How to get out of the mess we are in?


One of the things I have been pondering on during these last months is what else I can contribute to a better world for future generations. If I live as long as my father, I have 22 years to go. So, apart from what I am doing in my work as Leadership Coach ( and working with young adults (, “what else” is a question that keeps popping up. To help me answer it, I started noting down ideas under the heading “Fight against all the crap in the world”.

A recent conference (, organized by @Janet Harvey, included a presentation by @Shariff Abdullah who wrote a book “Creating a World that Works for All” in 1999. Already 21 years ago he talked about the Mess we were in. From where I am sitting that Mess is even bigger today. You will all have your own ideas about the Mess, so I don’t want to dwell on what is wrong and rather focus on what to start with to address the Mess.

@Shariff Abdullah writes about “Keepers” (think of indigenous people – in intimate connection with their local ecologies and all other beings), “Breakers” (create a world that works for me) and “Menders” (create a world that works for all). In 1999 he wrote that we are stuck in the Breakers Story. I would argue that in 2020 we are even more stuck in that same story, i.e. populism, nationalism, MAGA, consumerism, growing inequality, refugees, climate change, to name a few. Don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t be where we are without the Breakers Story as eloquently explained by Shariff. However, we will not get out of this Mess by continuing with it. What we need is for people to start embracing the Menders Story. How? Shariff proposes practicing Enoughness, Inclusive Compassion and Reconnecting with Our Relationships.

For me this comes back to the Zulu word “Ubuntu” which means “I am because you are, and you are because we are”. It is all about interconnectedness of individuals, families, friends, colleagues, citizens, countries, continents, and animals, plants, trees, rivers, seas, resources, nature on this planet. @Susan Goldsworthy wrote a brilliant article “From Leaders of Mankind to Custodians of Living Kind” in which she calls for all of us to embrace livingkind, because it covers all living things and, at the same time, points to how we could live more kindly. Combine this with the misnomer “climate change” and the fact that it looks like many people don’t get that this is actually less about the climate and more about us; in the words of @David Attenborough in A Life on Our Planet “…this is not about saving our planet, it is about saving ourselves”. So, we have a choice, we can continue the Breakers Story, fight and self-destruct, or we can start the Menders Story and figure out together how we HEAL for ALL.

While reflecting on what has held me back so far, I had another important insight triggered by Shariff and @Stephan Schwartz, i.e. the understanding and acceptance that I may never see the result in my lifetime of whatever it is I start today, like someone who plants a date tree today; it takes 80 years before the first fruit will have grown…. So, here we go, I have decided on what my contribution is going to be starting today. It is called HEALforALL, which stands for Humans on Earth for Aligned Living for ALL, i.e. human beings and any other living things on our planet. To start it will be a platform for dialogue and collective action to drastically change course and work today on cleaning up the mess for generations to come.

What I set out to achieve with HEALforALL is to make the world a better place by focusing on what we have in common rather than what makes us different. By 2040 I aspire that HEALforALL has made a major contribution to the creation of a world that works for all for the next and future generations. The Top 3 Priorities are:

  • Starting and continuing a global dialogue,
  • Empowering today’s young people,
  • Accelerating the development of leaders with a Menders mindset.

As of January 2021 HEALforAll will organise a forum on Zoom during every last Friday of the month from 16h30-17h30 CET to initiate a dialogue with anyone who would like to be part of a movement that focuses on Humans on Earth for Aligned Living for ALL. I am happy to let you know that Shariff has agreed to be the first guest-speaker on Friday, January 29th 2021 from 16h30-17h30 CET. Please click here to register.

Looking forward to seeing you on Zoom on the 29th, hearing what you think of this initiative and if & how you would like to get involved!

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