What is your next challenge?

  • Do you spend less time with your family than you would like to?
  • Do you want to be more energetic but fail to change your eating and exercise habits?
  • Do you have an old dream that you just do not dare to turn into reality?

Whatever your challenge is, now is a great opportunity to make a change: Join my next 90 day challenge!

Image from Pexels 

We will define problem statements and use issue trees to visualize the massive action that will take us where we want to go. Even if we will have different goals we can share our ups and downs and support and inspire each other.

As Tony Robbins has said:

"Be one of the few who do rather than one of the many who complain."

Next week I will get started - I look forward to doing it with you!


The Beauty of Art, part 15 - the answers

This Beauty of Art quiz was a tricky one. I believe most of us know paintings more than we do sculptures.

The sculpture in the Beauty of Art part 15 is called La Valse (the waltz) and it is made by Camille Claudel.

Image from wikimedia commons

One of the clues I gave to this quiz, was that Camille had had a relationship with one of the artists in a previous Beauty of Art post. That artist was Rodin, described in the Beauty of Art part 4.

Rodin was impressed with her talent and she became one of his apprentices. At one point he said:

" Je lui ai montré où trouver de l'or, mais l'or qu'elle trouve est bien à elle."
("I have shown her where to find gold, but the gold she finds is her own." )

They even worked together on some of Rodin's sculptures, for instance the one I showed in the Beauty of art part 4: Le baiser.

Like so many other artists of this time (she was born 1864) she went to Paris to learn and perform her art.

She was without a doubt very gifted, very passionate and she had a lot of support from her father (but not from her mother). Her life was very dramatic, as can be seen in the film Camille Claudel. Unfortunately her strong emotions made her destroy some of the sculptures she made and she evetually ended up in a hospital due to "insanity".

You have described that the sculpture make you think of passion. I agree, it shows a lot of passion and at the same time it shows a lot of tenderness. I find it amazing that some people have the ability to craft something that radiates love out of material like plaster and bronze.

Thank you for participating in this Beauty of Art!


90booksin90days: Who am I if I don't succeed?

The project we were working on was high-profile and critical. We were developing a product based on new technology under a tough deadline. Just before an important milestone I sent one of my newsletters, encouraging all project members:
"It will be tough a few more weeks, but we are the type of project that delivers. We will make it."
We did make it and several project members told me that they had been motivated by what I had written. We are the type of project that delivers.

I have always believed that
"If you want something bad enough and work hard to get it - you will get it." 
So when the deadline for my 90booksin90days passed and I had not sold 90 books, only 67, I was confused.
 If I am not  the one who always gets what I go for - who am I then?
It took some thinking and a talk to my coach to look at my "failure" in another way.

My 90booksin90days challenge is not comparable to my projects. When I lead a project I ensure we have the right pre-requisites.  I manage expectations and I negotiate the outcome with the stakeholders throughout a project.

When I came up with my 90booksin90days challenge I set the goal myself and I chose something that inspired me, something that simply sounded good. "I went in blind" as my coach called it. I did not sell 90 books in 90 days. But I did a lot of great things and learned a lot to get to the 67 books.

The same goes for those who are the best of the best. There are great athletes that break records. And still - they do not win every race, every match. There are great actors who perform breath takingly in some films and flop in others. There are fantastic business people who achieve a lot, yet lose great deals or markets now and then. Or, as Michael Jordan said:
"I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."
So my coach helped me realize that aiming for always succeeding is not the way to go. And just like I once told my project members about what type of project we were, she told me what type of person I am:
"You are the type of person who challenges yourself by setting inspiring stretch goals - and then gives all you got to get them."

Image from Pixabay 

What about you? Are you the type of person who wants to make a change in your life, who wants to challenge yourself? Join my next 90 day challenge! 

I will start again in a week or two and I hope you will join me. It will be hard, comfort-zone expanding and lots of fun!

You can find the previous posts about my 90booksin90days challenge here.

Join my journey
New idea: Literary music events
Introducing the first Valentine's offer
Getting Ideas is the easy part
The second Valentine's offer
Are you doing something great too late?


The beauty of art: Part 15

Let's look into some art again, and let's get back to sculpture. Please let me know (in a comment or on Facebook):

  • How this piece of art makes you feel

  • The name of the sculpture and the artist

Picture from Wikimedia commons

I believe this may be a bit hard, so I will provide som clues on my facebook page before the answers will come in a blog post.


Tear down the walls!

One of my colleagues who grew up in the German Democratic Republic recently described how the wall in Berlin was a big part of her childhood. She walked along it on her way to school, she saw it every time she went out to play and passing it when going on vacation was always a gamble due to the unpredictable guards.

Photo: Wikimedia commons

I grew up in Sweden so I did not see the wall when I grew up - but I knew about it. We all did. And many of us got used to it, and somehow thought it would always be there.

I still remember the surge of happiness I felt when finally, in 1989, the "wall of shame" was opened and later completely removed. The world was going in the right direction!

Before the Berlin wall came down, about 11 nations had border walls. How many nations do you think have walls today? I am sorry to give you an answer that - if you react like I did when I heard the statistic - will sadden you.
Today some 70 (!) nations have put up border walls or fences. (According to the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in an interview in TIME).
Are we moving in the wrong direction? Or is this just a result of some politicians having lost their way, while most of us still see the madness of putting walls between human beings?

The French artist JR created a piece of art, an installation, with a picnic on both sides of the US-Mexican border. The picnic table was a canvas with a large photo of the eyes of a young and undocumented immigrant called Mayra.

JR described the event like this:
“The table goes through the wall, and the people eat the same food and drink the same water and listen to the same music. For a minute we were forgetting about it, passing salt and water and drinks as if there were no wall.”
We know that fences will never successfully keep people apart. And they will for sure not protect anyone. Pink Floyd showed us that long ago, in their rock opera The Wall. Reuben Tasker describes the moral of the story like this:
Though there will almost always be personal and social barriers erected out of fear, oppression, pain, and isolation, it’s the job of every socially conscious individual and community to never rest in tearing down the walls that separate us.
Lets tear down the walls!


90booksin90days: Are you doing something great too late?

Let's go back in time, to the beginning of this millenium. All the telecom vendors wanted to be first with the next generation of telecom systems; the so-called 3G.

At the time I was working as a subproject manager in a project that was in dire straits. We knew we had to be first to get the biggest market share. We did not know how far our competitors had come, but we knew we didn't have much time left. But our node - one of many important pieces in the total 3G system - was not yet stable.

A seasoned top project manager from the head quarters in Stockholm was sent to our development site in Göteborg. (Later on Jack told me I had looked at him as on "something the cat had dragged in".) Despite my initial dislike of having some hot shot Stockholm-snob come and tell us what to do, I became impressed about what he managed to do in a short time.

One of the key things he did, was to change the way we looked at our end goal. He asked how long our node was stable.
"Sometimes several days, but sometimes not even ten hours"
"What does it take to get it stable again?"
"Oh, everything is fine after a re-boot, but..." 
"So if the operator restarts it before it crashes, it will be fine several hours until it needs another reboot?"
"Well, yes but... we can´t ask them to reboot it every now and then!" 
"No, but we can ask them to reboot every twelve hours. Until we come with the next release where we will have solved the problem."
That became our new goal. Make it stable for twelve hours. That goal we made. In time. We were first and we got plenty of market share! (It was at the celebration party that Jack told me that I had looked at him like something the cat had dragged in.)

What Jack knew, and what we learned, was that:

It is better to come with something good in time, than with something great too late.

Photo by Eugene Shelestov from Pexels

Now, almost two decades later, I have been that seasoned project manager for many troubled or critical projects. This has given me experiences and knowledge I apply in my Storyteller side-gig as well.

Those who follow my 90booksin90days challenge know that I have decided to sell 90 books before the end of February, You also know that I had an idea about creating literary music events together with a troubadour.

I have found good and interesting troubadours, and I have been in touch with some companies that are interested in these events. There is only one catch. We will not be able to prepare, sell and hold an event during February. We will create something great - but it will be too late.

So I decided to aim for good and in time instead: A read-, sing- and book signing event where I will do the singing - together with the audience who will sing along.

With this new ambition level I found a place willing to host my event in February. On the 24th I will have my "good" event at Kvillehyllan in Göteborg :).

And the best part of all. I will not choose between something good in time and something great too late. I will do something really good now, and together with others I will do something even greater a little later :).

Previous posts about my challenge:

Join my journey
New idea: Literary music events
Introducing the first Valentine's offer
Getting Ideas is the easy part
The second Valentine's offer


90booksin90days: The second Valentine offer: Against all odds

With one Valentine's offer focusing on Love and Doubt, I wanted another theme for the second one. A theme that fits with the books: Qui sine peccato est and Primam lapidem mittat. Books about two countries with a troubled past and complicated present. Countries I have made up, but every reader knows that the situation is applicable for too many countries in our world.

Are these political novels? Not only. They are, like all my books, also filled with adventure and love.

Since Ingelrike and Arniak are not only separated by their past but also by water (Arniak is an island) I agreed with Lisbeth from Kantza smycken that necklaces with sailing boats would be a good fit in our second Valentine offer.

What about the title of the offer? Against all odds? If you are old enough, you may think of the 80s film with the same name:

The film did not receive good reviews, but with Against all odds by Phil Collins in the soundtrack, it is not easily forgotten. I am fond of the song, so it should come as no surprise that I included it in my debut novel Jenny, Jenny.

When it comes to the odds in the books about Ingelrike-Arniak, being in love with "another man's woman" is just one of many odds against the love...

I am proud and happy to present the second Valentine offer:

I hope many will like it!

Previous posts about my challenge:

Join my journey
New idea: Literary music events
Introducing the first Valentine's offer
Getting Ideas is the easy part


90booksin90days: Getting ideas is the easy part

"If I go to an investor with my idea - do I need to have them sign something so they will not steal it?"
The question came from an entrepreneur who was about to meet possible investors. He asked the question on a radio show where a man who had invested in many different start-ups provided answers.

I could hear in the investor's voice that he found the question naive, maybe even silly.
"Noone is going to steal your idea. There are thousands of great ideas out there. Getting ideas is not the problem. Finding people who can turn their ideas into reality is the tricky part."
And even those who turn their ideas into reality may not find a way to make it profitable. Spotify and Dropbox are companies whose services are widely used and in demand - still neither one of them is making a profit.
So if you are a person who comes up with plenty of ideas. Great! If you are also the type of person who can turn them into reality - even better! If you know how to make your implemented ideas profitable - spread the word! A lot of people will benefit from learning from you.
My own challenge, within my 90booksin90days challenge is to turn the idea I have about literary music events based on my books into reality (working on it) and eventually profitable (the tricky part).

Musician Kristin Fornfela and myself, discussing how to make Literary Music events based on my books

I hope you have plenty of ideas that you will turn into reality and make profitable!

If you have missed the previous posts in this journey, you can find them all here.

Join my journey
New idea: Literary music events
Introducing the first Valentine offer


90booksin90days: Introducing the first Valentine offer from Kantza smycken and Annikaslol

So here it is, the  first Valentine's offer from Kantza Smycken and annikaslol:  Kärlek och tvekan (Love and Doubt).

I am happy that I know Lisbeth, a gifted woman who creates lovely jewelry and decorations in glass. When I asked if she wanted to create a Valentine's offer with me her answer was immediate.
"Yes, of course. What do you want me to create?"
I said I would like to have hearts (Valentine´s Day is called "alla Hjärtans dag" or "the day of all hearts" in Swedish) for the Kärlek och Tvekan offer.

Shortly after Lisbeht got started. Out of this raw material:

She created 10 necklaces with  hearts.

These ten unique hearts are now part of the Valentine offer Kärlek och Tvekan.

Jenny, Jenny is a book with a lot of love and doubts
"He can´t possibly love me, he loves his freedom more"

"She will never love someone like me, we live in separate worlds"

"How can I ever make her love me when she just sees me as a friend?"
Ursus-dit rättvisan inte når is an action filled love story with a lot of doubt as well. How could it not be, when two brothers are interested in the same woman? And two best friends?

I am happy I can offer my readers one book for themselves, one for their friend and, as a bonus, a unique and beautiful heart from my friend Lisbeth.

Interested in the second offer? Follow me on Facebook and keep an eye on this blog!

Here are the previous posts in this challenge. I hope you will join me and challenge yourself :)

Join my journey
New idea: Literary music events


90booksin90days - one of the new ideas: Literary Music events

I have asked you to follow my journey 90booksin90days. Both by giving me advice and ideas and by challenging yourself so we can do the same journey. Different paths and goals, but at the same time.

One advice I received was to get in touch with Kvillehyllan: a different kind of shop that sells vintage and provides an easy way for customers to sell their things. They also arrange different kinds of events in a nice atmosphere.

I checked out the shop on-line, learned more about their concept and values and liked what I saw. What could I offer them?

They have had book signing events before. Great! I would like to offer something even more special. I am very fond of music (as anyone reading my books is likely to notice) and it would be great to team up with a musician and offer a combined music and literary event.

Congerdesign, pixabay

I visited Kvillehyllan to discuss this and to check with them if they had a network of musicians?

They were very happy about a cover band they had used before. However, paying them would most likely be so costly that even if I would sell a few books it would be a loss for me.

I like the idea of creating a combined literary and music event and I am sure this could be offered to more small businesses. Maybe book shops, maybe cafés... The next step for me will be to find a musician who want to try this out with me (in a way that is financially sound for both of us) and to contact small business who may want to arrange these type of events.

To be continued...

Here are the previous posts in this challenge. I hope you will join me and challenge yourself :)



90booksin90days - partner up! Co-operation between annikaslol and Kantza smycken

Thank you all who follow my 90booksin90days journey! One of the advice I received from you, was to partner up with others. After all, collaborating with others was one of the keys to my successful bookrelease of Primam Lapidem Mittat.

I am happy to let you know that I have agreed on a collaboration with Kantza smycken!

Together we will offer you the Valentine packages:

Kärlek och Tvekan (Love and Doubt) 
Mot alla odds (Against all odds)
Keep your eyes open for more information :)

Here are the previous posts in this challenge. I hope you will join me and challenge yourself :)




Are you familiar with the acronym YCDBSOYA?. My husband was not, so when he received this tie pin for christmas he looked confused.

I believe the members of Jack Cohen's management team were equally confused when he gave them tie pins like this a long time ago.

The letters on the tie pin are there to remind us that:
You can't do business sitting on your ass
When it comes to my challenge 90booksin90days, I have not been sitting on my ass.
This is what I have done so far (with the blue arrows showing activities that I have started).

Well, I admit. Literally I have been sitting on my ass when doing these activities. My brain and fingers have done most of the work with the help of the vast opportunities internet provides.  Opportunities that were not yet there when Jack Cohen built the retail business Tesco. 

Do you doubt your ability to start a thriving business? Remember that Jack Cohen started with selling surplus army material from a single market stall. We can all start from where we are and still go far.

I hope I can reach my goal by working hard behind my computer. If not, I may have to literally get off my ass and go selling door to door...

Here are the previous posts in this challenge. I hope you will join me and challenge yourself :)


90booksin90days - Do you know what I have to offer?

There are many books for sale. In bookshops, on the net... how can I sell 90 of my books in 90 days to people who have never even heard about them?

Well, first I need to make it easy for people to understand what I have to offer.

I created web pages for my books; for Jenny, JennyUrsus-dit rättvisan inte når and for my two books about Ingelrike-Arniak.

These web pages describe the books, including what my readers think about them. A lot of people (people like myself) want to make up their own mind, regardless of what others say. For them I added recordings of the first 5 chapters so they can hear if the books are a good fit for them or not.

Still, a web page does not make much of a difference if people don't find or look for it. I decided to get reviews of my books, so people will hear more about them.

Some of my books have (thanks to my publishers) been reviewed by papers, bloggers and libraries. Nowadays there are also bookstagramers and booktubers. I decided to contact some of them and ask them to review my two latest books.

I contacted two bookblogs and one bookstagramer. Result? Zero response. Not a "thanks but no thanks" response, just silence. 

Sometimes I wonder if people have understood the purpose of the message function on Instagram or Facebook, or even the purpose of e-mail. They are not just there as a decoration, they are there for communication. Two way communication.

Anyway, I am learning about Mastering Influence (a Tony Robbins course) and I got ideas about how to make my mails / messages stand out more.

The results were a lot better with my new approach. I sent five mails and received three answers - great and friendly answers. One of them made me extra happy - she said she would like to review my books!

I will wait a while and see if the remaining two will answer. If they do not answer, or if they say thanks but no thanks, I will contact 5 more. And then 5 more. Until I get some 3-4 reviews of my books.

Meanwhile I am very happy that Kajsas bokblogg will review the books I sent!

Is it easy for you to understand what I have to offer? Do you have ideas on how I can make it easier? Please let me know!


90booksin90days -is it easy to get to know me?

You may be one of my existing readers or listeners already. If you are, it may be hard for you to answer the question in the title. You already know me! Maybe not in a "we have been friends all our lives" kind of way, but in a "I feel like I know you and understand what you are about" way.

Or maybe you and I are strangers? In that case I would love to hear from. You may wonder why I want to know what you think. I want to know because in order to reach my 90booksin90days challenge, I want to:
Turn strangers into friends into customers into fans.
To do this I updated my annikaslol web page with a bio and a photo. Originally I planned to put this collage there, to make it even more personal:

In the end I decided to only use the picture in the middle - it gave a cleaner look to the web page.

I also updated the bio (the description about myself) on several different platsforms; LinkedIn, my Facebook page, Instagram and my blog.

Another action I took was to add more of a personal touch to my posts, going from purely sharing my thoughts, to also share more of myself.

What do you think? Is it easier to get to know me? If you have more ideas on how I can turn strangers into friends into customers, please let me know!

Here are the previous posts in this challenge. I hope you will join me and challenge yourself :)

35 books left to sell - in 44 days


The Beauty of Art part 14: The answers

As promised, here are the answers to the Beauty of Art part 14:

The painting is called:
Dancer with a Bouquet of Flowers
Many of you saw that  this was the work of a French impressionist, even though you  did not know which one.

The painter is...

Edgar Degas, born 1834 in Paris.

Degas (originally called De Gas) is considered one of the impressionists - even though he did not see his art that way.

The painting in this quiz is typical for the artist. Degas often painted dancers. He enjoyed showing motion in his pictures.

Apart from painting dancers, he was also known for painting his subjects from unusual angles, like in the painting Waiting:

Degas had yet another way of painting that made him special: he could crop the paintings in unusual ways, leaving out what many painters would have left in the painting. For example in L'orchestre de l'Opera where we only see the legs of the dancers.

Degas was without a doubt a gifted artist. From what I read about him, I am not sure he was a nice person to be with.
He believed that

"the artist must live alone, and his private life must remain unknown"

and he never married. He did not mind being seen as a misanthropic (someone who has a contempt for mankind) bachelor.

What you think about the painting:

It makes you exalted and gives a glimpse of how beautiful, good and wonderful life can be
It gives the same feeling as when looking at John Bauer paintings - with a kind troll.
It makes you curious. What play is this? Who is she?

I really like the painting myself, the motion in the picture, the colours, the feeling - and yes, since I love dancing I like the motif a lot :).

If you want to read more about Edgar Degas and see more of this art, take a look at:

Wikipedia and Artsy

Thanks for participating!


90booksin90days -35 books left to sell - 44 days left

In previous posts I have shared what actions I plan to take. I have started executing on the actions and I follow them up using a kanban board, detailing the actions I plan per week.

Do you ever take actions, yet you do not get any immediate results? At work or in any chosen challenge in life?

Most likely you do, from time to time. There are times when actions lead to immediate results and there are times - especially when you do something new - when you try out actions without seeing any results.

For my 90booksin90days challenges it is getting more and more exciting as the days to conclude the challenge are getting fewer while the amount of books to sell remain the same since X-mas. Despite the many actions I take.

At times like these, it is important to stick to the goal but be prepared to change approach. Prepared to do more or do something different from the original plan.

I have plenty of actions left to take, a lot of new ideas about what to do - some of them thanks to you, my lovely readers and listeners :) - and I have plenty of time left. 44 days to be exact.

How hard can it be?

Previous posts in this challenge:

Join my journey
Annika are you never satisfied?
Rapid Planning Method
You need to dare more Annika
The problem statement
The first branches in the issue tree
Selling to existing customers
55 sold, 35 to go
Maybe you nee to get to know them?


90 books in 90 days - Are thoughts real?

Many ask me how I am doing with my goal 90booksin90days. Is it working, am I selling my books?

Yes, I have sold books, I am happy about every book I have sold, every new reader :). But I have no idea if I will be able to sell the remaining ones before the end of February.

I am used to uncertainty at work, that is part of working with Research and Development. We estimate, experiment, work, check where we are, adapt and work some more. But that is SW engineering and we are SW engineers. We know what we are doing even if we do not know exactly how  our current challenges will work out.

When it comes to markering and selling I have little or no experience, little or no historical data to rely on. When I told my coach that I feel unsure about achieving my goal, she interrupted me and asked:
"Are thoughts real?"

Le Penseur by Rodin. Wikimedia Commons

Well, no they are not. I know that. A thought is just a thought. Even though we often make them a lot more powerful than that.

"The only way you can find out if your activities will take you to the goal, is by doing them and see what happens."

Yes. I know that too. (Our talk made me think that the job of a coach or mentor is to tell you the things you already know but have somehow failed to fully understand.)

Will I make my goal? I don't know. But I know what actions I will take. I have described my actions related to selling to existing customers in previous posts. Here is the branch of the issue tree that describes my actions to sell to new customers.

As you can see I have one box, one branch of the tree, still open for "Great ideas yet to come".

Any ideas you may have that can fit into that box are very welcome :).

You can find the previous posts of my journey here:

Join my journey
Annika are you never satisfied?
Rapid Planning Method
You need to dare more Annika
The problem statement
The first branches in the issue tree
Selling to existing customers
55 sold, 35 to go
Maybe you nee to get to know them?