Saturday, 7 October 2017

Isa Karlsson - Aim high, and aim higher

Last Thursday, Isa Karlsson visited our school to give a seminar on how to be the best version of yourself when it comes to your career and especially when applying for jobs. I had never heard of her before, but I wish I had. In those 90 minutes or so, Isa inspired me tremendously. Her confidence and life force were contagious, and I walked out of the seminar feeling like suddenly nothing was impossible.

What I learned from Isa Karlsson in 90 minutes:


  • Not dependent on the product, nor the location.. The customer!
  • Why does the customer keep coming back to you?
  • If the customer doesn't feel like they've gotten some extra magic with their purchase, they will go try someone else's company. The experience they get needs to be MAGICAL for them to come back.

Even with the best product ever, even with the best possible location, you will not be successful without customers who keep coming back to you.


  • Are you a friend or a foe? What kind of vibes do you give out?

Does your behaviour make others want to protect themselves i.e. think of themselves
does your behaviour make others want to know more about you, i.e. think about you


  • Appreciating what others know and can do
    • learn to recognise what you are good at, and what others are good at 
  • Humanity and manners (etiquette)
    • humanity = easy to approach, manners = enable discussion and dialogue instead of chaos
  • Good vibes (see "Attitude")
  • People who make a change
    • every one wants to work with someone who makes things happen

By appreciating others you will be appreciated. Win-win!


  • Being boring and being a complainer
  • Bad behaviour
  • Greed -> having the ability and knowledge to help, but deciding to withhold the knowledge in order to gain personal satisfaction and feeling of superiority
  • Racism, sexism.. Any kind of comments that are degrading a certain group of people
  • Mental unavailability -> being caught f.ex. in your phone instead of focusing on the people you're with -> little things take ages to do and everything has to be gone through several times because no one concentrates


  • In sports, the best wins. In work, the best skills or result will not take you forward. In order to "level up" you need others. Always.
  • Someone needs to want to lift you up and help you to the next level in order for you to advance. 
  • Who is ready to give you a hand?
    • Task: make sure you are surrounded by at least four people who would recommend you for a job

Helping others is your responsibility, it's everyone's responsibility. As you are lifted up, lift someone up.


  • No one is "good at taking critique" (being critiqued always affects us) BUT you may be good at reacting to the critique in a productive way
    • what are the ways in which you can react?
    • teach yourself to be a productive and smart critique receiver and to do it in a nano second
  • Giving critique: "A human changes easier from good to even better than from bad to good"

It is easier to accept advice than critique.
It is easier to accept wishes instead of commands.

  • Different feedback combinations and what they really say:
    • + but - : "You're precise but slow." -> receiver will only end up thinking "I'm slow"
    • - but + : "You're slow but precise." -> "Ok, I'm doing a good job, but I could be a bit quicker."
    • + and + : "You are thorough and precise." -> " They're happy with what I'm doing, maybe I don't always have to be so thorough.."

Make sure you give the kind of feedback that focuses on what was good!

"I can't" "I am bad"
You just can't do it YET.
Teach yourself to think "I can't do it, YET."
YET is the magic word!!

Receiving critique:

  1. Listen and repeat (make sure you have understood correctly)
  2. Give yourself a time-out ("True, I could have made other kinds of choices, too")
  3. Ask for more clarification ("What kind of a schedule would you have preferred?")
  4. What was the goal of the critique (i.e. to upset you/to better you/to put you down..)? How are you gonna react?
  5. Ask for and/or offer a solution and commit to the agreed solution


  • - Make a long term (10 years) plan, and break it down to a short term plan (5 years)

What do you want?
Where do you want to be?
Who do you want to be?

  • Define three attainable goals
    • if they are too big, they will depress you, if they're too small, they will not interest you
  • What assets have you already got? What would you want/need more of?
  • "No favourable winds take you to an unknown port"
    • Don't float. Know your coordinates, and know where you want to go.

"You don't need to understand now. Now, you just need to learn.

One day, you will understand."
- Isa Karlsson


What are my goals? My dreams?

Where do I see myself in five years? Ten years?

In five years I will..
- have taught dance professionally for 6 years
- have a Master's degree in dance
- have developed my skills in contemporary dance, house and vogue, as well as choreography and teaching
- have started my own company that provides help with marketing, photography and design (specialising in work with artists)
- have taken university courses in nutrition
- have travelled the world and trained dance in different countries
- have gotten work as a professional dancer
- live abroad, or have a base in Finland but frequently visit and work abroad

In ten years I will..
- have taught dance professionally for 11 years
- have worked in several different dance schools
- have worked with dancers of all ages, amateurs as well as professionals
- have my own dance company ( RaRe Dance Company)
- have done several collaborations with artists from different fields
- have a wide network of artists
- have established my own company that provides help with marketing, photography and design
- have studied make up artistry

What can I do today to help me get there?
- study photography, marketing and design (Visu17 - check!)
- take dance classes to keep developing my skills
- apply for master's degree programmes in Finland and abroad
- save up money for travelling
- networking!
- already starting to build up my brand ( -> FB and Instagram artist pages - check!)
- keep creating, producing, publishing my art

A dream is just a dream.

A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.
- Harvey MacKay

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