Lotta Alsen is Goddess of the Week!

"It used to be enough to compete by using logic, intellectual acuity and rational decision-making. That is no longer the case. In today’s global and hyper-competitive world, we need to use our creativity, our emotions and our intuition in order to survive and thrive. And coincidentally, by integrating the left and the right brain, connecting the mind, the body, and the soul, operating from a holistic perspective, we will also stress less, and be able to achieve much better results."

- Lotta Alsén, Founder & CEO of Quickenings, President of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, author & speaker

Interview by Tabby Biddle

Lotta Alsén is on a mission to bring forth a new era in business, where the right brain is balanced by the left brain, and where personal leadership, intuition, creativity, purpose, mindfulness and authenticity form the key principles of every company and organization.  With a Master's degree in International Economics, Lotta is the founder and CEO of Quickenings, an International Coaching and Leadership Training company focused on empowering a new generation of conscious leaders and change agents, with a special focus on women leaders.Before founding Quickenings, Lotta spearheaded a multi-million dollar project called CORE,™ which focuses on the leadership development of women entrepreneurs. Today this program is being licensed throughout Europe. Lotta continues to be an agent of change as she pioneers new programs to train business leaders to leverage their intuition as a leadership and business tool, ultimately transforming the way the world is run.Tabby Biddle: You offer leadership programs for companies and individuals. How did you get so interested in leadership?Lotta Alsén: I’ve always been fascinated with both power and leadership. As a child, I wanted to be the U.S. President and then the UN Secretary-General. My fascination was at times borderline obsession. This was probably both because I felt disempowered growing up, but also because I felt a calling early on towards being a leader.I did my final thesis at an MBA-school in Barcelona, Spain, where I compared leadership styles in Spain and in Sweden. I’ve always been fascinated with how culture, gender, and tribe-affiliations affect leadership. On one level, there’s a big difference between leading a camp at Burning Man and leading a big corporation, but on another level, it’s still about getting people to come together and reach a common goal.Tabby: Why do you think feminine leadership is so important in the world right now?Lotta: Feminine leadership is not only about women leading. It’s about both women and men accessing that softer part within them, their Soul, or if you prefer, the Divine Feminine, and letting that be our guide instead of the more primitive parts of ourselves. Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism said, “Know the masculine, Keep to the feminine.” His words are more relevant today than ever. We’ve created a world, a society and a business community that believe it’s possible to leave your heart at home when you enter the board room. We’ve created a business community that builds products and services that at best are just leading to more landfill, but at worst, pollute the water, the land and the air. The only reason people act in this way is because things are disconnected. We don’t see how everything is tied together, because we are disconnected. Our minds have gone wild, and we refuse to bring in the body, the soul and the heart in the decision-making process. And when we don’t have that connection, we make really stupid decisions.I believe that at this point in time, more women than men have this understanding, and can become role models and pioneers, and lead the way. And it’s really how it should be. The feminine should inform the masculine, in both women and men. Since more women have more of the feminine than men (we both have feminine and masculine within us), it’s natural that more women should step up into a leadership position at this point in time.

"The world would be very well served by women owning their power."

 Tabby: You just made a video about how to become a kick-ass feminine leader by accessing your intuition. Why is accessing intuition so important for a woman leader? Lotta: Intuition is like a woman’s secret weapon. It’s that secret sauce that makes a woman irresistibly invincible -- not only in a competitive business world, but also in her own life. When you learn how to trust your intuition, and act upon it, you are in essence saying Yes to yourself, at your deepest level. Instead of always having to turn to outside sources, second-guessing yourself and seeking outside acknowledgment, you are guiding yourself. And if you have access to this level, you are unstoppable.Since so many women feel that they have to prove themselves to be better than men -- and play according to the male playbook -- this is like an antidote to all of that. You still have to learn the rules of the game, but now you can start using the game to your advantage, which is quite handy.Tabby: Why did you choose to call your company called Quickenings?Lotta: Originally it came from watching the movie Highlander as a child, which is about an immortal man, for whom life force comes through his body, in the form of lightning, and they called that a Quickening. It was my first visual cue of life force. I later learned that a Quickening is also the first flicker of life a woman feels in her belly when she is pregnant in the first trimester. A Quickening is also what some Native Indian tribes call life force. So Quickenings, no matter where you look at it, represents the magical moment when we become truly alive. I wanted to call my company Quickenings because I want to spread more Quickenings in the world.Tabby: You are working on a book about “Soul Power” and you also have a workshop you offer called “Accessing Your Soul Power.” What is Soul Power exactly?Lotta: Soul Power essentially is accessing your essence. When you work with that essence, you have so much more capacity, and whatever you focus that capacity on, it just expands … exponentially. The problem is that most of us operate from a very superficial level where we actually don’t get access to our inner resources. When you connect with your Soul Power, you are really connecting to your highest potential.Tabby: Speaking of connecting with your highest potential, you are a longtime yoga practitioner and yoga teacher. Tell me about how yoga helps you in your own leadership?Lotta: Yoga helps me on many levels. It keeps bringing me back to my body. Since I am a very mind-focused person and also still a Type A personality wanting to achieve a lot, it’s very easy to get disconnected. As soon as I disconnect from my body, I also disconnect from my soul. Yoga is a way to connect deeper, but also quite frankly a way to keep me sane. Without yoga, I would never be able to operate on the level that I am operating on today.  Tabby: I know you that you also have a meditation practice and that meditation is very important to you. How would you say meditation benefits those who want to be strong leaders?Lotta: I really think it’s almost impossible to become a strong leader without some form of something that brings you both a stillness, and helps you go inside -- whether it’s meditation or Qi Gong or Tai Chi, or whatever. Everything we have in society today brings us to the outside, especially if we are operating at a leadership level at a company or within an organization. You have to deliver results. Without meditation we can’t really calm ourselves down or find the juice that’s on the inside. Meditation is a direct line to the inside. If you don’t practice this, you don’t really have access to the parts of you that will make things happen.Tabby: You have a 100-day leadership program for women. Tell me about that.Lotta: Yes, it’s called the Quickenings Leadership Program for Women, and it’s built on the chakra system. It operates on two levels. The first level is a business development program that takes women through seven leadership levels and seven steps to build and expand a business. The second level is a personal development program that takes women from their survival needs to their highest wisdom. It addresses physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development. In the program women learn how to become more intuitive, how to focus their energy, how to become much more empowered and powerful as a leader, while at the same time, they get concrete tools to understand the underpinnings of a business and how they can expand the one they own or work for.Tabby: If women in business don’t develop themselves personally and spiritually, what do you think the repercussions are globally?Lotta: I think we get more of the same. On the global level, we don’t really see that much progress. On a personal level as women, based on how our brains operate and how our systems operate, we also become much more stressed. For example, there is an increase in heart congestive failures for women. As women, we adapt to the male perspective, but our bodies are not really handling it very well.

"It’s a double whammy for the world because first, we don’t get to see a different perspective – a more holistic, balanced perspective -- and second, women will actually suffer from a health perspective, and I also think from a fulfillment perspective."

 Tabby: You have a strong connection with Pippi Longstocking and she’s been sort of a role model for you. Tell me more about that.Lotta: First of all, she’s Swedish and I’m Swedish, so that’s one thing. Second, when Astrid Lindgren (who wrote Pippi Longstocking) tried to sell the manuscript, she had to go to 30 different publishers, and it was rejected by all of them. Several of them even commented on what a terrible role model Pippi would be because she was so fiercely independent. Pippi didn’t obey authority. She followed her own heart, she was incredibly strong, and she was independently wealthy. They just thought this would be horrible for young girls. It actually turned out to be the other way around. It was incredibly liberating … for my mother’s generation and my generation, and even young children today learn about Pippi Longstocking -- both girls and boys. Everyone wants to be Pippi Longstocking.Tabby: You founded a new media entertainment company over 10 years ago in Sweden based off of Pippi's story -- called MsFreckles.  What was it about her freckles that moved you?Lotta: In the 1940s (when the story takes place) Sweden was moving from an agrarian society to an industrial one, and freckles were considered something that only the farmer’s had. Freckles were considered not only ugly, but also working class. So there were a lot of things you could buy to bleach your freckles. Pippi and her two friends were out walking and they passed a beauty store, and in the store window there was a sign that said: “Do you suffer from freckles?” So Pippi goes inside to the lady who works there and says, “No.” And the lady says, “What do you mean by ‘No’?” And Pippi says, “I don’t suffer from freckles.” And the lady says, “Child, your face is filled with freckles.” Pippi says, “Yes, but I don’t suffer from them. As a matter of fact, if you have another jar, I want them.”

"I have always looked at that statement about embracing what you have, instead of trying to change it as a wonderful message to not only girls, but to women in general. And to men as well, of course, but particularly to girls and women … to be proud of who we are, and to own who we are."

Tabby: In terms of owning who you are, what would you say some of your greatest strengths are as a leader?Lotta: One of them is my intuition. Since I started accessing and also following my intuition, I’ve become such a better leader. I’m navigating from a different framework, and it gives me much more strength and calmness. I’m not so nervous about what other people are thinking. I can hold my own space. I also have a strong visionary capacity, which is good as a leader. I’m also pretty composed. Not always personally, but as a leader I’m composed. That gives people a sense of safety and trust. I think I also have a pragmatic, realistic approach. On one level I am visionary and intuitive, but I also like to get things done. I prefer less talk and more action. I like doing business and have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t from a business perspective. There is a pragmatism and a realism connected to my leadership.Tabby: With that said, what are some of the things that you have had to overcome to step into being the leader that you are today?Lotta: Without doubt, the hardest one has been my intuition. I’ve been fighting it most of my life because the other qualities are more recognized in a masculine leadership sense. Being directed from your inside, and from your intuition seems very woo-woo and not very serious, so I never took that part of me very seriously. I didn’t dare to -- I was actually afraid of my own powers in that area. I constantly diminished what I in essence really knew was most important to me. So to honor myself and honor that voice as some form of guide and act upon it has taken me years. Some of the other qualities I had all the time, but because I lacked this compass, this very strong inner compass, I wasn’t a very strong leader. I could be a visionary and I could get things moving and I could get people with me, but there was a lack of being able to operate from the inside. This has definitely been the biggest challenge, but I think overcoming it has been the biggest gift.Tabby: Do you have a particular Goddess you connect with the most?Lotta: The one I’ve always been most fascinated with is Kali. The first time I heard about Kali was through Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom where the Kali followers were horrible -- they were cannibals and all of that. But I was fascinated that a goddess could have so much power -- that she evoked so much fear in all these people. Then when I started studying Kali, I realized that the British Empire used a very strong feminine role model in Indian society and turned her into a villain – which is our way of looking at a very powerful woman. I started identifying more with Kali for that reason.Kali is the destroyer of life, but she is also the creator of life.  Whereas in the movies and whenever you read about Kali, it’s always about the destruction. But as Joseph Schumpeter, who was an economist, talked about --  the creative destruction is necessary for anything to grow – in businesses and in nature. Without destruction, we would not actually have a creation. I think we are so fearful of those powers, but they are so necessary to embrace -- in particular for women. Sometimes destruction is not all bad as we portray it to be. Sometimes destruction is a prerequisite for life.Tabby: Speaking about powers, I know you have a fascination with supernatural powers and also witches. Can you talk to me about this?Lotta: It started as a child. I was kind of obsessed with it. I wanted to be a professor of parapsychology when I was 11. I was so afraid of it, and I was fascinated by it. I guess I was fascinated with the connection to something bigger beyond myself, but also with different forms of power. Also maybe because, like I said before, I felt disempowered growing up.  But it was also a genuine connection that I felt as a child. It’s taken me all these years to get to the point where I actually embrace it instead of fleeing it.I think there is a growing acceptance of the supernatural. If you just look at how many books and movies are made about the supernatural, and about vampires, Harry Potter, etc., it speaks to a general sense that there is a deep underlying fascination that most people have with this -- but we don’t dare to think that this could be a part of our regular lives. We deport it instead into “This is something that I do for fun, and of course it has nothing to do with me. I’m a serious business person.” I feel it’s a desire to be connected to something that is a bit magical, and also a deep underlying yearning to access our own powers.Tabby: How about witches?Lotta: We as women know that women used to be burned at the stake because we were wise and smart and we knew about nature. These things were so frightening to a lot of men in power, and also to the women at the time. A woman who chose not to participate in life as everyone else was living it, and who also acquired wisdom, was considered evil. I think our fear and society’s fear of women who are both wise and powerful is deeply ingrained in us. I’m on a mission to empower us both from a soul level, but also women in particular on a witch level -- if you can call it that -- in the sense of not being afraid of the powers we actually have. I think the day when women actually own that, we are going to have a different society and a much, much better world.Tabby: What brings you peace?Lotta: After a yoga class when I meditate, and definitely when I do my clairvoyant training sessions. I am most peaceful when I feel a very clear connection to Source, and I am also the happiest there.Tabby: If you could spread a message to all women around the world, what message would you want to impart?Lotta: Trust your inner wisdom and your inner power. This is needed not only for your own pleasure, but it’s actually needed for the world. It’s needed in business; it’s needed on an organizational and civic society level; and it’s needed on a global level.

To learn more about Lotta and Quickenings Leadership Training Programs & Products, visit www.quickenings.com.

Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed., is a writer, writing coach, and Goddess workshop leader dedicated to amplifying the voices of women changemakers. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post on issues affecting women and girls, and works with women on writing their non-fiction book. Tabby’s work has been featured by the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, NPR, Current TV, Gaiam and other popular online media.  She lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband.