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Tools I use to be more focused in Iceland

Karmen Aasanurm

writing from Reykjavik Dance Festival

One of my goals for this program was to get a better understanding of myself and how I make decisions, and through that find the values I have as a leader. Fortunately, I have had quite a lot of time to work on that because of the quarantine and cancellation of the Reykjavik Dance Festival. In this blog post, I will give a little insight into my journey and the tools I have used to keep myself on track and work through the emotional roller-coaster it has taken me on.


In the past two weeks, I have had a lot of different emotions, which I have worked through. For that, I have used journaling where I write down everything that pops up without judgment, just as it is, being honest with myself. Mixing this with the topics from the New Horizons Leadership Programme handbook has truly helped me keep my focus and be more connected with myself, my goals, and my reasons. And additionally, has given me many valuable understandings about myself.


The second thing I do is I try to be more present and mindful. Mostly through meditation and yoga but also finding ways to do it in other everyday activities. For me being present is not an easy task as I am constantly worrying, planning, or drifting between the past and the future. Also, I have too many projects at the same time, which makes me feel that I need to work all the time which creates anxiety and doesn’t help with being in the moment. Forcing myself to take mindful moments and making them part of my daily routines help to keep a calmer mind.


To keep me more centered I have found that walking and running outside really helps. It helps by balancing my emotions. Also having a morning workout routine helps with that. It’s a great tool without which I could not imagine this experience. I have also felt during the past weeks that sometimes I can be more focused on what I think I should do rather than what my body needs. This has been a good understanding as well when I have skipped a run because I was tired, not lazy (also sometimes because of the weather :D).


One big part of my experience here has been listening to other people’s stories and giving them the chance to open up. Quite often I tend to interrupt the speaker with my own thoughts or attach the person some labels in my head which I don’t even notice. But during my stay, I have tried to listen and learn through that. This has been a powerful learning experience but at the same time quite tiring as it needs more focus and self-control from me. Also, it is intellectually more challenging to go more in-depth with different topics but I’m super happy to have this experience and get the chance to meet new people and listen to their stories.


These are my tools and understandings during these two weeks into this program. I think what you find in yourself and what you take from the experiences really depends on where you focus your energy. I am happy to be able to focus more on the inside to understand myself better and through that be a better person and manager for the projects I work on.

Published on 13.04.2021

NHLP has been made possible with the support of Nordisk Kulturfond and Nordic culture Point, Nordic Council of Ministers, and Lund Municipality


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