Denmark_131006Last week, I was asked to speak about success to a group of mostly 20-30 year olds.  They belong to JCI Wonderful Copenhagen, a chapter of the worldwide JCI organization.  I’d never been to Denmark, and I love young people (not as crabby and cynical as old farts.) And I was inspired by the mission of the group and their slogan…Be Better.

So, I said, “Ja!”

Fortunately, the Danes I met speak English very well.  So, as a lazy American, I was rewarded yet again for speaking only one, albeit a common, language.  Also fortunately, I didn’t study up on characteristics of Danish people.  Because according to a few of the delightful people I met, Danes have a reputation of being a bit reticent and not very outgoing.  Tværtimod, everyone I met was friendly and kind and welcoming!

I arrived a couple days early, so I could discover Copenhagen.  The weather was lovely!  Crisp, breezy blue skies and mixed gray days.  Perfect for October.  It’s an approachable city.  Not too big, yet full of old world charm and stunning modern architecture.  Lovely, tall, blond people ride bikes everywhere…51% of all Copenhagen residents use/ride their bikes every day.

I know that because I took a sightseeing boat tour around the harbor city.  I love to learn the layout of a new-to-me area and how to get around, as well as interesting facts and history.  It’s touristy, but, hey, I am a tourist.  It was an honor to also participate in an exclusive tour of Amalienborg, the royal residence.  Not many tourists, or locals, have that opportunity and I am grateful to my hosts for the invitation.

I appreciated the art, the architecture and the vibe of the city.  Then, off to the JCI event.  I presented a program, How to Build a Profitable Business…in a Weekend.  The time frame is a game for me because I have so much to share on this, my favorite topic.  And, we are just meeting, so I have to establish my credibility, find out a bit about the audience…and lay out relevant, entertaining content…all in an hour.  It’s a delicious challenge.

With any adventure, the best organic experience is a result of planning and presence.  I know we will be OK if I stay in the moment, sharing from my experience, strength and hope.  Still, afterwards, I will criticize myself.   I think, “That story worked.  This story could have been better.  Oh, I wish I had said this…”

Dear, JCI colleagues, thank you for your participation, and your energy.  This is what I so want you to remember from our time together:  Consider what you really really really want.  Honor it.  Intend it.  And take a step or two in that general direction.  Then, expect miracles and serendipitous interventions.  From the left, or the right, or out of the clear blue will come something that inch you forward, or worm-hole-quantum-leap you to an even better adventure.

And, move quickly.  You are younger than me.  However, I was your age about 15 minutes ago. So…go.  Here’s a gift for you – and you too dear blog reader.  A bonus copy of The Weekend Biz Plan and 9 forms for helping you build your own profitable business in a weekend!

That’s what I wanted to share with you.  Thank you for all you shared with me!  It was great to learn about your careers and businesses and families.  Thanks for sharing your hopes and business ideas, too!

As The Plumber’s Wife, I loved learning about your progressive approach to energy efficiency.  20% of all Copenhagen’s power comes from windmills.  A vast central district heating system hydronically warms over 350,000 homes.  It uses trash and wood pellets to fuel the boilers!  And, you are creating a sea-water driven cooling system.  Neat! It was interesting to discuss your very functional national health care, and ideas for improving it.  In Denmark, people pay a lot in taxes – the highest tax bracket is 70% of personal income – and therefore expect appropriate government services.  For instance, the monarchy is generally popular.  However, the expense of maintaining it is questioned, the accounting is transparent and the royal family takes their roles as ambassadors and curators seriously.

If I were to risk a blanket description (never wise!) of the Danish people I met, it would be that you value life and service.  You have a strong sense of fair play.  You strive to be better.  These are very attractive and inspiring characteristics.  There seems, also, to be a fondness for black for day wear, although all bets are off when it comes to stunning evening attire.  And, you have an interpretive approach to themed events. “Oktoberfest?  We’ll go as Smurfs!”

When I travel, I am proud to be a US citizen and hope to be to be a good representative.  Dear fellow Americans, if you have never been outside of the US, I encourage you to travel abroad.  You have the opportunity!  Danfoss and Grundfos are based in Denmark.  Read PHCNews and visit with your reps about their familiarization tour plans.  Go to ISH.  Visit your long lost relative and take a tour of Viessmann in Germany and Uponor in Sweden.  Enter and win the Caleffi Excellence program and pack your bags for Italy.  Philosopher and Movie Star Matt Damon says (so it has to be true) that, “Fat passports create peaceful people.”

xo$, Ellen

PS…Special thanks to Rasmus Lindgren.  Livsstilsiværksætter!

PPS…Love and thank you to Bei, Sandy, Peter, Jon, Varan, Flemming, Tors, Jesper, Kim, Miriam, and so many others whose names I am afraid to spell.  Let me know how I can be of service to you.  And, Sussi, I will keep my eye out for your brother, Poker Pro “The Insane Dane,” on my next trip to Las Vegas, NV, USA!