scientist with heart and soul

Scientist with Heart and Soul is a 6 month group intensive for personal and professional development for bright and soulful academics (Postdoc, Lecturer, Assistant Professor) with unlimited personal guidance from dr. Claartje van Sijl, with which you

  • get your motivation back
  • clearly have in mind why you are doing this academic thing again
  • create a work flow that does not exhaust you and that gives you solid results
  • feel confident and supported in leading and doing your work

Unique in this program is its small scale, which ensures maximum personal attention:

  • I know you personally and know exactly where you are in your career. You receive unlimited personal coaching from me, dr. Claartje van Sijl, an experienced philosophical coach with 15 years of experience with the academic world
  • You get personal help that fits who you are (no standard advice that forces you into a model that just is not you)
  • Personal coaching is available online via phone or Skype call, on short term. Also, you can book walk-and-talks to discuss your challenges and opportunities face-to-face. I regularly block timeslots for this, which you are free to use as often as you want
  • Because of the personal character of this program I work with a small group and a limited number of spots is available. At this moment it is still possible to enrol, but a waiting list may apply later.

N.B. You follow this program on your own level, because of the large amount of personal coaching. Therefore, the program is not just for postdocs, but also interesting for more experienced academics.

With Scientist with Heart and Soul you discover

how to create, lead, and feel aligned with your research and career

so you can confidently forge your own path to success

even if you have limited time, money, and academic impact

Your core results you’ll get from the program include


  • what is the big picture of your life and career: decide direction with confidence, e.g. how to combine life plans (children, partner, aging parents, etc.) with (temporary / international) research job
  • how to creatively work in a smart and sustainable way towards your dream
  • how to improve and safeguard your mental wellbeing (avoid / defeat anxiety, perfectionism, loneliness, uncertainty, etc.)
  • how to gain and maintain confidence to do meaningful work from your heart


  • identify what you need to perform at top level and how to organize it
  • how to identify and quiet down your inner critic and stop unhelpful habits
  • courage to overcome your obstacles and actually implement your new strategies even if they are uncommon in your field / work environment
  • accountability and inspiration from an uplifting peer group

Remember when you just started your academic career?

You were set to become an expert on the topic you love.
You had all the time to explore, create, contribute to Science, Knowledge, Truth, Society.
You were excited to connect with inspiring, bright people just as motivated as you.
After your PhD you would quickly move up the academic ladder to continue and expand your research. Not at once, of course. You knew it would take time. You knew you had to learn and work hard, grab your chances. But after a year or two, or three, or four the world would look different…

And… where are you now?

You are not the first academic to

  • regularly feel stuck, stressed, lost
  • struggle with high workloads & performance pressure
  • feel like you are being lived
  • feel like you are kept dangling and worry about long lasting career uncertainty

Don’t let these obstacles keep hindering the growth of your career or have a strong negative impact on your wellbeing! Sooner or later you have to do something about them. The good news is, you can transform these obstacles into a new superpower. Doing so in a selected group of likeminded people with similar struggles under the guidance of an expert coach immensely speeds up the process.

“That’s easier said than done” I can hear you think.


It is possible to feel confident in your expertise in a highly critical environment
It is possible to create a healthy balance in your responsibilities including research
It is possible to be an academic and have enough time for family and friends
It is possible to create your own path to success doing work that you love

Yes, of course you need to invest to make that happen

Frankly, I do not believe in quick fixes. As much as you need time and funding for your next experiment, paper, conference, so you also need time and funding for the next step in your career, professional development, and personal growth.
Likewise the context in which you do this — your lab, research group, support team — determines a lot of the success and impact you will have. This program offers you just that helpful context and guidance to really speed up your development.

Will the results be worth it?

Consider this:

  • stress and burnout are the number one health issue for academics
  • feelings of isolation and loniness are widespread and feed directly into the misbelief that you are inadequate
  • just shutting up and working harder is not getting you out of the vicious circle of the impostor syndrome
  • perfectionism is actually preventing you from delivering the best you are capable of

If you keep being lived and playing small chances are that you will leave academia feeling like a failure, rather than step up to your potential and become an academic leader. Can you justify that to science, society, yourself?

Is this you?

Scientist with Heart and Soul is developed for smart academics who

  • want to flourish,
  • are ready to take responsibility to use all of their talents and to sustain a healthy level of wellbeing
  • are convinced that it is possible to do and feel better in their research, life, and career but do not know how
  • too often spend weekends and evenings on tasks that otherwise are not done on time or at all
  • excel in their specialism, but are still searching for ways to feel more aligned with their work, for a healthy workflow and a sustainable career, without having to work even harder and without having to compromise their integrity and sense of quality.
  • find that the average job orientation workshop, job application training or professional development program does not do the trick
  • need a safe space to reflect and experiment
  • want to find like-minded people who also struggle, who are also willing to participate authentically and show up vulnerable, who also want to grow and be accountable together

“Scientist with Heart and Soul” gives you the opportunity & techniques to

—> reflect on and shine your creative and brilliant mind,
—> stay connected to your heart’s wisdom,
—> experience peace of mind while you excel at doing work you love
—> learn faster,
—> feel supported and confident in doing science with heart and soul

In short, you will learn how to flourish as an academic.

What others are saying about Claartje’s coaching:

I needed to order my thoughts about my research career, especially after I obtained my NWO Vidi grant. Claartje has a calm personality and communicates in an open and non-directive way. Her concrete tips were very helpful.Femke


Hi Claartje, I want to update you regarding my life. Since we last spoke a year ago, so many things have happened. When I decided to quit I moved back to my home country. I am now on a fast track for my art degree. I’m enjoying it so much! It gives me a lifestyle very close to what I want: I have full control over my schedule, I have time for me, my dogs, my husband, I have control over the inputs and outcomes. I couldn’t ask for more.

Now I have been given the opportunity to finish my project after all. Even though I had a very hard time in the lab, I am doing it. I am much stronger now. I feel it will bring the last bit of closure I need to wrap this chapter of my life. I’m almost done, but not all of it is dependent on me (as usual in science).

I can’t thank you enough. Not only have you given me the tools to deal with such a conflictual person as my supervisor, but ultimately you have given me the handles to take a stand regarding my life. I keep referring to your support as the main factor making me strong enough to quit. It was, still, the best decision that I could have taken.

scientist with heart and soul

Exactly what does Scientist with Heart and Soul contain?

1.     kickstart online workshop: half a day filled with connection and action from your own office. Purpose of the workshop: a relaxed assessment of your work and life projects, clear focus for your Scientist with Heart and Soul program and fresh energy to take action with your plans. You work in your own office on your own stuff, but according to a clear and deliberate structure.

2.     10 twice monthly online group coaching calls of approximately 60 minutes each in which you discover how to

A.    create the basic conditions you need to flourish

B.    work smart rather than hard, with the Working Soft® approach

C.    set directions and stay on course in your life and career

The group coaching calls are easy to incorporate into your already busy working schedule: if you cannot attend live, you can send in questions in advance and you will receive recordings of the calls afterwards. Coaching assignments focus directly on your work, are clear and doable without overwhelm.

3.     Access to a private online environment in which you can participate, connect with other participants to ask questions, be inspired, as well as give and receive feedback anytime, anywhere (via a closed Facebook group).

4.     Personal coaching live or online, when and where you need it. Personal coaching is available on short term online via phone or Skype call. Also, you can book walk-and-talks to discuss your challenges and opportunities face-to-face. I regularly block timeslots for this, which you are free to use as often as you want.

Claartje helped me through a big transitional time in my academic career. After our introduction session, she helped me realize the big picture, that I needed to think about my career more broadly than simply as a topic of study. At first this made me question my career choices even more, but as time went on I was able to see things in a more comprehensive way. I left the counseling with a much better understanding of my own interests, what I need to do to be happy with my work, and how to do it in a more effective manner.


Hello, I am Claartje van Sijl, philosophical career counselor & trainer for academics

Since I received my PhD in philosophy I have helped hundreds of researchers to connect reason with their heart’s wisdom. To move forward harmoniously. The people I work with are smart and capable, often gifted, but they got stuck. A good talk with a friend didn’t resolve the issue.

Working with me you figure out what is really important. You gain confidence when you discover who you really are and where you thrive. And you make conscious career choices based on your authentic mission in life. That can mean to continue in academia or to proceed elsewhere. I am thrilled and grateful when I see you contribute your best possible self to science and society, to your profession and in your private life. In short: when you flourish by working with purpose and ease.

Your investment

Because Scientist with Heart and Soul is an intensive and personal group coaching program, I want to make sure there is a good fit between you, the program and the other participants. Therefore, you can only enrol in the Scientist with Heart and Soul program via an orientation phonecall with me personally. This call is free of charge. I will be absolutely honest about whether the program fits your needs, because I want to create an inspiring, energetic synergy in the group and that is impossible if there is only a half way fit.

Are you quick to decide? Before March 31th 2018, you save €500,- on your full investment.

It is not likely that I will open Scientist with Heart and Soul for enrolment again in 2018, so be sure to grab your chance!

Because of the highly personal character of this program, a limited number of spots is available. At this moment it is still possible to enrol, but a waiting list may apply later.


I am confident that with Scientist with Heart and Soul you will learn faster how to find your balance, and start flourishing. If you are not fully satisfied or convinced that this program is valuable to you after the FIRST LIVE TRAINING CALL FOLLOWING THE KICKSTART WORKSHOP just let me know via email within 24 hours, and I will fully refund your money and remove you from the program. Promised.

When, where

Scientist with Heart and Soul will take place mostly online from your own office or home. Private coaching can be either online or as a walk-and-talk in Amelisweerd, near Utrecht (NL).

Kickstart online workshop: May 14th from 9:30 to 14:00 (CEST)

Group calls start at 9:30 (CEST) on Monday mornings: May 28, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16. The rest of the group calls will be scheduled in consultation with the participants.

Bonus extras

You will receive free recordings of all online coaching calls, so you never need to miss anything and you can check back on the material later.

A well-focussed set of materials for each call in workbooks (pdf) with handouts, checklists, resources or links to audio exercises (mp3).

You will receive the book “The Art of Working Soft” by dr. ir. Ellen de Lange Ros as well as access to the Working Soft Online Self Study Program, which consists of more than 9 webinar modules and worksheets detailing the Working Soft approach step by step and with extensive background information (valued together at € 750,-).

Access to a mastermind of fellow academics finding their way to work with heart and soul. This lets you get support from the people who deeply understand your situation and be inspired by the victories of your peers to take action yourself.

I want to join! Can you schedule my orientation call?

I look forward to talking to you!


P.S. Because of the extensive personal coaching you follow this program on your own level. This makes the program valuable not just for postdocs, but also for more experienced academics.

scientist with heart and soul