Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

The Door to Success – In the Service of Life March 25, 2010

The below is a handout I received in Leadership. It followed a great group exercise that really brought home the message. Recently I have been referring to it in conversations with clients and friends – I hope it will serve you too…

A FIXER – A HELPER  – A SERVER


A fixer has the illusion of being causal.
A server knows he or she is being use
in the service for something greater,
essentially unknown.

We serve always the something:
wholeness and the mystery of life.

Fixing and helping are the work of the ego.
Serving is the work of the soul.

When you help, you see life as week.
When you fix, you see life as broken.
When you serve, you see life as whole.

Fixing and helping may cure.
Serving Heals.

When I help, I feel satisfaction.
When I serve, I feel gratitude.

Fixing is a form of judgment.
Serving is a form of connection.


In this context – what is your pattern? Are you a fixer, a helper or a server? Do you choose to help because someone has asked you to? Or what is really the driver?  There is a difference in-between helping someone who ask for it, verses helping someone because you think s(he) needs it.

As Rachel Naomi Remen expands on it “When we help we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them, we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity and wholeness.” Read her full reprint “In the Service of Life” from the Noetic Sciences Review by clicking here.

However – in life, and business, it may be very powerful to ask for help. It may even be key to get ahead and get things done. It may be the perfect way when it comes to starting a business. I stumbled on an article this morning in Huffington Post by Tanja Aitamurto, a Silicon Valley-based Finnish writer: Woman: How To Start a Business Without Money.  “According to my observations, the older and the more successful the women are, the more likely they are to share their knowledge and the less hesitant they are to ask for help. Also, they seem to integrate fun and friends with work more often than we younger women do.” Not only women do it. An example is Chris Lindland from Cordarounds, who traded pants and meals for web design and ads. Read the article for more juice.

Bottomline: The door to success is to ask for help when you need to. And serve others.

 Door to success, loving life blog, in service of life, business, life

Be Kind - Serve - Ask for Help - For Success.

 

Screwed or Nailed? March 22, 2010

So you got screwed today – most people nail it.

That was a joke by the associate at Wheel Works when I came in with my flat tire today. Screwed big time. I mean the screw was big. But wow what such an incident can be seamless when everything just works. AAA roadside assistance showed up after 30 minutes at no cost thanks to great insurance. I made it on time to the next meeting and Wheel Works was on the way home, with drop-off and instant service for a low cost. Meanwhile I enjoyed a cup of tea at Starbucks and got some work done on my computer – with a gift card worth $5 you have free internet during two hours per day.

I experienced something new today: traveling with my mobile office wasn’t just to bring the computer(s), the phone, and the coaching client folders. Today I traveled with the white board filled with colorful Post IT notes. Size big enough to just about fit in my Subaru Outback. I got the comment once: “Why… do you have this kind of a car? Either you are lesbian, or a great skier.” If I would have listened to my mentor in San Diego, I would be driving a truck – I wonder what the assumption would be then? Anyway – back then I didn’t respond – he could well wonder. Today I would say “no – a software designer”. I kind of like that. But I guess – that is just part of the picture.

#loving life blog # newageentrepreneur #entrepreneur #software #design #earth #facebookComing home tonight, seeing my bedroom wall without the storyboard made it look so empty. I put up a blank piece of paper and started sketching out the Meta view perspective of my idea. Pulling together the bits and pieces I have gathered in conversations with or readings by different people, and added some new. Holy moley – I think I had a eureka moment! Talk about potential – now I just need to figure out a way to make it happen… The face of the book won’t be the same… and the face of the Earth neither I guess.

Thanks for the inspiration guys and gals: My dear Dad, my bro’ Johan, Henry Kimsey-House and Leadership, Vikram Lamba, Michael E. Gerber, Laura Guy, Tim Shaw, Christine Comaford, Rob Espinosa and Sally Grisedale. I think we nailed it!

Johanna

 

Nothing Happens Until Something Moves March 19, 2010

“Nothing happens until something moves.”
Albert Einstein

A friend of mine sent me this quote recently – in relation to the software I am working on. That is my interpretation. 😉 Because it makes things move. Also, as an entrepreneur – movement is the force of creation – so act now!

Talking about movement – that instantly makes me think of dancing. Surprise.

Last week the dance project was in the form of a dance flashmob. The first I participated in, which was interesting. If you want to know about other flashmobs, or create one, you can check on www.flashmob.com.

Watching the instructions for this one on youtube made me think of a visit with one of my friends in Sweden in January. He opened the door and all of his three sons came running, “here she is – the dancer”. (Talk about riding on an old wave). They were all (age 1.5-5 years) practicing for something that would be a REALLY cool flashmob…

They showed me, and expected me – since “I am a dancer” – to show them how to do the more advanced stuff. I would propose that you all do it. Kids and grown ups – from beginning to end. Perfect little break before you cook your Friday night dinner, or when you have a party or gathering with your friends, or if you just woke up. Just click here now, turn up the volume and click on the “Discodans”- sign on the right bar. Click on step (steg) 1 through step 9, one at a time and do the movements until you master them… Really – give it a good try.

I know – for this you don’t only need to be a good dancer, but also an advanced yogi or yogini… Or a very flexible child. My friends children gave it all what they had. Hope you tried it out – your body’s way – unless you have good health insurance…

Moving – almost any form – is good for you, and your business.

Enjoy,

Johanna

If you prefer to be entertained by others, here is a flashmob initiated by the Swedish dance group Bounce as a tribute to Michael Jackson.

 

Where did the Vikings go? March 17, 2010

Jantelagen – or, the Jante Law – I find it interesting. 1) How come that everyone in Scandinavia knows about it and refers to it as a limiting factor for self-expression and self-realization? 2) How come international analysts recognize Jantelagen as the factor holding back Swedish brands? 3) How come no one wants to be supporters of it, and yet it continues to permeate our society??? “A typical Scandinavian pattern of group behaviour that negatively portrays and criticizes success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate.”

Don’t think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than us. That is the bottom line.

Isn’t it time to revert this, once and for all? I know, I know – change is in the air. And that is good. But I did get the comment when I was home – “Well, if you want to start your own business – do it in America. It would be much easier over there than here.”

In a conversation with Michael E. Gerber about entrepreneurship and the Jante Law, he asked, “How did it start? Where did Sweden come from?” I laughed and said “The Vikings!” He responded “Well – that is one kind of an answer – so, where did the Vikings go? Are you one?”

As my friend from Leadership said when reading the laws: “the Chinese culture is also very much about putting the “we” before the “I”, it is about sacrificing the self for the greater good of the group, and in reading these “laws” – it sounds more like degrading the “I” rather than raising the “we”.” Now that is a perspective to think of.

Another comment was “This sounds all very related to Shame… and what is behind it. Particularly taught shame, passed down from shame-based parents. If it is at the very core of your community, it may be that healing is required.” Could there actually be a connection?! Do we all need to heal the scars from the behavior of the Vikings?

What would it mean to bring the Viking Spirit back? Not to steal and rape, but to honor and collaborate? A Viking Spirit that has evolved from “power over” to “power within”.

And if I am a Viking? Of course I am. Are you? New Age Viking. How about that?

(Click for the documentary) And by the way – here is an example of a team in training, with Viking Spirit – the Swedish cross-country skiing team. In total 2 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medals in the Olympic Games. Remarkably well-edited documentary by Johan Serrander! Click this link for Gröt Svett och Klistervalla. The film is available on svtplay until April 5, 2010

While on the go, I can also recommend the documentary “In the mind of Anja Pärson” (available limited time on svtplay). Did you know that behind every successful athlete stands an outstanding naprapath? Today I came accross the article in Aftonbladet with heading “Anja Pärson is flying in her own naprapath”. That was true – Carl-Fredrik Andersson resides at Spinex Naprapater in Stockholm. Always good to know good-to-go-to people.

And if you are too late for the films – the below is the alternative I can offer…

Which medal are you off to win? Let’s celebrate!

Johanna

 

As Timely as the Tax Forms March 10, 2010

And ever since, the phrase has popped up in my mind, especially around tax season. Eight and a half years later. Why? Because it was so unexpected.

There I was, with my father, at the Swedish Historical Diving Society (Svensk Dykhistorisk Förening) on Djurgården in Stockholm. They were having a movie evening, showing an old film about a sailing and scuba diving excursion to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. There was this classic story-telling voice, and the black and white pictures. The whole project was very well planned. They made all preparations necessary and arrived – “as timely as the tax forms!”

I am fascinated about expressions and sayings, but that one… I haven’t heard before or after, in any language. How about you? Is that because of a country like Sweden relaying heavenly on tax to support the social system and someone being slightly ironic about it? Maybe.

In any case, it is important to file your taxes on time. If you live in California, I can warmly recommend my CPA to my fellow business owners, and also for personal filing. Steve Kopff is exceptional. Just click this link to yelp and you’ll get why. Efficient, accurate, organized. March 15… it’s coming up! (For Corporations that is – April 15th is the US tax deadline for us normal deadly. So no stress.)

If you are interested in scuba diving – the Swedish Historical Diving Society is a gem you probably haven’t heard about. It’s a society that was founded 1979, in order to save the old Navy escape training tower to future generations. It’s located just next to the Vasa museum and is run as a private museum with limited opening hours during the summer months. Confirm with their website or email if you want to go there. Slightly different than the modern version used by the American Navy Seals on Coronado I can imagine…

I celebrate this evening, because I just got my tax submission in. Everything is OK. 😉

Take good care,

Johanna

Everything is "OK".

 

Here is Your Life March 6, 2010

I came back from another movie by Jan Troell last night. The Spirit Awards that took place in Los Angeles had nominated the previous film I saw, “Everlasting Moments” for “Best Foreign film” – but Jan Troell himself was present with us in San Rafael.

The movie “Here is your life” (1966), taking place in the early 20th century was based on Eyvind Johnson’s semi-bioautographical books. The film was mainly in black and white and almost 3 hours long, with a built in 10 minutes break. Here are three things that stood out for me in the movie:

1) Business practice reminder. Olof, 16, was about to bike away to set up posters for the next movie at the Cinema graphic Theatre – the owner leans out the window and shouts, “The life of the nation is business! I want you to wear tie – remember that you represent the business.”

Not only is it important that you make sure your employees/colleagues have the same values and represent the company in a unified way – ultimately, you would also want to make sure that your 3rd parties represent the same values. That stroke me earlier this week when I went to yoga. Stressed from not finding parking and eventually finding out about the deal the yoga studio have with a garage close by, I pull up by the entrance to get a ticket by the gatekeeper. That man said “Welcome to your yoga practice” in a way and with a warm smile, so that I felt as if I had already come to the yoga studio. Brilliant. I’d be happy to park there again.

2) Make the Dream significant. As a special effect in the movie, there was a reoccurring sequence of a flying bird with a colored background, which gave a contrast to the otherwise black and white picture. In the Q&A Jan Troell gave the explanation why. The color was a symbol for the dream; the bird was a symbol for Olof’s longing for a new life and freedom; for this boy becoming an author or writer.

Intentional dreaming is powerful. Eyvin Johnson grew up from the working class up north, to receiving the Nobel price in literature 1974.

3) Freeze the frame. In a bicycle lecture scene John Troell had chosen to include a series of frozen frames. “The expressions in the face of the girl was so fantastic and they would just disappear if you did it the normal way.”

If you experience an extraordinary moment – take some time to freeze the frame and enjoy. Take a photo or a note to self, and make the moment last.

Coming home I researched the result from the Spirit Award and came over an article from New York Times with the below photo. I can’t help believing that there is no coincidence why Jan Troell is here right now. The man behind the masterpieces “The Emigrants,” “The New Land,” “The Flight of the Eagle” based on Vilhelm Moberg’s books. Just days after a conversation with Michael E. Gerber about the above, the Law of Jante in Sweden, and the question: where did the Viking spirit go?

Looking at the photos, I believe there are more things than the hat that the two gentlemen have in common. As the last comment was at the Q&A last night: “Jan Troell brings life [and soul] to the movie, and to us”. I would say: “Michael E. Gerber brings life and soul to business, and to us.”

If I can bring just a little bit of joy and love of [or in – or both?!] life to you – I would be happy. Ultimately, I would love for you to capture your journey. Here is your life.

Stay tuned,
Johanna

Michael E. Gerber - Author to "Awakening the Entrepreneur Within"

Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-myth and Awakening the Entrepreneur Within.

Jan Troell filmin "Everlasting Moments"

Jan Troell filming "Everlasting Moments"

Johanna Nilsson and Michael E. Gerber

 

Everlasting Moments March 3, 2010

May I introduce to you, one of the world’s greatest filmmakers: Jan Troell.

That was the beginning of a very impactful experience Saturday evening at The Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, CA. Had I known which treat I was up for, I would have let you know and spread the word ahead of time. And luckily I just realized that there will be a warmly recommended repeat at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley Thursday night. And more. Check out the above links for details of the complete program.

“Jan Troell is to me a genuine, outstanding genius…an extraordinarily singular, totally original and deeply inspirational director.” Ingmar Bergman (1997)

If I would add to this statement, there are three things that I have learnt about Jan Troell: he is humble, self-taught and his personal favorite among his movies is “The land of dreams” (1988).

Saturday night he said that the reason for the pick of that movie was 1) his daughter Yohanna had the leading role in it at the age of 3.5 and 2) it started as a need to express a feeling at the time being Swedish. In an article in SFGate where he was interviewed last week he said to explain what it was about “I tried to put it in one sentence and it was something like this: “the increasing absence of life in Sweden.” If the state interferes too much with the individual, with the best intentions, it can backfire. That’s to simplify it very much.”

It makes me think of a comment by Michael E Gerber, calling the entrepreneurial spirit in the American population: “We don’t need Obama, just as we didn’t need Bush – we need you”. And you don’t need to have an MBA or a high degree of some sort, to make a difference. Start with what really moves you.

Jan and Agneta Troell at Smith Rafael Film Center, February 27 2010

What made the evening with Jan Troell very special was the beautiful and touching movie, the personal introduction of it, and the presentation of its origination and Q&A together with his wife Agneta. At a deeper level it connected to what is important for me, thoughts about my deceased father’s family’s history that I wish I new more about, and to the product I am about to create. What if you can document your own history as you go? Not only in words and pictures, but also in a way that has structure and supports you in reaching your goals and dreams; and provides you with inspiration from your own progress.

I won’t tell you about the story. To quote Jan Troell: “I never read reviews of movies that I will see. I want to get my own impression. What’s good to know though is the name of it…”

The name is “Everlasting Moments”. And seriously – what if you can create them?

Enjoy,

Johanna

The Cinema of Jan Troell: Sat. through March 6, Smith Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth St., San Rafael. Troell will be present at several screenings. (415) 454-1222, links.sfgate.com/ZJEY. Troell will attend a screening of “Everlasting Moments” at 7 p.m. March 4 at the Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft, Berkeley. (510) 642-1412, bampfa.berkeley.edu.

The film series is organized by the California Film Institute in association with the Swedish Institute, Stockholm, and the Consulate General of Sweden, San Francisco

 

 
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