Want to discover your purpose? Five critical questions.

Do you know that feeling, that you’re not living life to the full? That something is a bit off? There may well be a destination or a higher purpose for you, but somehow that feels vague, and so you don’t pay much attention to these feelings. You’re not alone in this. Many people who are curious about their essence allow misgivings to hold them back. These are my own top five:

  1. What am I really saying yes to?

In a sense, discovering your own purpose feels like taking the red pill from The Matrix: there is no way back. And knowing your purpose but not (fully) living by it can be even more frustrating than having no idea what your purpose is. Blissful ignorance! The red pill symbolises a willingness to recognise your full potential. The next, equally daunting challenge, is to start discovering your purpose. A tried-and-tested method gives you something solid to rely on. We work with the True Purpose method, which teaches you to communicate with a trusted source (intuition, essence, soul of God – whatever appeals to you) and formulates your purpose in four purpose statements.

2 Can I not find that purpose by myself?

Exploring what you basically already know will get you a long way. What did you want to become as a child? What would you do if you had a million Euros? How would you like to be remembered after your death? But the answers are often too superficial and won’t guide you in a clear direction or help you take action. You might also ask the deeper part of you (intuition, essence, soul of God – whatever appeals to you) what your purpose is. That is a little more difficult and touches on deeper matters. The trick is not to confuse soul with ego, to ask good questions and to interpret the answers carefully. Asking the questions is a bit like praying, but this prayer will get you some answers, and you can keep asking more questions! In the True Purpose method we look at what generates the highest score emotionally and energetically. In other words, a purpose gives a lot of energy!

3 Am I not making myself too important?

Who am I to think that I can be a blessing to the world? This negative thought crops up frequently when we explain the four aspects of True Purpose: Essence, Blessing, Mission and Message. The words mission, essence and message are not so hard to grasp, but blessing? That sounds pompous and grandiose. And yet all four elements have their own function and are inextricably linked. The Blessing is, as it were, your unique gift to the world. And yes, that is something magnificent.

  1. Is a purpose not rather vague?

If you compare it to the results of a career guidance test, then yes. A purpose doesn’t literally tell you what kind of work suits you and what you might say yes or no to tomorrow. A purpose is more like a perfectly functioning internal compass. In situations where I’m unsure of myself, I always remember my own purpose. I am a warrior of love. I transform pain into love (= my essence and blessing). When I do so, I can feel my energy change. I become more grounded and inspired. My purpose (re)connects me with my heart and gives me courage. To me, these experiences are very concrete and anything but vague.

  1. Purpose, that involves bypassing your ego, doesn’t it?

 The ego has a poor image. Often we are advised to ignore what our ego proposes and to go straight for something higher. Very inspiring, but not at all practical. It creates a separation in us. People will experience their ‘inspired self’ at certain moments, connecting them to that higher purpose, but more often than not they experience their ‘daily self’, busy doing the laundry. The True Purpose method relies on a partnership between your trusted source, focused on inspiration and growth, and your ego, which takes care of primary needs like security and safety. The degree to which you live out your purpose is a choice you can make at any moment, in tune with the stage of life that you are in. Do you have a young family, so that safety and financial security weigh heavily right now? Perhaps you don’t want to disrupt your marriage and the social life that goes with it? Or does it feel like too much hassle to manifest your Essence, Blessing, Mission and Message in every area of your life? Remember it is your life and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Of course, now that you have taken the red pill, it is bound to grate a little. You know your purpose and can feel your full potential…

Read more about Personal Purpose Quest

Great Self Organization resources ready to use – even if you do not practice Holacracy

  1. How to have efficient operational role-to-role meetings using principles like ‘tensions are fuel for development’ and ‘one tension at a time’? Here are downloadable meeting cards for tactical meetings, in many languages.
  2. Here you find a concise description of the Integrative Decision Making process that you can use for group decision making: to make decisions more integrative ánd to speed up the process.
  3. This is more advanced: how to run governance meetings, with Integrative Decision Making – here are downloadable meeting cards
  4. 7 Things you can learn from Holacracy (Even If You Don’t Practice It)
  5. This is a great collection of 50+ articles of helpful introduction, guides & tips re: Holacracy and Self-Management: The Holacracy Practitioners Guide

Holacracy experiences, cases and in broader perspective


  1. Here is a list of 200+ organizations worldwide that practice Holacracy. It’s impossible to know how many organisations are using Holacracy because not every Holacracy-powered organization publicises their practice, but all of the organizations in this map have agreed to share
  2. This white paper (14 pages) describes 5 Dutch case studies.
  3. In this article you can read about the experiences of one of the first large government agencies that practice Holacracy, Washington Technology Solutions (WaTech).
  4. Luscii, a Dutch Health Care Organization, reports in this article about their experiences after 3 years of practicing Holacracy
  5. In this article Benoît Pointet tells about his personal experiences since the adoption of Holacracy within Liip.



  1. This film(9:21) places Holacracy in the evolutionary development of organizational models over time, using the color paradigms of Laloux and Spiral Dynamics.
  2. The world-renowned company that works with Holacracy, Zappos.com, uses this BLOG to react in a humorous way to all the heartfelt responses to their radical choice for Holacracy.
  3. In this article Frederic Laloux and Brian Robertson discuss five widely-received judgments about Holacracy.
  4. In this article Brian Robertson takes the human side of Holacracy and writes about how it brings out the best in people. It’s a response to the common criticism that “Holacracy is so rigid; it’s more for robots than for people!”
  5. Jasper Rienstra, Holacracy Coach, gives 5 reasons never to start with adopting Holacracy in this BLOG. 5 reasons that are often heard and not entirely untrue…

Top 10 sources for general holacracy info

Holacracy is gaining attention rapidly throughout the Netherlands as well as worldwide. Increasingly, (parts of) organizations are using Holacracy as a management tool. There are also many interesting articles, books, and movies on the subject.


  1. This animation film (1:47) is short but powerful.
  2. Why Holacracy? (5:13) answers the basic Why-question. Because it is Purpose Driven, Responsive and Transparent.
  3. This white paper (7 pagina’s, in het Engels, mét plaatjes) is a good introductory article.
  4. This article from Emerce is one of the better Dutch articles about Holacracy.
  5. In this film (2:36) Jasper Rienstra discusses the power of Holacracy.


  1. Brian Robertson wrote a very remarkable and practical book, hardly surprisingly titled ‘Holacracy’ . Highly recommended – even if you don’t intend to implement Holacracy immediately. And the Dutch translation is excellent.
  2. In this TEDx video (18:20) Brian Robertson explains what Holacracy is all about.
  3. The book ‘Reinventing Organizations’ . Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux made the world sit up and take notice last year, and has shown that many people and organizations have been tracking down Holacracy. Inspirationally and clearly, Laloux shows that ‘enlightened’ organizations are all about purpose, wholeness, and self-management. Holacracy is mentioned as an example of how you can shape your company in concrete terms. The Dutch translation is also fine.
  4. In this attractive Dutch-language book Green On, parallels are drawn between Special Forces and Holacracy-based organizations, full of real-life examples.
  5. Two great podcasts on Holacracy and self-managing organizations: part one (58:36) and part two(46:21).

Holacracy: 5 reasons never to start it

It is easy to find enthusiastic stories about Holacracy. More and more entrepreneurs, together with start-ups and scale-ups wax lyrical about what is still a fairly new operating model. What is not so frequently highlighted is the hassle that can be caused by such a change process, or how restricting and uncomfortable Holacracy can feel, without any obvious prospect of guaranteed results. So, are you about to embark on Holacracy? If so, we suggest that you read this blog and sleep on it some more.

1. Holacracy requires a considerable amount of investment. At first glance, it seems doable: defining work into roles, organizing teams as circles, and calling problems “tensions. But to achieve the real power shift that all those coaches refer to requires far-reaching commitment from the (soon-to-be former) management. It usually takes a while for all involved to believe that they really are ‘in chargeof their ‘ own roles and that the old hierarchical power relations are no longer relevant. It takes willingness on the part of managers to be coached, to feel awkward/ uncomfortable and to tolerate frustration. That’s quite an investment. What entrepreneur does that, with no sight of a return on investment?

2. Holacracy does not guarantee results. Ask any certified coach about the relationship between Holacracy and corporate profit or revenue increases and he’ll say something as vague as, “It doesn’t guarantee results, but significantly increases the likelihood that you can have an impact on outcomes.” Even if you go searching for it, you won’t find any scientific research on the effects of Holacracy. Is it sometimes a movement for idealists for whom results don’t really count?

3. Holacracy can create hassles. If you have such hassles and want to solve them now, skip Holacracy. This is because it makes obvious who is/isn’t performing, not finishing projects, not meeting their commitments, etc. Can be painful and is guaranteed to create hassle.

4. Holacracy does not take care of people. Holacracy places the responsibility for one’s own well-being and work entirely onto people themselves. You are not taken care of and, indeed, if you try to “take care” of the work of others, you will be told that it is not beneficial to the organization. Regularly, people consider quitting their jobs. The most famous example in this regard is the American company Zappos. After two years of experiencing Holocracy, all employees were asked to make a choice: fully commit to Holacracy or leave – with a severance package. A whopping 18% of employees chose to leave.

5. It is an American model and that doesn’t always perfectly fit in with Dutch culture. We tune out, we seek consensus, we consult a great deal so that everyone feels heard, and we invented the polder model for a reason. Holacracy imposes all sorts of rules that everyone has to follow. Colleagues can see you coming: “We’re going to start self-organization guys, so grab your freedom! Oh yes, from now on a new constitution applies, the Holacracy Constitution ….. more than 40 pages of it! ”

The rules for tactical meetings are very attractive, but you have to also undertake governance meetings and the usefulness of these is not so clear at the beginning. No longer do all opinions count equally, but only if they get a sort of “ok stamp” and are seen as valid objections. And if you want to complain, you have to come up with an alternative proposal yourself. That’s not comfortable work, is it?

The above is entirely based on real-life practice and 10 years of experience. Doesn’t this scare you off a little, or are you still interested in Holacracy? 

more about Holacracy and self organisation

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