Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

And the Winner is… June 27, 2009

Earlier this week I attended the Big Success Business Pitch Summer Contest, organized by the San Francisco Entrepreneurs Meetup Group. These were the five contestants who all made a fantastic job presenting their companies:

  1. Bill Brobeck – Chief Technical Officer Brobeck Solar Energy
  2. Meghan Connolly Haupt – Founder of Sulusso
  3. Ben Lewis – Founder of Engage As You Age
  4. Hilary DeCesare – Co-founder and CEO of Girl Ambition and
  5. Dan Porras, Founder & CEO of Planetwize

The winner selected by both the panel and the audience was Ben Lewis– Founder of Engage As You Age.

At Engage As You Age, LLC, we offer far more than friendly companionship; we know how to rekindle an older adult or senior’s involvement with contemporary life.

We’re not a caregiving company. What we are is a unique organization that carefully pairs insured, bonded, and trained employees with clients who share similar interests and passions. We personalize all of our matches to ensure that you or your loved one’s temperament and interests mesh well with those of a carefully selected activity specialist.

Our 2- to 3- hour visits are a surprisingly cost-effective way to bolster intellectual and emotional well-being. Our services are based on our belief that seniors deserve more than a life focused on meds and maintenance.

That is very cool. Connect our elderlys to their passion, and make them live a prolonged happier and healthier life. Being a promoter of music myself, I think Dan Porras had an interesting solution with the Planetwize: promoting music for a cause, with a business model that supports the musicians. I was only there to listen and learn…

It reminded me of a presentation course I took with Dale Carnegie in Stockholm some 15 years ago. At every session we gave short presentations, and there were contests in different categories. The winner was guided to give a Thank you speech following their 3-step model, which as my memory recalls was as follows: 1. Thank you, and express garatitude/appreciation. 2. This prize/token/award will always remember me of… 3. Thank you.

I had the honor of receiving such an award at the last session of the course, and the “Dale Carnegie Winner” Pen that I received would always remember me of a story that the leader shared during the first session. It was about jumping grasshoppers. You can soon read the story in my about page – but basically, I would always thrive to and encourage others to live and act as free as grasshoppers naturally do. Hm. Maybe that is what I still do now, with the Dale Carnegie Winner Pen in a different format. OK – so let’s go…

Aim high, and jump! The winner is you.



Carnegie Hall June 24, 2009

I have just finished watching the movie Buena Vista Social Club. My heart sings. Witnessing their journey, hearing their stories – from the streets in Cuba to a full house in Carnegie Hall, New York. Now THAT is what I mean with “sinking your teeth into what you really would love to do”.  Do what your heart calls you to. Wow. The energy, the pure joy, the rhythm in their veins and the happiness that they radiate is a result of just that. 

The great thing in today’s day and age is that it doesn’t need to take a lifetime to get there. But it does take dedication. Intention. Communication. And a dose of imagination. 

My most recent example of this is Kiril Kulish, winner of The Tony Award for Best Performance and Leading Actor in a Musical for his role in “Billy Elliot” on Broadway. Man! If you see this boy perform you would know why. 14 years old, first musical, best award – where will it end? True – he has been gifted with a number of talents – but he has given it his all. He may be young, but he has numbers of years of dedicated practice behind him. And as he stated himself when receiving the award: “To all you kids out there – if you may want to dance, never give up!”

What ever your heart calls you to do – never give up!
Use your imagination to paint the best picture ever. Set the intention and be dedicated to get there. Communicate and let the world know what you want – you never know who you may meet, who they may know, what random connections the universe is creating for you and what can be possible. 

I have an idea of a software that I have the biggest vision for. It will be one of the standard applications on Mac. That is my equivalent of Carnegie Hall. It is the picture I have in my mind today, and it may get there. It may end up somewhere else, equally good or better.  

What would be your equivalent of Carnegie Hall? 


By the way: here is the full movie – enjoy! 


She quit her day job! June 18, 2009

I had the privilege to celebrate with one of my coaching clients yesterday. The invitation I got was for a “Thank-you-dinner” for the coaching received during my certification process, which was completed a couple of months ago. During the dinner she shared with me that she has fully transitioned to her own start-up. She hasn’t been to her day job in two months!    

Yay! THAT is something to celebrate! What an achievement, during a little bit more than 6 months build up the clientele and be able to stand on your own feet. I couldn’t help to get back to it several times; it made me so happy, inspired and proud.

Proud of her that she made it. Because SHE was the one doing all the work. Not giving up. She continued no matter what. Happy because I believed in her, and knew she could make it. Inspired, it’s just proved again, that if you sink your teeth into what you really would love to do, you can get there. Anyone can. That is my belief.

What would you do if you quit your day job?



Detected… June 17, 2009

No! It’s been detected… “You seem to have moved since you downloaded the software. Spotify is not yet available in your country…” I could not log in. Devastating. Sort of. 😉 I was sooo excited about having successfully downloaded the Spotify software on my computer during my last visit to Sweden, and the fact that it actually worked in the US upon my return to San Francisco. YAY! Finally! I [hope I am sure I] entertained all my neighbors with great music, I threw a Spotify Preview Party for all my friends (and their friends), I discovered some great new artists… and rediscovered old goodies. Among those Titiyo’s “Come Along” was continuously returning to the play list for the two weeks of music ecstasy… And now this.

Makes me think of Mark Levengood when he was the master of ceremony at the holiday concert Stjärnjul. It’s a heartfelt outstanding annual concert that I warmly recommend if you happen to be in Stockholm December time – 2009 tickets are available from today! (Mom – your seat is secured 😉 ). Mark was in his role telling short stories in-between the songs, with his calm humoristic style and distinct Swedish-Finish dialect. His grand-ma was a key figure in them and there is one line that I clearly remember that was her response to a devastating situation: “Det är bara å bryta ihop och gå vidare”. You just gotta break down, and move on.

So move on… (I already broke down). I got a CD in my mail yesterday! “Busy doin nothin” from a friend in Brazil (THANK YOU Lasse!). I have been begging him to release some CDs – people would love them – and now I hear that Pod Casts are on the way… waiting. I could also wait for the US release of Spotify by the end of the year. Or find a way to still be able to use it. Hack Internet. Become a premium user with “unlimited travel”. Maybe I should apply for a position with them and become their US rep! It’s in my genes to promote things and people that I care about and that inspires me. Specially if there is a Swedish connection. What a dream position, and also at the same time realize my dream of bridging Sweden and California. (No worries – I will still keep coaching!) What is your dream position? Or dream situation in life?

What ever you want to do or create – the one tip that has repeatedly come back to me during the last few days is ACT. ACTION. Just one step at a time. Get the ball rolling. Feel the energy coming… A couple of places that can be of inspiration for you are:

1) A presentation by Brian Tracy Achievement in Action. Don’t miss the last two minutes. Don’t quit! 

2) The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur’s blog post about I Am A Failure – The Biggest Lie Out There. My friend and competent Business Coach Jane Pollak has contributed with tip #109 on the list: Action is the magic word. 

Go act, be unstoppable and get detected! 



Avoir la pêche. June 12, 2009

Filed under: Entrepreneur,Health,Language,Promotion — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 7:38 am

I walked out the door yesterday morning catching myself almost forgetting to bring a fruit. Not that it is something that I always do – but, it’s sort of been the habit of the week, and I like it! Being in the process of brushing up my French I thought when going back out: “Bonne, j’ai la pêche!’ . Literally translated as, “[Great, I am] having the peach,” it means [I am] being in high spirits, having a lot of energy, feeling great physically and/or mentally — in other words, feeling peachy! It is an informal expression that is only used in casual conversation, but is not vulgar. (And the last piece I found when I googled the expression at work, and came to the very nice food blogg Chocolate & Zucchini.)

I am often amused by expressions, idioms, sayings and how they translate over languages. And now I am going into deep water, because I am an expert at mixing them up… you are welcome to correct me! “All roads lead to Venice, right?” (Geneva 2000). So what do we say in Sweden? Relating to peaches we have “hud mjuk som en persika”, a [facial] skin smooth as a peach; or could it be that the expression “kärnfrisk” is also derived from here since kärna also means stone (the center of the peach) – healthy to the core. I’d like to think so.

My instant recipe of feeling healthy to the core is to do some kind of movement form: dancing, Nia, 5 Rhythms – or right now more often yoga. I have my favorite class of Rusty Wells at Yoga Tree in Castro (outstanding – you must try!) across the city. But since he is a globetrotter wanted for his teachings around the world I found out that his great assistant Brad teaches a few blocks from where I live. So yesterday I received an email with the subject “Fwd: 63% Off Five Power Yoga Classes” from my friend Mari and dog walker, who also knows everything about this city, saying: Maybe this is something for you? This was the coolest thing. Not only that it was a great deal at the pad yoga studio that I had been intending to go the last couple of weeks, but also, I was introduced to the concept of Groupons. So great! Have you heard about it? OK – so for you guys and gals who are looking for great deals this is were to go as clients, but also for you entrepreneurs who have a service or a product to offer, this is a great way to market your product and get a bunch of clients in a day! The deal was “sign up for x number of 5-session classes for $30 each. We need to sell minimum 20 by the end of the day. Only if we do, your credit card will be charged”. At noontime when I purchased my couple of 5 sessions they had sold 97 of them already. Imagine that! Get your offer out there and bring your clients in!

Happy clients, thriving business, healthy core – a la pêche!


Hello world! June 10, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 8:50 pm

…here I am! :) – I’m singing it as I’m writing it, as if I was singing along with Growing Girls barbershop tag just like 25 years ago (! Time flies!). Apropos things that makes me happy, inspired, energized, grateful, excited… music is an excellent example. People, places, connections, interactions, random incidents are others. The feeling of following your heart and creating the life you want – that is exciting!

Any of these feelings makes me want to share it. “Delad glädje är dubbel glädje” as the Swedish saying goes – shared happiness is double happiness. So that is what happened today – a wanting to share, and I created this blog in the spur of the moment. We’ll yet have to see what the outcome is.

Hello world here I am! Do you hear me?

Loving life.



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