Mar 1, 2013

A Swedish soulful entrepreneur in LA

Lotta Alsén
A few years ago I had a business meeting with this woman. It didn´t take long for me to realize that she was very exciting, full of potential, a super entrepreneur, driven but also with a big heart and soul. She´s a big source of inspiration for many of us northern Europeans since she has also succeeded in making it in the US, now living in LA since many years. We kept in touch and I am proud that Lotta Alsén wanted to tell you readers a little more about her exciting life in LA, her new online program (maybe for you?) and how to use that inner strength for success. 

Lotta, how would you describe yourself?
I'm a Swedish Soulful Seeker who has finally found herself in one of the most creative and most spiritual places on the planet, Los Angeles. I'm a soul-driven intuitive business and life-coach, as well as the creater of The Reality Project, a transformational leadership program. I'm also an entrepreneur and business builder, seasoned leader, published author, yoga teacher and singer.

How did you end up in sunny LA and how do you spend your days?
I wanted to be in the US since I was 5. I was an exchange student in New Mexco the last year of high school, and I cried when I had to get back on the plane to Sweden. But it wasn't until I was in my early 30's that I finally made my way over to San Francisco, where I lived for 5 years. I moved to Los Angeles seven years ago. It's taken me until now, though, to really understand LA. It's so big and has so many contrasts, but now I feel as if the city is mine, which is a wonderful feeling. My days often start with a quick walk on the beach, where you frequently see Dolphins. A month ago, though, I saw a whale, though, which was way too close to the beach for its own good, but it was a remarkable sight. I had to pinch my arm just to make sure i wasn't dreaming. Amazing. Anyhow, I then meditate. In the morning that follows, I often work with my European coaching clients. Maybe I have lunch with someone connected with my new business, or the conscious business network that I'm also building. The afternoon is often focused on meetings for Quickenings and writing. In the late afternoon, I often do yoga, and then resume work a bit later, unless I go to a business networking event or to a music performance. It's hard to say what's a typical day, though, since each day is truly different. Before I go to bed, I do a grounding meditation with energy cleansing before I go to sleep.

You are the former President of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles. Would you say the American business climate for entrepreneurs differ than the Swedish?
It's hard to speak for the entire US. Even just in California, with a population of almost 40 million, the business climate is radically different between Northern and Southern California. In Northern California it's a bit more similar to Sweden, even though it's more cut-throat and more results-oriented (Swedes are usually more process-oriented). In Southern California, in particular Hollywood, everything has its own logic. Unless you've lived here for several years, it is difficult to understand how things and people work. What's most striking, though, is the fact that people need to get to know you before they do business with you. In Sweden it's more logical, you say: "I have a good product, you want to buy my product and we can make a deal." Here people want to know you, they want to know who you know and they want to feel safe. This is magnified 100 times in Hollywood. Maybe because there are so many dreamers who end up here, with varying connection to reality, you don't do business with someone who doesn't know someone you do, and who you can have a drink/coffee/tea with and preferably with whom you also go share the same yoga teacher/healer/church/business networks. That's often difficult for Swedes who come here and think because they are 'big' in Sweden that they will get immediate access to the people who make the decisions. It took me many years to understand myself. When I was the President of SACC-LA, I had to keep telling many Swedish new business owners over and again that coming over for a month wouldn't cut it. You have to live and breathe the air here.
I still find it easier to do business in Sweden. However, just in the last year, I've met tons of people who I really resonate with (many of whom are expats, just like me) and with whom it's easier to do business with. I believe that I still have to earn my stripes here, so to speak, in the US business community, for example by building this conscious business network that I've recently started. Taking over or starting a network is one of the best ways to build a business here.

Have you found your "big purpose" in life?
To keep learning and keep evolving. I also believe that my purpose is to act as a bridge between spirituality and consciousness, leadership and business.
I think that it will be manifested through Quickenings, the video-game company that I'm building using the chakra system and a built-in biofeedback system that teaches you how to breathe deeply. I also believe it will be manifested through The Reality Project, which I want to spread across the world. Finally, I want to build a conscious business network here in LA. Ultimately, though, beyond the doing, it's also about peace, love, magic, truth and living as authentically and juicy as possible.

What is magical to you in life?
Everything is magical if we take the time and go deep enough so we are able to see it.

What is beauty according to you, and do you believe there is a connection between them?
Living in 'Botox-City' (LA has many faces), where so much is built on your appearance, it's sometimes hard not to be judgmental against the obsession of outer beauty.
I believe that beauty that is found on the inside is automatically transferred to the outside, no matter how you look. The key to outer beauty is also finding a style where you feel beautiful, no matter how you look, and to really like yourself. It's been difficult for me to juggle these definitions, in particular when I gained weight when I took on the role as the President of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce here in LA. I lost myself and used food to find comfort in doing something that often felt way too masculine, while at the same time, I had to cut down on my yoga because of yoga-related injuries. Taking on the leadership position was completely voluntary, and it was one of the best things I could have done for myself, my inner and outer development, for my career and for my grounding, but it came at a price. I'm now finding a way back to being comfortable in my body, where I'm eating more mindfully, doing more yoga, while also being happier. It is a great reminder of what I believe in particular women struggle with. No matter how enlightened we are, we will almost always judge ourselves based upon how much we weigh, and in particular, when we don't feel that we are in control of our eating.
So in summary, I believe inner and outer beauty are intimately connected. We have to find peace within ourselves not to get lost in our exterior. Yet it's also very empowering when we really like how we look like, because we like ourselves. We can't separate one from the other. Even though I believe we are much more than our bodies, as long as we are here in this existence, we are intimately connected to our physical form, whether we like it or not. When we learn to celebrate ourselves inwardly as well as outwardly, no matter our age or looks, that's when we access our true power!

What is best with LA?
To start with. LA is huge. Just LA itself has a population that is almost the size of Sweden. It consists of a number cities, so whatever you want to do, you have to figure out WHERE it is, and how to navigate the traffic.
But in general, I would say that both the music and the arts scenes are amazing. Downtown in particular, but also in Venice, Silver Lake, Culver City and in Santa Monica, or try he graffiti walls in Venice Beach by the Skatepark and in other locations downtown. Or go to the museums, for example the Getty Museum which often has free concerts in the summer. Or do a half-creepy, half-romantic picnic at the Cinespia Cemetery in West Hollywood, while watching old classical movies summertime.
Remember there are more creatives here than any other place on earth. No matter what dive bar you end up at, more likely or not, the person performing would be selling out full houses anywhere else in the world, but because it's so competitive, you will find talent in the most unexpected places. The food is also a mecca for vegans and raw foodists, as well as anyone who loves local, fresh and organic food.

You are just about to launch your new online course "The Reality Project - A Transformational Leadership Program". The course is a way for you to truly understand who you are, as a business owner, leader and person. It cuts to the core of what you are struggling with and avoiding, whether it's financially, emotionally or spiritually. By combining mindfulness with other powerful tools that are offered in this program, it will offer you a place of transformation. Why is Reality important and how is that connected to Mindfulness?
Reality is what's beneath the surface. Not the judgmental version of reality, but the one that represents your true essence. When we start seeing things for how they really are, and above all, start seeing ourselves for who we really are, it's like a huge burden that falls of your chest. There's nothing to prove anymore, and suddenly all the things you wanted, and struggled with, now come to you effortlessly. Mindfulness is key to this process, because we need to go beyond the intellect, and we need to develop a way of creating enough quietness on the inside, so we can connect to our reality. 
We are all expressions of light and we are all capable of tapping into something in us and around us that is so far greater than we even can imagine. Yet we spend all this time upholding this false sense of self, constantly fighting with ourselves and with others, using up so much energy of not being content to be exactly where we are. If we could let go of just a small part of that resistance, suddenly so many doors would open for us, and we would be so much happier. This also applies to business. If we always are looking at our competitors or what the next 'big' thing is, we will lose the business opportunities that are available to us right here and now.
So to summarize. This program takes us beyond the mindfulness. Again, meditation and mindfulness are tools to help us become more centered, so we can see better what we are fleeing from. But the group program will help us understand what we are fighting and fleeing in our own lives. Each week, we will use examples of what's going on for each and one of us and then discuss these struggles, and what they really mean and how that fighting feels in your body and how it feels when we stop fighting. Which changes everything. 

I love your phrase "inner sweetness - external success". What does it mean to you?
It means that when I stop fighting what is, when I become content being here, I have so much more energy and focus on making things happen for real. There is much less friction. There are no internal double agenda, which we so often fight against, and which I've done so many times myself.

What can a participant expect from the program?
To become much happier. More peaceful. And judging from my own experiences, things start happening very quickly in terms of manifesting what we want. So also to be become more successful as a leader, in business and in your personal life.

Who´s the program for?
I've said that I'm focused on mission-driven people who want to make a difference, could be tech-entrepreneurs or people running non-profits. But people in general who want to make things happen. And it's often these people in particular who strive for what isn't here yet. Which is wonderful. But it's only by being here most of the time that we actually can get to where we want.
I would also say that in addition it's anyone who's open-minded, curious and is ready to become more real, and do that work, while also getting more successful.

Why is it important to meditate daily following the program?
The reason I recommend daily meditation is that unless we have a tool that helps us step back, and see ourselves with some witnessing quality, we won't be able to see what we are fighting against or running from. I recommend doing 20 minutes, but if that's too much, do ten, and if that's too much as well, do five. It's the consistency that makes the biggest difference.

What happens when we “stop fighting the war in our lives and stop trying to change ourselves”?

How important is self-love for leading a successful life?
I don't think you can be successful without it. Just look here in Hollywood. There are so many people here who have so much of the external parameters of success; fame, looks, talent, money etc. Yet there are also so many very unhappy people here. Often it gets worse the more externally successful you are. And that's why many in Hollywood turn to inner practices. They know that when they reach the so called 'top, it's just a fancier hamster wheel. The only way to get off the hamster wheel is to find inner peace, self-awareness, self-love, and integrity on the inside.

You call your newsletter "the Durga journals". What does it stand for?
I call it The Durga Journal because it's about how to build a high-growth technology company, Quickenings, without losing myself and remaining in contact with my feminine side. So much of the tech start-up is about dealing with investors, delivery points, technology, and it's a world populated with mostly men. Since it's easy for me to mimic these men, to feel a need to prove myself, I decided I would create a newsletter named after the powerful Hindu Goddess Durga, who was the best of the feminine and the masculine, and use her as an archetypal symbol of what I want to tap into, and what I believe the world needs to tap into. Durga managed to stay soft and feminine, but she was also a fierce warrior. For Swedish readers, it could be said to use both your left and your right brain, with some of the body included.

What lead you to write your book with the awesome title “Soul power – a super hero training manual for the 21st century leader”?
I wanted to apply my insights of how energy works to something very practical as inner and outer Leadership. Currently, you can get it for free by going to my site at and signing up for my newsletter. It will be available for free for another month. After that it will be sold in Itunes and at

In your book you teach us five steps to become a “super hero”. What is the path of the super hero?
To stay centered and just like a Jedi Warrior, or Neo in the move The Matrix, to be able to know and use energy for the highest good.

Why is it important to learn how to focus your energy and intent in business life?
We are always focusing on something. Either we can focus on our problems or on what we really want. And as we all know, if we don't know what we want, someone else's will will prevail. Which is ok, as long as we are aware that we accepted that. But most people aren't aware that they are letting someone or something else run their lives. That's why intent, focus and action are all crucial.