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Dec 30, 2009

What's Your Most Burning Question as a Leader?

Hi guys,

I'm designing a leadership conference for Estonian leaders and surprise -- I want to experiment with some innovative learning techniques and create a one-of-a-kind-experience for everyone.

I also want to learn further about learning design and invite you to join me. I already have insights from some of the innovative minds that I will share with you later, but for now I'd invite you to jump in with a small contribution.

The rules to participate are simple:

1. Take 1 minute to reflect and answer this question: what's right now your most burning question as a leader?
2. Drop your answer in the comments below
3. To receive a special award (read below) also leave your e-mail address

So here's the question again:

What's right now your most burning question as a leader?

Dec 29, 2009

I have too much stuff -- want some?

Christmas is great, I just spent one of the most wonderful week of the year with my family. Conversations, table games, great food and...stuff. I mean, literally -- stuff. New things, gifts, presents, too much food.

I think we have too much already.

I used to live in a very minimalist apartment in Kuala Lumpur - a coach and a table in the living room, a bed, a cupboard and a chest of drawers in the bedroom and some stuff in Maru's room (I even hid the toys in the boxes to not get distracted by them).

The reason wasn't that I'm such a minimalist person, it's was simply because it was a temporary home and I only invested into buying a carpet. But the effect was the same - it was a stress-free environment, calming by its lack of THINGS that get you distracted. So even though it was echoing in the living room and my friends used to ask me in Skype if I'm talking from a cave it taught me how less is better.

Now I'm back in Estonia and my parents house is full of things that it has collected over the past 30 years of existence. My room is full of things, the living room is swamped by chairs, coaches and shelves. My favorite place is the bathroom that was just renovated and is still relatively empty (yay!).

Things come to us so easily, but they tend not to leave. They just stick around and we get used to them, not noticing that they consume our energy. It's harder to focus on important things when your surroundings is full of information.

Oct 30, 2009

Ode to the Independent, Gorgeous, Amazing, Beautiful SINGLE People


Young, successful, single people, constantly searching for love. From one short or long term relationship to the other, nightclubs, casual flirting in the office, late-night Skype calls and poking, tagging and scrapping in Facebook.

Maybe this game is all they want and there's no search behind it. Only the acceptance that love is spread in the crowd and you need to go from one person to the other to pick up the pieces.

After all -- happiness can't be created by another person, it's already within you.

So all these gorgeous, smart people that could love one another do it from a distance. They meet and make love, may it be through each others beds or just by exchanging positive energy -- a good conversation, hug, a word of appreciation. Love is in the air, they breathe it and live it -- and most of the time go to sleep alone.

From time to time I can't stop wondering if this is the reality that all these gorgeous people wanted to create. Or are they secretly hoping that soon, soon the search comes to an end and their next one-night-stand is really their partner-meant-to-be?

Oct 22, 2009

So this is how we make ourselves miserable...

I really love listening to Toni Robbins in the mornings. It's like spending your time with people who inspire you and raise your standards by their example -- while doing your make up in your pajamas in the early morning in your bedroom. Pretty cool:)

This morning "we were talking" about emotions (I have to admit -- it was actually more him, I was just exclaiming "YEAH!" every now and then) -- why we need them and how to use them to move forward. There's something that he said that I wanna share with you, it really made sense to me:

When we don't follow our own rules, we don't live by our own values, by our own life standards, then we certainly give ourselves pain as a way to keep ourselves on track.

Toni Robbins

Aha!

Sep 14, 2009

I Always Pay Myself First

There's nothing beyond loving yourself. I mean -- raving about yourself, feeling that your body, mind and spirit is the greatest gift you could ever have.

Nobody can give you anything better than you already have, everything else -- no matter how amazing -- is just an additional value.

No critics can ever make you doubt about your own value. No feedback can ever make you feel bad, because it will never change the underlying truth -- you're already amazing. You have a special place, unique talents, the greatest mission of all -- to be you (assuming it's a work in progress:) and do your magic.

It's a true gift that no-one can ever take away. You don't need anything from the world to know that you're absolutely unique and special. Simply said -- you're absolutely amazing!

Being showered by love from others is wonderful, it's a gift -- and that's exactly what it is. It's a gift, something to receive and be grateful for, it's a huge added value to your life, but you don't need this to be happy. Happiness lies inside.

And knowing this there's a new mantra that I'm using and that has changed quite a bit my routines and decisions.

Aug 3, 2009

Guide for Change-the-World-People: Beware, Your Help Might Hurt


I love helping people. It's great -- especially if your help is needed. But more importantly -- especially if the end result was sincerely helpful for someone else.

Because there's also a widespread and dangerously popular way of helping other people and the "world" (whatever that means then), which I call helping-myself-to-feel-a-good-person type of help.

Let me explain (and if that offends someone that's unintentional -- but I would really love to hear the reason why).

Every now and then I run into some wonderful projects that are designed to help someone. It could be some warmhearted white lads flying all the way to Africa to give books to schools or some innovative teachers or parents testing out new learning tools on kids that should foster their healthy self image.

They have a webpage with the mission statement that melts hearts, pictures and sometimes videos of all the action that took place on spot. And I think these people are inspired and deeply touched by their deeds and they feel like having changed the world.

ALARM! Too Many Fake Smiles!

Aug 1, 2009

My Most Important Lesson So Far



I used to think that filling our purpose in life is about pursuing a certain purpose -- going after something, finding out something, moving towards something.

Now -- perhaps being under the spell of Tolle -- I realize more and more that all I need is already here. All I have is this moment. No past, no future. There's nothing outside of this moment.

Nothing to pursue. Nothing to be afraid of. No way out of what is. It is here and it is what I have. And it's all I need, otherwise I wouldn't be here.

In a way there's no future, as once I arrive it's already now. So I keep living in this now, which is so narrow and so endless at the same time.

I'm so very grateful to have my now, to fully feel it. I'm still sometimes a prisoner of my memories or my future excitements, I still live somewhere else, not here. But my now keeps expanding, the more I focus on it, the more I feel it.

Jul 25, 2009

I Love Women

There's something magical about strong women that makes me deeply admire them. I feel inspired every time I come across of a story of a woman who has lived a remarkable life, made career, raised children and most importantly -- speaks words of wisdom.

While I was making research about the best education innovators in the world I came across a lady named Nel Noddings. Chances are you've never heard of her, but just reading her story and ideas gave me goosebumps.

Being a mom of 10 children and married for more than half a century is an overachievement for most of the women. Being a mom can easily become an excuse to cover up so common fears, doubts and self-criticism that most of the women have. "Oh, I didn't have time for all of this, I was raising my kids." Which much too often actually means: "I never dared to dream more."

And then there are women like Nel Noddings who defy the odds, remain chilled, cheerful and relaxed while bringing up their kids and building a marriage -- and also make an outstanding contribution to the world. This article was my sheer moment of inspiration from today.

Jul 15, 2009

Hey, Superhero, Do Your Magic! (Yes, YOU!)



My self worth is directly connected with my contribution. The less I contribute the less worthy I feel -- and the opposite: the more I'm doing what I can and should do, the more confident and fulfilled I feel.

You're born with a unique set of natural talents -- and you just gotta use it. If at certain point of your life you started to believe that you're actually not good enough to do this or that and started to settle with less -- you're directly harming your self worth.

In order to feel deeply fulfilled you just gotta do the extraordinary -- because you can and you should. You have all it takes to stand out, to inspire, to deliver awesome stuff and to simply take the breathe away from others and yourself. The belief that you're not capable is a lie, that's it.

So if you have one of these days where you feel you're not really happy about yourself -- then maybe you should review your contribution. If your contribution hasn't really created outstanding results you could describe as achievements, then you're not living up to your potential.

Simple -- it's not that you're stupid or that you can't, it's just that you're not doing it. You need to keep contributing every day to be connected with the superior side of your being. The superhero in you wants to shine, it wants to use the magic powers you have -- whatever it is that you've got.

Jul 14, 2009

I'm Here and I'm Becoming

Me and Maru have been living in Malaysia for 7 months now. I've never been that far away from my home and I've never been that long time away from home.

Yet, in many ways, the longer I stay away the closer I get -- to myself, my freedom, my dreams and strength, my fears and weaknesses. Also my country.

I'm more independent than ever, I have more clarity and inner strength than ever -- and I'm breaking through the internal barriers that I didn't even know that I had -- small country thinking, my old beliefs, learning to stand up for myself and raise my voice. And I'm facing some new kind of questions that I didn't have before -- what are my true values and beliefs, what is money for me, what is family and community for me...and many others.

I miss Estonia, the people -- my people... the places, the moments at these places. But I also don't really miss anything, I don't desire anything else more than this very moment.

This very moment is so precious and full that I'm hardly able to perceive the moments outside of it. People come and go, places vary, everything is changing. I'm changing and becoming.

Life is so simple, really.

My mind can be my greatest enemy once it starts thinking alternatives to the things that I already know. There are not really many answers I need -- all I need is a dream and this moment to notice how this is getting me to my dream.

I don't need to feel the pain for the unbuilt schools that I'm going to build, the longing for the lover thats coming this weekend, the shame of my incapability of not being able to deliver the same result that I have in my vision.

I'm here right now with what I have and I'm becoming of what I dream to become.


Jul 7, 2009

R.I.P MJ



What's amazing about this event is the interactivity with the audience. Everyone who's watching it over the internet can see the stream of Facebook status updates of other viewers. The result is a live conversation between the readers.

Instead of listening to the journalists giving their non-stop perspective of what's going on you can simply draw conclusions of what this event really means from reading what people are saying about it at this very moment. There's everything -- big emotions (I'm gonna cry all night), good wishes (RIP), memories of MJ, comments on the funeral (wow, I could see the golden coffin from the car window!), regrets (wish I could be there), daydreaming (what if he would jump out of the coffin right now and start beating?? How cool would that be?) etc.

And some people just get very excited about having the chance to actually get involved like this at this event.

It's amazing, really -- bringing together Michael Jackson fan-base like this at his funeral is truly significant. Offline and online get mixed -- welcome future!

Jun 29, 2009

What were the 5 successes of your day?

Celebrating...

What the heck is it with people that they can't properly celebrate? Don't find enough reason to. Well, ok -- I'm not really talking about people in general, I'm talking about a recent version of myself.

And I wouldn't be surprised if you as well. Or at least many, many people who are not really finding enough reasons to celebrate every day.

I used to be one -- hard work, high goals, ambitions that always fly above me, close to the moon. So pardon being a little poetic here -- even when I was dancing on the clouds, the moon was still a far target to hit. So dancing on the clouds didn't really seem much of an occasion to celebrate.

Have you ever had this feeling? -- Others praise you and pat on your shoulder, but you just quietly think: "Well, it's not really that big deal. It's only the beginning!"

For a long time one of my leading values used to be -- and continues to be today -- IMPACT. But little did I realize that the definition of impact that I had in my head was secretly decreasing the impact that I was having with my life.

And left me internally unfulfilled.

Impact for me meant positively impacting lots and lots and lots and lots of people in my lifetime. And lots and lots and lots does not happen overnight, you know. All you get is 1, 2, 3 people a day, if you get lucky then a few hundred (or if you're working in internet marketing business then a few thousand). That's it.

According to my definition I wasn't really having the impact that I wanted and was feeling unfulfilled as a result. That internal dissatisfaction has been a motivating force for me a long time -- good that it has kept me going, but not necessarily a very healthy attitude and definitely not the only option of how to live your life.

So what I learned from MindValley teamretreat last weekend -- a teaching of Toni Robbins -- was one of the biggest aha-s I've had in past weeks. This has everything to do with redefining the rules that govern the values in your head. The value might stay the same, but you consciously choose a new definition.

An example -- if before I defined impact as having a positive impact on vast amount of people, then now I feel I'm having impact every time I'm honestly expressing my opinions, even writing a blog posting. See the huge difference -- I'm doing the same stuff as I was doing before, but end up feeling much more fulfilled and actually increase my impact as a result.

When you think about it -- celebrating small stuff is one of the fundamentals of strong life. A new habit that I picked up from T Harv Eker seminar has turned around the way I see my own successes. I've started to write down 5 of my successes every evening -- yes, only successes. This habit shifts my focus on my own success and after a while of practicing it I've started to see success in my everyday life automatically.

Really, you don't need much to feel successful -- but the more successful you feel, the more you attract actual success.

Jun 13, 2009

How to become financially free

I made a special video for my videoblog from T Harv Eker Millionaire Mind seminar. If you're interested in building a lifestyle of your dreams you might want to check it out. 

Jun 11, 2009

How about living your dream life?


Some articles get me so excited. They just HIT ME -- BOOM! Right between the eyes.

Because when I go out in the net with a clear question in my mind -- and I find an exactly right article with the right answer in it -- then I don't just feel interested. No, I feel absolutely thrilled and so excited that I'm jumping on my chair (boy, I should show more of my excitement in the office -- gotta look into that:).

And I want to share that article with you and  few reasons why this got my brain cells dancing samba.

So today my question was -- what's my dream lifestyle?

And I'm talking about living the life of your dreams. A conscious lifestyle design, choosing what you really want, what fits to your personality and what gets this unique YOU clicking like a tick-tack-bomb.

The thing is -- I grew up in a normal family. Mom and dad went to work, I went to school, took guitar and ceramics classes, played with my brother, fought with my sister, studied well, met my boyfriend, got married, graduated from uni. You know -- totally OK story, everybody does that...up to a certain point when I said: "Hey, my dreams are dragging me towards something different, gotta go!"

Where? Well, where the gut asked me to go, without a goal, really -- just to keep moving and keep growing.

So I ended up in all the crazy sizzly-wizzly-buzzly adventure that contained the colorful lifestyle in AIESEC, traveling all across the Europe, meeting new mentors, making friends who inspire the mind out of me, divorcing my husband (who became a superstar in Estonia later on -- people, never let a relationship hold you back from your true potential:) and ending up in Kuala Lumpur, the job of my dreams.

This is all good, constant moving makes the Universe go WOW -- but heck, gotta move to the next level. Enough of rambling towards my goals based on the gut feeling -- going with the flow and KNOWING where you want the flow to go sounds Pretty Sweet.

So now the question -- what's my dream lifestyle?

By now you realize that I can't exactly go back to my past experiences to find a good answer. I love my family tremendously and I'm getting tons of them -- but I don't have to choose the same lifestyle as my family and peers have chosen. And to choose a different one you gotta seek for different experiences.

My question -- how are the super successful people living? What's normal for them and out-of-the-box for me? Gotta learn that, baby -- so I can actually expand my dreams and start seeing what else is possible.

So with that question in mind I stumbled across this article that I mentioned in the beginning -- from the Wordpress founder who describes the way he works. And what a brilliant article that is for anyone seeking new ideas for a dream lifestyle! Not to copy-paste, but to find at least one new idea to stick on your vision board.

I'm working on mine now, can't believe it took me 25 years to consciously design one :D

Jun 7, 2009

What to do with your Sundays

One thing that's crystal clear for me is this -- in order to stay competitive you have to learn new stuff all the time. Though I'm still far from perfect in using my time, I have some nerdish habits that help me to move ahead.

Here's an honest pick of them:
  • reading a book when I go to the toilet
  • carrying a pocket-format book with me in my bag -- you never know when you have 5 spare minutes
  • listening to TED-talks before I go to sleep
  • listening to audio podcasts when I'm cooking
  • adding all the good blogs in my Google Reader, sorting them under different categories such as Marketing, Personal Development, Spiritual Lessons etc and checking my Google Readers at least once a week
  • throwing a few question about the project I'm working on to my co-workers on casual lunch breaks or 5-min breaks to get quick, innovative feedback
Any useful habits you have that help you to integrate learning naturally and easily into your everyday life?

Anyway as it was Sunday today, I spent several hours on learning new stuff. Here my reading list from today:
  1. 10 Golden Lessons from Steve Jobs -- if you would read only one thing today, this would be it. Life lessons from a guy who changed the world with his bold vision and flawless execution
  2. Copyblogger.com -- an excellent resource about how to persuade through a written word, lot of guest blog posting and tips on how to improve your communication skills
  3. Penelope Trunk on career choice, blogging and life -- the author "gets naked" and shares some of the very private insights from her own life, yet remains universal. Human, smart and enjoyable
  4. Brilliant marketer Seth Godin on his experiment of hiring brilliant people, building interesting brands and standing out as a blogger
  5. Presentation ZEN: Making presentations in TED style -- a wonderful guide for everyone in making a meaningful presentation or preparing for your once-in-a-lifetime TED-talk
  6. Alex Mandossian: Why Multitasking Destroys Your Productivity (and other useful stuff -- just watch out for the sales pitch in many of the interviews -- or learn how to do it yourself for your own business:)
I'd be glad if you'd share your own suggestions in the comments!

Make up your mind, baby!

It's always good to get clear on things -- any decision is better than no decision at all. Indecisiveness is like an ultimate pain formula -- it freezes you in a state where you don't really want to be until you start believing there's no other way.

That's one of the biggest b....t-stories people tell themselves, the story of having only one option. There are always more, reality is just our version out of countless of opportunities, merely a perception. You don't have to look far for proof -- just think of someone else experiencing the exact same situation and you already have a new version of the reality.

If you can't make a decision you're actually choosing the miserable state that you're trying to avoid. You're so afraid of the outcomes of your new decision that you refuse of any improvement at all, just freeze, hoping that someone else will make a decision for you.

And they will, no doubt about it. People make decision for us all the time -- and if you haven't made up your mind what's your own desired outcome you will pretty much follow any decision that comes to your way.

Well, here's the news -- I don't think anyone else knows where exactly you want to go. I don't think they spend so much time as yourself of thinking what would be your best interests.

So it pretty much leaves you the only choice to DECIDE. And not to allow other people to make a decision for you, unless you're convinced they overlap with your own plans.

Why I'm inspired to write all of this? Because heck -- sometimes the decision is a tough one, something you don't really want to do. And every cell in your body is vibrating against it, longing to linger on in the moment. But if you're smart you'll always consider the long-term consequences of your decisions -- what might seem to be good now, might lead you to a long-term misery in the long run.

Eating too much. Sleeping too long. Procrastinating a task.

Or spending time with people who just use you.

Get clear on what you want and just do it. You will definitely need the extra self esteem in the future.

Jun 1, 2009

I Want to Read a Book About You


Your life is an amazing story. If you would write a book about your TODAY it would be an amazing reading. It would take my breath away, guaranteed. Yes, I mean your real day -- so real that at first you don't even notice it happened. Your true desires, the very real questions, the simple human expressions -- everything visible, hidden and buried that makes you the miraculous being that you are.

Yes, I wish I could read that book of your today, I would be so inspired.

How many wonderful things are happening to you every day? Some are so outstanding that you're literally swept off your feet, if you allow, of course. Some become serious relationships, some turn into spiritual journeys, some remain short affairs that bring a smile upon your face every time you think about it. Some are your secret desires or your sweet victories in the battlefield against your darker side.

Life is made of these moments -- do you still get the vibe when you think about the life you're living?

Savor the moment, celebrate your success. And remember the beautiful details of your experiences, your story was never supposed to be a 2-dimension black-and-white-movie. Tell a story that your grandchildren would love to hear. Remember your first, second, third and fourth love with the same inspiration. Get all excited when remembering THAT job interview. Sense the special electricity when you got your first passport. Remember the longing for this special person -- with a smile for all that you learned.

Give value to all your experiences. Remember the colors. Stay human. No regrets. A beautiful, full, rich life.

Love every piece of it.

I'd really love to read the true story of your today.

This commercial I found from Peep's blog is a perfect match with what I've written today.




May 6, 2009

Why it's so important to choose the right crowd


Have you been in a situation where you feel you just don't fit in the group? The jokes they make, stories they tell -- you just don't "click", have nothing to add?

Sucks, right?

Unless it was that you were sick or tired, you probably experienced some kind of a conflict between your values and the values of the group. 

The thing is that every group is sharing certain values, this is what keeps it together -- and if your values don't match you better do something about it.
  1. Learn to be a better communicator and keep a different opinion without insulting the group members
  2. Change your opinions
  3. Leave and choose a better crowd
  4. (add your own thought)
Just sitting around and feeling bad about yourself doesn't help anybody, least yourself.

The truth is that no matter how strong is your personality and how effective you are in communication -- the group always influences your opinions. Even a slight change in your opinion influences your internal values and the more you have to adjust, the more you become alike the group.

I'm not saying if it's good or bad, just that -- make sure you choose the right crowd. If you haven't recently been drawn to a conversation that inspires you or you haven't felt really INTO the group -- you probably gotta meet some new people.

And a hint about your values -- watch out for the things that you really, really like. Everything that makes you feel good says a great deal about your values. You shouldn't change these values that make you bloom, change only those that make you feel down.

Allright, gotta run on a dinner, talk later!

Another wonderful social experiment

Internet is amazing. I found this video where musicians from all around the world are playing the same song that comes together as one music video.

It's great, I love the idea. It's simple, innovative, meaningful and fun -- that's how executing powerful ideas should be. Not hard work, but a fun journey.

This video is actually part of an award-winning documentary "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music". Check out the whole story here.

May 4, 2009

What I dislike about church


Christian girl is back in church.

On our trip to Penang island I visited Malaysian biggest temple. Beautiful place, I love the atmosphere in churches and other religious places. They've gathered lot of good energy and hope, you can just feel it.

Though enjoying the vibe and the special connection with myself I did realize that institutionalized religion has left some unwanted influences in my brain. You see -- church wires you up in a certain way and you can trace the subconscious influences -- not always wanted and beneficial -- even years after moving on.

I was a Christian girl -- went to church half of my life, was raised in christian traditions, learned to follow and fight for values that I took from my church.

It took me years to rebuild my core values once I realized that church was not really holy nor working for my best interests. And now, while working in Malaysia, traveling around, building a new social network and being close to my learning edge I'm re-estimating with my core value system once again.

And I've discovered some belief systems coming straight from church -- which beg to be changed -- if I'm serious about becoming the person I was born being.

This is what church does to your brain.

1) it makes you believe the truth is black and white
2) it makes you not to question
3) it makes you to believe there's always a higher authority who already knows
4) that there are rules and you have to follow these rules
5) it makes you rely on others

I'm not against religion, really. I think it makes sense and has a lot of universal truths in it.

It's just the church, the institutionalized religion that I find dangerous for unprepared minds.

It's the hypocrisy together with the denial of true human potential that makes me dislike institutionalized religion. It leaves traces in your brain that you need to consciously remove to be successful in this world and to be fully connected with your natural being.

And I'm sorry if I've offended anyone with this posting. I know a lot of good people in church who have managed to maintain the purity of their practice. Yet majority of them are just followers, brains switched off and words far away from deeds.

I'm glad there's hope, though -- we can change if the need is burning enough for us.

So this one is for going through necessary transformations.

Apr 20, 2009

This posting is not about longing, but about appreciating

This is a random thought, but I really want to share this.

I think you are so lucky that you can be with the people who are around you today.

You are.

So whoever is around you give appreciation to them they truly deserve, just because they are there right now.

I do the same here, so that I don't have second thoughts once I change the space.

First find your question


Maru asked me in the morning if BWM-Ferrari is the fastest car in the world. Well, when it comes to cars I hold the record in knowing the least, but I do know that BMW and Ferrari are not the same brand. This said I didn't have much more to add -- except that it's certainly a GREAT QUESTION.

I'm honest with my kid -- if I don't know the answer, I tell him: "Google knows." And I save the day - together with my reputation - with a little Google search.

The ideal time to do this came today while sitting in a fish and chips restaurant and waiting for the -- fish and chips. With a little everyday-magic from Google we learned that the fastest car in the world is SSC Ultimate Aero that can develop a speed more than 415 km/h.

What happened then was my aha!-moment of the week. To host a decent conversation over the dinner I proposed a game: "Let's both ask a question about something we want to know. The one who has more questions is the winner."

And here's the aha! -- I realized that it's much harder to ask questions then to provide answers. That might seem a minor detail, but once you try the game you understand how HUGE impact it has on our lives.

You've been trained to answer, not to ask questions (at least I know I have). You feel a bit incompetent when you don't know the answer -- as if being on the spotlight back in school, grilled by a teacher in our least favorite subject. We're all pretty good in pretending we know, which also means that the effort that should go into focused learning goes pretty often in covering up our lacks.

Think about it -- what do you want to know? What's your question?

And then go for the answer. Not the other way around.

PS: You should try the game, it's fantastic.

PPS: Maru wanted to know how many people have been killed in wars, how many sharks are in the sea of Lithuania and who killed the chicken my mother kept a few years back. I wanted to know how to gain friends and influence people -- and I've already read the book. Bugger, what did I learn, actually?

Apr 15, 2009

If You Don't Know What You Want, You're Doing Something Wrong

"I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can't find anybody who can tell me what they want."

Mark Twain
Do you remember the ease of dreaming?

Have you ever felt it's hard to tell what you really want? You've ever wondered why is that?

Time to stop finding excuses for not knowing what you want and find it out. And a good place to start is to unlearn some crap you've picked up and start dreaming again.

Dreaming is something you don't need to learn -- yet it sometimes seems that with every year added to our life account we're becoming crappier dreamers. As if growing older means you don't need to dream anymore, as you already know how things work.

Well, if that was true all the innovations would have been invented by 5 year olds.

If you feel that goal setting for you is a duty, something you do because you're:

- afraid to miss out something
- want to seem smart
- have heard it's useful
- thought you'll try it
- {add your own reason}

...then it's time to get back to the basics.

Dreaming is not hard, it's not a job, it's not taking any effort. It's just the most natural ability you have -- to imagine the unbelievable and non-existing things, a better you, an improved world, you making MAGIC and beating the dragons.

You know what I mean? Dreaming is something you've done since you were a child -- and I believe that what you used to dream about has much to do with who you are now and where your life has taken you.

Now think about it -- if those dreams you had as a child have taken you through the school, maybe through the university, gave the friends, sweethearts, trips and jobs that you have and have had, then imagine where your dreams would take you now when you know so much more about the world?

It's really great to know that you already know how to dream, without any training at all. Well, at least deep down you do, but on the surface you might have ran into a dead end. Maybe asking: "Is that possible?" "Is that reasonable?" "Is that what I really want?"

If you find it hard right now to say what you REALLY WANT, you probably need to unlearn some stuff you've picked up on your way here. Absolutely every person knows naturally what he wants -- if you don't anymore, you need to rediscover the ease of dreaming.

We've been much too often trained out of dreaming -- and we're trying to fill the gap with analyzing, thinking, being busy and worrying about it all. Nothing bad about thinking, but you can't really analyze the data that doesn't even exist yet. You see my point? You first need to dream the new possible reality and then make some reality check to start moving towards it.

I was observing my son the other day, he's a master dreamer. He described the future inventions he's gonna make, also the gifts he's gonna get from Santa this year (yeah, he plans that stuff 11,5 months in advance...). Obviously he was not questioning if the way he was dreaming was right or wrong, nor if it would produce the results what he wanted.

It was just fun -- no expectations, no limits.

Seeing this is refreshing. It reminds the fundamental of natural dreaming -- without worries and the anxiety about the outcome.

So dreaming is not merely setting goals. It's not even thinking. It's sensing what is already there and allowing it to come on the surface. It's easy, it's fun and it changes your life.

So before you start setting goals what you want to be 6 months from now or even before you write your daily to do list, make sure you're dreaming. Daily. It doesn't cost a thing, but it takes you forward so much faster.

If you want to know how dreaming has taken me to Malaysia and given me a dream job then check out the story from the recent video training I made for AIESEC Estonia. I believe dreaming is the necessary premise of setting goals, you need both sides of your brain to reach your highest potential. And if you're not a member of AIESEC Estonia, you can simply skip the final part of the video which is purely meant for AIESEC Estonia highly talented members (and I do think you all are).

Apr 13, 2009

Why I Can Never Have a 9-to-5 Job



PS: Yes, awesome is a clearly underused word -- that's the ONLY REASON why I'm overusing it in this video...

Apr 1, 2009

How To Accept Yourself and Find Opportunities Everywhere

There's no such thing as a normal world, normal family, normal career, normal relationship. Whatever your friends, parents, role models taught or showed you is most probably going to be different for you. So you might as well let go of all the definitions you have in your head and let your own reality open up in full beauty.

Yeah, seems that too many people are resisting their reality that wants to come. Their afraid of unconventional choices that are too far from mainstream -- though mainstream is nothing else than an illusion.

There's no such thing as a normal life. Just look at what's going on in the world, we can't keep up with stiff backbones trying to resist the change. World is changing anyway and if we try to keep it still with our solid expectations for jobs, relationships, lifestyles -- we're just always feeling we're not really getting what we wanted. Constantly missing out that something that could make us happy -- and constantly missing out opportunities that stay outside of our definitions of "normal".

Just accept the reality as it is. It's a freaking chaos, a crazy adventure, one opportunity opening up after the other, non-stop dance. Trying to control it with your expectations of "normal" and "right" is just crazy.

Go with it, flow with it. Let it come, whatever that is.

A girlfriend you didn't expect, boyfriend with a lousy car, a job opportunity that scares the hell out of you, a bold decision you should have taken a long time ago.

There's a reason why I'm not acting like any other single mom. In fact -- I think the term is misused most of the times, it tends to frame the reality in a certain way. It tells my story without me saying a word. Much too often it has a bit sad undertone, overloaded with historical negative data that sets expectations. "Oh, she must be boring." "Well, she might be good for fun, but I can't really consider a relationship with her." "Poor baby, she has been suffering so much."

This is only a perception, one way to interpret reality -- but not necessarily my interpretation.

And "single mom" is only one of the examples -- think of the terms you're being defined by or that you use to define the world. Do they help you or stop you from being happy? And is this the reality or just one perception?

I'm avoiding definitions that tie you to certain abnormalities, because the "abnormality" is often more normal than we think. World is full of unconventional stories and looking at the pace the world is changing -- stability is the last thing we can count on. Which makes me think that it's the last time to consider unconventional the new "normal".

Chaos is the most normal form of life and accepting it fully in your life allows you to fly with opportunities. So don't let the "voices" (whoever they might be) tell you otherwise.

Chaos is the new Order.

PS: Anger should be turned into constructive force to move forward. I can get angry when meeting narrow-mindedness and judgmental opinions -- probably more about meeting my own limits. This post is fully inspired from one recent occasion. All you get are lessons, I'm glad to keep learning and as crazy as it might sound -- to keep meeting difficulties.

Mar 30, 2009

Beware: This Music Makes You High


Can you get high on music and avoid all the bad side effects from coffee? Can music alert your brain waves so that you literally can focus better and get things done in half of the time?

I took a journey down the rabbit hole just a few days ago and the results have been so stunning that I decided to write a blog post about it.

It all started with a lunch with my colleague Hani who said she has something special I might want to try... (nope, she's not a drug dealer, you would get a death penalty for this here in Malaysia :).

She told me about music that works just like coffee -- you have more energy and you can focus better, but it doesn't have bad side effects. Just put in the headphones while you're working and enjoy the vibe!

Decided to try it and the effect was amazing! Just finished listening to one of the tracks and my brain literally vibrates.

It's a strange feeling of being high (yeah, like a bit drunk) and alert combined with focused and productive. The music is all about slowly accelerating your brainwaves, literally getting inside your head *I hope they haven't hidden any nasty sales messages into it...just kidding:)

I had my friends trying it out as well and surprisingly all of them had a slightly different effect -- but all felt high in one way or the other. Here's what one of them wrote me:

"When I started listening to is at first it didn't really do much, but when I was half way into the first part I started getting really hyper from it.
After I was done listening to all of it, I couldn't even stand still and it took me a while to calm down. I also had my friend listen to it and she said that the whole room started spinning when she was almost done listening to it."
Really cool stuff. I got so many questions about it, so I finally tracked down the company and discovered that you can actually try it for free. It's called BrainSync Brainwave Therapy and I was listening to a track called High Focus. I also tried Super Learning -- loved both of them. Not sure which tracks are offered for free on the website, but try it anyway, it also might be worth in investing a few bucks to buy the actual track.


Check it out here
-- and let me know how it worked for you.

Mar 20, 2009

Being lazy is not a bad thing. NO, not at all


It's freaking hot in my room. There seem to be something wrong with my air conditioner, just turned it to 14 degrees -- but nothing, I'm melting together with the mint chocolate I'm eating.

It's Friday evening and I'm at home with not a slightest desire to go out. I'm sorry for this random intro, btw, what do you expect -- I'm hot, sleepy and inspired at the same time.

Anyway I'm inspired by the new opportunities of technology. Just finished reading couple of cool blog postings and articles about brain research and gifted children -- some of the topics I'm really into these days.

What inspired me was the way how I found them. Not by browsing hundreds of Google sites, trying to track down the freshest and best quality content, but by having Google Alerts do all the work for me and just choosing the best articles from a list provided by this tool.

Google Alerts is an awesome tool to be updated with the freshest knowledge about whatever interests you. Just type in the keyword you're interested in -- and you start receiving daily or weekly updates with the materials that have been uploaded in internet the same day and that include these keywords.

It's amazing - you really stay on top of the field of your interest. You can also track what is being written about yourself or your company. Brilliant, just started to use it this week.

Mar 18, 2009

How to lose your personal power

Yeah, chose this time a negative headline - and for purpose. I really think it's so common to ignore and so easy to overlook that easy truth what I want to share, though it's making so many of us less as individuals -- and could be turned into a benefit so easily.

So here it is, one of the most powerful ideas I've recently picked up, this time from one of the great trainings from Mike, one of the owners of MindValley.

The law is simple -- each and every broken commitment decreases your personal power

The whole pile of things you know you should do, but are for whatever reason not doing makes you weak, it literally drains your personal power. All the broken commitments -- be them for others or for yourself -- decrease your personal power.

And it also works the other way around - the way to become a more powerful individual is to follow through. Simply said - by doing what you said you would do. Again - doesn't matter if you said it to yourself and nobody else knows -- or declared it you publicly, the effect is the same. You WILL become a more powerful person if you just keep doing the things that you are committed to do.

The bottom line here is -- choose your commitments carefully. Even the smallest promise -- I'll write to you, I'll send you these materials, I call you, I get it done -- tie you automatically with a source of energy. If you don't follow through -- you lose energy, if you do -- you gain more.

And don't misunderstand me here -- I don't think we should take on less tasks. Quite the opposite - we should at all costs strive for taking on more and more tasks, that's the true contribution to the world and the source of meaningful living. So the answer is not to isolate yourself from all the exciting opportunities in the world and become a bad friend who never returns a favor, but -- become a more productive person instead (isn't it simple:)?)

These are the reflections while "cleaning my own house" and removing the energy vampires from my own life. Kind of stupid to keep losing your personal power to really minor undone tasks -- better to clean the house quickly and keep growing.

Mar 9, 2009

It' really not an accident that Maru saw a sting ray....


After a small break I'm full of irresistible need to express myself (is it the coffee or the great Skype conversation I just had with Siim? Probably both...)

It's a quick story I want to share about creating your reality. Well - I'm a believer. I think we get everything we want. So there's nothing else more powerful than a thought -- it creates your moment.

And how often do we really recognise - wuuuhuu, it's exactly what I wanted? I am where I am now because I wanted it, would it be good or bad.

Well, recently I was walking a dirty street of Kuala Lumpur. Smelly, hot, crowded, colorful -- somehow messy. And I felt so comfortable, so alive. Why?

Because this is exactly what I wanted. Already when I was 10 years old, reading Jules Werne stories and dreaming about adventures. When I was 15 and dreamed about becoming a missionaire in Africa (yes, I come from a Christian family -- though have turned out as rather a spiritual person, not taking strong stand for nor against God, but striving for stronger connection with whatever higher powers we all have).

There's a pattern in everything we experience, reality is not an accident.

Another boost of dreams coming true was this weekend when me and my friends made a trip to Tioman, one of the Malaysian paradise islands. As part of the trip we went snorkeling around a small coral cliff. If some of you have seen an old movie "Blue Lagoon" with Brooke Shields then you might remember the scene where a little baby is swimming around in the blue water.

I didn't even know I had this image stuck in my subconscious mind till me and Maru got into the water and I just looked at this 5-year old kid swimming around in the blue sea, above beautiful corals and surrounded by colorful fishes (and one small sting ray down there...). It was beautiful, I was amazed and thrilled that this moment is truly real.

Snorkeling with my 5-year old son was not an accident. It was a thought coming true -- and when you think about it -- it's freaking powerful. I wanted that even before moving to Malaysia, before knowing that I'll be a mother that early and before thinking for a while that being a young single mother defines your reality more than your own thoughts.

It's beautiful and absolutely incredible to see how thoughts become your reality. I have a quote written on my wall: "Your dominant thought becomes your reality." Makes you responsible, doesn'it it? And confident that you really can get whatever you want - just keep stretching.

PS: A bunch of my close friends opened recently an ecotourism company, organizing unique trips for small groups to Kasakhstan and Croatia. They're having fun while travelling back to the countries they love and have created a huge network among locals -- and building a company in the process. Brilliant! Check it out if you're rather an adventure traveller and want to feel the country even without thorough preparation and spending too much time on the spot - http://reisidvabadusse.ee/

PPS: I promise to start posting again to my video blog -- latest next week. I was facing a small setback when my external drive didn't work and all my videos were gone -- but who cares, really? Yeah, I'll restarts, making videos is quite fun:)

PPPS: Estonians - you can read a small something about my everyday adventures in this article for Meie Maa. My Saaremaa identity never quite dies :)

Feb 12, 2009

Why walking the extra mile makes extra much sense

There’s no better inspiration for me than getting things done. And I mean - things done. Getting things done is not being busy, no, no. It means that you have a result in the end.

Result for me is an additional value to the world. In order to get something done you need to create something.

Some days are just busy. There’s a lot what needs to be done and so you do it. In my specific case - costumer support, facilitating communication, writing e-mails and at this point of time transitioning a business to a new person. None of it could be left undone.

Yet it doesn’t give me the real satisfaction - and it’s honestly quite strange how long it took me to come to this simple realization.

I’m simply NOT HAPPY when I’m busy with necessary things only, but yet don’t get things done. Because as I said - getting things done for me is creating an extra value.

This means I always need to know what’s the extra value I want to create. It can be some improvement in the business, innovation around the product, improving some concrete parts of my character, start building a new business -- whatever interests me.

The added value has to become a goal and only then I can be happy.

So in the busiest days I always have a sense of urgency in the back side of my brain that pushes me to get this done as fast as I can, because I can’t be happy before I haven’t taken - each and every single day - some time to create extra value to the world. Sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night with this urgency in my head - damn, I didn’t really achieve anything today, I was just busy.

Last time was before one product launch - the whole day was just crazy busy that in the evening I dropped in the bed - so tired - that I fell asleep straight away. I woke up around midnight with a nagging feeling - I didn’t get done the most important thing I wanted to get done that day, which was sending out one e-mail to a newsletter. It took me 20 min to get it done and go to sleep peacefully. The next day this e-mail only brought in $ 30 000 -- and I felt I’ve achieved.

You know - there’s nothing compared to the feeling of success, this simply makes you fly and want even bigger things. So being busy doesn’t count a thing - as long as it’s just doing the things you need to do anyway.

And I don’t really want that. I simply want to be happy. And I believe we human are creators and we have a fundamental need to use this creative potential. Fooling us into being busy is just cutting us off from the real source of happiness.

After I chose to become more productive I’m still not productive enough. I’m still spending too much time on things that should take me 5 minutes. I’m simply overthinking some simple tasks that shouldn’t require too much of my brain potential -- so it doesn’t leave me enough time to innovate around the things that truly matter.

I’m determined to make the effort to speed up -- because I want to slow down. The only way to achieve your dreams is to walk the extra mile and be willing to get out of your laziness. I think being busy is an illusion we’re often creating us and lack of goals is the biggest barrier on the way to happiness.

So this posting is for living a rich and fulfilled life, let’s go:)

PS: I'm not quite sure what impression my quickly made videos really leave, so if you want to drop some comments - oh, really, I'd be happy:) Check out my Malaysia video-blog here my30daytrial.blogspot.com

Feb 6, 2009

Live In the Now

This is such a beautiful thought that I have to share it with you. Found it from my late time favorite daily inspirations in my mailbox - http://www.tut.com/notes/ - they have a pretty alternative approach on personal development, but the messages really work for me.

So here's the thought:
Worry and time have an inverse relationship. The more you have of one, the less you have of the other. Yet curiously, Marjam, both are suspended when you live in the now.

As you were,
The Universe

I 100% believe that you get everything you want if you put your thought on it. I usually get exactly those inspirational thoughts through a few mailing lists I'm signed up to that I need at this moment. It's pretty strange, actually, but if I have a question and I log in my personal mailbox, I often sense that the right inspiration might be in one of the mailings -- and it often is.

This one today clicked particularly well.

Feb 2, 2009

Wanna know why I'm shooting one video every day?


Yes, I've been recently making one video every day, from local gyms sauna, standing in the heavy rainfall to eating with my fingers. Why? Well, it all comes down to a 30-day challenge I gave myself (you can skip the rest and just check out the projects web page here my30daytrial.blogspot.com).

My quest this year is to increase my Productivity. Many times I'm not happy with how much time I'm spending on getting some things done. I feel I have more ideas than I'm able to execute and -- I want to speed up to get more of them done.

SPEED UP! Not by lowering standards, becoming a workaholic, living an unbalanced life.

No, I want it all -- the fulfilled life and fulfilled dreams -- and fulfilled potential.

Time to face the mirror and focus on some part of my path to get it aligned with my dreams.

Quite bluntly -- I feel I'm starting all over again every day. I'm a beginner, just learning to live, learning and learning and learning (called the beginners mind -- helps me to keep my mind fresh and notice opportunities).

I've come to the conclusion that self analysis isn't the most effective way for me to get results (it can rather become an paralysis of analysis), I need action to learn about myself -- and this is what I'm going to learn through.

Increasing your productivity is the key to live the life you desire. I'm looking for shortcuts, better methods, good mental practices, self discipline, knowledge -- everything I can find to increase the amount of things I get done every day.

And I told you -- I am in the beginning. The best people get things done with such a pace and ease that it blows me away. Some people in MindValley are just taking my breath away -- how the heck are they doing this? But then again - if they can, why can't I? Yes, indeed, why not...

To kick my ass about productivity I started a new blog where I'm sharing about my 30 day trials on productivity. The first trial is connecting my passion for different forms of communication and desire to deepen my learning experience in Malaysia -- I'm shooting one video every day with one lesson I learned that day. The bottom line, however is to get the video done, edit it and upload it in the blog with max 20 minutes. Right now it takes 30-40 minutes and I can do a lot to increase the quality, we'll see what's the state after 30 days.

So if you're interested in life in Malaysia and productivity in general check out my new blog my30daytrial.blogspot.com

Jan 30, 2009

We need more action!

If there's one thing I really dislike then it's not walking your talk. I feel down when I'm not meeting my own words and I lose interest when other people don't reflect their words with their actions.

How often have you had a conversation where all sides know exactly what's the RIGHT way to do things, so the whole onversation becomes quickly just repeating: "Yeah, I know that." "Yes, exactly." etc.

No learning for any side, but far too often the smart words are just a nice cover up for inaction. Knowing something doesn't automatically mean that you know how to implement it -- and implementation is the part where things get exciting and often more complex when you thought.

Living in an age of information there's just too much theory lying around, so I think one of the most important skills to learn is to know how to simplify your life. And honestly quite often life gets easier once you start trying out the things you already know -- too much theory without any action might get you confused, but action gets you busy. So as long as you're choosing smartly what to get busy with you're bound to have much more clarity.

Without underestimating the importance of reflection and meditation I honestly think that there can be no innovation, creativity, satisfaction, clear goals and life purpose without proper action.

Here's a peak into the learning expert Maru's opinion about learning (unfortunately in Estonian, but funny anyway:):

Jan 29, 2009

I Want You To Want Me

I want you to want me -- is an absolutely beautiful video about what people are looking for in online dating databases, presented in a most fascinating way.

What are the most important things that people want to say about them in their dating profiles? What do they want? Who they are?

This art project presents some of the common traits of all humans in an almost touching way -- while also presenting quite an astonishing peak into a future possibilities of data representation.

I truly enjoyed!

Jan 20, 2009

Everyone is creating their own reality

I don't like wasting time. In fact -- most of the meetings make me impatient. Most of the small talk makes me bored. I love working and getting things done. I feel I'm failing when I don't know how to do something and it slows me down -- so I get even more determined to get it done. I don't like tasks that don't have a point -- or at least I don't know what it is. And to be successful I need to know what's the big picture.

I use the same logic when raising Maru -- I also don't like when Maru wastes my time. I want him to learn to make proposals instead of wining. I want him to be responsible for his own stuff so I don't have to worry about it.

I might be sometimes seem a bit harsh, but I think it'll pay off in the end of the day -- everybody has more free time and everybody is free to arrange their life however pleases them more.

Today we had an agreement with Maru -- when we get home from work he can go swimming, but later he'll organize his drawer. Agreed. Before he started to work I told him to organize the drawer however he wants' because he's now 5 years old and knows better how he likes his things to be orgnized.

Result -- in fact, quite surprising. It took him 5 minutes to clean the drawer, no complaining at all and things were arranged in a totally new system. I had taught him the classical system for the last 3 years -- put pants, shirts, socks etc together.

What he did? Well, in less than 5 min he replaced the whole system with a new one. When I went to check the final result he produly introduced me: "So here are all the red things, here are blue ones, here are green ones and here I put yellow and orange."

Wow! I had to swallow my first reaction to recommend him to change this and that, comes so automatically to go back to status quo, doesn't it? But I truly think that empowering people around you -- including your kids, friends, co-workers etc is the way to happiness.

I really don't want to worry about things that other people should and want to worry about.

Why you are the best coach for yourself

Why is it so freaking important to know who you are?

Well, quite simply put -- because others know even less about you. So there's no way they are going to be better than YOU in guiding you in your way.

You can learn tons from other people, you can be mentored, coached, consulted and educated, but nobody knows better what you really need and want.

So don't rely on other people, take full responsibility of where you are and where you're going.

However most probably once you really start to stretch yourself you'll meet some obstacles that make achieving a bit more tricky than you thought. Theory is nice, but heroes are born in practice (or that's what I think at least).

Here are a few principles that have been guiding me through times when the challenge takes me near my current limits.

1) Always have a vision of where you're going

This helps you to get through the tough times. Truth is - life is always not easy, sometimes it totally puts you down, you don't get the right words at the right time from the people around you and you might start doubting yourself. Your vision keeps you on the right track and short-lived events fade out quickly.

2) Don't take critics personally, even if it gets personal

When things get hard I usually tell myself: "Well, actually everybody wants me to succeed." This little thought puts my focus back in the right place and I start taking support out of even the toughest critics. So keep your emotions for your lover and use the critics as a positive energy.

3) Act as if

If you screw up -- you screw up, what to do. Don't let your head fall as a result. Say you're sorry and move on. If someone looks at you as if you're failing -- look at your vision and act as if you'd be that person already. Always, always, always act as the best in you, doesn't matter what's the current reality. Doesn't matter if your co-workers, boss, mother or teamleader have discovered your unique talents -- you know what you've got and sooner or later you're going to shine.

4) Don't daydream, focus on getting things done

All that positive self talk is good, but it doesn't mean much if you don't bring results. There's no better kick than the feeling of succeeding -- and you get it quite easily by achieving those things that you planned for this day. Yep, this day -- your life is made out of those, so a day means much more than a year. So you need to be getting the small shots of adrenalin from little successes, this is the base of a deep rooted self confidence.

When I feel I'm lacking focus I usually go swimming -- and swim until I see nothing more than the small spot on the other side of the pool. Once I get my mind so focused that I have only one thought -- that spot -- I know I can be the same the next day in the office, only this time my spot is my to-do list.

5) Keep moving

The bottom line really is -- you know the best what is good for you. So move towards it, don't get distracted from setbacks and never ever lose your belief that you're going to succeed big time. I mean -- if this is what you want and you work for that, magic happens. But nobody else can believe in yourself instead of you.

PS: I got my official working permit in Malaysia, so I'm now once again an honest citizen and a tax payer.

Jan 15, 2009

Life takes you to places you want to go



It's 5 PM in Malaysia today, I'm walking down the street to pick up my kid from the kindergarten. Normal day - passing the shops, ignoring the whistling of local workers, enjoy the sunshine and feel with every cell: "Today is my lucky day (if I was a horse even my hooves would be smiling - W-I-D-E)!"

Life is such an adventure that you don't even need Malaysia to make your head spin (though I admit - it does add some extra spice to everything).

Here comes 2009, already turning out exactly the way I wanted it to -- and yet making me watching it coming with my jaw dropped open in surprise.

Today was the first official meeting of project Gifted - short as hell and yet leaving me with a overwhelming excitement about the coming year. Project Gifted is actually a new sister-company of MindValley, started by MindValley founders Mike-Vishen and a third mastermind - Melissa, my soon-to-be direct boss from US, amazing entrepreneur and mother of 2 girls.

It's thoroughly dedicated to ensure that future generations wouldn't lose their genius abilities such as natural curiosity, creativity, intuition and many other things that get lost in the system (yeah, I know, I've cursed the education system many times before, won't start here again). We're starting with a documentary together with Gary Goldstein and are already hiring new people to grow fast in 2009 into a leading internet business in our field.

And the whole thing starts right now, in January, a few months after I was hired to MindValley. What would be the odds? As a single mother crazy about human development, learning and education I couldn't imagine a better place for me.

So until April when MindValley moves to the new office I'm sharing my time between Gifted and MindValley and after this stay working with a small team in the current MindValley office. My role reminds me pretty much the things I was doing as MCP in AIESEC Estonia, with the difference it's focused on education, it's based in an unknown country and the membership is OUT THERE in internet.

So it is - life takes you to places where you want to go, ready or not:)

Revisiting my main professional goal for 2009 - it's simply to become one hell of an internet marketer focused specifically on education.

Yeah, I'm just awed today, so reporting about the details of my work a bit later.

Why It Was a Lucky Day Today for My Future Boyfriend



I got tricked today into giving out 400 ringgit (around 85 EURO) from my pocket -- which was terribly empty already before this act beyond all explanations.

Before you pity me or lose your faith in my ability to manage my finances take a few minutes to read what happened -- and you'll most probably learn a good deal about closing your sales on a rather marketing-resistant well-educated crowd like me.

Hold your breath, I'm about the say something that I've been waiting myself to say in the past 1..no 2, ok - 4 YEARS!

Here goes:

I SIGNED UP FOR A GYM!

(Haha, what did you expect? After 4 years in AIESEC it's a HUGE step for me -- love the organization, but I never had time or money to really do workout)

So I gave out the money and I had no intention of doing it today.

And here goes the 6-step magical sales formula that you can use in your own business - whatever that would be - proved to work on an absolutely broke fresh graduate who loves picking up marketing strategies before they get her off guard.

1. Build a desire - offer a free sample

A gorgeous looking oh-so-popular dance class trainer makes an innocent comment in the end of a fabulous training: "Guys, love making the dance classes with you, but the more people, the more fun. Grab a friend of yours and get her to my dancing class. Don't worry, she doesn't have to pay, just say downstairs you're to Luciano's class and everything's cool."

So, I get an invitation from my roommate - let's go dancing, no charges, great crowd!

2. Get personal

When I arrived to the gym, I had a nice lady greeting me and arranging a meeting after the workout.

Sure I'd meet the lady, I had got the freaking free training -- would be rude to say no, right? And anyway I knew I wouldn't sign up before my next payday.

3. Make it look formal

Don't just sit down with a potential costumer, grab a formal looking form to fill - write down the name, birthday, sex - anything. Seeing this data appearing on the paper works like magic - you feel committed without having a clue why and to what.

4. Freak them out with the price -- and then send to heaven with a special offer

Now use the same form you just filled with the name and other irrelevant data -- to draw the price on it. Yeah, make it visual - this much for registration, this much for one month, this for prepayment and this for whatever comes to your mind. As long as the end-results makes your costumer wanna run away screaming: "IIIIIIKKKK!" you're on the right track.

AND THEN - come out with your special offer. "Just today we have a special offer. It's almost over and tomorrow we're back to our normal price. You don't have to pay the registration fee, the monthly fee is 1/4 smaller for you etc etc - sooooo (oh, I know what's coming!!) - you only have to pay this price if you decide TODAY."

PS: Scarcity makes your costumer WANNA - right now!

5. Make them feel special

It's no surprise that you don't carry around money nor credit cards after it's dark in KL (the naivety of freshly arrived Estonians is kicked out early enough by everyday robbers on the night street ;). So sure you don't assume the money is gonna come now - but the offer ends today. Wiish, what to do now?

Well, you get the costumer feeling special by going to the management and asking if the costumer could pay the next day. Not important if the management is an imaginary creature with a magic stick or a real-time workaholic sitting in the office after 11 PM -- works just fine in both cases.

Just make sure your costumer is busy in filling in the the contract while you're talking with the VIP on the cloud....

6. Get commitment - any kind of commitment is good

So contract signed, but no money on the table. Not good, how do you know your costumer walks back the other day with cash in their pocket?

Easy - make them commit with something so small almost not worth mentioning. In my case - deposit a small amount of money, MYR 10 (2 EURO) is absolutely fine. Who wants to lose their money for nothing? Not a broke me, believe me -- as well as most of the people, rich or poor.

SALES MADE AND DEAL CLOSED! Brilliant, 10 points for Celebrity Fitness and the lovely innocent looking Chinese girl!

But wait, there's something more about it. I have to correct myself - I wasn't actually tricked into anything and the sales was made even before me or the Chinese girl knew about it.

It's something that the kick-ass internet marketing maniac Frank Kern calls "effortless influencing" -- talking from your core identity to the buyer core identity. I assume the fine-looking lady had a thing with fitness - and I had a deeply rooted decision to get my healthy lifestyle something so routine not even worth mentioning.

I have 3 bigger goals for 2009, one of them is to help the gorgeous looking babe hiding under my skin to come out in the daylight, haha. Ok, forget about the wording, but I will be in my top-shape by the end of this year.

Not so hard to sell me a sign-up for gym, don't you think? That's why it's so important to know your market and hit the thought on top of their brains - they'll fall for you, head over heels, savaging the bank doors if that's needed to get what they REALLY want deep down.

On a personal note - my dear future boyfriend, today is your lucky today, Marjam just got signed up for the gym!

Jan 10, 2009

My kid beats me in learning -- big time

I think that most people how no clue how to learn. Honestly - when it comes to mastering new techniques and adapting changes, they -- well, suck. So they come up with lot of nice excuses to make their incompetence socially acceptable.

"I know that already." (in many cases - yeah, right...)
"I don't know how to do that." (and so...?)
"I've never been good at this." (time for a change, maybe?)
"I don't have any talent for this." (talent? khmm...)

Seems that the school system taught us to learn mainly for teacher or the grade -- and we're so deeply in that habit of thinking that we can't let go even when we're free to do so.

But the world doesn't wait. As long as you bury your energy into hiding your incompetence you'll never catch up. Someone who learns quicker will always eat the cream and you'll always have a nagging sound in the back side of your brain: "You're not really good enough."

Heck - you are. You're awesome! Just look at the countless surveys made by your capabilities to learn and you'll be stunned - Burt Goldman is one of our partners in MindValley who made it from an amateur photographer to the photography hall of fame in 6 months. And he's over 80! Another survey proved that the brain is capable of changing and evolving throughout the life.

It's just something I quickly picked from the webpage I'm currently managing FinerMinds.com, but there's so much more. The bottom line is - there are no excuses in not learning new things with ease. You can, no doubt about it.

As I'm fortunate enough to share this part of my life with the Grandmaster of learning - my 5-year old son - I'm learning so much about LEARNING almost every day. Kids don't question if they can or not - if they like it they do it.

When I look at my 5-year old Maru I'm just fascinated by the way he learns -- and how easily I can screw up his natural learning process. You see - kids are like sponges, they naturally suck in the information, without over analyzing it. They learn what they like and they master with a super-speed.

It's amazing actually. Maru learned how to swim in less than a week.

A WEEK! How many grown ups you know who can't swim? Why, I ask? Are they less competent than a 5-year old kid? Nope, there's something else going on.

So looking into the way how kids learn you can boost up your own learning process - because after all we're all humans and though we lost much of our abilities in the school system we can reverse the process with some conscious practicing.

So I'm learning tons from Maru. Want to know how he picked up the swimming skill so fast?

Here's what happened. We arrived to Malaysia and though Maru loved water he had no clue how to swim. Seriously - he was splashing around in kids pool, loving it, but never making a serious effort to swim. In fact he didn't want to practice or the even remove the swimming west -- he actually resisted my attempts to teach him. If you want to know - sometimes I was internally pissed off -- I wanted to teach him, but he DIDN'T WANT TO LEARN.

This assumption is 100% WRONG.

Kids love learning. What really happened was that I didn't BELIEVE that he could swim. I assumed he needs teaching -- and of course I had my own understanding of how the process should look like.

The truth is that people don't need to be taught. They want to learn. It's kind of as assuming that they already know everything they need to know and all you need to do is to support the process.

So once I discovered my own dangerous assumption I changed it immediately: "He loves swimming. All I need to do is support his curiosity."

Now here's the most powerful conclusion I made -- and I guess this is the main reason why Maru started to swim that quickly.

Here it is, simple as hell - learning is based on curiosity.

Once something interests you - woohooo, you have just discovered your 5* highway to the mastery! Go with your natural interest, let go of the expectations of how you SHOULD learn it - and believe it or not, but you start improving with unbelievable speed.

So once I didn't teach him anymore, but just helped him to do what he enjoyed - the progress was visible in hours. No time expectations, no understanding how quickly everything should happen - just being there to support the process - floating around in the big pool with my arms supporting him, just having fun and encouraging him to challenge himself more.

Now once you know that curiosity boosts your learning, there are only a few simple things to remember to speed up your own learning:

1. Notice your interests
2. Feed your interest with the right activities
3. Enjoy the progress

Th same applies for coaching and raising kids - the natural curiosity is the best indicator of the greatest growth. Just feed it -- and you've hit the gold mine.

I think for basics that's more than a good start. Seriously - if you would know how much this simple conclusion has helped me to stay focused while working in MindValley you'd be amazed. Noticing your interests and letting them flow is the single most truth about succeeding I've picked up.