Breaking free – revisited

Breaking free revisited


Yesterday I was reading “The Element – How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” by Ken Robinson ( As the title suggests it’s about finding and allowing your passion in your life. Or your element, your calling, your soul mission, higher purpose whatever name works for you. The book has a number of inspiring examples of people who found theirs, not in the least because somebody else saw their unique, special and personal talent. In chapter six (What Will They Think) he addresses three sources of blocks that could prevent us from finding ours:

  1. personal
  2. social
  3. cultural

The personal source if blocks are mainly the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Or beliefs as I have labelled them in previous blogs. Of course they do not emerge in isolation but are nourished by the other two sources: social and cultural.

The social component could be the example of parents and, later on, peers. In our desire for belonging we will surrender a bit (or a lot) of our unique talents that we are blessed with. Parents will often do so because they mean well. They would like you to have a financially secure future which can only be obtained by performing tedious tasks in an environment they believe is the only one to make that possible. This particularly hit home with me. When I was 14/15 years old my dad asked me what I wanted to do once I had finished secondary school (I lived in holland back then). To me it was crystal clear. Having enjoyed classical guitar lessons since the age of twelve, I wanted nothing more that to go to one of the advanced music schools in Holland to further study guitar. My dad startled at my reaction and said he thought that was a great idea but completely useless at the same time. And hence a period of brainwashing followed where my parents, firing questions at me to which I had no answer, attempted to get me to change my mind and study something more sensible like Economics. Finally I gave in and went to study Economics at the Erasmus University Rotterdam., Needless to say it was quite exciting but I never landed one of those successful careers with a big corporation. It was clear I just didn’t fit in. After a number of consulting and commercial and general management roles (where I showed my ability to build something out of nothing) I dared to make coaching my main activity. That was in the year 2000. People had always fascinated me and looking back at some 15 years of working experience, the people component was one of the main themes. As a matter of fact people still continue to fascinate me and I indeed would say I love people. And I remember having had my first coaching ocnverstaion when I was 14 years old. Being an executive coach talking to the brass of many companies throughout Europe and beyond was still an honourable thing getting respectful looks at cocktail parties. And I enjoyed and still enjoy this work, which focuses on bringing my clients closer to their purpose) very much. So all started to work out quite well.


In 2008 everything seemed to come to a full stop. Just enough work to keep me alive and with the first financial crisis I at least had something to point at when people asked me how business was. In 2009 I was wondering what it would take to get out of the doldrums and worked with a coach myself for a while. During a workshop (Alan Seale’s Manifestation Wheel ) it became clear that something wanted to manifest through me and it was clear beyond any doubt that this was what turned out to be my first novel This may sound crazy (or perhaps familiar?) but the story of the book had been around for a while as had other stories (that subsequently got published by other authors). But I had not allowed it to become manifest through me because of many personal beliefs (I can’t be an author, This is just something on the side,  I am a coach, consultant and what not). As a result the writing was quite strenuous and progress was rather poor until this breakthrough encounter in September 2010 (which I documented in

So far so good: the book got published and then nothing much changed…… Well, that is, I continue to experience flow when I engage in writing and working with the book and I have started on my second novel (which you can download for free as an ebook ( and to which you can contribute if you wish). But flow is something I also experience when engaging with…music. Since 2009 I’ m playing guitar in one of Germany’s best bigbands, in a classic rock and rhythm ‘ n blues band and a few other initiatives. I have composed a few pieces and arranged a few others and I am learning new things everyday. I’ve played at festivals, in bars, at weddngs and funerals. I’ m surrounded by several remarkable and highly talented musicians for whom playing music is not the economic backbone as it isn’t for me.

So after having been asleep for some thirty years (although I have always been playing guitar) music is fully back in my life and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about this. Being on stage, creating an atmosphere by sharing live music really gets me going as well as the audiences. Of course there are people who look pitifully on me, thinking that at 50 years of age one finally should have become mature. Yeah right! Mature! For what reason? To fit in? To live a life which is not mine and which I have been living for too long already? I don’ t care what they think, especially not when they are dancing to the music I play (which I assume is a sign of them having a good time)

Allowing myself to be (and grow as) an author of commercial fiction and a musician, puts me in this position where I a, living the life which I want my coachees to live: our own. And I do so by showing the example. Which is different from only telling people they should wake up and live. I have no exact planning of how my future will look like but in the process of becoming more and more aligned with my personal calling I have learned to trust life, the universe to manifest the right things at the right time in my life. It’s about actively (co-)creating rather than sitting at home and waiting for something to happen. Deep down, on soul level, I know I’ m doing the right thing.

So, to recap: after a long period of trying to fit in and to live a life which was’t mine (but which I couldn’ t see), I finally dared to start breaking free. I do what enjoy most: coaching, writing and playing music. It took a few crises to wake me up and a few people who showed up at the right time in my to make that possible. And I would invite all of you to start breaking free as well. Why don’t you share your experiences here?







The captains and the sinking ship?

Riots in Greece
Riots in Greece


Yesterday my friend Mark Walsh posted an interesting question on Facebook (

“So I want to ask a hard question of myself and all my coach, trainer and facilitator friends ahead of the Wisdom 2.0 Business conference.  Are we really transforming a sick system or are we just giving new terror-tools to the world’s biggest bullies?”

It triggered quite some comments and it took my thoughts to what is going on around the world and especially in Europe at this moment. I have commented on it in the preface of my novel ‘The Glass Dome’ ( ) as well.

The entire Eurozone is still struggling with the debt crisis, which has turned into a political crisis as well. Several countries face changes in their political management (like France last weekend) in relative stability (like Holland where new elections are due in September) or in outright chaos (Greece where a new government is unlikely to be formed and hence new elections will need to take place). These events do not help to bring security and stability to the fiscal and rescue packages that have been agreed upon. It seems that the Greek people are no longer willing to play along the old rules of the game (without having a clear concept of the new rules, by the way). Syriza, the coalition of radical leftist parties, make that very clear by stating that they won’t accept further government cuts and can’t pay back the debt. How long will it take before the people from Spain, Italy, France, Belgium or even Holland get to this stage?

Politicians no longer seem to be able to rally the majority of their constituents around a common theme. In countries where traditionally governments are based on coalitions, it has become increasingly difficult (and in some instances impossible) to arrive at a coalition with a majority in parliament so laws can be passed. In previous blogs as well in ‘The Glass Dome’ I’ve touched upon this. To me it is clear that we are entering a new era that will lead to a radically different way of treating each other and the planet. At some point in time, our societies will look different around the globe. A few keywords: freedom, transparency, connectedness. personal destiny. But we’re far from that. Somehow I choose to believe that this transformation is not going to be a smooth ride. Established parties will try to cling to the positions they have built up over the last centuries. They will try to sell or enforce their practices as best practices for the uncharted waters we are heading towards. (Automatically this famous Einstein quote about finding solutions from a different domain than where the problems originated from comes to mind). There’s power involved which will not be given up easily. It is the old one-for-all-paradigm derailing and therewith demonstrating its darkest sides through human action. I never thought the transformation would be a mere academic exercise but the venom is rapidly spreading it seems.

Is this (the start of) the inevitable universal creative planet-wide destruction preceding another phase of creation? Has the moment come that institutional Europe is falling to pieces? Is the ship sinking? Is there anything we would want the captains to do? What can we all do in order to facilitate the inevitable transformation in a way that it becomes less bumpy? Even it is only a bit less bumpy, much suffering would be prevented and many lives would be saved.

Interesting times ahead. Curious to hear what you think.

Love, Geert