development than others. Or, that you’re more significant than the other. This has nothing to do with spirit, instead it is just your ego, elevating itself above the other. Because spirit, or universal consciousness and unconditional love, knows no hierarchy.

“Spirit kent geen hiërachie”

Why ‘fall upwards?’

Why is it that people have been falling into this ego-trap for centuries to begin with? The desire for recognition, appreciation, inclusion, approval, being special, attention and love is universal. Sometimes, the lack of some of these things in the past has been so great that overcompensation enters the picture. Before you know it, the spiritual ego is in charge of your activities, often without your knowledge. It doesn’t make a lick of difference whether you are highly or less educated, have lots of experience or none. It can happen to anyone. It creates dictators and know-it-alls.

How do you recognize it?

How do you recognize today’s Fall of Atlantis? A few concrete indicators will demonstrate.

Delusions of grandeur

Some people think they are the chosen few, and use this argument to place themselves above others. Roman Emperors thought themselves to be demigods. Some government leaders today are of the opinion that they have an exceptional divine gift and mission, even if that means a war must be fought over it, all the way up to so-called ‘holy wars.’

But you can also see this phenomenon occurring on a smaller scale sometimes with (spiritual) teachers, coaches and trainers. For example, I was recently baffled by what I was reading about the spiritual arrogance of some who claim: ‘my book isn’t a book, because it transcends all traditional literature.’ Another said: ‘my book is the Bible of coaching.’ And if you package it just right and use the word ‘God’ in the title of all your correspondence, you’re guaranteed commercial success. Because those in need of help are always around, especially in these times, when religions often can’t provide fulfillment in life.

Gaining more power

For government and political leaders it is often no longer about content, justice and equality but instead it’s about the ego seeking elevation in a quest for recognition and specialness. In the Dutch cabinet, for example, the egos are boiling over and we don’t even know where to go from here. Many government leaders keep increasing their own sphere of influence and even have their powers written into laws or even the constitution. From their greater position of power they force their will onto others, and punish them if they don’t comply. Such as banning a religion that doesn’t stroke with ‘their own’ faith. Like a coaching client of mine who was beaten to a pulp by his fundamentalist evangelical father for many years. Or getting the death penalty in Iran for not properly wearing your burka. None of these things speak to real love, and they lead to a regression in society.

Masks of love and preaching peace

It certainly seems like some spiritual teachers and gurus are freed from their spiritual egos, because they preach about peace, love and truth, while they are also truly inspiring, for example at seminars, conferences, retreats, in their books and through other venues. They use phrases like ‘heart to heart,’ ‘dear angel, are you ready to experience real love; not everyone is ready to experience real love, but you are.’ Before you know it, you feel loved, special or chosen because of what they tell you. It’s spiritual honey that people flock to.

Until suddenly their shadow side, which they repressed because it doesn’t fit with their self-made image of spiritual specialness, becomes visible.

Like my personal experience at a ten-day silent retreat abroad about non-dualism. There was conversation about a field of unconditional love, loving and freedom of judgment. While this was happening, there was a loud concert nearby that was detracting from the silence. The aggravation and judgment poured from the depths of the teachers’ psyches, and the disapproving looks were easy to see all around. No-one is immune to judgments and it’s better to embrace them and deal with them effectively.

Allowing yourself to be constantly admired

I’m ashamed a little to say it happened a moment to me, too. During one of my weeklong ‘Inner Nature’ retreats in the Belgian Ardennes, a participant asked to take a picture of me. In a fraction of a second, I felt flattered by her admiration and fed my ego, my spiritual ego. But fortunately a few moments later I became aware of what I just did to myself, letting myself be made ‘special.’ As if I was ‘more’ than the participant. Yuck! Luckily, I could let it go quickly. But what happens if you need this constant admiration to exist? Before you know it, this stealthy self-satisfaction takes over.

Talking the other down, or talking yourself up

By consistently indicating that another person has less knowledge or fewer abilities than yourself, you elevate yourself above the other. I call it the seesaw-effect. Pushing the other down to end up in a higher place yourself. In that case power and not love has you in a death grip.

You can also emphasize your own successes, power, knowledge, and abilities without acknowledging your own failings and pitfalls. Better to keep those vulnerabilities locked up. Similar to a colleague who indicated that she had lived many lives, was very wise and could be more meaningful than others as an old soul.

Standing or sitting above other people

If you’ve fallen into the Atlantis-trap, your aim is for a societally elevated leadership position. You don’t use this position as a temporary vehicle to inspire others with truth, justice, equality, or sincere love. No, above all you want to use it to show your own importance to society. Sometimes you choose to sit on a literal throne above others, instead of among people, as I experienced with the authorities at a silent retreat.

What are the effects on society and civilization?

The benefits of these (spiritual) ego-authorities are that they can truly inspire you. They speak truths that we are sensitive to, and that we are often looking for. They say something that you agree with but that others are afraid to mention. You feel seen by them. Or, you gain valuable insights that you can really apply in your work or private life. They make you feel like you belong or are special. That’s what makes it so confusing.

But the cons and dangers are lurking below the surface and will come to light sooner or later. If you rely too much on an external authority, you give it power as you abandon your own sovereignty. Before you know it, you no longer know which of your thoughts are your own, versus those of the authority you believe in. A leader in any context can build their own cult just like that, with some of their followers prepared to murder others or themselves for it.

How do we step out of the Atlantis-trap and how do we make a better world? What can you do if you have fallen into it as an authority figure yourself?

See, acknowledge, and turn it around.

To see, you have to dare to put your ego aside, otherwise you’ll remain in the trap. Look at yourself with 100% honesty and see that you:

“Dare to be a VUP (Very unimportant person)”

Acknowledge that this is happening to you, and that it is entirely your own doing. Your ego will resist the whole time, in order not to lose any ground. The brave authorities and truth-finders among us will dare to take this step.

Turn around your authority from self-gratification to simply being a temporary vehicle for equality, truth of the heart, justice, and love. Without any expectation that another will appreciate and admire you.

What can you do if you have to deal with it in another person?

Protect yourself against spiritual egos. Remain yourself and never give up your own thoughts and sovereignty. Don’t always accept the teacher to be what they say they are. Follow your own compass and be a follower of yourself. The development of its own independence is one of the tasks facing the soul from the cradle to the grave.

Dare to leave, even if it is socially undesirable, if you are instructed to believe something that you can’t agree with. This is something I did myself during a break at a seminar put on by an organization that saw itself as the kingpin to change the entire world and patted itself on the chest about it. While at the same time they were themselves contributing to continuing the use of fossil fuels.

As the Gnostics said long ago, “Live the God within yourself.” Because from spirit and unconditional love everyone is chosen.

“Iedereen is uitverkoren!”

How do we make a better world?

In large as well as small personal circles. By living and working more from universal consciousness, love, or what I call ‘spirit’, instead of from ego. You can find out more about this in my book “Spirited Personal Leadership.” You can view and download a free promo here: https://martinthoolen.com/publicaties/en

Or checkout this course: https://martinthoolen.com/en/service/master-module-persoonlijk-inspirerend-leiderschap/

© 2023: Martin Thoolen

#awarenessatwork #martinthoolen #spiritedpersonalleadership #personalleadership #inspiringleadership #coaching #training #egomanagement #ego #personalleadership #spiritedleadership #mastercoursespiritedpersonalleadership #betterworld

Vacation, at last! More peace, enjoyment and relaxation and an empty head, things that you don’t get around to at home. But is that really what you find? Because you take yourself with you on vacation and you may be confronted with yourself on vacation.

And how can your vacation provide even more inspiration?


You’re excited when you go on a trip, but immediately your inner peace is disturbed. Like when you end up in long traffic jams, take a wrong turn or your baggage doesn't show up at the airport. Or a filling station owner short-changes you 50 euros because he says you gave him 50 and not 100 euros, as I experienced myself.

Arriving at your vacation spot, you may sit and daydream on the beach when suddenly people next to you turn on loud music. Or you spend time waiting for a bus that never comes. You may wake up to a loud church bell in the morning, or hear the morning incantation coming from a mosque. Or maybe you get sick while on vacation. How much relaxation and enjoyment is there going to be then?

Inner peace is disturbed by irritations that arise from your own expectations.

Luck and bad luck, prosperity and adversity, both come to you in your life, even on vacation. Sneak up on your own thoughts and expectations daily, and allow them to be blown away on the breeze. Once you let go of your expectations of how your vacation should go, you'll have more fun and peace of mind. Whether it's about the journey itself or where you are on vacation. Try it, and then decide if it works for you.

“As soon as you let go of your expectations about how your holiday should go, you will have more fun and peace of mind”.


Just getting away from everything. A little distance from your life and career. From a distance you can see the bigger picture. Because when you’re in the thick of it, you can't see it. Like your own blind spots in your relationships. Or the higher purpose for which you are doing something.

“From a distance you can see the bigger picture”.

If you focus on individual letters alone, you will not see the entire text. If, as a soccer player, you focus only on your opponents, you miss the spaces in between them, where you can pass them. Star player Lionel Messi can do this like no other. If you keep driving on the roundabout of your work and life, you miss landscapes, roads and adventures that can take you further. Dare to wander and you will get somewhere. 

“Dare to wander and you will get somewhere”.

From a distance you can see more clearly whether you want to continue working like you were when you return. Like Johan for instance, who encountered a snail during a walking meditation in one of my earlier Retreats 'Inner Nature' in the Belgian Ardennes. He decided not to ignore it, in fact he even wondered about it for half an hour. In his very fiber he became aware of the breakneck speed at which he traveled through his daily work and life. And how much that exhausted him. Because of this deeply felt experience, he decided to set limits on his own work pressure and to make more room for a relaxed life alongside his career. 

From a distance you can see how and whether you want to continue in your relationship(s) sooner. I once experienced this myself during a ten-day mindfulness training in Yenne, near the French Chambery. During a ball exercise, I watched a ball roll away from me and I couldn't help but think about the natural movement I was making away from my partner at the time. Painful, but inevitably healthy for my further soul development.

Make room for the things that matter in your life, muse, and above all make space and time to feel what your heart is telling you. This way your vacation will give you new clarity and show you new opportunities and healthy choices, which you would otherwise gloss over.


Do you know that feeling? When you are sitting on a hill or mountain top and you feel completely one with everything around you? Or you’re in a trance during a car ride and experience complete bliss? Or you are in the desert or jungle where there is no longer any separation between you and all the plants, animals and earth around you? You experience a deeply felt 'boost' of unconditional love and connection with the elements around you. All is well and heaven seems to be completely present on earth for a while.

These unity or spirit experiences are a cosmic nod to what has always been in the background, namely universal consciousness, or spirit. Only our ego often causes us to have fewer of these experiences than we actually desire.

How nice would it be if you could take this unity experience into your work and private life when you come back from vacation? And if that universal consciousness becomes more of a foreground than remaining in the background? Or as saxophonist John Coltrane once said: “Wherever you are, always leave a piece of heaven behind.” At work as well as in your private life when you get back.

"Wherever you are, always leave a piece of heaven behind.” -John Coltrane

If you want to know how universal consciousness or spirit becomes a bigger part of your work and life, check out the book 'Spirited Personal Leadership'. For more effective working, meaningful living, and a better world. View or order a copy here:  https://www.amazon.com/Spirited-Personal-Leadership-effective-meaningful/dp/9090368027/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1T35YC0885VAQ&keywords=spirited+personal+leadership&qid=1689054493&sprefix=spirited+personal+leadershipaps225&sr=8-1

See the promotional copy and find out whether my book could help you.

©2023: Martin Thoolen

#vacation #summerholiday #summervacation #traveling #spiritedpersonalleadership #personalleadership #inspiringleadership #coaching #training #egomanagement #ego #personalleadership #spiritedleadership #mastercoursespiritedpersonalleadership #coaching #training #egomanagement #ego #soulfulness #spiritual #inspiration 

Een nieuwe quote uit het boek ‘Persoonlijk Inspirerend Leiderschap’:

"Love (spirit) also shows itself in hearts that were break, while they were previously locked'.“.

Like to see more from the book? Checkout the free promo here: