Wie ben ik? en wat ermee te doen…?

By Martin Thoolen,
Published at 11 January 2023.
Read 5 minutes.

Why is it useful to know?

Who am I? A question that will confront you in your work or life sooner or later. Particularly during career or life crises. Why wait? Why is it useful to know who you are right now? Because you often have much more in you, than you believe to be the case. Once you know this, you can make effective, useful and conscious choices that are true to you. Both with regard to how you work and your career, and your day-to-day and life choices.

But who are you then?

If someone is asked who they are, what is a common response? A description, like: ‘I am a manager, 35 years old, academically educated, with an income, married to Y, residing in Amsterdam and am a determined, sometimes stubborn, but sincere person.’ In short, a list of characteristics. What, then, are the characteristics with which we identify that you see in the model below?

  • your environment (I support Ajax FC; I am a manager at Google or Apple.).
  • your behaviour and skills (I can sometimes be a little brusque.).
  • your body (I am too fat or too thin.).
  • your feelings, emotions and instincts (I am happy, or I am angry).
  • your convictions (I am worthless without sufficient performance).
  • your personality/sub-persons (I am a perfectionist.).
Model Ego-identifications The diagram/model is taken from the ‘Personal Empowerment’ course (Thoolen & Hobbelink).

Universal fears and desires

Your ego is highly skilled at identifying itself with all kinds of socially acceptable aspects of 'being'. Most people search for ways to gain recognition, appreciation, approval and love, or to belong to something and be special, and people who can fulfil these needs. These are the universal desires for and fears of a deficiency to which the ego responds.

Ego labels

That quest for recognition still takes place every day if you lacked it during your youth or later in life. And before you know it you make your feelings of self-esteem and wellbeing dependent on socially and societally desirable identifications that applaud you for your presence. This gives you the feeling that you are not alone and share something with like-minded people. You feel supported and that you matter. And that is the great desire of the soul striving for a right to exist. For example, you consistently see that people can become extremely attached to things. Examples:

  • I am (a fan of) my own club. (‘If it wins, I am happy - if it loses, I am angry or sad.’)
  • I am my profession. (‘I excel in my profession, but who am I without it?’ Think about elite athletes who have to stop and then suffer depression.)
  • I am my income. (‘I am important because I earn 3 million per year, but who am I after complete bankruptcy?’)

Discover more in and about yourself


If you identify with a personality type, ‘The Psychology of Selves’ and Voice Dialogue can reveal new possibilities. You can then see your ego as an ego bus on which your thoughts, feelings, behaviour and choices are controlled by constantly changing combinations of ego passengers. For example, your pleaser will sometimes make other choices than your inner warrior. Imagine if you were able to make more use of the 'silent passengers' on your ego bus. Wake them up and use them.


Beyond the ego with all of the social personas (social masks) there is a deeper layer of purity, passion, pain, joy, dedication, open-mindedness and spontaneity that enrich your work and life, namely: your soul. Every soul, including yours, is charged with five tasks that enable you to get the best from yourself from the cradle to the grave. They entail:

1. growth in awareness through felt experiences.

2. developing sovereignty over your own existence.

3. healing soul pain.

4. living with soul joy.

5. bringing original talents and dreams to life.

But there is even more!


Beyond ego and soul there is another power that is responsible for everything that is created, exists and disappears. This means that it is also responsible for how you make choices and behave. It is impossible to describe something that actually cannot be expressed in words. This is why the list below includes nine (holistic) approach routes for an essential power that simultaneously provides the solution when we wonder how we can create a better society. In one word: spirit. get to know this power, which has always been and will always remain present in your core.

Spirit is typified by aspects including the following.

1. all-encompassing awareness.

2. universal, driving life force & natural cycles.

3. life, unconditional love & neutrality.

4. awareness of abundance & willingness to share.

5. no time, development or management, but free will and here and now.

6. equality & equal rights.

6. equality & equal rights.

8. truth of the heart.

9. unity, source, interconnection & synchronicity.

My new book ‘Personal Spirited Leadership’ (to be released in English in March 2023) explains how you can use them in practice with practical cases and exercises. And when you use your awareness or spirit more:

  • you make more effective use of your silent ego passengers
  • you sustain your equilibrium for longer and explore new potential
  • you will live lighter and work free of emotional ballast
  • you will do what is right for your inner nature
  • work and life will become more meaningful
  • you will be more at peace with yourself, others and the natural environment.

Answers to ‘who am I?’

Who are you then? The answer depends on your perspective. If your ego takes the lead it will use all kinds of ego labels and ego passengers. If you work and live primarily from the soul you are your true self, without make-up. Uninhibited, spontaneous, original, creative and pure. With your spirit at the helm, you are actually absolutely nothing…and everything, simultaneously.

What can you do with this?

By regaining control and letting your light shine with personal inspiring leadership. However, you can implement personal leadership at three levels, which 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 you make.

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

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.  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.

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

Check the new Master’s Course – Spirited Personal Leadership - here:https://martinthoolen.com/en/service/master-module-persoonlijk-inspirerend-leiderschap/

©2023: Martin Thoolen

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

Martin Thoolen

My 30 years of professional experience as an awareness coach, clinical and organisational psychologist has enabled me to help thousands of clients in Personal or Collective Leadership. Both groups and individuals, in coaching sessions, training courses, leadership development and organisation development programs, retreats and seminars.
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