Archive for January 2012
Remember to THINK before you speak:
T: is it True ?
H: is it Helpful ?
I: is it Inspiring ?
N: is it Necessary ?
K: is it Kind ?
* A modern version of a quote by Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian Spiritual Leader born in 1926: Before you speak, think: Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?
I slept fifteen hours yesterday and still today I was a little out of sync’. Maybe I’m catching a cold, maybe I still haven’t recovered from the annual Nordic Choice Winter Conference in Stockholm last weekend.
VK isn’t your average conference. But then again, Petter A. Stordalen, owner and chairman of Choice Hotels Scandinavia, isn’t your average leader.
That he appears on stage to flashing fireworks, blasting party music and sprinkling confetti doesn’t shock the 2300 management teams and co-workers that have gathered at Hovet, next to the Globe Arena. That he holds an hour long almost religious revival speech in true Nordic Choice spirit; with energy, guts and enthusiasm is to be expected. Not even the fact that he launches a “VK on tour” – a mini conference crew in a party bus, going to the major cities in Sweden and Stockholm, surprises anyone.
Nordic Choice Hotels has a business culture that is open, progressive, engaged and personal.
And I think much of the core values and guide lines for the hotels are transmitted during VK. When Petter Stordalen highlights single co-workers out of the 10 000 staff members, speaking about their accomplishments, underlining that his fortune (of at least $1 Billion) isn’t his, but the fruit that each of the Nordic Choice Hotels bears, and expressing over and over again how proud he is of everyone, it creates a team spirit that other companies only dream of. A whole evening is set aside for awards, ranging from the hotel that has done most for the corporate social responsibility project WeCare, to the Employee of the Year.
I represented the employee from my hotel, Clarion Collection Hotel Savoy, which was a great honour and I felt very excited and fortunate that I got to join my General Manager and Hotel Manager to the event and see for myself what everyone had been talking about.
We arrived on Saturday and checked in to one of the three hotels that had been booked entirely for Nordic Choice Hotel staff. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant and got into the mood of the weekend with some wine and drinks.
In my case, a lot of drinks, because I wanted to seize the opportunity to meet up with my old room mate Micke and his friend, so we went to Skrapan Sky Bar and finished off the night with quite a few drinks in the hotel bar.
The next day the conference began at Hovet, with different lecturers, talk shows and performances. The one that inspired me the most was definitely Mike Walsh CEO of the innovation research agency Tomorrow and author of the best-selling book Futuretainment.
For a fast-paced, full-on 1,5 hours he let us in on the future realization of technology and advised us that companies willing to fill in the knowledge gap with anthropologists and the ones that pay attention to the behavior of the next generation of children and consumers are the ones that will be successful, because when it comes to the future, it is a matter of change, happening today.
Here’s a good intro to Mike Walsh:
That evening there was huge party at the Clarion Hotel Sign, offering a delicious buffet, dance lessons with TV-star Tony Irving, great live acts and the best floor fillers until late. I mingled around with many of the people I know in Oslo, like my colleague Elin and room mate Charlotte and our friends from other Clarion Collection Hotels, but I also met some new, fun people.
The next day, the conference started at 8 a.m, and just like the day before it was packed with interesting information and inspiration.
The theme for this year’s conference was Face 2 Face: face to face with reality; the challenges of today, face to face with the future; cultural changes, travel patterns, future technology, and face to face with our dreams and fears.
And on the subject of the latter, professional free-skier and base-jumper Karina Hollekim, offered a very inspiring perspective on dreams. In kindergarten, when asked what her dream was, she said flying, to be able to feel free as a bird. Her teacher told her she should choose something more realistic. But Karina fulfilled her dream in base jumping and was on top of her world, when she suffered a terrible accident that confronted her with her biggest fear. She had hit the ground at over 100 km/h (60 mph), and her legs had been crushed in 25 pieces. She miraculously survived but the doctors told her she would never be able to walk again. And that’s when the real struggle began. To get up in the morning when it felt pointless, to hold on to the dream that she would be able not only to walk, but to be back skiing. It took her almost four years but she succeeded. So, she concluded: don’t let anyone tell you what is more realistic; flying or walking.
VK 2012 ended in the Globe, with a huge banquet dinner and award ceremony and lots and lots of great entertainment. I had a fantastic time with my friends and colleagues and wasn’t back at the hotel room until 4.30 in the morning.
Before talking our flight back to Oslo on Tuesday, me, Elin and Pernille from Savoy, took a stroll around Stockholm with lunch in the Old Town.
Now, we’re back in business.
Only, with more energy, guts and enthusiasm!
Not only did I just receive these beautiful flowers from a guest for something as obvious as giving them a nice room, I bought a fancy dress today that I’ll be wearing at the exciting Nordic Choice Winter Conference in Stockholm this weekend!
Life is gooood!
I didn’t realize what was wrong with this day until I read somewhere that it’s Blue Monday – one of the longest, most dull and boring days of the year – and you are supposed to cheer someone up.
Hmm, can I take a rain check on that?
I woke up late, with low energy and although it was my day off and there were a ton of stuff I should and could do, I couldn’t seem to find the motivation to pull myself out of bed.
My usual talk of seizing the day and all its possibilities appeared as bootless as a New Year’s resolution and from my bedside Anthony Robbins seemed to mock me with his flashing smile.
The most unhealthy things I could find in my cupboards were organic peanut butter, digestive crackers, brie cheese and fig marmalade, which I munched down by the kitchen counter. Imagine my joy when I found cinnamon buns in the freezer and a forgotten Starbucks Mocha Chocolate Latte in the fridge.
If I had a TV (or a living room) I’d spend the day zapping between sit-coms and commercials. If I were in a relationship chances are I’d pick a fight just to get some (re-)action. If I had internet access (damn neighbours aren’t online) I could watch silly YouTube videos or make strange emo-playlists on Spotify.
Oslo in January is just not much fun. Apart from being the most expensive city in the world, there isn’t even snow to enjoy. Just icy streets and sunlight for five hours (which I missed).
But later today Charlotte came home from celebrating her 30th birthday in London and she got hugs and macaroons. Maria came home from work and brought more cookies. And they both, just by being themselves, managed to cheer me up.
Now I’m off to the gym for the last chance to turn this day around, and hopefully, bring back better energy to my lovely room mates.
What have you done today to cheer someone up?
I seriously can’t wait for the full lenght album! One of the best stuff to cross my path in 2011 and a band to look out for in 2012.
Check out their tour dates on their website.
2011 was a tough year for most parts of the World; the Arabic revolutions, Occupy Wall Street, famine and suffering in Africa, economic crisis in Europe and of course the terror attack and mass murder that took place here in Oslo.
What’s goin on? Marvin Gaye would have asked.
Well, for you who have seen the Zeitgeist movies, read Conversations with God or believe in the prophecy of the Mayan calendar: these are the changes they talk about:
The end of the World as we know it.
We are beginning to grasp the power of thought and meaning of intention, creating new metaphysical patterns, start acting and moving towards an experience where all forms of Life are united.
And somewhere in this process transformation starts to take place, and maybe, just maybe, that is the end of the world as we know it.
I know it sounds fuzzy. But really, look at what we write on Facebook these days, how so many of us search for meaning and fulfillment in everyday life, expressing our every move. Why do we do that? What does all of this “connection” beyond borders and time mean?
Look at the spiritual movement, stretching from better self-esteem books, not to mention the huge success of books like Power of Now and the Secret, to the increasing popularity of yoga and meditation in our Western society.
I find these signs inspiring and I’m not afraid of the future, as all things are bound to change.
What saddens me though is to see how far astray we’ve gotten, with the consumption culture we live in today.
In the West we are fighting an old industrial equation where more/bigger/faster equals better, but we are paying a high price for quick pleasure.
Look how Mother Nature is suffering. We still don’t make the necessary changes to break this destructive pattern. I know for myself I eat very little meat, I walk or bike almost everywhere, I take trains instead of flying, I shop more and more eco-friendly and Fair Trade products and try to consume consciously. But even so, there are a ton of stuff I could do better, especially when I’m tired, hungry, lazy or in a hurry.
Unfortunately, I think we’re only seeing the beginning of storms, land eruptions, tsunamis, floods and drought. As sad is it is to see, I think this is our wake-up call and that disaster will bring us closer together, displaying our vulnerability and humility but also our strength.
In 2012 I will do my best to walk the talk, challenge myself and stay positive, loving, healthy and strong for this “New World” where our children can play.
Feel free to share your thoughts and perspective on this!
Love n’ Light,
…and I’m drinking my favourite morning juice: freshly pressed orange juice, banana, fresh ginger, blueberries and vanilla soy milk.
The New Years Eve headache is almost gone.
I hadn’t made any major plans, having had a cold for a few days and feeling a bit off, but with an afternoon nap, some lipstick and a drink I was in good spirits, heading down to meet Karoline and Vanessa at Savoy. Julian came by and suddenly we were heading to a turkey dinner with his guy friends. Except when we got there at around 11 p.m the 7 kilo turkey was still in the oven, potatoes had not been peeled and sauce was a whole different chapter.
Me and the girls decided to ditch the guys and head down to see the fireworks by the City Hall. We managed to get a taxi and arrive there just before the strike of twelve. The bottle of champagne was popped, pictures were taken, hugs and cheers were all around. A few hours later me and Vanessa were slipping and sliding around Youngstorget in the new snow, laughing and making plans to go to Argentina. The closest we got was a Brazilian Bar.
I start work in 2 hours. Until then, I’ll be reading and writing and listing to music.
Not feeling any different from any other day.