Count your successes

 Vilma Komulainen

You know the memories Facebook kindly offers you every now and then? I think they are pretty much the best thing it offers nowadays. A blast from the past, from a time when people still posted things of Facebook.

Most of these memories make me giggle thinking of the times when life’s stress factors were limited to choosing the perfect party outfit for Saturday’s dancefloor sessions and getting up early for an 8 am lecture. 

But they also make me think of how much has changed for the better. How much has happened during this journey. And at the same time - how much there still is to discover.

 2009. A picture I had named “Party all the time”. Indeed.

2009. A picture I had named “Party all the time”. Indeed.

 2012. At a pier in Blackpool. Exchange studies in England was my first time to live abroad and the first time I had to come out of my safe little home bubble in Turku.

2012. At a pier in Blackpool. Exchange studies in England was my first time to live abroad and the first time I had to come out of my safe little home bubble in Turku.

I encourage you to stop for these moments for a little while. Looking at that picture and thinking of your reality during that period of life. What has changed since then? What have you learned? What have you gained?

People say you should count your blessings. I like to say you should count your successes.

Things rarely just occur. You made certain choices that led you here - whether they were small or big. 

Often it is hard to see those choices clearly in the moment they happen. But as time passes, it’s easier to see the bigger picture. How one thing led to another.

 2014. I used to be a beauty vlogger for a few years. How unaware was I at this point that this funny little hobby actually ended up having a rather big impact on my career choices years after.

2014. I used to be a beauty vlogger for a few years. How unaware was I at this point that this funny little hobby actually ended up having a rather big impact on my career choices years after.

Because all our experiences are ephemeral. I like to think that is rather comforting. The heartaches, the difficult decisions, the moments of insecurity and uncertainty. They all pass.

And after they have passed it is one of the greatest feelings in the world to see how you evolved. 

 2015. My first apartment in Stockholm and the day I moved to Sweden. By far one of the best decisions i have made.

2015. My first apartment in Stockholm and the day I moved to Sweden. By far one of the best decisions i have made.

2017. One of the last weeks in Lund working with our Master’s thesis.

It is easy to focus on what you do not have at the moment, what is missing from your ideal life. But think of your path of the last five or ten years and shift your focus on how much you actually have and know compared to that time in the past.

And be proud - it is you who made those things happen. No one else.

❤︎ Vilma

An ode to the ordinary

I am on the third and final week of my summer holiday. I have traveled in France and Germany drinking wine, enjoying the picturesque scenery of small Alsacian villages and taking way too many photos. 

 Château de Hohlandsbourg, Alsace, France, Vilma Komulainen
 Little Venice, Colmar, Alsace, France

I have taken a dip in the sea running straight to the sauna, read a book by the beach and had an Aperol Spritz in the river boats. I have walked in the woods, slept in and baked cinnamon buns. 

I have fully zoned out of emails, Slack messages, meetings and workshops. I have also zoned out of writing - which is a big part of what I do for a living. 

 Haukkalampi, Nuuksion kansallispuisto, Suomi
 Aamukahvi, koti, sisustus

Zoning out on a regular basis is important - vital even. But as the days of living on the lazy side of life are slowly coming to an end I find myself craving for that subtle sound of tapping the keyboard. For the sensation of creating. For the thrill of having an idea and then bringing it to life. 

Which got me thinking - I quite like my life. My ordinary life with Monday meetings and restful routines. And that tapping of the keyboard. 

Lots of people live for holidays and weekends. They strive for vacation, counting down the days for the next trip abroad and the next possibility to escape their tedious daily tasks. They suffer from Monday blues, chronic boredom or an acute case of anxiety if their time off is not filled with superlatives, sunshine and spectacular stories. 

Most of us are built with an inner need for excitement and exhilarating emotions. But how about finding those emotions in the everyday?

Just as I think it is important to be able to sit still and just breathe for a while without getting the jitters (read why I hate the word hustle), I think it is also important to live a life you do not feel like you need to escape from.

Because there can be beauty in the ordinary. There should be beauty in the ordinary. And if there is not, you need to change your ordinary.

There should be beauty in the ordinary. And if there is not, you need to change your ordinary.

So create a life you love. Keep dreaming, keep creating.

❤︎ Vilma

On role models and rocky roads

 Role models

The past International Women’s Day got me thinking about role models and how empowering it is to have people to look up to. Me and my fellow female content creators attended an open mic event where people from the advertising and communications industry held short speeches about equality in our field.

The event ended with a powerful statement from Ritva Isteri on how far women have come in the advertising industry and how we, as women, must continue to make our final push for equal opportunities, bold dreams and female faces in leadership positions.

Afterwards me and the girls talked about how inspiring it was to see older, wiser women who have come so far. ”I want to become a powerful woman like that as well”, I said. I too want to achieve goals that feel a little intimidating at first, I too want to create a career that I love, I too want to inspire others to chase for their dreams.

I think it is so vital to find these sources of empowerment around you. From your work-life, your social circles, from books, movies and social media. Always be eager to hear from others, be hungry for knowledge and learn from the paths taken by those ahead of you.

Always be eager to hear from others, be hungry for knowledge and learn from the paths taken by those ahead of you.

Because it makes you push yourself a little harder. Role models are like little glimpses of a future waiting to happen. Looking up to successful individuals keeps your chin up. It moulds your mind to make a conscious change towards aiming high, whatever that level may mean to you.

Personally, I admire strong women that have found success in their careers. Ladies who have a presence when they enter a room. Gals who dare to speak up when others stay quiet. 

Gals who dare to speak up when others stay quiet. 

I also admire people who have a flare of raw realness. Because success often doesn’t come easy. The road is rarely paved with rose petals and confetti. Life hurts sometimes. Often, even, when you live fearlessly. And the best role models talk about the pain and the failure.

Because difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations, I heard.

❤︎ Vilma

Tackle the hectic - A year towards tranquility


Hello friends and followers! Hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas time. I have been enjoying these long mornings, endless The Crown marathons in pyjamas and cozying up in the nook of the sofa with a good book. All this hygge has created some much needed time and space for thinking. Thinking about the year gone by and the year ahead.

I believe reflection is the most powerful tool for renewal. Therefore these moments of thinking back and dreaming about the future are essential for creating a life you love. 

2017 was a meaningful year in many ways. A year for accomplishments, changes and new beginnings for me. I graduated with my Master’s degree from Lund, found a clear aim for my next career move, got an amazing job where I have been able to chase my ambitions, moved back to Finland after my almost 3-year-stunt in Sweden and started to create some more stable roots in my life. Change is constant. But sometimes one needs a little stability, or tranquility, to balance out the twists and turns in life. 

Do not get me wrong - tranquility does not mean turning into a hermit knitting beanies beside a fireplace and shying away from new adventures. To me it means achieving a sense of inner calm and content - even when it gets a little windy outside. To find tools and habits to remain in balance. To find more of those moments to realise, reflect and redirect. To tackle the hectic and the hassle.


Because it has struck me this past year more than ever that I have a bad habit of stressing about the little things. This is a habit I would very much like to lose. People who constantly complain about being too busy are usually pretty annoying - and whoops, I have found myself to have become one of the noisy little bees in the beehive. 

So now I crave for that clarity of thought which enables me to focus on the right things. Sweeping away mental clutter is essential for creative work. This aim to tackle the hectic has a lot to do with finding the right ways of working for me - perhaps the most important learning curve for any career-girl or boy - but also to find more space in my spare time for inspiration and inner growth.

Sweeping away mental clutter is essential for creative work.

So that is it - my goal for 2018 is to implement more elements of tranquility to my life. What is yours?

❤︎ Vilma

Fortunate strokes of serendipity and the power of positivity

 Suitcase with pink smoke

I have an unfortunate tendency to think negatively. While I definitely live my head in the clouds and have always dreamed big, when faced with big changes, I'm always prepared for the world to end. When I first moved to Stockholm, I said to everyone that I’m not going to find any close friends and I’ll come back to Finland in a year. In the very beginning of my Master’s studies I was casually reading through some of the articles for our first course on a Sunday night. I shouted to my roommates that academic consumer culture studies are complete bs and have nothing to do with real-life marketing and that I want to go back to living my working girl life in Stockholm. When graduation was approaching last spring, I announced pompously how hard it is to find a job and that my ultimate fate is to end up as an unemployed marketing graduate living in my parents’ sofa. My best years were over and I never should’ve resigned from my past job. Apocalyptic safe room filled with Campbell’s soup and soda cans, I’m coming for you.

And look what happened. I had the best years of my life so far in Stockholm, made some amazing friends and fell in love with the city that first seemed so distant. I also grew to love consumer culture studies and still think the professor of that first course, Sofia Ulver, is one of the most inspirational power women I’ve come to meet. And I did find an amazing job and did not spend a day as an unemployed layabout with broken dreams and tedious day plans. Thus, I’ve slowly come to realize that even though I have a tendency to prepare for the worst, life has a tendency of working out in the end. So put on your rose-colored glasses and always believe something wonderful is about to happen.

 Pink smoke

Because life is full of fortunate strokes of serendipity. Another professor said it’s moronic to make decisions based on gut feeling and intuition. Somewhat true for market intelligence but I believe our best trajectories of life are not all paved with mere calculations and critical thinking. They also need a little foolish faith in the power of positivity. Wisdom and wonder, as Arianna Huffington would say.

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
— Roald Dahl

Positivity doesn’t have to mean you obsessively repeat fluffy affirmations in front of a mirror, only to find out that success and happiness doesn’t arrive by your door by just listening to the rants of Tony Robbins and starting to bullet journal. But it does mean that you start to look at your life from a brighter angle. Seeing opportunity instead of opposition. Celebrating achievements instead of drowning in downturns. Negativity narrows your mind. Positivity brings you resources. Resources to broaden your sense of possibility and purpose, build more value and find meaning. Finding that subtle touch of awe and amazement in the everyday.

So yield to your inner daydreamer and count your blessings. Let you choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.

❤︎ Vilma

Ps. Would you like to find a concrete tool for pursuing to live a bit more positively? Try The 5 Minute Journal, either in the physical or digital format. I prefer the former.

Summer of sweet beginnings

Hello and hälsningar från Helsingfors! The blog has been on a hiatus during this past month and a half. A hiatus full of life changes, new beginnings and a few bittersweet goodbyes. So let's have a little recap!

 Vilma Komulainen in Botaniska Trädgården, Lund

I finished the thesis with Meri (with good grades, happy to add), graduated as Master of Science in Business and Economics, celebrated the accomplishment on numerous occasions, enjoyed the last bits of our carefree life in Lund and said goodbye to Jordabalksvägen 52 and the sunny side of Skåne. And for me, this was also the last goodbye to my two and a half years in Sweden. A year back, my aim to come back to Stockholm after finishing the degree was set in stone. But life has a funny way of surprising you. So, after two cities, three apartments, two jobs, one degree and countless experiences later it was finally time to say: adjö Sverige och tack för allt.

 Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki

And then I flew to Helsinki, took my earthly belongings fitted neatly into two suitcases to an itty-bitty summer studio in Vallila and started a new job the next day. Settling into Helsinki and back into the office life has been easier than I thought, although these past weeks have been rather busy. I'm starting to find that homey feeling in this city that honestly always seemed a bit grey and sluggish to me. But there's so much beauty and bliss in having your longtime friends near you, getting to speak your own language all the time, sharing the same culturally-bound humor with the people around you and starting a life that doesn't feel so temporal. 

My fortunate run with amazing workplaces continues (following my previous thoughts around applying for jobs and purpose-led career planning) and I'm happy to say I have yet again found myself doing the things I love with a team I have a lot of fun with. I work with content creation and employer branding and giggle over a cup of coffee on a daily basis, so pretty much the perfect combo for me. My only concern is if I ever will grow to be a chipper little lady conquering the early morning alarms. Probably not.

 Senate Square, Helsinki
 Tori Quarters, Helsinki

Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to play tourist in my own city, the best weekend activity I know. I walked around the city center, taking pictures of the main sights together with a bunch of enthusiastic group travelers,  ate a crepe cone in the harbor only to be it rudely stolen by a seagull (classic rookie mistake) and delved into the history of Helsinki in the city museum. A perfect day in the cityscape.

So the start of this summer has been busy, quick and eventful but I've definitely already learned that there's more shades to this subtle city. Here's to the homeland! I think I might like you a little.

❤︎ Vilma