This is The World We Live In

owl around the world pictures

I’d like to share a really cool story about how personal alignment creates effortless and powerful collaborations amongst people. And how the power of technology aids us in bringing us closer in this amazing world we live in…

My friend Cecilia Bogaard lives in Ecuador. We met (via my brother) whilst both living in Spain, and we collaborate on web projects, the latest one being the Ecuador-based tour company TerraDiversa.

My friend Brennan Smith (whom I met 15 years ago via Yahoo Chat) is an ace in the personal development field. He recently asked me to help build the new Members page for ATL SoCal, of which he is a member.

Whilst working on that site, I engaged with another ATL member, Spryte Loriano, who was relocating to Ecuador. In a flash of inspiration I connected her with Cecilia as someone to know there.

Earlier this week, Cecilia shared a video with me about LifeListLiving, a travel experience geared towards coaches and transformational leaders wanting to make a difference in the world whilst checking off personal bucket list experiences.

In this video with snippets of their previous trip to Africa, I noticed coach Rich Litvin, also a member of ATL SoCal. I became acquainted with Rich via my biggest champion and magnificent coach Nicky Tanase, who became acquainted with him via the ultimate coach, Steve Hardison.

The next LifeList trip takes place in Ecuador in June…

Their travel plans looked familiar, so I asked Cecilia… And it turns out Spryte had asked to organise the trip in collaboration with TerraDiversa.

How cool is all of that???

I love how a “simple email” (and Facebook) can act as a conduit to connect people who are in tune with themselves, living their dreams and impacting the world in their unique ways.

What I love most about everyone I mention in this post is the passion, dedication and authenticity they bring to what they do and how they live.

This is the power of personal alignment, powerful relationships and technology working together.

I believe we are all on an amazing journey, bringing our unique expression of Genius to the Table of Life.

This is optimisation at its best.

This is the world I love to live in.

What kind of world do YOU love to live in? (tweet this)


There is No Substitute for Excellence

niki owl driving porsche 911

I test drove an Audi Q5 this past weekend. Again. I wanted to test the sport package version with all the drive control options. I’m pretty set on which model I want now, all I need to decide is the colour. However…

On my way home yesterday, I passed the Porsche dealership…

“Why don’t I test drive the 911?” I thought.

I mean, that was the car I wanted growing up, yet I had never considered driving it until now. Bizarre, right?

Stay with me, this will make sense in a moment…

You might be driving an old Chevrolet, whilst dreaming of a BMW. But, for some reason, you might think you need to get a Honda before you get a BMW.

Why do that if what you really want is a BMW?

Now let’s say you want a Brilliant Mobile Website. 

Our Genius web team at nvision recently connected with someone who’s site has some major hiccups:

– It is not up to Google mobile-responsive “code.” Not good for his SEO.

– His current SEO provider is doing him a great disservice, so he’s not even ranking well to generate the kind of business and revenue he’d like. Double whammy on the SEO.

– I asked some people who are looking for similar services to review his site and the overall sentiment was that none of them would engage with the business because the purchase process is outdated and clunky. Ouch.

– He’s in a seasonal industry, so he thinks he needs a stepping-stone website to tide him over before he invests in the re-development we’ve outlined. Sounds like double the time and energy to get what he really wants.

FACT: Your business may be seasonal, but your life is not.

What you do today impacts your life (and business) today, and tomorrow and the next day ad infinitum(tweet this) because everything is connected and builds on itself.

Your thoughts guide the feelings that guide your decisions and actions that create your results. In anything you focus on.

We know what needs to be done for this Genius’s business to thrive online, and we know it will take a while, because it requires overhauling his entire system to bring his website and operations up to speed on many levels.
That’s why we have payment options for certain web projects, to help get the project moving along while clients continue to grow their business.

We’re looking at optimizing his payment processes and improving customer service experience to maximize his revenue through a mobile responsive website, so that customers around the world can engage with him no matter what device they’re on.
This will drive his revenue through speed, ease, elegance and accessibility.

And of course, add a much better SEO framework.
Optimise to maximise.

Here’s when I know someone is really committed:

They have such a powerful desire for what they want, that they go straight for it by creating the resources and circumstances to realise their vision. This often includes thinking differently, behaving differently and creating different results to fulfill their vision.

I value the work we do and the work you do, because I believe in excellence.

I value our time and yours, because time is our most precious commodity.

That’s why we work with our clients to achieve their desired outcomes.

FACT: What you’re willing to put in is exactly what you’ll get.

And there is no substitute for excellence. (tweet this)

You choose,

Who’s Your Number One?

niki owl goals dreams

I was in conversation with a dear friend and colleague, who suggested I write about being “your number one client.” This topic has been on my mind for a while, so I took this as a sign to finally write about it, because it goes beyond business.

I really appreciate this friend because he is so curious about life. Those are the kinds of conversations I love to have, “What would make your life extraordinary? What makes you YOU? How do you see yourself in this world?”

For a time in my life, I thought I had to do put everyone and everything else first, before I could fulfill my big dreams. It was linear and slow, and I often wondered when I would get to me.

A lot of people “see” themselves “last.”

They place more value on their clients’ priorities than they do on their own, and then they wonder why their dreams gather dust on a shelf… JK Rowling toted her Harry Potter stories around Europe in a box – it wasn’t until she hit the lowest of lows that her sister read it and said, “If this is what you really want to do, then do it.” I know another writer who travelled the world with her own manuscript for years until she felt the pang of not creating and asked herself, “Is it time to honour MY dreams?” The answer was “Yes,” and that writer is me.

I’m sure you know this great quote from Zig Ziglar:

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

It makes perfect sense, yet, we all know the prompts on the plane to put our oxygen mask on first before helping others.

Which one feels better for you?

Some people think they have to sacrifice and wait for their dreams to happen, whilst they put more energy into helping others achieve theirs first. They often feel guilty when they start to move in the direction of their dreams, wondering, “What will people think?”

Answer: Who cares?? They’re your dreams!

When you actively breathe life into your personal aspirations, you breathe life into what you do for others. This way, everybody gains. 

Start with what feels good to you, and keep moving in that direction. (click to tweet)

I am able to serve my coaching and web clients, because I actively participate in my own future, which includes writing more books and growing Niki Owl’s enterprise. I do something for each of my personal interests every day. Then I bring my insights back to my clients in ways that they can relate to in their own aspirations. It’s a beautiful cycle of constant growth.

This is generosity at its best – generosity of self for fulfillment of self and others.

This is why we grow companies and co-create with one another, to leverage ourselves and fulfill our dreams whilst serving others in the fulfillment of their dreams.

This is abundant thinking.

Before you pull the “I don’t have time for it all” card, let me tell you this:

Time is what YOU make of it.

Time management is purely state management. So if you’re on point managing your emotional state, you’re well on your way to take care of how and when you show up for the world on a daily basis. It’s all about the priorities you set in your life, starting with YOU. This is where your biggest results come from.

When we place value on ourselves, our whole life transforms. We are crystal clear on who and where to invest our time and energy. We lovingly give space to the rest. This absolutely translates into higher income because we engage with people who value themselves too; people who understand energy exchange of equal value.

I know for me, valuing myself means working with a coach to help me stay focused on being my best me and the fulfillment of my dreams.

This level of commitment breathes life into the lifestyle you wish to experience, including the material aspects. It starts by you valuing you above all of that, and investing in you.

If you place more value on things and status quo than you place on your Self, you completely disrespect your dreams.

Working from the outside in is temporary and limiting.

Working from the inside out is sustainable and exponential.

Which do you prefer?

I know the best job is an inside job, starting with my personal commitment to me, to show up fully in my life, business, relationships and what I create.

I will go the distance, literally, even if it means walking home in the rain that started to pour after taking care of sending a payment to my coach yesterday. And you know what? I loved it. The fresh smell of the earth when it rains is so unique. The skies were dark on one side and light on the other as the storm moved along its path. And water means abundance. So let it rain.

I’m not saying you need a coach, but I know what investing in me does for me and the life I am creating. As my coach likes to remind me, “What good is a team without a coach?”

If you’ve been procrastinating on follow-through, telling yourself stories on why something hasn’t happened yet, then my question is, “What good is a dream without a coach?”

Start with your commitment to You,


Is Today Your Day?

I started playing classical guitar in 1994, about a year before Niki Owl was “born”. I played diligently every afternoon, gaining new appreciation for music and my abilities to transform those little “fly shits on paper” (as my Dad calls them) into beautiful sounds. My guitar teacher would give me concert pieces one sheet at a time, to fuel my desire to master each page before moving onto the next. Genius.

It taught me a lot about focus and consistent action.

I was recently in conversation with a CEO who used to related to his life as “seasonal.” I asked how that was working out for him in business and finances…

“Not very well,” he confessed.

Seasons “take time” to reap benefits and rewards, just like the food we harvest. And if you’re looking to make money, well…

[do you hear crickets?]

We went deeper in our conversation. In recent months, he’s experienced some powerful results he can actually touch. Yet, he was not showing up consistently in business on a daily basis, especially in his thinking. There were days he tuned in, and days he tuned out. Not surprising then his sporadic results, or the anxiety he felt at certain times.

When you show up as less than your best, you get “less than the best” results. When you show up as your best, you get the best results. It is Law.

I asked if he would consider “closing the gap” on his thoughts in order to transform seasonal routines into revitalized daily routines. He said, “Yes.”

Even though we naturally flow with the seasons (or quarters) we also flow with every day.

This means that every day, we get to choose how we think, how we feel, who or what we engage with, and how we go about our day.

Progress and results come from consistent belief and inspired action. (click to tweet)

A musician plays her guitar every day to master each piece of music. Note by note. Bar by bar. Page by page… Complete. Next. Repeat.

The musician does not think, “Oh, yesterday I couldn’t master that melody…” No, she says, “Today is a new day. And yesterday I set myself up for a new level of success for today.” Then she plays, and masters that piece of music. Every day she experiences tangible results she can appreciate, because every day she “shows up” for herself. Every day. Standing in possibility.

This is the power of Personal Commitment.

This is what sets The Masters apart from the rest.

Is today the day you choose to Master your success?


The House that Genius Built

I was about 4 feet tall. My Dad had built us a red and white chipboard house that would sit on the patio for us to play in. It was basically a small-scale prefab house with clips and magnets that held the walls and roof together, so he could easily store it away. Pure genius.

Of course I had “tea parties” in there. We even hooked up Hot Wheels tracks to zip cars through the window. The cat would hang out too, when it didn’t get chased by Hot Wheels cars. It was all fun and games. Then we outgrew the house and grew up, or so it seemed…

Some people forget they can have fun and get work done at the same time. They carry on with their lives with this default setting, whilst others wake up and realize both are possible. Such people deliberately choose to “reinvent” themselves, both personally and professionally. You might relate to this as “re-branding”.

Branding is not just a logo or the car we drive, it’s the story we tell the world about what we do, how we do it, and WHY we do it. Branding is the outside story that others see, hear, feel and engage with about us.

Then there’s the story we tell ourselves, which is based on our beliefs and affects anything we create (relationships, business, finances, well being).

There can be a difference between the story you tell yourself, and the story you tell the world.

Imagine a house…

Your life is the house itself… the pretty decor, the gorgeous landscaping, the tasteful furniture. The marketing collaterals, the website, the team, the office space. The friends, the toys, the relationships.
This is the story the world sees.

You are the one living inside the house… with thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about your dreams and abilities. These create the foundation that the house sits on.
This is the story you tell yourself.

What goes on inside your house?

Do you hide away in a corner and stifle yourself? Or do you breathe fun into your life while your Genius shows up for the world?

A company (or relationship) is only as strong and sustainable as its emotional foundations, which drive everything.

What is your story behind the story? (tweet this)

I hope you’re taking care of your foundations, because life is supposed to be fun.


PS: the niki owl house you see above was made about 15 years ago for my dear friend and fellow Genius, Brennan Smith.

“I haven’t felt this happy in 5 years…”

I was in conversation with a family who was about to sell their business. They also happen to be very dear friends of mine.

The parents and son couldn’t find agreement on whether to overcome their differences and keep growing this successful venture together, or part ways and sell the business because they couldn’t see eye to eye on certain details. They had lost sight of the beautiful vision they’d set out with.

They had been unable to communicate openly about what they really wanted. One would have a tendency to blow his lid, and the other two didn’t want to deal with it. So they kept passing the buck to one another, avoiding the elephant in the room and dragging out making a decision.

And yet, the love they have for one another is so obvious by how they speak about each other.

I offered to mediate between the parents and the son. My sole focus was to assist them in making a decision together on what to do with the business going forward. A decision that felt good for all.

I was there to help them focus on solutions, not the problems.

I asked them these kinds of questions:

What is important to you about your family business?

What do you want to see going forward for yourself in this business?

Why do you want what you want?

Are you willing to tell a new story about each other so you can get back on track with the excitement you started the business with?

Are you willing to tell yourself a new story about yourself, knowing that each one of you plays a key part in the success of your business?

After 2 hours of conversation with some heated moments (and a pleasant surprise) they finally put their armour down and made peace with the past. They agreed that they want to keep the business in the family, and they understand that each one has to bring their best self to the table in order for that to happen.

The following day, I saw their son and asked him how he felt after the meeting…

“I haven’t felt this happy in five years,” he replied, with a huge smile on his face. We high-fived to that.

The next day, his mother sent me a text to say they had taken the business off the market, and she shared her excitement. My heart filled up with joy.

Two days, they had their first brand strategy meeting with their new team members to decide on the story they’re telling together as a family owned business. I’m excited to see what they come up with.

This is how fast things turn around when we make ONE decision to feel good about what we’re doing.

What decision will you make today to put a spring in your step and move forward?


Which is the REAL one?

This is a barn owl…

And this is a barn owl…

barn owl

Which is the REAL barn owl?

I’d like to share a personal story with you about how we create and believe our reality.

I used to spend a lot of time with my friends at our local “Cheers” – a quaint little bistro on the outskirts of Old Town Marbella, where everyone knew our names, and we rarely had to call each other to see if we’d be there after work, because we usually were. The bistro was co-owned by a lovely couple, whom we’ll call Abby and Claire.

Around the same time, I teamed up with a marketing agency located 30 minutes away in Malaga. Their branding clients wanted SEO genius, and my SEO clients wanted additional branding genius. It was win-win for all.

I would drive out early in the mornings, and return late in the evenings because the office was in the basement of the agency founder’s townhouse, and I would often stay on to enjoy dinner with his family.

As a result, I didn’t see my friends regularly, and wasn’t up to speed with what was happening in their lives.

One Monday morning, Abby called me in a panic and asked if she could stay with me for a couple days. Apparently I was the only one she felt she could trust at the time. I called the office and told them I wouldn’t be in that day or possibly the next, and that I would be working remotely from home to take care of some personal business.

Abby arrived at my place and told me that Claire had cheated on her the night before. I was shocked, even though I knew they had experienced some rough times. My home became her safe haven for the next three days while we figured out her next steps.

Abby wanted to return to the UK immediately – she’d had enough of the tumultuous relationship. However, she was petrified of flying, so I offered to fly up with her if that would help her feel at peace during the 2 1/2 hour flight to London. She was overwhelmed at the offer, and graciously accepted it.

We flew up together, and I held her hand while she managed to relax and sleep through most of the flight. I had lunch with her at the airport in London and flew back to Malaga, returning home within 8 hours. Mission completed.

A week later, Claire invited “the gang” out for dinner to tell her side of the story. She told us the relationship had been over for quite some time, even though they were still living together and running the bistro together. Claire admitted she shouldn’t have been open about her budding new relationship yet because of those circumstances, but she also said Abby was living in denial.

I was confused. These two stories were like water and oil, yet equally delivered with powerful conviction.

I knew that if Claire had come to me asking for help first, I would have done exactly the same thing for her. Such was my loyalty towards either of them, and I share this with Claire. She was thankful that I took care of Abby. We were good.

However, I kept wondering… Who had lied? Who was telling the truth? 

Then I came to a powerful realisation.

They were both telling the truth… as they believed it to be true.

It wasn’t up to me to decide who was telling the “real” story, because each one perceived their experience based on what they believed.

The stories we tell ourselves create our reality, and we’ll feel good about it (or not), based on what we believe.

This is why I am so passionate about focusing my mind and what I tell myself, so that I can be the best version of me at all times. I am insatiable in the expression of the REAL me, because I know how empowering this is.

The REAL Me is a loving, kind, generous, well-meaning, powerful, thriving human being… Doing her best in this world to inspire others to be their best. I believe that is the REAL You too, but you have to be willing to believe that about yourself. Right?

Your dreams and the life you wish to experience depend on the stories you tell yourself.

If the story you’re living doesn’t feel good, start telling yourself a new one. It’s in your hands, and in your mind.

It’s as simple as this:

What you believe becomes what you see. First you tell the story, then the story becomes true over time. (tweet this)

Celebrating the REAL You,


From Little to Great

I’d like to share a story about what we’re capable of creating when we’re truly inspired. And, how GREAT things can happen FAST.

The largest Niki Owl came to life on July 1st, 2012. I had spent the morning with my friends watching Spain’s soccer team win their second UEFA European Championship in a row. It was also Canada Day, and Canada is very dear to me because that’s where I wrote my first book. And it was a week before my birthday, so I was feeling fully inspired by life.

I had adopted a large canvas from a neighbor a couple months before. And by large, I mean 5.5x7ft large.

I knew I wanted to put Niki Owl on it, and had already pencilled my outline on the canvas.

I knew the caption would say, “Life’s a Hoot!”

It leaned against the wall in the living room, and after my morning meditations I would sit in my comfy chair to contemplate the canvas every day. My thoughts flowed between painting a simple illustrated version of him (black on white) or a full colour version.

I would tense up a bit thinking I had to have it all figured out before I started. And that is the kind of thinking that STOPS the best ideas from flowing. So… I gave my mind space from the thing I most wanted to create.

I filled the rest of my days with meetings, SEO projects, personal development, reading in the park. Every evening I would circle back and gaze at the canvas with new eyes.

Painting the canvas seemed daunting. I was so used to drawing half inch versions of Niki Owl, not painting a 5 foot owl.

However, I could feel myself coming closer to that tipping point of giving life to my vision.

We intuitively KNOW when it is time to act with inspiration. And we instinctively know what to DO in that moment. (tweet this)

It’s no surprise then, that after I got home from watching the game I knew I would celebrate the rest of the day painting that canvas, which ultimately meant painting my largest owl to date. I also knew right then what I was going to do.

For the rest of that afternoon and night, I was switched ON.

I started at 2pm and finished at midnight. I took a twenty minute break for dinner while a dear friend came over to see how it was coming along.

I had a minor moment of panic when I felt the background looked like a mess, yet I reminded myself that sometimes things start out looking like a mess, then everything comes together nicely. Even the Masters messed up their canvases and transformed them into beautiful works of art that we pay millions for today (tweet this). It comes down to our curiosity to experiment, and our commitment to honour what feels good to create.

I felt more and more in awe as I saw the owl take shape.

Hour after hour, I painted his feathers, his beak, his feet, the grass he stands on, the outline… and the words he lives by. The largest Niki Owl literally came ALIVE in front of me – eye to eye.

When the painting felt complete, I signed it and gave myself the biggest inner high five ever. Those 8 hours felt like a breeze, because my Genius was on its best game.

Ever since then I am amazed when I look at this painting… I just want to hug him, he’s so real.

Niki Owl canvas art

What is one of your proudest moments in life? One that made your whole being come alive and think, “YES. Life IS good.”

To your Inspiration,

Photograph of “Niki Owl – Life’s a Hoot” canvas taken by the excellent Joel H. Mark.

What’s Your Happy Place?

Hello Genius,

You may have heard people talk about their “Happy Place” and I’d like to you think about what yours is for a moment. This is important as it affects everything you do.

By this, I mean your internal Happy Place, that special place where you give attention to the things that feel good to you. The things that make your world meaningful and empower you to live fully.

Your Happy Place is where you feel absolutely free and at home within. It typically involves some activity you do by yourself that is fueled by inspiration. It gives purpose and meaning to what you share of yourself with the rest of your world (including what you create, if your Happy Place means creating things like mine does for me).

My Happy Place is making niki owl and writing. By enjoying time in my Happy Place, I’m more centered and present with those around me – friends, partner, passersby, clients and co-creators.

Our Happy Place is where Genius happens best. Where our best ideas, best creations, best innovations, and best relationships are born and nourished.

You notice quickly when you’re not tending to your Happy Place, because relationships, work, creativity, finances, and your sense of being go wonky (and you can feel it clearly). The default mode is often a panicked knee-jerk reaction to get on track, and that’s tiring, isn’t it?

Just as watering plants regularly makes them grow happily, life is a much brighter place when you regularly take care of You in your Happy Place. I know this for a personal fact, and from talking to others about what makes them come alive and sustain their joy.

To quote one of the world’s most appreciated luminaries of owl time:

“The sun is wherever you want it to be.” (tweet this)

Where does the sun shine within You? And more importantly, what are you willing to do to BE in your Happy Place more?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

(niki owl’s Happy Place is basking in joy and being an Ambassador of Good Will & Celebration… in the photo above you can see him embody this as he greets customers at our favourite espresso bar near Denver).

Celebrating your Happy Place,


Copyright @KarinPinter

In the business world we’re often asked to deliver our elevator pitch on what we do, what service we provide. To the point it becomes automatic, and we even build networking meetings around this to inform our loyal sales force of colleagues.

But, WHY do you do what you do?

One of my coaching clients recently did a ten minute presentation for her business networking group. She is experiencing a powerful transformation in how she shows up in her personal life and in business, fuelled by a burning desire to complete her first book. During her presentation, she briefly spoke of her services (which her peers already know pretty well) and chose to open up her heart to tell the story of WHY she does what she does. She shared powerful stories about her personal life, and what is driving her to create what she is creating now.

It was not your typical business presentation. It was a powerful opportunity to engage her colleagues in the truth about why she writes and provides this as a business service for others. They knew her services, but they didn’t all know why she does what she does, or how this really affects their business presence.

I believe the whole point of building relationships is for people to know who we are and empower us to thrive together. This means showing up authentically, speaking from the heart, being guided by our inner wisdom. It also often means doing things outside of the norm.

Most people, and therefore most businesses, function from the outside in. This is the default most of us have been trained in since our early days – find what you’re good at and do it. This may serve you to a point, but if you’re not fully present to why you’re doing it, there will be moments when life feels hollow and meaningless. If your main motivator is money, then you’re in line for a rude awakening, honey. Money is a result of your passion and commitment to delivering a particular service to your world through your Genius.

The key to most successful businesses is functioning from the inside out. Knowing who you are as a person, why you do what you do, and delivering that value to your world through your particular product or service. You could be selling coffee, helping someone plan their estate, or guiding them in the fulfillment of their life’s vision. Your why makes all the difference in who chooses to engage with your services, and inevitably impacts your success.

This is what makes Apple, Apple. This is what makes Tesla Motors, Tesla Motors. This is what makes you, You.

When you know your why and marry this awareness with what you do, then you’re serving from the inside out.

Whether you have one or several talents that make you absolutely unique, take a moment to ask yourself why you do what you do…

Why are you an accountant, a lawyer, a business manager, a nutritionist, a personal trainer, a writer, an entrepreneur, a ___________?

As for me…
I coach because having powerful conversations that ignite people’s Genius and make an impact on the world by being themselves and doing what they love, is one of the greatest honours I experience.
I design and optimise websites because I’m excited about the leverage a powerful online presence provides.
I create niki owl because that is how I express my pure joy, and this creates a beautiful ripple effect all around the world.
I write because I love the power of transformation that the written word provides.

I appreciate the bold blend of skills and talents I’ve curated over the years, because they nourish each other beautifully and I get to impact my world in many ways.

Get to the heart of your business, starting with you; this draws people closer to you than any clever marketing strategy.

People really appreciate that. Those who roll their eyes at you for being so open are simply pre-qualifying themselves not to engage in your business. Let them be.

A powerful video to watch is this TEDx Talk by Simon Sinek, if you haven’t already experienced this Genius.

This week, tell your world why you do what you do. Leave out the what or the how. I’d love to know what this reveals to you for you.

Here’s to curating your Genius,