Work-life balance

Inspiration Shot August 2023

“Busy”; it seems to have become our new natural state of being. Doing less is difficult, especially if you approach it like another task on your full to-do list. But what if you turn it around? What if you could design your schedule, to-do list and priorities all over again, from scratch? Almost ten years ago it happened to me out of necessity, when a car accident and whiplash forced me to slow down; this time was voluntary and less invasive, but just as effective: an MDMA retreat under the guidance of a psychologist.
The preparation, the psychedelic journey, the aftermath and the ‘digital detox’ were natural moments for a complete reset. I got off social media for a while, and now leave my phone on ‘do not disturb’ at all times. More ‘being’ instead of ‘doing’. In short: a better work-life balance.
In this inspiration shot you can read about the ‘trip’, the experience of a ‘fresh start’, productivity tips from the DC entrepreneurs conference in London that tie in nicely with that, praise for Amsterdam and the importance of dancing.

What makes you happy?

Make a list of 100 things that make you happy. From a nice cup of tea, or playing with a puppy, to a fresh bunch of flowers. It doesn’t have to be big, difficult or expensive. If you’re in a dip, grab your list and choose something simple to become happy again.
Dancing makes me very happy. During the conference in London, I danced salsa for the first time in years, and I was completely blown away. Now that I’m in Amsterdam for the summer, I attend the ‘Happy Monday beach tango‘ in Zandvoort every week. At the end of the evening, I take the train back to Amsterdam, with a big smile on my face and a happy feeling. After watching the Wham! documentary I play their wonderful eighties songs every morning and dance and sing as if no one can hear/see me (which fortunately is the case). I would love to dance through life!
What makes you happy?

100 tips for a better life

I often find interesting tips and links in the ‘5-bullet Friday’ emails from Tim Ferris (author of The Four Hour Workweek, among others). This list of 100 tips for a better life contains a few gems. Which ones appeal to you?

Don’t take yourself too seriously 😝

I’d like to share a nice ‘blooper’… During this 2009 interview about corporate social responsibility* I give some valuable tips, still relevant, for anyone who wants to contribute to a better world. In the end, I drive in the rain, while having the flu, talking to the camera, trying to follow directions from my then-new navigation system, and pontifically taking the wrong street a few times. One way street, a dead end. The camera captures it mercilessly. A stereotype ‘dumb blonde action’! (*English captions available)
I think it’s important to also show your quirks and vulnerabilities if you show a lot of yourself. So not just your ‘success story’. Show yourself as a real person, with all your strengths AND flaws.

Workshop alert

From idea to book workshop

This month there are no less than TWO live online workshops for those who want to write a book or are already writing. One in Dutch on Aug 9 and an English one on Aug 16.

– Do you have a book idea and don’t know where to start?
– Are you already writing but getting stuck?
– Do you want to know how to approach a publisher?
– How do you use ChatGPT as a writer?
– Answers to all your questions!

These 1.5 hours live online value bomb is the best gift to yourself (or to another writer).

Inspiration bites


All my entrepreneurial friends are fans of this practical system for structuring your business. Valuable tools, processes and concepts to create a clear vision, align teams and improve the overall performance of your business.

Building a second brain

My biggest bottleneck is not my organization, but the interface between my brain and my tools and systems.
This book helps to find a way to use your brain for ideas, not as a storage vessel.


Revealing interviews, archive footage (with great eighties clothes and hair!) and wonderful music offer a compelling journey through the turbulent and successful era of the band. I sang and danced to all the songs!

Stephen Steers

Stephen wrote his book Superpower Storytelling following our meeting in Mexico. Thanks to my Reverse Writing method, he managed to put his fascinating story and practical tips on paper. 💪🏻

Did you know...?

… that I just experienced a psychedelic journey in an MDMA retreat? The 1-on-1 guided psychedelic journey was completely different than expected. Instead of a loving feeling, I experienced life as a witch in the Middle Ages. Not really a pleasant experience, but it did give me new insights. I wrote a blog about it, also about the positive effects of the ‘digital detox’ surrounding it.
Years ago I started the journey to get in touch with deeper emotions and the wisdom in my body, and I had some surprising ‘encounters’. Then I found out that by simply making contact with an essence I already get insights, as I describe in my blog ‘peyote whisperer’. And now this MDMA experience.
Have you ever done anything like that? I am curious to hear about your experiences and insights!

Where is Esther?

While it is above 40 degrees Celsius in Italy, I enjoy a wonderful, typical Dutch summer in Amsterdam: around 20 degrees Celsius and cloudy 😜. Friends come to visit, so I get to discover and see the Netherlands with new eyes. I did a workshop ‘Make someone’s head in clay’, visited an escape room, did an improv theatre workshop and ate the best apple pie in the world. View all my tips for Amsterdam.

For the first time, an international writer will visit Amsterdam for a private writing retreat. Nice to combine my writing coaching with showing him around ‘my’ city. It’s great that I now have a beautiful apartment in the centre available for guests. If you are interested, send me a message.

It feels great to travel less for a few weeks and not have to organise retreats abroad. On the other hand: the writing retreat in Thailand is approaching fast. I have reserved such a beautiful writer’s villa on Koh Phangan island from 19 to 26 November. View the stunning photos at the bottom of the retreat page. By the way: There is still one spot available!

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