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,


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,

Why It’s Time to Say Goodbye to “Hard” Work

I don’t relate to the idea of “hard work”. This idea stems from a particular belief around how we integrate work and play in our lives.

I often hear business owners, entrepreneurs, creatives and high performing athletes talk – almost preach – about how hard they worked to be where they are now. And I wonder…

Is it really hard work? And who came up with that idea anyway?

The industrial revolution is far behind us, and we’re going full steam ahead with the revolution of our consciousness.

So on that note…

It’s time for a Genius Moment! Stop and ask yourself what “hard work” really means to you. Peel back the “hard” label that has been so readily slapped onto work. Who put it there to begin with? Go deeper on your personal definition and values. How would you really like work to feel? You may discover that what lies beneath is diligence, efficiency, dedication, consistency, focus, passion, inspiration… There is nothing hard about any of those, is there?

Awesome! Now ditch the thought of “hard work”!

I imagine you had some cool discoveries just now writing down what is really driving your beliefs about work.

If you believe that you create your own reality by the thoughts you think… then doesn’t it make sense to change this thought? And if you don’t think that you create your reality yet feel the strain of hardship… have you given yourself the opportunity to think and do things differently?

The simplest way to put it is this:
– Hard creates tension and struggle
– Easy creates flow and momentum

Both are habits we cultivate in the mind… How would you prefer your work to be?

Genius Moment: When you notice yourself going into “hard work” zone, STOP. Step back, take a deep breath or several, and ask yourself how you’d like this moment/project/task/day to flow… I imagine you’ll chose something like, “I want to feel good/enthusiastic/easy/awesome/inspired/fun…” Then approach what you’re doing with that refreshed energy. You can reset as many times throughout a task or work day as you need to, simply based on how you want to feel. You’ll recognise quickly when you’re not feeling that way.

Seriously, ditch “hard” completely…

Some people imbue this concept into everything they do. Even in terms of personal development. For example:

“I’ve never meditated before, it’s going to be hard for me to sit still for even 2 minutes.”


Because if you think it will be hard, then it will be hard, my friend. And the more you tell yourself that, the more you cement it into your mind and stop yourself from having an open experience of it. This applies to anything.

What if there were no adjective attached and it was a case of, quite simply, sitting still for 2 minutes? What if you make no projection of how it will be, and surprise yourself with however it feels and flows in that moment? Can you do that for 2 minutes?

Genius Moment: Which areas of your life do you find yourself thinking something will be “hard”, only to find that things become hard? Write down some new ways of thinking around how you’d like each area of your life to feel and flow (regardless of “how things have always been” or how others tell you things will be – that’s their experience not yours). Remember you are the creator and curator of your reality, so stop perpetuating any old funk and start creating new genius moments. Thought by thought. Moment by moment. Smile by smile.

With consistent application, you’ll soon notice the only “hard” things left in your life may simply be the hard boiled eggs you have for breakfast.

Work Hard, Play Hard = No, Gracias!

You choose.

I prefer this: Work Nice, Play Nice = Si, Gracias!

I advocate for removing the word “hard” from our thinking. I advocate for finding other words that align with how you really want to feel with what you do, because feeling good drives everything. Wouldn’t you agree?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below if you feel so inspired.

Be Genius,


Do You Have a Plan A?

aceHow many times have you heard someone say, “Well if Plan A doesn’t work out, I’ve got Plan B. And if that doesn’t work out, I’ve got the rest of the alphabet.” At which point I like to ask which alphabet they’re referring to (English? Cyrillic? Spanish?), and if they can say “Plan Ñ.”

More importantly, is this how you think?

I’ve never had a Plan B. My life is a constant evolution of my Plan A, with variations that match where I am personally and professionally at each stage of my life. When you can look at your life that way, you see the dots connect, and you may even see fireworks. The future also looks much clearer.

You Are a Living, Breathing Masterpiece…

Classical composers often created beautiful masterpieces with a series of variations on that theme. There could have been twenty variations, yet the core melody remained the same throughout. This is exactly how we live our lives!

You may change job or career, move city or country, change friends, change abode, yet the core of your being guides your focus and direction.

“What is Plan A anyway?”

Plan A is your personal commitment to your unique design in life and reason to be here. It guides how you apply your gifts, talents, skills and Genius to serve the world around you and feel good doing so.

Plan A is the active awareness and appreciation of who you really are.

Meanwhile, Plan B is a blinding, binding thought form that stops you from fulfilling your Plan A in all its glory. Womp womp.

“What if I don’t have a Plan A?”

I have awesome news! You DO have a Plan A even if you aren’t aware of it. It’s formed by your thoughts, beliefs, and how you channel them into what you do in this world. This is your inner guidance showing you where to go, who to meet, and how to serve. Do not get fooled by talk of Plan B!

“How do I know I’m on the right path?”

Knowing the difference is simple, and you will know which is which by how you feel:
– You can let external situations dictate where you go and what you do (this is Plan B and its delusions).
– You can have a strategy – which starts with your mindset – and move in that direction with focus and purpose (Badabing! Plan A!).

Now, I get that fear can be a kicker. But only if you let it! Behind fear there is usually a hidden message that if we look or listen closely, will show us a new level of strength, commitment and personal belief that we can use to our advantage. So the next time it shows up, ask what the real message is for you, and kiss fear adios.

“What do I do if sh** happens, or people say “No” to my Plan A?”

I respect that sometimes we require alternative actions (which are really opportunities for greater awareness and growth), as long as these are in active service to Plan A. However, if you’re using distractions, excuses and other people’s lack of belief or commitment to avoid taking a leap on your most cherished dreams, projects and visions, then you’re selling out on yourself, plain and simple. If you’re feeling doubtful then any hint of a”No” can also set you off down that rabbit hole.

A Public Service Announcement from your Mindset:

If you’re the kind of person who believes that how you think forms the reality around you (ie. you think about stressful and dramatic situations and BAM they show up for you… OR you think about how amazing your life is and BAM someone tells you what a positive impact you make in their life…), then here’s a reminder for you:

If you think more about having a Plan B, then you are inadvertently creating the circumstances and outcomes that will justify acting on Plan B instead of being fully committed to Plan A.

You’d probably enjoy better outcomes by focusing your energy, talents, gifts and Genius on Plan A, wouldn’t you?

“What about a backup plan?”

There is no “backup plan.” Your internal resourcefulness paves the way for Plan A to incorporate improvements and changes. Understanding what really motivates you gives the clarity to form and align your actions and make it happen.

Most people who dwell on Plan B usually end up living the way someone else told them to live because those people followed someone else down that path of fear and limitation or status quo, and nobody stopped to ask themselves, “Is this what I really want?” (read that sentence again please, and then one more time for good measure).

What is your plan A?

Remember, Plan A is your inner guide for personal fulfillment and purpose.

Your purpose may be to serve others as an employee, and that’s okay, because you might volunteer on the side and feel awesome doing that. Your purpose may be to create the next best thing since my mother’s brownies (which might be a stretch although I’ll still cheer you on), and use part of your income to install clean water facilities in underprivileged communities. Your purpose may be to go to those communities and help them change their mindset from underprivileged to abundant…

If you haven’t thought about it in a while, take some moments now to write out your Plan A. You may have new awareness and ideas on how to act on it:
– Start by asking yourself “Why do I do what I do?” and “Why do I want what I want?”
– Keep asking “Why” until you feel a strong answer that has no answer waiting behind it.
– Then ask if the actions you are taking are aligned with your Why.
– Then ask if the people around you are truly supporting it from an authentic place of love (and if they’re not, find new people, and keep strengthening your personal beliefs).
– Take the next best step to move in the direction of your vision.

My Plan A… Has always been to inspire joy in others and keep refining who I am so I can serve the world in greater ways {cue violins}. As a teenager it started with making greeting cards and gifts with Niki Owl. Later on, I did it by creating websites and marketing campaigns for business owners to generate awesome revenue and serve their community (which means I serve them too behind the scenes). And now, it happens through writing books, spreading niki owl’s inspirational messages around the world, and working with people like you who want to be the best version of yourself, to use your talents, gifts, skills and Genius to create a domino effect of optimised living. In a nutshell, my core theme is a happy marriage between creativity and life optimisation, and I continually honour this and explore its variations.

What is the core theme in your life that no matter what happens, you remain focused and committed to it?

If what I’ve written today helps you expand your mind and take revived action on your Plan A, then I know I’ve done my work. And if you’d like to share what that is, comment on this post below or send me an email. I would love to hear from you.

Now go Ace your Plan A.

When Progress Becomes Completion

So it arrived yesterday afternoon… the first soft cover copy of my book, freshly hatched from the publishers a couple days ago. Here it is…

I was told it would arrive in 2-3 weeks, and it actually took 2-3 days. Godspeed, I tell you (influenced by UPS, no doubt, which I’m loving right now).

This book concept was born over 10 years ago, and after some major personal shifts reviewing my life and marketing career that spawned during that time, I re-visited the idea during my trip to London last summer for my birthday. I treated myself to see my favourite band (Take That) perform at Wembley Stadium. That tour was called Progress, and I couldn’t help but feel a strong synergy with that word…

When you’re in a stadium surrounded by 85,291 people and a 30m robot representing the stages of human progress, you gain a whole new perspective on possibility. And conscious ‘progress’ has been the story of my life since then, as I sifted, wrote, thought, created, travelled, and decided.

Yes, decided.

You see, I had spent most of my life with two separate ideas that I hadn’t dared to integrate (mostly distracted by a marketing career in which I felt the need to provide results for others more than for myself)… my cartoon owl called Niki, and a collection of short stories that integrate life lessons with light spirituality and intelligent humour.

After arriving in LA a few years ago, I decided to make time to invest in me, through coaching and other kinds of personal development. After a series of integrations and what I call ‘deep sea diving’ consciousness explorations, I realised the higher purposes of both my ideas, brought them together, and here it is… my first book featuring Niki Owl, who tells his story of self discovery as he explores the west coast of Canada, which added ‘travel journal’ and ‘social commentary’ to the scope of the book for a more encompassing human connection.

The magic starts to happen when you decide to take action on the things that matter most to you and implement them in your daily life. You learn to build conscious traction, and watch with amazement as your manifestations come to fruition.

This is how my progress became completion…

And this is only the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life.

My request to all of you: stop waiting for Life to happen. Recognise who & what are already within reach for what they really are, and start making Life happen for yourselves… really, truly, amazingly… step by step, chapter by chapter, so the book of your life can take Real Shape now too.

I’m excited about what happens next… are you?


Get Ready, Your Yes Is Waiting For You

When you’re actively committed to your highest well being and working on your Self, things change and Life moves at the speed of Astounding, allowing you to trust that the spaces in between serve to nurture and foster stronger connections.

Limiting decisions are blown away, infused with renewed faith and confident forward motion.

Old blockages removed clear space for fresh beginnings and clear visions.

The crutches and shackles of the past disappear for you to run, skip and fly… freely.

You wake up to a whole new brew of Life, because you know you’re worth this… or better.

You experience quantum leaps of happiness in all forms, with ease and grace.

Ask… and you shall receive.

Believe… and you will see.

Invite… and you will reap.

Feel… and you will complete.


Your Yes is waiting for you.