Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

This Time I Dance! August 16, 2009

Filed under: coaching,Entrepreneur,Inspiration,Johanna Nilsson,Loving Life — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 10:50 am
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Two years ago my acappella group Keeva went to Portland to sing at Chris’s, one of the members, wedding. The day after we were strolling around and enjoying the city. To avoid the rain we stepped into a bookstore – and there is this book starring at me: “This Time I Dance! Creating the work you love.” If you’re this successful doing work you don’t love, what could you do with work you do love?

Move mountains. I know. I continued reading – “If you’re ready to make the journey into the life of living your dreams, Tama J. Kieves is the tour guide you’ve been looking for… Tama gives voice to the fearless spirit within each of us. If you want to wake up to your own passion, read this book. It will open your heart and guide you home.” Very nice – I recommend it!

The author Tama J. Kieves is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School who left her practice with a large corporate firm to pursue a writing career and embolden others to live and breathe their most meaningful self-expression. Today there is the book, workshops, study groups etc – look it up on meetup.com, I’m sure you’ll find some.  Or read the book and start one.

Start dance to your own music, or just add the instrument that is missing, and trust the journey. If something like this would happen – then we know what to do. Break down, get up, and move on!

Shake it babe! 😉 Hopefully the dance looks more like this:

I am just telling ya – get ready wedding party! (Imagine that – “Wedding party audition, this direction->” OK, let’s not get too excited – no pressure anyone.) THIS was the actual wedding we attended in Portland. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY Michell!)

Whatever situation you are in – keep dancing through life!


Oh – you want more?! OK – go for this – some real “Dirty Dancing!” Nobody will put Baby in a corner…


Kill Everyone! – Curiosity is Golden July 14, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 2:14 pm

I am off for vacation. On the airplane from Philadelphia to Stockholm there is a young, dark longhaired guy sitting next to me. Quite thin, with wild grown beard, black t-shirt – looks like a hard rocker. Seems very quiet, calm and focused.  Then he reaches for a book and put in his lap – I could not avoid capturing the title: “KILL EVERYONE”. WHO IS THIS GUY!?

Have you made up your story already?

This was a Swedish professional poker player from a tiny town in Småland on the way back from the World Championship of Poker in Vegas. He couldn’t wait to get back home, to cook some proper food – home made meatballs with boiled potatoes and lingonberry sauce. A door to a new world was opened to me, and the questions were poring…

Apparently there were 6494 competing poker players in Vegas. The cost to enter the competition was $10,000, and the winner this year would bring home the pot of $8.5M. A little less than normal, not as many players this year. Among the players were many low and high profile poker players, also professional athletes and other celebrities like Shannon Elizabeth from American Pie (who would think?!). The oldest participant was a local Vegas man at the age of 96. He made it through the 2nd day just like my neighbor Daniel, and that means 2 days of 12 executive hours focused poker play. Daniel had qualified through a tournament, and was given a package with a suite on the 52nd floor and helicopter tour over the main avenue. The lady at the check-in thought he had a fake ID and that he didn’t even had the age to stay there. I didn’t quite agree with that.

How did it all start? Daniel was working as an electrical engineer and heard about these people making a lot of money on poker, a game he had played for a long time and enjoyed. He got curious and wanted to find out how it all worked, and started to study it – everything he could find about it, as if it was any other high school education. He invested a year of salary playing and loosing, before he became a winning player. About 80% of all the players loose. Last year was the second year of playing and he made his first million – during the best couple of weeks he won as much as I earn in a year, post tax. Although – in the “tax paradise” Sweden, earning money on poker is treated as if you win on lottery – so it is not taxed. Apparently, one of the individuals who have won the most (about $10M) on Internet poker is a 21-year-old guy from Stockholm.

So how does the “work/life” balance look like?  Work days Monday – Friday he plays poker from home on internet from 9am to 4/5pm where he tries to keep 12 hands going at the same time, and then he participates in some big tournaments Sunday nights. On the free time hang out with friends that are more into hard rock. There is always someone who wants to join for the travels to competitions all around the world, where he goes maybe once a month or every other month. Not bad I must say…

And what is the lesson here for me? Maybe I should test my talent in poker – it sounds like it could provide the type of flexibility of location that I am looking for. :O Or maybe not. No, I think the lesson is more connected with curiosity. Curiosity and courage to find out about the path that you want to take in your world. Curiosity to get to know the people you meet. It is so easy to make judgments, assume things and stay on your side, but we have all so vastly different life experience and so much to learn from each other, so the gift from being curious may totally bring you out of your box and get a new reference of life.

By the way, before I forget to mention it – “Kill Everyone” is of course a very advanced poker strategy book. Nothing else.


Walking the Talk – Declaring the Independence! July 4, 2009

Filed under: coaching,Entrepreneur,Inspiration,Swedish-American — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 7:06 am
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As you may know, if you read my prior post, I gave my #1 tip to break a bad habit: Make it public! 

“In order to break a bad habit you need to make it public! Broadly. It’s just like creating something positive, making a dream happen. Make yourself heard, let people know what you are up to and repeat it many times – that will make it real.”

This was published by the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (TPE) along with 38 other tips three days ago. Next thing I know, I get an invitation to participate in the “Business Independence Declaration” blog post, in support and celebration of the independence day. So how can I not? Let’s make it public!:

Freedom of Creation

I declared my own independence by resigning from my full time work in finance* that I enjoy, to start a business that I love.  I am now creating a lifestyle that I dreamed of – creating, promoting, and coaching others to do the same – and I am darn proud of it. Skål and happy July 4th!

The lifestyle that I am about to create will bridge the gap in-between Sweden and where I live. It will allow me to be more free in terms of where I spend my time in order to still live my life where ever it takes me, work with what I love AND be present with my family in good and bad times. Many individuals reach this when they are retired. I want to do it while my parents are retired and my nephew is still a baby. I love you!

I missed the deadline for the TPE post – but do read the full list and get inspired by clicking here. What would be your declaration of independence? And what will it be next year? 😉 Nudge, nudge…

Happy July 4th everyone!

*I have committed to stay on the team until October 31 to work with next years budget. If you know of a company that is either related to Sweden and San Francisco/CA/US or flexible in terms of location, seeking a partner and seem to fit my personality and expertise – please let me know! 


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! 




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